African Culture & Music Expedition “Deep Roots”by Judit Navarro & Austerio Alonso
This journey is an approach to the world of African oral and musical tradition. The word in Africa has been the element that has been the basis for the transmission of epics, tales, legends, the history of ancient kingdoms or family memories. Through the djelis (griots) and music or puppeteers, we will travel to the cultural and social roots of this part of the continent. We will also get to know some of the most respected brotherhoods in West Africa, such as the Donso hunters’ and blacksmiths’ guilds, and learn how each job has its own rhythm…
In addition to the oral tradition, the Bogolan fabrics reveal that the writing and drawings that are displayed on the cloths encode family biographies, advice and incantations…
Without wishing to be exhaustive, as the journey would take years and years (and we would certainly continue to document and learn), we do intend this “African Deep Roots” journey to be a sensory journey, a learning journey, a great little introduction to the origins, we want to delve into the roots.
Cultural and Music Expedition
Music and dance
- A fascinating approach to the world of the Griots, the living history of West Africa. The whole route
- Visits to different instrument-making workshops. The whole tour
- Mali: Balafon, ngoni, jam session, fusion and more…
- Guinea Conakry: Balafón, Dundunba, percusión, ngoni, bolón, etc
- Casamance y Gambia: Kora, percussion and singing. Jam session evenings and small stage.
AUTHOR’S TRIP by Judit Navarro and Austerio Alonso
Cultural & Music Expedition through Casamance, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and Mali
West Africa has an enormous diversity of peoples, each with their own customs, languages and traditions. On this expedition to the roots of West Africa we will travel from Mali to Gambia through Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau and Casamance, focusing much of the journey on the fascinating Malinke culture.
The Malinke, originally descendants of the Mali Empire, have spread throughout most West African countries since the days of the Empire’s first ruler, Sundjata Keita, and today belong to the largest ethno-linguistic group in West Africa, the Mande.
Most Malinka live in family compounds in traditional rural villages run by a chief or a group of elders. Agriculture has always been their predominant occupation. Today, almost all Malinka in Africa are Muslim, although a mixture of Islam and traditional rituals is still quite common in the countryside.
Djelis (Griots) and oral tradition
But most Malinkes still live in an oral society, with a tradition of oral history going back hundreds of years, passed down from generation to generation through songs, proverbs and stories of griot family members with famous surnames such as Konte, Suso, Jobarteh and Kouyate (the first griot). For centuries, these were the traditional historians, genealogists, praise singers, war agitators, denouncers, denouncers, advisors, arbiters, jesters, gossipers, satirists, reporters and political commentators. Only those born into the griot caste could become enjali, and unlike their fellow tribesmen, they did not have to work in the fields or fight.
Next year we are very lucky to have been invited to a big “Soli”, circumcision party. Our hosts, a family of Nunaka Fadakudu (blacksmiths) since time immemorial, will show us in depth many of the secrets of the Malinke culture. A world of tradition, culture, music and powerful masks for protection. We will spend 3 days attending the different celebrations of the Soli of circumcision.