Djembe and Mande Music/Bamako Foli
(last revision 02/02/00)


Figure 7:
Jenbe player Jeli Madi Kuyate with a friend for whose
wedding (konyo) he is playing. 1995, Badialan, Bamako.
Photo: Barbara Polak


7. Jina-fòli
Jenbe solo by Jeli Madi Kuyate, born about 1949. He was formerly a member of Ballet Maliens and is now retired. He performs Jina-fòli which is the name for about four different rhythms played at the ceremonies of spirit possession cults (see above; for more information on spirit possession cults in Mali please refer to the work of Gibbal (1982) cited in the Manding Bibliography that is part of this web site). Jeli Madi uses two Jina rhythms, improvises a bit (using variations of the Kofili / Wasulunka / Sumale rhythm family). He then plays some free style percussion (what they call Manamana-fòli or "nonsense-playing for the sake of the play") to conclude with some circles of Maraka and then Take.

8. Jina-fòli
Titles 8 11 are duets by Yamadu Bani Dunbia (jenbe) and Draman Keita (dunun). Grand Yamadu explores ones of the rhythms which was used in his pupil's solo (see #7) in some detail.

9. Woloso-dòn / Jòn-fòli
Yamadu himself was born as a house-slave (woloso). Woloso-dòn means "dance of the woloso". The same often is called Jòn-fòli, the rhythm of the slaves.

10. Komo-fòli
Komo is a secret society (French: société d'initiation). This and other regional religio-political institutions lost most of their power during the Fulbe's islamic jihad (second half of 19th century) and during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Yet Yamadu was very active in playing them in rural areas well into the 1970s. Several rhythms are performed for the komo ceremonies in one place, and they vary from region to region. The one played by Yamadu in Bamako is known in the area south of Bamako by both the Bamana and Maninka.

11. Jina-fòli
Grand Yamadu returns to Jina-fòli, his specialty for about five decades. This is the first and oldest spirit rhythm and this is how it is played in Bamako.

12. Mendiani
We now come (tracks #12-14) to a trio made up of Brahima "Petit B" Samake (lead jenbe ), Jeli Madu Kuyate (jenbe accompaniment), and Madu Jakite (jenbe accompaniment). The recording was made in the Palais de la Culture of Bamako: a huge concrete dome with a deep hall effect. Petit B is the current lead drummer with the Ballets Maliens.

13. Wasulunka / Kirin

14. Dununba
This is how Dununba is played in Bamako. They sometimes call it Lagineka (La-Guinée-ka) Dununba, i.e. "the Dununbaof the people from Guinea". It is played primarily in the ballets, but only to a lesser extent in the festivals. When some troupe members or professional dancers perform at a festival, they definitely will show off their skills with it, setting themselves off from the amateur dancers.

15. Another Tègèrè tulon (hand clap game) performed by Mamanin Kante fades into and ends with some notes played on the kamalen ngoni (young men's 6 stringed bridge harp from Wasulun) by Sedu Balo.

Figure 8:
Jenbe players Rainer Polak (center) and Kasim Kuyate (right) and
dunun player Sedu Balo (far right) performing at a spirit possession
festival (jina dòn). To the left of them sits Yamadu Bani Dunbia,
watching the dancer, as do the drummers and spectators do.
February 1998, Badialan, Bamako.
Photo: Gerd Spittler

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