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Music of West Africa: The Mandinka and their Neighbors

Music of West Africa: The Mandinka and their Neighbors

Download contents of CD (53MB .zip) here

This DVD presents ten historical scenes, captured on 8mm film at a time when portable video had not yet emerged as a viable medium.  Eight of the scenes were filmed by Roderic Knight; two were contributed by renowned Gambian expert David Gamble.  With the invaluable assistance of Elio Trabal, OC 2004, the footage has been lifted from the confines of the author's classroom to the present format, enabling its presentation to a wider public. 

The total duration is 33 minutes.

Each scene focuses on a specific event or musical group.  Five are devoted to regional sub-groups of the broad Mande culture:  The Mandinka of The Gambia, the Koranko of Guinea, and the Serahuli of Mali.  The other five scenes feature the Fula, Balanta, and Jola people.  Also included are glimpses of the Super Eagles, a popular Gambian band, and the first Gambian president, Sir Dawda Jawara, speaking at a political rally.

Included in the package is a supplementary CD-ROM containing a documentary booklet  and a slide show.   The 24-page booklet in pdf format provides a socio-historical introduction to all the ethnic groups, song texts in Mandinka with English translation, information on the film sessions, and two song transcriptions.  The 59 slides in jpeg format include captions to facilitate classroom presentation, and are further documented in the booklet.  Intended to provide additional contextual material for the scenes in the video, they include a map of West Africa, scenes ranging from the streets of Banjul, fishing boats, peanut trucks and markets, to isolated forest roads and mountain villages.  They also include photos keyed to each video clip for a closer look at the musicians and their instruments.

Download contents of CD (53MB .zip) here

  1. 6:04 A Gambian State Kullio (child-naming) with Mandinka and Fula musicians            
  2. 2:00 Fula Musicians:  an ensemble of flute, rattle, & calabash, in Boraba                                   
  3. 5:35 Musicians at a political rally, including the Super Eagles band and President Jawara           
  4. 1:14 The Balanta xylophone, with 26 keys and two players, in Brikama
  5. 5:39 Manyo Debero (bride's hair braiding) with xylophones and drums, in Conakry           
  6. 1:46 The tama hourglass drum, Serahuli style, in Bamako                                    
  7. 1:10 Mandinka work song:  women hoeing and singing.  Filmed by David Gamble.                       
  8. 1:00 Jola work song:  men plowing and singing.  Filmed by David Gamble.           
  9. 4:05 The Jola Kumpo, "whirling haystack" masked dance                                                
  10. 4:50 The Jola Bugaarabo, a drum dance for celebratory occasions  

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