The MUSIC OF MALI is, like that of most African nations, ethnically
diverse, but one influence predominates; that of the ancient Mali
Empire of the Mandinka (from c. 1230 to c. 1600). Mande people
(Bambara, Maninke, Soninke) make up 50% of the country's population,
other ethnic groups include the Fula (17%), Gur-speakers 12%, Songhai
While internationally Malian popular music has been known more for its male artists, domestically, since at least the 1980s, female singers such as Kandia Kouyaté are ubiquitous on radio and television, in markets and on street-corner stalls. Fans follow them for the moralizing nature of their lyrics, the perception that they embody tradition and their role as fashion trend-setters.
* 1 National music
* 2 Traditional music
* 2.1 Praise-singers
* 2.2 Mande music
* 2.2.1 Instruments
* 6 20th century popular music
* 6.1 Exodus
* 6.2 1980s
* 7 References * 8 External links
The national anthem of
Most of Keita's support for the arts was cancelled, but the "Semaines Nationale de la Jeunesse" festival, renamed the "Biennale Artistique et Culturelle de la Jeunesse", was held every 2 years starting in 1970. Notable and influential bands from the period included the first electric dance band, Orchestre Nationale A, and the Ensemble Instrumental National du Mali, comprising 40 traditional musicians from around the country and still in operation today.
Mali's second president, Moussa Traoré , discouraged Cuban music in favor of Malian traditional music. The annual arts festivals were held biannually and were known as the Biennales. At the end of the 1980s public support for the Malian government declined and praise-singing's support for the status quo and its political leaders became unfashionable. The ethnomusicologist Ryan Skinner has done work on the relationship of music and politics in contemporary Mali.
Malinké , Soninke - Sarakole , Dyula and Bambara peoples form
the core of Malian culture, but the region of the
Historical interethnic relations were facilitated by the Niger River
and the country's vast savannahs. The Bambara, Malinké, Sarakole,
Dogon and Songhay are traditionally farmers, the Fula, Maur, and
Further information: Griot
Mali's literary tradition is largely oral, mediated by jalis reciting or singing histories and stories from memory. Amadou Hampâté Bâ , Mali's best-known historian, spent much of his life recording the oral traditions of his own Fula teachers as well as those of Bambara and other Mande neighbors. The jeliw (sing. jeli, fem. jelimusow, French griot) are a caste of professional musicians and orators, sponsored by noble patrons of the horon class and part of the same caste as craftsmen (nyamakala ).
They recount genealogical information and family events, laud the deeds of their patron's ancestors and praise their patrons themselves, as well as exhorting them to behave morally to ensure the honour of the family name. They also act as dispute mediators. Their position is highly respected and they are often trusted by their patrons with privileged information since the caste system does not allow them to rival nobles. The jeli class is endogamous , so certain surnames are held only by jeliw: these include Kouyaté, Kamissoko, Sissokho, Soumano, Diabaté and Koné.
Their repertoire includes several ancient songs of which the oldest may be "Lambang", which praises music. Other songs praise ancient kings and heroes, especially Sunjata Keita (" Sunjata ") and Tutu Jara ("Tut Jara"). Lyrics are composed of a scripted refrain (donkili) and an improvised section. Improvised lyrics praise ancestors, and are usually based around a surname. Each surname has an epithet used to glorify its ancient holders, and singers also praise recent and still-living family members. Proverbs are another major component of traditional songs.
These are typically accompanied by a full dance band The common instruments of the Maninka jeli ensemble are;
* kora (21-24 string lute -harp , classified by the manner of playing as well as the bridge structure) * bala (slat xylophone with small gourd resonators ) * n\'goni (4-7 string lute) * dununba (large mallet drum hung from one shoulder and played with a curved stick, accompanied by a bell played with the opposite hand) * n'taman (hourglass -shaped talking drum or tension drum , large and small variants) * tabale (tall conga -shaped drum played with long, thin flexible sticks)
MUSIC OF MALI
NATIONALISTIC AND PATRIOTIC SONGS
* v * t * e
The Mande people, including the Mandinka, Maninka and Bamana, have
produced a vibrant popular music scene alongside traditional folk
music and that of professional performers called jeliw (sing. jeli,
French griot) The Mande people all claim descent from the legendary
Sunjata Keita , who founded the Mande Empire. The language of
the Mande is spoken with different dialects in
The kora is by far the most popular traditional instrument. It is
similar to both a harp and a lute and can have between 21 and 25
strings. There are two styles of playing the kora; the western style
is found mostly in
Mande percussion instruments include the tama , djembe and dunun
drums. Jeli Lamine Soumano states: "If you want to learn the bala go
The traditional djembe ensemble is most commonly attributed to the Maninka and Maraka: it basically consists of one small dunun (or konkoni) and one djembe soloist. A djembe accompanist who carries a steady pattern throughout the piece has since been added, as have the jeli dununba (also referred to as the kassonke dunun, names derived from the style of playing, not the physical instruments), and the n'tamani (small talking drum ). Many ethnic groups, including the Kassonke, the Djokarame, the Kakalo, the Bobo, the Djoula, the Susu, and others, have historical connections with the djembe.
Most vocalists are female in everyday Mande culture, partially due to the fact that many traditional celebrations revolve around weddings and baptisms, mostly attended by women. Several male and female singers are world-renowned. Although it once was rare for women to play certain instruments, in the 21st century women have broadened their range.
Bamana-speaking peoples live in central Mali: the language is the most common in Mali. Music is simple and unadorned, and pentatonic. Traditional Bamana music is based on fileh (half calabash hand drum), gita (calabash bowl with seeds or cowrie shells attached to sound when rotated),the karignyen (metal scraper), the bonkolo drum (played with one open hand and a thin bamboo stick), the kunanfa (large bowl drum with cowhide head, played with the open hands, also barra or chun), the gangan (small, mallet -struck dunun, essentially the same as the konkoni or kenkeni played in the djembe ensemble).
The melodic instruments of the Bamana are typically built around a
pentatonic structure. The slat idiophone bala, the 6-string doson
n'goni (hunter's lute-harp) and its popular version the 6-12 string
kamel n'goni, the soku (gourd/lizard skin/horse hair violin adopted
from the Songhai, soku literally means "horse tail"), and the modern
guitar are all instruments commonly found in the Bamana repertoire.
Bamana culture is centered around Segou, Sikasso, the Wassalou region
Well-known Bamana performers include Mali's first female musical
Fanta Damba . Damba and other Bamana (and Maninka)
musicians in cities like
The Mandinka live in Mali,
Maninka music is the most complex of the three Mande cultures. It is
highly ornamented and heptatonic , dominated by female vocalists and
dance -oriented rhythms. The ngoni lute is the most popular
traditional instrument. Most of the best-known Maninka musicians are
Maninka music traces its legend back more than eight centuries to the
time of Mansa
Sunjata . In the time of
The Fula use drums, the hoddu (same as the xalam , a plucked skin-covered lute similar to the banjo) and the riti or riiti (a one-string bowed instrument, in addition to vocal music. "Zaghareet" or ululation is a popular form of vocal music formed by rapidly moving the tongue sideways and making a sharp, high sound.
The Mansa Sunjata forced some Fulani to settle in various regions where the dominant ethnic groups were Maninka or Bamana. Thus, today, we see a number of people with Fula names (Diallo, Diakite, Sangare, Sidibe) who display Fula cultural characteristics, but only speak the language of the Maninka or Bamana.
The Songhay are not an ethnic or a linguistic group but one that
traces its history to the
20TH CENTURY POPULAR MUSIC
A Bwa xylophone.
After World War 2 the guitar became common throughout Africa,
partially resulting from the mixing of African, American and British
Old dance bands reformed under new names as part of the roots revival
Moussa Traoré . Especially influential bands included Tidiane
Rail Band du Buffet Hôtel de la Gare , which launched the
careers of future stars
Not all bands took part in Traoré's roots revival. Les Ambassadeurs du Motel formed in 1971, playing popular songs imported from Senegal, Cuba and France. Les Ambassadeurs and Rail Band were the two biggest bands in the country, and a fierce rivalry developed. Salif Keita, perhaps the most popular singer of the time, defected to Les Ambassadeurs in 1972. This was followed by a major concert at which both bands performed as part of the Kibaru (literacy ) program. The audience fell into a frenzy of excitement and unity, and the concert is still remembered as one of the defining moments in 1970s Malian music.
The mid-70s also saw the formation of National Badema , a band that played Cuban music and soon added Kasse Mady Diabaté who led a movement to incorporate Maninka praise-singing into Cuban-style music.
Rail Band and Les Ambassadeurs left for
Les Ambassadeurs and
Rail Band continued recording and performing
under a variety of names. In 1982 Salif Keita, who had recorded with
Les Ambassadeurs' Kanté Manfila , left the band and recorded an
influential fusion album, Soro, with
Another roots revival began in the mid-1980s. Guinean singer and kora
Jali Musa Jawara 's 1983
The region of
The modern form of wassoulou is a combination of hunter's songs with
sogoninkun, a type of elaborate masked dance, and the music is largely
based on the kamalengoni harp invented in the late 1950s by Allata
Brulaye Sidibí . Most singers are women.
Oumou Sangaré was the first
major wassoulou star; she achieved fame suddenly in 1989 with the
release of Moussoulou , both within
Since the 1990s, although the majority of Malian popular singers are
still jelimusow, wassoulou's popularity has continued to grow.
Wassoulou music is especially popular among youth. Although western
audiences categorise wassoulou performers like
Oumou Sangaré as
feminists for criticizing practices like polygamy and arranged
marriage , within
* ^ http://ias.umn.edu/2012/10/11/skinner-ryan/ * ^ Milet Bensignor, Franois, Guus de Klein, and Lucy Duran, "Hidden Treasure", "The Backyard Beats of Gumbe" and "West Africa's Musical Powerhouse" in the Rough Guide to World Music, pgs. 437 - 439, pgs. 499 - 504 and pgs. 539 - 562; Manuel, Popular Musics, pg. 95; World Music Central * ^ * ^ http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/yb/151602342 * ^ http://www.vieuxfarkatoure.com/?page_id=4
* Duran, Lucy. "West Africa's Musical Powerhouse". 2000. In
Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and
Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle
East, pp 539–562. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN
* Hoffman, Barbara G. Griots at War: Conflict, Conciliation and
Caste in Mande. 2000. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
* 10 Malian