- Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:29 am
very complex subject. Etnologues are still argueing about categorizations, levels, languages, dialects and so on.
The Wasolonka(lu) are Maninka acc.to my inf. - accept the ones with fula names, who don't speak Peul at all, but still concider themself as Fula.
The Konianka(lu) and the Kuranko consider themselves more as an ethnic group of their own, I think. At the same time it's not clear yet, if the languages differences between these idioms and the next "maninka dialect" are of greater importance than the differences between the Dabola and Kankan dialect.
I think you know that I can't answer your question completely (no one can). You avoid some categorizations by using the term "mande related", as I would do, too, in some situations (it avoids to be clearer, which is quite difficult). But you can't put Koniankalu in the same "group" (better: on the same level in relation to mande) as Guerze, Yacuba and Vai (who are not Maninka at all, mande related, hm...difficult, I would say no, depends on the level you are talking about).
The big question that you avoid, too: What is "mande"? linguistically man(d)inka comes straight from mande, but today the terms aren't used the same way at all: Susu, Bamana, Koniaka are mande, but not Maninka, and we make a difference between Maninka and Mandinka (Gambia, Senegal) today. I heard some weeks ago, that in the Burkina Dyula group, people consider themselves as Maninka, too. But we say Dyula to all the maninkakan and bamanakan speaking people in IC and Burkina. In fact (as you already mentioned) Dyula is a newly constructed "ethnic group" (as you said, dyula is a maninka/bamana word meaning "trader"). Every Maninka from Guinea would suddenly start speaking dyula when crossing the border to IC (without changing his dialect). Someone asked me once (when he heard that I talked with someone in a Hamana village): "Oh, you speak dyula?" (I have never been to IC or to BF) So I knew that he had lived in IC for several years. Dyula is a ethnical and dialectal "meta or super group", including Bamana, Maninka, Dafing etc..., probably nearly every mande speaking group accept Susu.
We could even go further and discuss if the "maninka Mory" (e.g. Touré) are "real Maninka", or if Kantè is "real Maninka" (because it's of Soso origin - I say Soso to make clear that it's the medieval people I'm talking about - compare: Ghana/Gana).
To get back at least in the direction of what we were discussing before: I don't think that the forest groups you mentioned play djembe -not sure for the Konianka, but I think they have other instruments, too. Someone with a Konianka mother told me once, that they have "other dunduns" (meaning "other drums", maybe played with sticks). After his description (drums with feet) I asked him, if it was like "Kèwuru" and he said, yes that's it - what is no proof, because I used the word first, and so told him, what I would like to hear (most important typical fault of white people talking about music with Africans and responsible for most of the rubbish that people tell about what "Famoudou/Mamady said..."). But there are Konianka rhythms that have been transformed into djembe pieces, e.g., if there's a marriage with Konianka people participating or even a Konianka bride (I saw this once in Baro). By the way this is an indicator for the closeness of the two groups (maninka and konianka): that marriages can be arranged between the two of them even in villages (no one would search a Fula bride for his son in the maninka area).
OK, enough of my 40% knowledge... we won't come to an end anyway d;-)
I think the most important is
a) how people consider themselves, do they say they're "maninka"?
b) is their dialect/language close the the Kankan, Farana, Siguiri, Kangaba or what ever dialect?
and maybe c) which instruments do they play
(weakest indicator: the most western german island is part of the coffee drinking region - like the Dutsch neighbours, whereas the other german islands' people drink tea - still they consider themselves as Germans. At the same time they are all "Friesen" anyway d;-) ).
Interested in your thoughts,
traditional malinke music from Upper Guinea
specialist for sangban/dundunba