For chatting and discussions.
By Daniel Preissler
#27940
thanx to Rainer Polak and his deep researches:
"The square frame drum gunbe originates from the Carribean and has spread along the west african coast since the early 19th century. Departing from Dakar and Abidjan, in the 1930s and especially in the 1950s in relation to the independence movements, the gunbe movement then covered large parts of the inner French West Africa as well." (please excuse my translation!)

Rainer speaks about music and dance associations in West Africa called gunbe and sabar.
In both associations and styles, local styles got mixed up with international fashions and poupular music styles. He writes that these associations are nearly lost since the 1960s, but are sometimes restored by children (I think he is talking about Bamako here) and have influenced the actual djembe styles in the malian capital (in the first years of the malian national ballet, sabar and gunbe drums were used). (Rainer Polak, 2004, p.62)

Michi, as a MK student, you might know about Djolé being played on frame drums. I saw this in Conakry once in 1997. So now I would like to know, if it's these same frame drums that are related to the Carribean. And I would like to know at what degree sabar is a traditional west african style (thinking of Senegal now) ;-)
#27941
PS: I wasn't sure where to put this thread. I decided for the social category, because of the wide spread history I am talking about. Could have been the music and drumming category as well...
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By bops
#27948
That drum is called Siko in Guinea. I never heard that it originated in the Caribbean before, but it seems logical, considering its construction. I don't know of any other West African drums with similar construction, but there are numerous drums in Latin America that originated from recycled materials such as barrels and shipping crates (e.g. cajon, bomba, congas, timbales, steel pan, etc.).

The gongoma is another example of an instrument that could have come from the Caribbean - there's a similar instrument in Jamaica that they call a rhumba box. However, both of these would ultimately have come from the Shona Mbira.

I would have a very difficult time believing that the sabar has its origins anywhere but Senegal. In my opinion, it's just not possible. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please share. However, I do believe that the word samba (Brazilian style of music/dance) is derived from the same etymology as sabar, sangban, sanbanyi, sabaro, etc. And I believe that repique playing is derived from sabar technique. But the other way around? I'd say no way.
#27950
Mbira > Gongoma: I agree! (There's a nice article from Kubik about the Mbira style having evolved from Balaphone playing several hundreds of years ago - though it was not his idea (Kubik,1988, the article has to be older).)
bops wrote:I would have a very difficult time believing that the sabar has its origins anywhere but Senegal. In my opinion, it's just not possible. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please share.
I am as surprised as you are! (a shame, because this means I haven't read Rainer's book entirely).
But remember what I said:
Rainer speaks about music and dance associations in West Africa called gunbe and sabar.
It is possible that the dance associations were born at the coast (e.g. Dakar) by the melting of local and carribean influences. I don't believe that the drums that Wolof ensembles play come from the Americas. But I have sometimes felt a strange emptyness in the answers of Senegal travellers concerning where the music (I used the term sabar) comes from. Maybe my questions were the wrong ones (that happens, as I am a complete outsider). But my idea in other words: I got the impression that we know more about djembe and dundun drumming than Europeans and Amricans know about sabar drumming.
So maybe the drums are from Senegal, the term for the dance situation comes from elsewhere (maybe Lower Guinea > Carribean > Senegal (> Guinea/Mali again) - I don't know). This would explain why it's hard to get good information concerning sabar or wolof (village) tradition: If we always use the wrong word... The sabar drums have other names as far as I know (Cherry: Mande Music).

Of course, it would be helpful to have someone here who knows about wolof drumming. He or she might say it's all rubbish and then we could go on with the original subject of the other thread (scusa!).
It's just that I was looking for something else in Rainer Polak's book and this description made me forget my original research.
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By Michel
#27951
When I told Sega Sidibe of my visit to Segou, Mali, he said: "So you must have seen the origin of the sabar." He referred to the bonkolo, the drum that's been used by the bambara with the same technique as sabar. I can't imagine either Bops, but more people think that the sabar is not originated from Senegal.

Afoba wrote:
(in the first years of the malian national ballet, sabar and gunbe drums were used).
Isn't it the bonkolo that was played in the Malian national ballet? Seems more logical to me!

Bops wrote:
That drum is called Siko in Guinea.


In Senegal, especially on the island of Goree, they play a lot of this drum, that is called 'asiko' over there. There is a strong relation with slavetrade there, so maybe Caribbean influences?
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By Dugafola
#27952
Afoba wrote: Of course, it would be helpful to have someone here who knows about wolof drumming. He or she might say it's all rubbish and then we could go on with the original subject of the other thread (scusa!).
.
there are some wolof griot drummers that live in my town. i will ask them the next time i see them.
#27953
Michel wrote: Afoba wrote:
(in the first years of the malian national ballet, sabar and gunbe drums were used).
Isn't it the bonkolo that was played in the Malian national ballet? Seems more logical to me!
Hi Michel,
possible, I can't say, I was just reporting his explanation. I think the bonkolo is what Polak calls bòn. But Polak writes that the bòn was only played for Bamana pieces in the national ballets.
According to Jeli Madi Kuyate (Polak writes the names acc. to the malian maninka/bamana alphabeth, not in french), a sabar association was given djembes, because the malian president had seen this in Conakry and during concerts of the guinean national ballet. This former sabar association became the national ballet of Mali. Kuyate said that the pieces were played with djembes, sabars or sticks on djembes, and sometimes with Kasoka dunduns.

It seems as it was not that important:

Kuyate:
(the music) was played on the djembe. (hesitates) (...) if you want, you take a sabar, or you take a little stick and you play in on the djembe. (.........) The djembe, the djembe is normally from Guinea. We should teach us each other, (hesitates), I mean, Modibo Keita (1st malian president) came up with that (...) and gave the (money) to make the sabar association a national troupe/band, as they already had one in Guinea.
(J.M. Kuyate, 1998, in: Polak, 2004, p. 69)

It seems the first important player was gunbe and sabar player. Rainer Polak comes to this conclusion through the information of Kuyate (above), M.F.Sylla (first djembe solo player of the malian ballet, when the djembe became more important in 1961, and C.B.Samake.
#27954
there are some wolof griot drummers that live in my town. i will ask them the next time i see them.
That's cool, Josh, please ask them what men dance (on) in the wolof villages and what women dance (on) in the wolof villages and what has changed in the cities! ;-)
(I smile, because it's much easier written down here than accomplished!!!)
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By michi
#27957
Afoba wrote:Michi, as a MK student, you might know about Djolé being played on frame drums.
Yes, Mamady teaches that Djole was originally played on Siko drums. But that Gunbe is not the one I had in mind. Have a look at the image in this post. That's what Epizo told me is a Gumbe.

Michi.
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By Dugafola
#27958
That's cool, Josh, please ask them what men dance (on) in the wolof villages and what women dance (on) in the wolof villages and what has changed in the cities! ;-)
(I smile, because it's much easier written down here than accomplished!!!)
hahhaha. i'll do my best.



Yousouff teaches the hell out of gunbe.
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By e2c
#27962
Daniel - does Rainer specify a place (islands or groups of islands) in the Caribbean for the origin of the gunbe?

I am puzzled by this, as I do not know of any square or rectangular-shaped frame drums being used in contemporary music from the Caribbean, although it might well be that they have been passed over in favor of other kinds of drums.

In Puerto Rico, there are panderetas (like a tambourine, but without jingles) used in plena music, but other than that, I don't know of any frame drums. (Though my knowledge on this topic is by no means comprehensive, and I would welcome any/all additional info. and corrections! :))

Here's some plena -

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPCDVcTLC3I[/video]
Last edited by e2c on Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By e2c
#27964
fwiw, there is a square frame drum - the adufe - that is played in Portugal.

The song title is "My (little) old adufe" - though you could (afaik) also translate "little" as "dearest." (The suffix used - -inho - usually means "little," but Portuguese speakers also use that suffix and its feminine counterpart to indicate affection.)

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgsJT4i_XWs[/video]

I think the style owes a great deal to North Africa. Some people think the adufe was introduced to Portugal during Moorish rule.

One more -

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1OXPxFXPBk[/video]
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By e2c
#27965
bops wrote:The gongoma is another example of an instrument that could have come from the Caribbean - there's a similar instrument in Jamaica that they call a rhumba box. However, both of these would ultimately have come from the Shona Mbira.
The "thumb piano" is also found in Central Africa and ... lots of places. It has many names - in Congo, one of the most common is sanza. My take is that there are *lots* of "local" variations.

There's also an instrument like the rumba box played in eastern Cuba - the marimbula. (See this, which is actually pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar%C3%ADmbula )
I would have a very difficult time believing that the sabar has its origins anywhere but Senegal. In my opinion, it's just not possible. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please share. However, I do believe that the word samba (Brazilian style of music/dance) is derived from the same etymology as sabar, sangban, sanbanyi, sabaro, etc. And I believe that repique playing is derived from sabar technique. But the other way around? I'd say no way.
Samba/sambar is related to the Angolan word semba... lots of people were brought to Brazil from Angola. I have a feeling that there are other ideas re. the origin of the words samba and sambar, but would need to do some checking to find more info.

bops, I completely agree with you on sabar being W. African in origin, though that's just a hunch on my part.
#27968
e2c,
I just wrote an email to a german-turkish frame drum specialist who knows about frame drums from all over the world. let's see...

Michi
Yes, Mamady teaches that Djole was originally played on Siko drums. But that Gunbe is not the one I had in mind. Have a look at the image in this post. That's what Epizo told me is a Gumbe.
I would simply call that a djembé. And this brings me back to my initial problem while starting this thread. I wrote "official maninka spelling", though that's only half of the truth. In the official maninka alphabeth of Guinea, the "g" doesn't occur! It exists in the pronounciation (e.g. "gembe"), but is alway expressed by "dy" when written.
If we turn "gumbe"/gunbe in the official-official spelling, we get "dyunbe". Knowing that "u" and "i" are often arbitraily used (family name "Dino"/"Duno", "girl"="sunkudu" > "sinkudu" (breast hill)) we get "dyinbe" - the word for dyenbe/djembe/jenbe in fula and some maninka dialects.

Words and names are interesting but dangerous. "Gunbe" might (just as "sabar"?) describe a situation much more than a drum. The name of the situation can then occasionally be used for drums that are used for it....

Btw: I would say the form of theses drums is quite similar to the senegalese djembe that someone (sorry, who again?) posted in the other thread some days ago.

e2c: The large transfer of slaves from Angola to Bresil is what I have in mind, too. Contrarily to the US, most slaves did'nt live long in Bresil - the work on sugar plantations being much harder than the work on cotton plantations (just about 10% of the trans-atlantic traded slaves went to the (later) US, but conditions were better and the "Europeans" bought more women than their cousins in the south). This means that one single slave had less influence on the cultural development of the new "home" in South America (sorry, some of this sounds macabre enough, but it's just how things were). And: One single ship in the late 18th or early 19th century would have more influence, because the people arrived quite late and (1) so had a better chance to survive and (2) probably didn't find a strong new cultural structure (I mean much less than in the cotton fields in Virginia and Carolina - correct me, if there were more cotton fileds elsewhere!), because their predeccessors had less opportunity to establish one (because of hard work > less time per day and per life).

So some ships from the Gold Coast or Gorée (don't really believe in Gorée, to far north) could have changed a lot. Could.... - after all, it's just ideas...

Greets, DP
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By e2c
#27976
Daniel - thanks for writing to this person (frame drum specialist); am anxious to hear what they say. :)

Brazil did not abolish slavery until 1888, and there was - even after the ban on the "triangular trade" - a lot of back-and-forth between Africa and Brazil. (Including, iirc, illegal slave trading.) There are colonies of "Brazilians" (repatriated former slaves and their descendants) in Angola, Nigeria (more specifically, in Lagos), Benin... probably other places as well.

A lot of people who were taken to Cuba as slaves were from (broadly speaking) Congo and Angola as well... though of course, as in Brazil, there were people from other places, even parts of what we think of as djembe territory. (Though not many, in the last case.)