African Culture & Music Expedition “Deep Roots” – Exclusive trip – Febr 2024

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…

dozo hunters with their rifles in the forest

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.

African Music Expedition
Troubadour playing the Ngoni, Malinke Country

Cultural and Music Expedition

Music and dance

  1. A fascinating approach to the world of the Griots, the living history of West Africa. The whole route
  2. Visits to different instrument-making workshops. The whole tour
  3. Mali: Balafon, ngoni, jam session, fusion and more…
  4. Guinea Conakry: Balafón, Dundunba, percusión, ngoni, bolón, etc
  5. Casamance y Gambia: Kora, percussion and singing. Jam session evenings and small stage.

AUTHOR’S TRIP by Judit Navarro and Austerio Alonso

Graduate in the master’s degree “Culture and thought of black peoples” organised by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where she also taught for two years the class “Instruments and Bambara society” together with Musbaba Traore, a Bambara musician from Mali. -She has taken part in several courses and participated in conferences on African culture and thought with Andrés Iniesta and other teachers at the CEA (Centro d’Estudis Africans) and the UAB. -Founding member of two associations. Experience as a development worker carrying out technical tasks (study and implementation of projects, their implementation in the field and their justification) from 2003 to 2017, in Guinea Bissau. -Coordinator and workshop leader on West African culture and music contracted by public and private entities such as Hospitalet de Llobregat City Council, Museu de la música de Barcelona, several libraries, civic centres, schools and other cultural dissemination spaces. Workshops with professional musicians and dancers such as: -Nino Galissa (djeli from Guinea Bissau). -Musbaba Traoré (musician from Mali) -Sam Sussoh (djeli from Gambia) -Anna and Mami M’Bengue, (dancers from Senegal trained at the Dakar conservatoire) -Chantal Tieté (dancer from Ivory Coast). Together with Anna M’Bengue and Musbaba Traore we have created the group Africaespromociona from where we carry out various activities on West African music, dance, culture and society, in the form of workshops and performances.

Judit Navarro
Music and dance in Africa
Aliu Gasama, who will introduce us to the world of the Kora.

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.

mural depicting the assembly of the Mande empire in 1236

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.

African Music Expedition

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.

Griots Africa

SOLI Malinke

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.

mask of dozo hunters and man with gri gri
  • All transportation during the trip
  • Trip guided by Nuria Domenech and Austerio Alonso.
  • Pick up and drop off service at the airport in local cabs.
  • One tent for passengers traveling alone, one tent for couples traveling together.
  • All accommodations indicated during the trip
  • All visits indicated during the trip
  • Attendance to ceremonies, masquerades, musical evenings.
  • International flights
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Cab fares to move around the capitals for optional departures.
  • Visas and visa formalities (see visa section).
  • Meals (we will pool funds) Approx: 200 – 250€ per person
  • Water and beverages (each passenger will buy the water he/she needs) Water can be
    bought easily at any place along the route.

    Travel with us​

    If you prefer, you can contact us directly by writing to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

    Trip details

    1 February 2024,
    22 February 2024,

    Departure location

    Arrival location

    Visited Countrys


      Travel with us​

      If you prefer, you can contact us directly by writing to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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