Discuss culture and traditions
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By e2c
#3643
rachelnguyen wrote:Nothing on the mystical side except that it has been explained to me that it is secret.

I did learn an insult for the djembe, though. Apparently one of the solo phrases for Wasalonka is also an insult along the lines of 'your mother wears combat boots'. Or the Malian equivalent, LOL.

My teacher showed me another insult, but I have forgotten how it's played. So he can insult me all day long and I wouldn't even know it!
:D :dundun:
By johnc
#3649
Hi Rachel et al

I would not like to be in the position of insulted without knowing it...not that I think many people who choose to teach do this. I realize you were "tongue in cheek"!

On the reverse side for respect for cultutres that one is investigating is, the aspect gaining an understanding as to whether one is compromising oneself. I have read a bit about female circumcision and was interested to come across opinions from African and non African women for and against the practice.

However, I would not feel comfortable teaching girls at my school a rhythm that was used for the sole purpose of female circumscision. They may not realize it....but still. Im not even sure yet that such a rhythm exists. This is perhaps a rough example but it parallels in a way, the situation of girls playing didg when its a men only instrument in our indigenous society. Its hard to remain free of cultural intrusion.

I try to follow Mamady Keita's advice of identifying the rhythm, the ethnic group and the purpose to my students, so whilst the above sounds serious I take the cultural under
pinning very serious.

My job and my post grad qualifications centre around cultural studies for education and it has been a year now since I took up the djembe Im now lifting my head up to add more significance and care to what I do.

If you think "whats this guy on about" with all of this, then consider this:

the other day with easter comming I asked my grade 5/6 students (10 to 12 year olds) what was the significance of easter and why did a rabbit bring eggs. Not one of them had an idea of the pagan/christian connection or the spring/religious nature of the ritual/holiday. All they know is chocolate. And this is their culture.

Investigation is reasonable!

:uglynerd:

ps: anyway back to the music, though I will have a go answering the oracle question after a bit more study.
User avatar
By e2c
#3650
john, i think what you're saying is very reasonable - but the issue of trust remain, too.

the kids in your class sound like they could well be from the US!

Edited to add: Re. taboos against women playing certain instruments, I have to smile (a bit sardonically). That's because the people who've tried to push a "women shouldn't play djembe" agenda here in the US are *not* from Africa. They're Americans who have some peculiar notions - and are (I think) pretty sexist to boot. I won't name names, but you don't need to look far for some of this so-called "wisdom." (It's one of the things that kept me from taking up the study of djembe back in the late 80s, but there are other, less emotionally charged factors involved, too.)

[/end threadjack] :)
By bubudi
#3759
sega sidibe once said:
there are a lot of myths around the djembe. what is sure, the rhythm of the instrument reflects the image, the character, the feelings even the state of mind of the beater. the djembe is also an expression. the great beaters exchange and communicate through its rhythm. but the messages can be deciphered only by the initiates.
i still haven't had the chance to find the info on sorsornet. hopefully will get to it soon.
By johnc
#3760
Hey bubudi,

be good if you come across it some stage. Ive found some basic info, enough for a rough comparison between himalayan oracles and the mask oracle thats connected with sorsornet. Im in no hurry to jump on the light version but.

cheers
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By e2c
#3766
bubudi, no rush here (re. Sorsonet).

From my own pov (studying percussion since 1989), I do think that it's pretty well impossible to keep personality out of one's playing - also that there are times when a person's playing can be very revealing of character. But I'd say the latter is no secret, in a sense - an unselfish, humble attitude will be obvious in any kind of ensemble playing (not hogging the spotlight, working together with other musicians rather than striving to be the dominant voice), etc.
By bubudi
#3858
this is a picture of sorsornet, taken about 15 years ago.
sorsonet.jpg
sorsonet.jpg (85.29 KiB) Viewed 2353 times
the sorsornet mask is kept in the bush and comes to the village only two to three times a year. there is a secret society that guard its secret. sorsornet is a mask against evil, a guardian and protector of the village. if someone is childless or has illness in their family or some other problem, they go to the priest who then gets the mask. it's therefore seen as a harbinger of good fortune.

more to come soon...
User avatar
By bops
#3868
Bubudi, is that from "Art of the Baga"? I have that book at home, and I recall that there was some information on Sorsornet in there. One thing that struck me from that book was, the author claimed that the Sorsornet mask was created by a youth society in the 1950s or so. I'll have to refer back to the book for more details on that.
By bubudi
#3872
that is a good book, bops. if you have it, please share what he writes. i wouldn't be surprised about sorsornet beginning in the 30s. islamisation of guinea resulted in the banning of most of the old baga mask ceremonies. this resulted after a while in those masks losing their importance in baga society. meanwhile other masks were created, often based on the older masks. one mask, al-barak, represents a female spirit that took the prophet mohamed on its wings through the air, from mecca to jerusalem. according to the same author, tiyambo (another spirit mask) began in the 1930s after some young guys spied on their elders having an a-bol (great female spirit) ceremony. tiyambo is depicted with breasts, wings and horns. a-bol ceremonies, however, have not been performed since 1954 according to a baga elder that frederick lamp interviewed in 1992. demba (nimba) also disappeared since 1953, but seems to have been revived. according to mamady keita, kakilambe was revived during the time he toured guinea with the national ballet - it was performed from memory by request from seckou toure.
By bubudi
#4031
Dugafola wrote:fatoumata, don't drop the dishes!

bilakoro, it's time for you to eat at the fafa house

those are 2 off the top of my head...
could you tell us the malinke phrases and the accompaniment that they correspond to?

mansa camio taught one for sofa. the main djembe accompaniment is just like for kassa and many other rhythms (therefore often referred to as a 'passport accompaniment').

westerners would usually notate it like this:
Code: Select all
s - - s | s - t t
but west africans tend not to feel it that way. this way corresponds to how i've heard many west african teachers vocalise it:
Code: Select all
s | s - t t | s
this corresponds with how mansa camio vocalises it in the following phrase:

n'kana koudou ba
translation: we have much grief

this makes sense for sofa, because there was usually onerous information to be conveyed when that rhythm was played.

remember this phrase, it can help you play that phrase with the correct swing.
#4050
Bolo and Mansa vocalize the passport accomp the same way...not the phrase though...just the way they 'start' the phrase. i've heard Mamady, Fams and Wadaba all do it the same way.

Dugafola wrote:fatoumata, don't drop the dishes!
Fatoumata da tuye, Fatoumata da tuye da la wu ya boo!
Dugafola wrote:bilakoro, it's time for you to eat at the fafa house
kon kon kon kon, keneba don sira

translations are not word for word as you can probably tell.
By bubudi
#4054
i think most malinke/bamana djembefolas start that passport accompaniment that way.
i've also noticed that for the following ternary passport accompaniment:
Code: Select all
s - - | s t t
most malinke/bamana djembefolas start it like this:
Code: Select all
s t t | s
and it also tends to swing better when started that way.
Dugafola wrote:Fatoumata da tuye, Fatoumata da tuye da la wu ya boo!
kon kon kon kon, keneba don sira
i'm intrigued as to what are the corresponding patterns to those? can you give a sound byte, cd track/time reference or notation?
#4055
bubudi wrote:i think most malinke/bamana djembefolas start that passport accompaniment that way.
i've also noticed that for the following ternary passport accompaniment:
Code: Select all
s - - | s t t
most malinke/bamana djembefolas start it like this:
Code: Select all
s t t | s
and it also tends to swing better when started that way.
Dugafola wrote:Fatoumata da tuye, Fatoumata da tuye da la wu ya boo!
kon kon kon kon, keneba don sira
i'm intrigued as to what are the corresponding patterns to those? can you give a sound byte, cd track/time reference or notation?
you said you were goin to listen to the CDs...find it.

you won't find the fafa dunun though on any CD or recording as he's only taught that rhythm once.