A place for teachers to discuss issues to do with teaching
By Garvin
#7269
Hello...

I am teaching a workshop for a women's hospice group this coming week and wanted to teach a rhythm which involved women, or mothers, or girls. I know I've learned or played something that had to do with this, but in looking over my materials, I can't seem to find a good explanation. All my stuff is disorganized and I'm not coming up with anything solid right now.

Can anyone help me with this? Give me a rhythm that I can do some research on over the weekend. I am trying to come at this as respectfully as possible, and having talked it over with the group leader, I know they would really appreciate it.

Thanks.

PS,

I'm willing to take my lumps for not retaining the history lessons that have come along with the rhythms I've learned. I've got one of those "in one ear, and out the other" issues with this material, which is why I LOVE THE FOLKS ON THIS FORUM!!!
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By michi
#7272
Garvin wrote:I am teaching a workshop for a women's hospice group this coming week and wanted to teach a rhythm which involved women, or mothers, or girls.
The rhythm that comes to mind immediately is Mendiani. Mamady provides some background in his book about it:
Mendiani is a rhythm and a dance for the the virgins, the young girls from age six to thirteen. One of the older women in the village who was once a Mendiani is considered to be the "mother" of these girls, and the President, or leader of the village's Mendiani association. She, along with other members of the association, organizes the dances and costumes and advises the girls during this period in their lives. The mother protects the girls, and initiates them into the secrets and mysteries of the Mendiani.

Every now and then, younger girls take the place of the older Mendiani. The dance is very acrobatic, and the new Mendiani are trained, psychologically and physically, for it. Mendiani festivities are always celebrated during the day. When such a festivity occurs, the girls go to one home, usually that of their "mother," to prepare. From there, they are picked up by young men, who carry them on their shoulders to the center of the village.

Each of the girls wears the Mendiani costume, a big, wide boubou, and a mask. Upon arriving in the village center, they are greeted by the drummers with the rhythm Denadon.

After that, the girls take off their masks and big boubous, the griots begin to sing the Mendiani song, and the percussionists change to the Mendiani rhythm.

For several hours, the girls perform thier acrobatic dances, for which there are different traditional choreographies. This festivity is still practiced today, in accordance with tradition.
At one of his camps last year in Melbourne, Mamady talked quite a bit about Mendiani. I just dug up the recording I made of his speech and listened to it again. Here is a summary:

The Mendiani girls are 6-13 years old. They get ready at the mother's house at around 4-5pm, where they dress up and prepare. When the girls are ready to perform, each girl is picked up by a young man and carried standing on the man's shoulders to the place where the dance takes place. Once the girls can be seen in the distance by the audience at the dance, the women sing Denadon and the drummers play Denadon to introduce the Mendiani. The dance begins with the carriers dancing while they have the girls on their shoulders, and the girls dancing on the carrier's shoulders. The carriers dance around the festival place to introduce the Mendiani. Then they let the girls down and, when the girls' feet touch the ground, the rhythm changes from Denadon to Mendiani.

At the recent camp at Bundagen, Epizo Bangoura taught Mendiani and also provided some background. According to Epizo, the Mendiani festival serves for prospective husbands to scout out potential wives, and for the girls to show off and impress the men with their beauty. According to Epizo, the girls oil their bodies and dance topless.

So, that's definitely a rhythm for girls and women. Note that it's considered one of the "hard" rhythms. There is a lot of off-beat stuff going on with the dunduns, and it's not easy to feel the pulse. Also, the main accompaniment for Mendiani is rather counter-intuitive, being played on the 3-pulse that crosses over the basic 4-pulse of the main 12/8 rhythm. But it's a lot of fun once you get the feel of it :-)

Cheers,

Michi.
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By michi
#7273
Here are some YouTube clips of Mendiani:





While searching around, I stumbled on this Mandiani Drum and Dance DVD. Has anyone seen this video and can provide an opinion?

Cheers,

Michi.

PS: How can I embed a video clip directly? I tried "[video=http://...][/video]" and "[video ]http://...[ /video]", but that doesn't seem to work.

PPS: Bubudi pointed out how to make it work: [video ] <link without the http:// prefix[/video ] (Delete the space before the closing ] after "video".)
Last edited by michi on Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By e2c
#7275
[video][/video]

*no* http.

Rhythms:

Guinea Faré is another. There's also a variation of Dununba that's specifically for women, but I'm blanking on the name - it's listed in at least one other thread here, though, so try the "search" function.
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By michi
#7276
Error, site not recognized

*no* http.
Sorry, I don't know what you mean. The three links I posted work, as far as I can tell. Can you elaborate please?

And yes, I should have thought of Guinea Fare too...

Cheers,

Michi.
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By Dugafola
#7277
guinea fare could mean mane or yoki.

other rhythms for women...
moribayassa
balukulandjan
fe foly or fe don
lafe/dennabodunun
lekule
donaba
bao
n'goron
jah

i'm sure there's plenty more.
By bubudi
#7278
the cultural background of mendiani can lead to uncomfortable discussion. i guess it depends how far you go into it, and how many questions the group asks you. also, a lot of beginners may find mendiani hard.

my suggestion would be denba. it's the rhythm of mothers and comes from the soninke (maraka) ethnic group in the kayes region of mali. the rhythm is played at weddings and most popular festivals. it has made its way throughout malinke country, where they call it maraka foli. sega sidibe says this rhythm is called denba (meaning 'mother'). there are some other rhythms that are also called maraka foli so calling it denba foli avoids confusion. you will see clips of this rhythm on youtube and on several cds.

another one to do which is relatively easy is moribayassa. when a woman wants something really bad, she will make a vow that if she gets what she wants, she will dance the moribayassa. when her wish comes true, she takes some old mismatching clothes and does this dance. it's an acceptable way to make a fool of yourself in public 8)

michi, you're complicating it! just strip the http from the link, so that it starts with www, then highlight it and click on the video bbcode button. :)
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By michi
#7279
michi, you're complicating it! just strip the http from the link, so that it starts with www, then highlight it and click on the video bbcode button.
Ah, OK, thanks for that! It wasn't obvious that the http:// prefix isn't accepted. (Might be an idea to update the code to optionally allow it?) I edited my original post so it embeds the videos directly.

Moribayassa would be a good choice, I agree. Much easier for newcomers to feel than Mendiani (or Denba, for that matter).

Cheers,

Michi.
By Garvin
#7280
Oh, you folks are beautiful! Awesome clips of Mendiani.

I am very familiar with Moribayassa and I think this is definitely a softer story to relate to first timers than Mendiani.

Even as I type these words, I know I cannot truly express my gratitude to you all. It is a blessing to live in a time when we are able to share these things we have learned. It is a valuable tool to our teachers as well. I am so thankful that those of us who respect this culture have a forum in which to share this information online.

Big hugs!

~G
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By e2c
#7281
I wouldn't use Mendiani as an example, not with the group of people this presentation is geared for... (Meant to say that before and forgot.)

Michi, i typed in the proper opening and closing video html tags, and the board software did something very weird with them. Sorry about the confusion. :)
By bubudi
#7282
Dugafola wrote:guinea fare could mean mane or yoki.
those are sweet, but i don't know how appropriate it would be for complete beginners.
other rhythms for women...
moribayassa
balukulandjan
fe foly or fe don
lafe/dennabodunun
lekule
donaba
bao
n'goron
jah
nice list. djaa is definitely a good one, if the group is up to it. moribayassa should be easy for them to get in one short session. donaba is a bit ambitious to teach to total beginners. there's also musoninta dunun which again is not for beginners. i'd also stay clear of bao and n'goron due to the cultural background. balakulandjan is not specific to women.

while we're at it, can anyone think of any other rhythms for women?
By bubudi
#7283
garvin, one thing that would be cool to mention to the group you're facilitating is that all the original popular rhythms came from the women. first there was the voice, the dancing, the clapping, then musical instruments were created to accompany the women. according to some stories, the first drum belonged to the women, but eventually they gave it to the men. also, in the bible miriam played a kind of frame drum.
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By Dugafola
#7290
bubudi wrote:the cultural background of mendiani can lead to uncomfortable discussion. i guess it depends how far you go into it, and how many questions the group asks you. also, a lot of beginners may find mendiani hard.

my suggestion would be denba. it's the rhythm of mothers and comes from the soninke (maraka) ethnic group in the kayes region of mali. the rhythm is played at weddings and most popular festivals. it has made its way throughout malinke country, where they call it maraka foli. sega sidibe says this rhythm is called denba (meaning 'mother'). there are some other rhythms that are also called maraka foli so calling it denba foli avoids confusion. you will see clips of this rhythm on youtube and on several cds.

another one to do which is relatively easy is moribayassa. when a woman wants something really bad, she will make a vow that if she gets what she wants, she will dance the moribayassa. when her wish comes true, she takes some old mismatching clothes and does this dance. it's an acceptable way to make a fool of yourself in public 8)

michi, you're complicating it! just strip the http from the link, so that it starts with www, then highlight it and click on the video bbcode button. :)
User avatar
By michi
#7297
e2c wrote:I wouldn't use Mendiani as an example, not with the group of people this presentation is geared for... (Meant to say that before and forgot.)
Yes, I guess I didn't take the potential consequences properly into account when I suggested Mendiani ;-)
Michi, i typed in the proper opening and closing video html tags, and the board software did something very weird with them. Sorry about the confusion. :)
Ah, OK, BBCode would have mangled what you originally typed. You can turn off BBCode near the right-hand bottom corner of the edit pane. That ensures that everything you type is presented literally. (But this turns it off for the entire post, not just a selected section.)

Anyway, Bubudi set me straight on how to do this, so it's all sorted now ;-)

Cheers,

Michi.