Discuss traditional rhythms, singing etc
By fa_ramiro
Have these two rythms the same origin? Are they diferent rythms or, there are two names for them (or it)....

I have this questions.....cuase i ve seen and heard, that the dunduns are the same, and the djembe acomp, is a little bit different with one bass and a fram tones at the begining.

Please, i would be very happy if some of you tell me more about these rythms....

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By michi
No these are separate rhythms, with different dundun patterns, different accompaniment, and different call.

Bubudi recently posted a link to Mamady playing Lekule.

You can find recordings of Sinté on Bangouraké's DVD "Traditional Rhythms from Guinée Volume 1" as well as Aly Sylla's DVD "Made In Guinea".

You'll see that the rhythms are quite different. Sinté comes from the Baga people in the north of Guinea along the coast; Lekule comes from the Kpelle people (Guerze in French) in the forest highlands in the southeast.


By bubudi
hi ramiro

you are not the first person to notice some similarity between sinte and lekule. because of this you will find some similar language in the solos between the two rhythms. however, not many people play lekule. it's a rhythm that mamady keita likes to play and teach.

in actual fact, lekule and sinte are not very close. lekule is a rhythm from the kpelle people (known in french as 'guerze') in part of the forest area of guinea and liberia. the sangban sounds the same as sinte, but the dununba is quite different (like for the rhythm toro). the kenkeni is also quite different. the calls and djembe accompaniments are also different. the 1st accomp for lekule (with the bass/tone flam) has a few differences from the 1st accomp of sinte and the 2nd accompaniment is completely different. lekule is not played for any particular ceremony. it's just for fun. sinte is a rhythm originally from the nalu people in coastal guinea (near boke). it was originally linked with circumcision.
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By Dugafola
it depends on how you play sinte.

the kenkeni can be the same as lekule, same with the sangban.
i've heard about a dozen different base dununba parts for Sinte as well. A lot of those parts and variations are supposed to mimic the bote phrases that are commonly heard in a traditional version.

lekule is actually a rhythm to honor a very special dancer. a long long time ago, a drummer wanted to create a song/rhythm to praise his beautiful dancing wife and her name was lekule. Mamady created the dunun and djembe accomps to go with this song.
By bubudi
i'd like to hear some recordings of these versions of sinte that sound very similar to lekule. i've only ever heard a slight similarity, but nothing really close. can anyone point me to some recordings or attach a little sample of their own?
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By michi
bubudi wrote:sinte is a rhythm originally from the nalu people in coastal guinea (near boke). it was originally linked with circumcision.
Bubudi (or anyone else), do you have any more info about the history/background of Sinte? I'm thinking of teaching this rhythm, but my knowledge is very close to zero at this point, and I haven't been able to find anything in my searches.

So, Sinte has do to with circumcision. Any more info than that? Played before, during, after? For boys, girls, both? Also, I read somewhere that Sinte is a Baga rhythm, but you mentioned the Nalu people. Are the Baga and Nalu related or different? Same region, is one a sub-group of the other?

Sorry, all I have is questions at this point...


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By Dugafola
from what i've learned, the Nalu ethnic group is a sub-group of the Susu....just like the Landuma ethnic.

i've also learned that sinte is played before wedding ceremonies.
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By michi
Thanks for the info! So, candidates so far are circumcision and wedding. Not quite the same thing :) But then, maybe Sinte is a celebration rhythm that would be appropriate for either?

I've gone and done some more digging about the various ethnic groups. From what I can learn, the Landouma and the Susu are separate ethnic groups. In the notes for Youssouf Koumbassa's upcoming workshop, it says:
YOUSSOUF was born in Guinea, West Africa. His father is from the Landouma people of Boke and his moth- er from the Baga/Susu people.
That implies that they are separate.

Similarly, Joseph Harris says in his dissertation:
The earliest known of the indigenous peoples of Fouta-Diallon are the Baga, Landouma, and Tanda.
Again, this implies that the Baga and Landouma are separate ethnic groups.

But Wikipedia says:
The Baga people live in the coastal area of Guinea. They can be subdivided into five groups of which Landouma is the largest, accounting for fifty percent of all ethnic Bagas. Apart from the various Baga languages, most of the Baga also speak the Mande language Susu, the regional trade language. Two Baga communities are known to have abandoned their language altogether in favour of Susu, namely the Sobané and Kaloum. The name Baga is derived from the phrase bae raka, “people of the seaside.”
This implies that the Landouma are sub-group of the Baga, but confirms that the Susu are separate from the Baga.

Reading further, it appears that the Baga were displaced in the past by the Susu and adopted Susu as a second language, so many Baga people also speak Susu, which would explain why the two sometimes get lumped together:
The Sengambians constitute about 60% of the national population and the major groups within this category are the Diola, Balanta, Nalu, Bissage, Papel, Serer, Landuma, Banhun, Baga, and Beafada.
About 1,000 years ago Susu and Malinke (Maninka) people began to encroach on the Baga, Koniagi (Coniagui), and Nalu (Nalou) populations who had been living in the area for more than 1,000 years.
The Nalu are also mentioned in an Encyclopaedia Britannica article from 1911:
On the banks of the Cogon dwell the Tendas and Iolas, primitive Negro tribes allied to those of Portuguese Guinea (q.v.). All other inhabitants of French Guinea are regarded as comparatively late arrivals from the interior who have displaced the aborigines.' Among the earliest of the new comers are the Baga, the Nalu, the Landuman and the Timni, regarded as typical Negroes (q.v.).
The other tribes named are but sparsely represented in French Guinea, the coast region south of the Nunez and all the interior up to Futa Jallon being occupied by the Susu, a tribe belonging to the great Mandingan race, which forced its way seaward about the beginning of the 18th century and pressed back the Timni into Sierra Leone.
This also implies that Baga, Landouma, Nalu, and Susu are all separate.

So, Sinte seems to come from the Baga and/or Nalu. We are making progress :)

I found some background info about Sinte that says:
Sinte (Nalou Fate) is a rhythm that's played with celebrations by the Nalou people, around the Boke-region in Guinea. Origianally it's played on vry large krins. Malick mails: "According to M'Bemba Bangoura, the Nalou sometimes play a very large single krin, with 3 people playing the one instrument in unison." Onno van Tongeren mentions these krin are a meter wide and 60 to 80 centimeter in diameter. Adam Klein mails: "Sinte is about a boy and girl who weren't allowed to be lovers and the girl jumped into the ocean. That, I believe, is what the leaping motion in the dance is about. I had heard that it means "jump in the fire" but that's not what it means in the language of the people the dance comes from. That name of the girl might have been Sinte, but I can't swear to it"Adam Klein. An example of this rhythm transferred t djembe and doundoun can be found on the Wali CD from M'Bemba Bangoura.
This info supports the celebration aspect of Sinte.

This is pretty much the only info I've been able to find about Sinte--information is suprisingly hard to come by. If anyone else can contribute info, I'd very much appreciate it!


By bubudi
sinte is originally from the nalu people, but it has also been part of the baga, landuma and susu repertoire for some time now. if you listen to the baga version on mohamed bangoura's cd, baga rhythms and songs, you will hear that it is quite different to the version we know from conakry. there is also a version performed on youssouf koumbassa's dvd, landuma fare, which sounds different to the conakry (ballet) version. on that dvd the most knowledgeable and skilled village dancer in landuma country was saying that there are only a few landuma dances they still know, and they are not all that old, as much of the dances were lost due to the influence of islam and colonialisation. consider that seckou toure's support of traditional culture (as an export product and a way to unite the people of guinea) was the force that brought most of the dances back, and that doesn't even necessarily mean that they started performing them in the villages again, it just means the ballet learned them and started to perform them in a modified form.

as for the relationship of baga, susu, landuma and nalu, remember that related ethnicities have related languages. oral history aside, this is often the best evidence we have to go by. according to ethnologue, susu is a mande language. there are many words that are the same or similar in susu as they are in maninka. however, as far as i know there is no relationship between the susu and the other groups mentioned and this is the first time i have heard any such claim. most of the baga, landuma and nalu people speak susu and many of them are not able to speak their indigenous language.

baga, landuma and temne are related languages, all belonging to the temne group of languages. nalu is not in either of these groups, but in the mbulungish-nalu group. the nalu live mostly in katchek in the boke prefecture (as well as in southwest guinea bissau) which is close to where a particular sub-group of the baga live, the baga mboteni. hence mbulungish, nalou and baga mboteni have some similarity. the mbulungish are in fact also known as the baga fore, or 'black baga'.

therefore you could conclude that susu is one ethnicity, nalu another, and that the landuma and baga are two more separate but related ethnicities.
By Daniel Preissler
sintè (yé) means "no breasts" in malinke.
There's a (maybe modern) song going a long with (it's part of the newer transwestafrican ballet and class tradition): Sintè könö yé ala ba den balo (that's the version I heard last week from a guy from Senegal, I think people from Ivory Coast or Guinea who have it, too, pronounce it a bit differently, but I don't remeber exactly: might be ale ba den balo).
It means: The bird hasn't got no breast, but still manages to feed his children.
Like westafrican police men, right? d;-)

greets, d