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Unclothed women djembefolas - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

Discuss culture and traditions
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  • 12 posts
User avatar
By michi
#15444
I just came across this image for sale on eBay. There was no further background information, other than that the photo was taken in West Africa. I thought this was unusual enough to post here.

Does anyone have any idea about where this shot might come from or what ethnic group is shown there? Note that the "djembes" in the image seem to be tuned with pegs rather than rope. Also, if you zoom in, you can see that all the people in the background are bare-breasted women.

I wonder whether this shot is taken from some African movie and depicts something that's purely fictional?
NudeDjembeFems-R.jpg
Nude women djembefolas
NudeDjembeFems-R.jpg (36.46KiB)Viewed 7471 times
Cheers,

Michi.
Last edited by michi on Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By michi
#15447
e2c wrote:those aren't djembes; they're some other kind of drum(s).
Yes, they are not really djembes. Some other goblet-shaped drum.
damn; I wish this kind of photo had never been made!!!
Why is that? I don't think it's all that offensive. I have a suspicion though that what is depicted there isn't authentic. I feels more like some staged artificial scene, maybe from a movie or some such.
PS: michi, the title of this post is probably going to attract pr0on spammers... (not j/k).
I've changed the title.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By e2c
#15448
it's no offensive in itself - but it definitely does come from an era when all kinds of stereotypes of "darkest Africa" were being perpetrated. (Also - and very much to the point - these kinds of images reinforce harmful stereotypes of Africans/people of African descent as being sexually licentious.)

I think that for you - living in Aus - it's a different kind of thing than for most of us here in the US, where this kind of photo makes many people angry (and I think their anger and hurt is very justifiable).

Also, re. the drums, look closer - they're more straight-sided. Wouldn't be surprised if this was taken in one of the Central African countries.

* I wouldn't want to use this photo in a publication, and that has nothing to do with nudity/semi-nudity (my undergrad training is in studio art): it's the bad stereotypes thing that could (probably would0 be evoked.
User avatar
By michi
#15452
e2c wrote:it's no offensive in itself - but it definitely does come from an era when all kinds of stereotypes of "darkest Africa" were being perpetrated.
Agree about the stereotypes. This looks more like some westerner's fantasy about what Africa is like rather than the real thing. But I might be wrong.

At least in parts of Africa, bare breasts used to be no big deal, though. In "Djembefola", there is the scene where Mamady performs with Ballet Djoliba; in the middle of the stage, there is a bare-breasted woman with a half-gourd.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By Michel
#15466
Come on. In Africa breasts are not considered sexy. (But skirts must be 'till under the knee!) Seen at more occasions: women dancing, breast fell out of dress, no one offended. But apart from that: Very curious about the origin of the picture....It looks like djembe's to me, and a woman hitting a bara with a bala-stick!?
User avatar
By e2c
#15473
Michel... I am talking about Western perceptions of Africa, not what might (or might not) be customary in various parts of Africa itself. (Huge continent; my guess is that there are some cultures that would frown on certain things that others would not find offensive at all.)
User avatar
By michi
#15474
I think it very much depends on the ethnic group. As I mentioned in this post, Mamady explained that nudity is unacceptable among the Malinke, except for the very young and the very old.

I'm still curious as to the origin of the photo though. What ethnic group, what region, what ceremony, and whether it's real or staged.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By e2c
#15475
I can't imagine that any Muslim group or cultural subgroup would condone nudity or overt immodesty for anyone - male or female.

And while I see what Michel is getting at, my guess is that it might well be more about the fact that women breastfeed openly (as opposed to going to great lengths to stay covered while doing so) than anything else. Sheer practicality has to be playing a large part in that.

michi, re. that photo, I suspect you might get answers elsewhere (in the academic world, for example), but not here.

*

Michel, there are so many different kinds of drums in Africa! I don't see anything here that makes me think these drums are djembes, or anything connected to the djembe/dunun ensemble. (After all, higher-pitched drums and bass drums are pretty universal in percussion ensembles - think of Western snare drums and bass drums in concert and marching percussion, for example...)

Kind of an aside, but I just saw a lot of photos of a Cameroonian music/dance group (they play winds and strings, not just drums) that fit the whole "straight sided" drum idea - some of the drums are quite small, others must be about 5 feet (or more) high. And those drums are from one single group of people in Cameroon.

My point: there's much more out there there - musical styles, cultures - that has had little to no exposure outside of Africa.
By amakepeace
#44538
michi wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:37 am
I wonder whether this shot is taken from some African movie and depicts something that's purely fictional?
I think it would be jumping to conclusions to say that the photo is staged. I see the same photo on this site, https://afrodrumming.com/old-african-drumming-photos/, with the drums called a bougarabou. There is a photo of similar women drummers on the same page that says "Venda women playing drums​ at the Domba initiation school, 1949".
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