For chatting and discussions.
By bubudi
#21791
e2c wrote:I think this is getting kind of overspecialized - james isn't writing an ethnographic article!
haha no, the discussion between daniel and myself is outside the scope of the article... although it is in part helping to work out what should go in and what should be left out.
#21792
hi Bubudi,
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,
Daniel
By bubudi
#21794
i'm relying on my memory of village recordings or what teachers have said about djembe or planibala being played in the forest regions. i have to look back through some of my notes and materials to confirm.

linguistically, the dan, guerze and vai indeed fall under the mande branch. same with the maoka, mende, loma, kono and mano.

there are quite a lot of other ethnic groups whose language falls in the mande branch, though, including the bamana, susu, marka dafing, soninke, bankogoma, bobo madare, bozo, yalunka, jahanke, kagoro, khassonke, jula, dungoma, kakabe, lele, mixifore. it makes a case for them being related, but far from definitively, of course.

some of the non-maninka mande groups have played djembe for quite some time, for instance, the susu. then there are the ones who took it up more recently like the bamana (several generations at least) and the ones who took it up during the last 50 years (soninke, fula).

and then there are completely non-mande groups like the minianka (a subgroup of the senufo) who have been playing djembe for quite some time, due to their proximity.

re: real maninka... a few susu djembefolaw claim they are mande, that they don't see the divide between susu and maninka as important. it's at odds with the very real rivalry between the two groups, but the oral history shows many links. the bangoura clan, for instance, are said to be descended from fakoli, just as doumbia, sissoko and kourouma clans.
By Daniel Preissler
#21795
Hey Bubudi, thanx for the answer.
linguistically, the dan, guerze and vai indeed fall under the mande branch. same with the maoka, mende, loma, kono and mano.
I think it's the same branch as the mande group, not the mande branch. It's all Niger-Congo or even Atlantic-Congo, but not Mande.
some of the non-maninka mande groups have played djembe for quite some time, for instance, the susu. then there are the ones who took it up more recently like the bamana (several generations at least) and the ones who took it up during the last 50 years (soninke, fula).
right, but the Fula aren't Mande at all, and I think the Soninke aren't either (not sure here)

re: real maninka... a few susu djembefolaw claim they are mande, that they don't see the divide between susu and maninka as important.
Nice point, I didn't say anything that would deny this. Some Susu won't see the difference as important (especially if you ask them just some months after an election where every Susu voted for the Maninka candidate to avoid the Peul as a president!), but not all see it that way.
Of course they are Mande - don't mix up the terms mande and maninka. As you wrote correctly, they are mande, but not Maninka!

There has been an important "crossing" of the two people in history, producing Kantè as a maninka name and Camara as a susu name. So we can say they have been two devided peoples about 1000 years ago, and they are again today. But between it was not that simple. And the Soso from the time of Soumaoro where not the same people as today's Susu, there's a lineage, but that's not all (let's say it's a bit like the former Gaelic people in today's France territory and French today).

Greetings and have a nice day,
Daniel
By bubudi
#21796
Afoba wrote:
bubudi wrote:linguistically, the dan, guerze and vai indeed fall under the mande branch. same with the maoka, mende, loma, kono and mano.
I think it's the same branch as the mande group, not the mande branch. It's all Niger-Congo or even Atlantic-Congo, but not Mande.
according to several books on the subject, they are all mande languages. i also forgot to mention gouro (the ethnic group where the zaouli rhythm originated from). you can find the same on these three sites:
africanlanguages.org
ethnologue.com
sorosoro.org
Afoba wrote:right, but the Fula aren't Mande at all, and I think the Soninke aren't either (not sure here)
yes, of course the fula are not, but they have adopted the djembe as have the soninke. the soninke language also belongs to the mande branch of niger-congo languages, and there are definitely similarities in the culture. anthropologists class them as a mande peoples (same with bamana) and there has been heavy intermarriage. many of the big names like toure and cisse come from the soninke. but the soninke had the gana empire which ruled before the mande empire, so possibly they would be considered by some as separate.
#21797
thanx for the sites, Bubudi, I know one of them (ethnologue), but will have a look at all of them again next time.
concerning the Fula and playing djembe (I forgot this in my last post): Some Fula in Conakry told me some years ago, that it was the (maninka) slaves who played this kind of music for them. We should ask some old Fula again, what instruments they played (and not: Did you play djembé? d;-) ). I think several of us have heard of a rhythm name like "fulanindon" (dance of the (little) Fula), what could mean that it was played FOR them, but doesn't mean that its played BY them.
I don't know about any Fula djembe rhythm (which doesn't prove anything - I don't know much about Susu rhythms either and nothing about Baga music). Do you know some?

Greets and til next time,
D
By bubudi
#21806
it depends again on how much of a purist you want to be, and also which subgroup of fula you are talking about! around fouta djalon is one thing... you have many subgroups from the tukulor to the wodaabe. let's stick to fouta djalon for now. as far as i know there they originally played filedunun and of course the riti (soku), hodu and file. it's similar with the fula in burkina and mali. the two fula rhythms i know are wango which is a tukulor rhythm and yoleli from fouta djallon, which the susu call fula fare and is pretty much the same as the fuladon that billy konate plays, and the fuladon versions i have heard on some malian cds.

check out these 2 performances. the drums they're playing aren't quite your usual djembe shape. i'm not sure what they're called.





and here is some older footage from mali (just calabash and riti)

[video]www.youtube.com/watch?v=quhvwRqFFBI&NR=1[/video]
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By Jessie
#23060
Some thoughts after reading...

I had always heard that kryn music was from the forest. I was told the music was special because it was " Wood on wood on wood" Meaning you used sticks (wood) to hit the kryn (wood) and the sound bounced off of trees (wood).

I had heard that susu music had been transposed onto the djembe and dun duns which is why the bell lines are so choppy.

City music in Guinea and Ivory Coast differs from the music that can still be found in the villages. If you want to learn village music and forest music go to the village. Even my Ivory Coast friend told me that his drum and dance company would go to surrounding villages and when the young girls would dance and they would play drums, it was up to each person in the company to remember at least one move. Then they would go back to rehearsal and put together their new pieces from the dance moves of the villagers.

I never have known a peule who played djembe music. Not to say they don't exist. I had only met malinke and susu people who played.

Bolokada said that some djembe music originally came from the village girls and women who sang songs and played calabash. I have some footage that I am trying to process of my time in the village of Morowaya of the woman singing, hopefully I will be able to share it soon.
#23092
I had heard that susu music had been transposed onto the djembe and dun duns which is why the bell lines are so choppy.
well for classes and workshops it has been put to the Kouroussa and Kankan maninka ensemble's instruments...
The Susu play djembé traditionally, djembé and boté, not dunduns. Or in other words, their dunduns are called boté, they have got completely different rhythms and different bells (much more complicate), but you could see the two botés as equialents of Sangban and Kensedeni.

Bubudi, you have to be careful, don't mix up too many things.
The Fula are NOT mande, and you tend to forget some important facts talking about Fula and Soninke. The Touré you mentioned are Maninka today, but of non-maninka decent. Many of them live around Kankan and they are called Maninka or Maninka-Mory (what implies that they were non-Maninkas before). "The Fula" is to be taken very carefully as well. We should make a difference between the "Peul" of Futa Dyalon (and Futa Toro and so on) and the Wasolon Fula and others in Upper Guinea, who usually don't even speak a single word of fula.
You tried a bit to prove that the Fula (all) are mande by saying that some of the Soninke have become mande (like Touré). You talk about "similarities in the culture", well I'm not russian either, even if there's some similarities especially in comparison with Chinese.

Concerning Susu and Maninka: "oral history shows many links"
Hm, we make a difference between Americans, English and Germans, don't we? (you have Christmas, sausages, latin latters and arabic numbers, don't you?) There are as many Smiths in GB and the US as Camara in the Susu regions. The division between Susu and Maninka is nearly as old as between Normans and English and much older than between Germans and Americans. Of course the US are a very special case, because there is no "origin people" like the old Soso for the actual Susu, but I think you know what I mean.

Please excuse my late reaction! I'm referring to what we talked about some days before my last trip to Guinea. I'm back for several weeks already, but it's only after Jessie's last post that I got back to this thread again.

regards,
Daniel
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By e2c
#23102
Daniel - thank you. Excellent points!

If I learn to play kora, does that make me.... anything other than someone from the US who plays kora?

If I become fluent in Brazilian Portuguese - and if I marry a Brazilian man - does that mean I have become Brazilian? (My answer to that is: only if I was either born there or have lived there for most of my life as a Brazilian, not as a North American, with Portuguese as my mother tongue and Brazilian culture as my culture.)

*

I have always had the impression that the history of W. Africa and its peoples is quite complex... so, like Daniel, I don't want to make assumptions about "the Fula" (or anyone else).

My guess (fwiw) is that there are many things, probably quite subtle, that aren't apparent to outside observers - even people who have spent a lot of time studying in Africa.

Am saying this only because it is true of my own country as well - there are some major regional differences in speech, cuisine, popular "local" music, religion and more. Even in the rural area where I grew up (and where I'm currently living), there are small but distinct cultural groups. (Some people speak a Swiss-German dialect as their 1st language - this has been passed on through many generations. The only people I have met who can understand it either grew up with it here or come from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The spelling looks more like Dutch than German.)
#23112
The spelling looks more like Dutch than German.
That's true in a way! it's the the K in Switzerland and the G in Holland that makes this sound.
Like the CH (or "x") in Susu (they say "sèch(x)u" for "Seku").
In fact Switzerland and the Netherlands compared to standard german are bit like Susu and Bambara compared to the Kankan maninkakan, at the opposite side, but the pronounciation a bit closer d;-)

But in my region (60km from Switzerland) the dialect has some similarities with the suisse dialect. And more "french words" than in standard german.

have a nice day,
d