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La Guinée Forestière - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

Discuss culture and traditions
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  • 12 posts
By neuroanimal
Natural region of Forested Guinea:
1) Covers 23% of the Guinean country.
2) Contains administrative regions:
-- all parts of N’Zérékoré region,
-- some parts of Kankan region.
3) Contains préfectures -- fully or in parts only:
-- Nzérékoré (with its towns and villages: Alaminata, Balimou, Bamba, Bana, Bangoueta, Bassaita, Batoata, Beliehouma, Benda, Beneouli, Bienta, Bilikoidougou, Bipa, Bohon, Boita, Boma, Boo, Bounouma, Bowe, Dapore, Demou, Din, Diogouinta, Diomanta, Dorota, Douala, Dourouba, Foudjou, Gala, Galagbaye, Galeye, Gambata, Gbadiou, Gbaeta, Gbagoune, Gbaya, Gbili, Gbonoma, Gbote, Gbouo, Gobouta, Gonon, Gota, Gou, Goueke, Gounangalay, Gpagalai, Guela, Guelabodiou, Hoota, Kabieta, Kankore, Karagouala, Karama, Kelema, Kelemadiou, Keora, Keoulenta, Kerediala, Kleita, Koaliepoulou, Kodeda, Kogbata, Kogoloue, Kola, Kolagbata, Kolata, Koliouata, Koloda, Komata, Komou, Koni, Konia, Konian, Konigpala, Koola, Koro, Kotodzou, Kouenala, Koule, Lokooua, Lomou, Louhoule, Loula, Loule, Mabossou, Mana, Mananko, Meata, Moata, Ngnin, Niambala, Niaragbaleye, Niaragpale, Niema, Ninata, Nionta, Noona, Nzao, Orata, Oueya, Ouinzou, Pineta, Poe, Pouro, Samoe, Saouro, Sehipa, Selo, Sibamou, Sopota, Souhoule, Soulouta, Yeneta, Yleouena, Yogbota, Yomou, Youa, Zapa, Zenemouta, Zohoyea),
-- Macenta,
-- Beyla,
-- Lola,
-- Yomou,
-- Kissidougou,
-- Guéckédou
-- Kérouané,
-- Mandiana (partially),
-- Faranah (partially),
-- Kankan (partially).
4) Consists of the following ethnic groups:
-- Manon (Mano, Mann),
-- Konon (Kono),
-- Dan (Yacouba, Yakouba, Yakuba, Wobe ?, Dan-Santa ??),
-- Kpèllé (Kpèlè, Kpellé, Kpelle, Kpellé, Kpéllé, Guerzés, Guerzé, Guérzé, Guerze, Guere, Guéré, Ngere, Nguere, Nguéré),
-- Löömàgìtì (Lôma, Loma, Tôma, Toma, Buzi, Buzzi, Logoma, Lomas, Looma, Lorma, Toale, Toali, Toa, Tomas, Tooma; Toma is name used by Maninka, Konyanka, Kissi),
-- Konyanka Maninka (Manían, Manian, Konianka, Konianke, Konya, Koniagi, Konyagui, Jola Maninka, Jula, Dyula, Dyoula),
-- Manya (Maniya, Tôma-Manían, Toma-Manían, Toma-Manian) -- do not confuse them with Manían/Konianke, they are mixture of Maníans with Toma/Loma,
-- Kissi (Assi, Bakoa, Den, Gihi, Gisi, Gizi, Kisi, Kisis, Kissien, Kissis),
-- Lelé (Lele),
-- Zialo (Bende),
-- Limba ?,
-- Vai ???,
-- Kuranko,
-- Yalunka (Dialonke, Djallonke),
-- Sankaran (Faranah) Maninka,
-- Kánkàn (Beté) Maninka,
-- Wasolon Maninka (Wassolon, Wassolonka, Wassoulounke, Wassoulounké, Wasulunke, Wasulunké, Wassulu, Wasulunka, Wassulunka, Wassulunke, Wasuu, Ouassolon, Ouassoulounka, Ouassoulounke, Ouassoulounké),
-- unspecified Maninka.
5) Region influences (and is influenced by) neighbouring countries and regions: Sierra Leone, La Haute Guinée (region of Guinea), Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia.
6) Its people have ceremonies (with masks, stilts, acrobatics, contortion, dances, messaging systems, secret rituals in sacred forest and of secret societies) for which they play rhythms on slit/log drums called kolokolo/kelen/kyrin, and on drum-sets (of 3-7 djembé-like drums) called bala (according to Mamady Keïta), planibala (according to other sources), or called with different denominations. They use also musical bows, rattles and other instruments.
7) They have best drummers (according to Mamady Keïta), and one of them was Kemoko Sano,
8) Special techniques of playing, i.e. Lé/Tonopalo/Tonpalo/Topalo (third slap/tone),
9) Forest rhythms adapted on djembé (from krin/kelen/kolokolo or from bala/planibala) by masters, who used to travel there, or by those tribes themselves.

They are between others:
-- Kei-Kei/KeiKei/Keyi-Keyi/KoeiKoei of Manon people (adapted),
-- Mene Doueomia/Koloko of Manon people (may be not adapted),
-- Zere of Manon people (may be not adapted),
-- Lekulé/Lekule of Kpèllé/Guerzé people (adapted),
-- Baö/Baho/Bao of Löömàgìtì/Lôma/Tôma people (adapted; marks boys' entry to manhood),
-- Siwé of Konyanka/Manían/Dyula people (adapted; welcoming rhythm and song, used also to honour a personality),
-- Söli of Konyanka/Manían/Dyula people (adapted; called Söli des Manían by Mamady Keïta),
-- Kuku/Cucu/Coucou/Koukou/Kokou Salimou/Salimu of Konyanka/Manían/Dyula people ? -- no details found (adapted ?),
-- Kuku/Cucu/Coucou/Koukou/Kokou Daconta of Soussou/Sousou/Susu of Daconta, close to Boké (adapted ?) ???,
-- Kuku/Cucu/Coucou/Koukou/Kokou of Manya/Maniya/Tôma-Manían (adapted),
-- Kuku/Cucu/Coucou/Koukou/Kokou of Maoka people (found in Ivory Coast, adapted),
-- Woula (played for marriage and other celebrations) -- no details found (adapted ?),
-- Kala from Faranah (adapted; of Kissi, Lele, Yalunka, Kuranko, or Sankaran Maninka),
-- Sökö/Soko (initiation) of Kuranko people ??? (adapted),
-- N'Goron (initiation) of Senoufo/Senufo from Ivory Coast (adapted),
-- Zawouli/Zaouli 1-4 (mask dance) of Gouro/Guro from Zuénoula region of Ivory Coast (adapted),
-- Wamira (women & children celebration) from Ivory Coast (adapted ?),
-- Kurubi of Dyula/Jula/Konyanka? from Ivory Coast and Bobo Dioulasso of Burkina Faso (adapted),
-- Abondan of Baoule from Ivory Coast (adapted),
-- please add here other forest (or related) rhythms, which you've heard about...

P.S. Master Mamady Keïta learned to play on bala (planibala) 7 years with Guerzé people.
He adapted rhythms from there. At all he created 47 rhythms.
He stopped to teach pupils of playing krin 15 years ago, because there were no more people interested.
User avatar
By Dugafola
thanks for that.

i've traveled around kissi and n'zerekore during my last trip there. at one point during a celebration, we played some kuranko rhythms. all i have are notes in my journal at the time. i lost all of the recordings/video when my HD crashed.

i always wondered about lekule and if it was solely a MK creation and not really an "adaptation." then i saw a video of MK playing it with Cece Koly singing a song for it. that lent it some creedence. i would love to hear more traditional arrangements/songs for it though.
By neuroanimal
Dugafola wrote:i've traveled around kissi and n'zerekore during my last trip there. at one point during a celebration, we played some kuranko rhythms.
maaan, I'm really happy to speak with somebody who was there...
could you give some details what you've seen there? how looked your trip?
which people have you met? do you remember some names (of rhythms & everything)?
maybe some patterns? have you seen any ceremonies? which instruments observed?
Dugafola wrote:all i have are notes in my journal at the time. i lost all of the recordings/video when my HD crashed.
could you share with us some of your notes from your journal, please?
regarding accident with HD, maybe it is a way to get data back from it?
By neuroanimal
Let's look on the clip: Les Merveilles de Guineé, the ballet of the legendary Kemoko Sano, nowadays directed by his son Sekou Sano and choreographed by Djamusa Soumah.

You may be interested also in material on topic Drumming & Dances from Liberia:

And below I'm presenting additional resources...

Drummers, musicians, dancers, acrobats and magicians of Sierra Leone.

Drummers and their drum-sets, in Zala village, on the West of the Ivory Coast.

Another drummer and his drum-set.

Drummers and dancers of the Dan (Yakouba / Gio) tribe, Flampleu village, Danané department, Dix-Huit Montagnes region, Ivory Coast, 1950.

Dancers and Medi dance of the Dan (Yakouba / Gio) tribe, Medipleu village, Zouan-Hounien department, Dix-Huit Montagnes region, Ivory Coast, 1950.
Medipleu village was also visited by Hugo Zemp on Apr 1967, where he observed musical instruments: horn, rattle/shaker, drums.

Forest dancers and drummers:

Next things already has been on this forum board, but now I put it into one place.

DVD "Music from Guinea" by Yves Billon and Robert Minangoy (thanks to Michi Henning).
Transcription: Near Koulé {musicians} Popba Kuruma and Wowo Delamoré are playing the tam-tam on kussuba rhythms.

5-headed drum-set on DVD "Jubilee!" by Les Ballets Africains (thx to michi, one more time).

3-headed drum-set of the Dan/Yacouba people from Ivory Coast (bubudi: a downsized version of pretty much the same instrument).

5-headed drum-set + 2 krins. La Compagnie Des Sorciers, Spectacles tout public, arts du cirque, musique et danse de Guinée.
Description of the video & YouTube user:
WOTAM : Spectacle haut en couleurs, pluri-disciplinaire (danse, arts du cirque, musique...) qui mixe tradition et modernité pour une épopée multiforme rythmée et flamboyante. 12 artistes sur scène, une utilisation magistrale de l'espace et du son, une plongée étonnante dans l'âme de l'Afrique profonde.
Association Wombere,musique, danse,cirque de guinée, afro jazz.
La Cie Des Sorciers: spectacles Wotam et Faré.
Wassa Faré: afro jazz. Coopération artistique: "Wotam" à Conakry.

Mamady Keïta speaking about djembé bala -- several small djembé-like drums connected to bigger one (lower-pitched), and ethnic groups using it: Guerze, Kissi, Mano, Kono, Yacouba, ...

Somewhere on the board Carl has written:
(...) Mahiri has talked about a crazy 5 djembe setup that he uses for his "rock" gigs.
(...) I've seen a ballet video of a guy playing a djembe with 3 or 4 smaller djembes strapped to the main djembe. Not sure of the context.

Then e2c:
(...) Yeah, those Farafina Kan guys like to mix it up!

Then bops:
(...) I think you mean Koumbagna Conde from Les Percussions de Guinea. He used to do that using small toy jembes like butterfingers was talking about. I thought he invented it until I was told that it was an adaptation of a traditional style of playing in Ivory Coast.

Finally bubudi has written in two of his posts something of what I want to cite here as being important informations:
(...) that's a forest region drum style, not just ivory coast but also guinea (konianke, manian, guerze), liberia and sierra leone. in konianke it's called planibala. there are other names that i've heard the ivorians use. it's basically a 11" djembe with 4 smaller variously tuned djembes tied around it.
(...) for adaptations - kuku, soli des manian and zaouli are examples of rhythms that are adapted from this instrument, but it seems more of a transcription to another instrument than the borrowing of techniques from the original instrument (although some of that is definitely happening).

Discussions related to topic of bala/planibala:
social/djembe-rhythms-and-djembe-styles ... tml#p21794
music-and-drumming/playing-multiple-dje ... html#p7943

And now to krin/kelen/kolokolo:

Discussions related to forest rhythms on (plani)bala, krin, or djembe), and other krin rhythms:
KeiKei videos/babara-bangoura-keikei-t2027.html
KuKu free-lessons-this-site/kuku-t25.html
KuKu jun-2010-kuku-f47/kuku-accompaniments-t2068.html
LeKuLe music-and-drumming/rythms-sinte-and-lekule-t1419.html
Sinte (Boke region) cultural/good-references-for-songs-and- ... t2555.html
SdM apr-2010-soli-suku-f45/soli-des-manians ... t1853.html

Cultural about forest people:
media/unmasking-the-state-making-guinea ... t4221.html

Please add more links & share with us your knowledge.
By neuroanimal
bubudi wrote:wow neuroanimal you've gone viral on google!
What do you mean? English is not my native tongue, but maybe dictionary will help:

1. a website or video that has become instantly famous overnight via youtube or other popular media.
2. an already overused term by any group that is trying to encourage use of its facebook page or app.
"Did you see that numa numa dance? It has gone viral!"
"Go viral by using our new app!"

go viral
"go viral" - used in reference to Internet content which can be passed through electronic mail and social networking sites (Facebook, etc.): an image, video, or link that spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals has 'gone viral'.
In other words, a link goes viral because most of the people who get it forward it to their Friends list or post it in their online status. Strong political content, celebrity news, news of disasters, america's funniest home videos, and crude sexual humor are popular topics to go viral.
"Dude! There was this awesome clip of this rabbit fighting a freaking rattlesnake! And winning! Did you see it? It went viral last night on youTube."
"Look, our message is important. We have to put something together that's interesting, that people connect with. Something that will go viral the instant it hits the 'Net."

Source: Urban Dictionary © 1999-2013 http://www.urbandictionary.com/

So I do not understand, but maybe it is not important... :)
So returning to a topic...

First are the books, then is the Google ;)
Below are excerpts from Arkady's book with him on one of pictures:

... I've seen in Conakry the beautiful book "Les hommes de danse", full of wonderful female dancers ... (p. 248)

... And when she was falling down, he was waiting for her, keeping in both of hands a knife with a blade protruded to an up ... (p. 245) -- this is kei-kei dance

... People-crocodiles year by year had drown a girl in a place, where today I've photographed young smiling washerwoman ... (p. 244)

A chief Moriba Uabiu Nuga, a giant Gerce, was like the Lancaster magnate, dear beau ... (p. 252) -- he was Kpèllé/Guerzé nobel man

Five of young Koniagi didn't drop critical eyes from us. They didn't like us ... (p. 115) -- about Conyagui boys

... Pelt me with curses. In a meantime both of his comrades blasphemed on me silently ... (p. 258)

... Walking close to me, twisted in funny way a head like a kittenish coquetry ... (p. 260)

... Hey, bro, not enough for you of romping? ... (p. 260)

... Everyone understood that, it was sweeping dislodge of the impure forces ... (p. 261)

... Between others there was a scarring mask of the devil with European moustaches ... (p. 15) -- he found it in museum of Conakry

If you are interested in more citations from a book, I could give it to you next time...
By neuroanimal
I have found some names for musical instruments in Kpellé, Toma and Kono languages:

1) stringed instruments

a) koni/ngoni
in Kpellé: goni
in Kono: gon

b) donso ngoni (8-stringed version)
in Toma: douso fononigi

c) musical bow with half-spherical calabash resonator
in Toma -- name still to find

2) wind instruments

a) horn of antelope (covered with ox skin or leopard skin)
in Toma: pouvougui
in Kpellé: tourou

b) flute
not found

3) percussion instruments

a) hollow log drum (wood cylinder, i.e. from bamboo), similar to krin/kelen/kolokolo
in Kpellé or in Toma: bo kono

b) djabara (shekere)
in Kpellé or in Toma:

c) carapace of tortoise
in Kpellé or in Toma -- name still to find
may be found in the canton of Ourapeulé, close to Ouétoa, Yomou

d) talking drum like tama (like small version called tamani, or bigger version; with skin of monkey and fibre strings of palm tree) + rod from Gorli root
in Kpellé: damang
in Toma: vori

e) set of two talking drums (first below left arm is played by right palm, second below right arm is played by left palm)
found in the canton of Boo, Yomou
possible locations:
Boo, Nzérékoré
Booué, Yomou

f) castanets & bells
in Kpellé or in Toma -- name still to find

g) bala (not too big drum, to which often are connected additional small drums used in number of 2 or 4 making together a drum-set)
in Kpellé or in Toma: bara

h) planibala (small bala drum, several of them are connected to bigger one making a drum-set consisting of 3-5 drums)
in Kpellé or in Toma: lone bara

i) war drum or military drum
in Kpellé or in Toma: kon bara

You can compare their musical instruments to Liberian versions shown in dedicated topic linked in my third post of this topic.

Guinean Kpellé and Toma peoples have various ceremonial or popular occasions for playing music:

I. The Togba orchestra, for which exclusively are reserved such instruments, like horn of antelope and carapace of tortoise; aditional not exclusive for it are bo kono (krin) and ké (djabara).
Then noise of castanets occurs as Togba advances. Three principal dancers are: one carrying the fetish, other with holy water, third with the ox tail.
Togba originated in Ouétoa, Yomou (location as given previously)

II. Orchestra of the chiefs, consisting of damang (talking drum) player as a conductor, ké player being the guide, which makes accompaniment for singing the praises of legendary warriors of the area.

III. War orchestra, for honouring warriors, consist of 4 horns and lone bara (planibala) drum-set.

IV. The Koukou society of the young people; girls are wiggling and singing to the rhythm of large kon bara (war drum). It is not traditional, but rather it is of very recent importation in this part of Guinea. Orignaly it comes from Mahouka, circle du Séguéla, Côte d'Ivoire, from which it crossed the circle of Nzérékoré from the North-East to the South-West.

In Manon country in Nzérékoré area there are additional activities:

V. The Keikei circus dance with acrobatic girls and men with daggers in both of hands. They use special costumes and decorations like the Kaolin paintings.
You can see picture of it in the previous post. There is also a link to further description of this event in Karana and Kelema villages.

VI. The Nyomou/Nyomu Kunya ceremony of sorcerers wearing special costumes, similar to some of the Toma costumes. But chants are sung in Kpellé language.

VII. Dancers-charmers with snakes (green snake or spitting cobra), which are rolled around the neck and rest of the body including the arm, and snake head is taken in the hand. This ritual with its special rhythm would have come from Liberia a few years ago.
By bubudi
it's a complement, neuroanimal :)

i've got notes on some of the instruments. when i get a chance i'll add anything that wasn't covered here. thanks for doing this!
User avatar
By Mikeleza
Hey great thread!

Thanks once again for a great website and everyone's generous input.

I learnt the dun parts for Kei Kei with Cece Koly and I haven't seen this rhythm mentioned anywhere but on this thread. Its a great rhythm and its great to see that other people know about it and might be playing it. Thanks for the video link!

michael :hug:
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