Djembe & Mande Music Page/African Links
(last revision 09/13/99)

Music and Performance


African Australian Cultural Homepage
"History and Overview of African Music"  - a discussion of African music in a historical and social context.
"African Musical Instruments" - an excellent glossary, indexed by country of origin, instrument name and instrument family and supplemented by pictures and sound samples.
"African musicians in Australia" - includes lots of pictures and sound samples.
"African Music Shockwave Tour" Renowned African musicians talk about African music and culture. And of course another great collection of "Resources and Links"

African Dance and African American Dance Resources
It is my personal opinion that a good way towards a better understanding of African rhythms is through African dance.  It's only in our "Western" way that we tend to separate things that belong together: Dancing and Drumming. The Artslynx International Dance Resources is another online catalog of African dance related links, your gateway to more information about a couple of African
dance ensembles.

The African Performance Clearinghouses
"The purpose of the African Performance Clearinghouse is to collect, process, and dispense information about performances and tours by African artists in North America for the benefit of performers and audiences." 

Black tarantella and white devil: The unbearable beauty of African music by Luigi Elongui
A thought-provoking article on the relationship between African music and the West.

A Calendar of African performances in the world
Events included are primarily for Europe and most often the calendar is not up-to-date.

De l'élevage à l'élévation - musique peule a Dori

Drum is the Ear of God: Africa's Inner World of Music
An excellent article by Richard Hodges about African spirituality, drum and dance.

The Great Figures of African Urban Music There's of course much more on this site.

A Guide to the Theter in Africa and the Indian Ocean
Okay, it's not about music, but .. 

An Introduction to African Music in 100 CD's
I would like to see more traditional artists in the collection, but it's worth a look.

Joshua Dube's "Shanje"
     By Banning Eyre; Sessions From Guitar Player, January '99 
"The mbira, the 22-pronged thumb piano of Zimbabwe, seems an unlikely source for intriguing guitar music, but this instrument has inspired a unique and beautiful guitar tradition. The song "Shanje" (which means "jealousy") has long been a standard in the mbira repertoire. The ideas presented in this lesson come from Joshua Dube, the current lead guitarist for Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited. Over a 20-year period, the Blacks Unlimited have adapted most of the core mbira repertoire toelectric instruments."

Baaba Maal Interview by Bob Doran (all rights reserved)
"Baba Maal comes from the Fouta Toro region of Senegal in West Africa, where he began his musical training. In his culture, a musical career was once out of the question for all but the Griot caste, it was an inherited role. This did not stop him. He joined Asly Fouta Orchestra, a traditional music academy in Dakar and won a scholarship to study in France at Ecole des Beaux Arts." 
The interview took place in London, 1995, prior to Baba's world tour and it's worth to read about an African musicians thoughts about his music and the combination of the tradition with modern instruments, to create a new modernsound. 

"Mali Hatchets: In Search of West Africa's Master Axmen" by Banning Eyre
From Guitar Player, August '97 
Speaking with Malian guitarists such as Saffre Coulibaly, Baba Salla or Lobi Traore, to name but a few, the author covers a wide range of traditional and modern guitar music in Mali. The diffferent pentatonic styles, Wassoulou, Bambara, Bobo, Senufo, Songhai are explained and illustrated with examples;   it's even going down to the nitty-gritty of the different scales used. And when asked about the relation of African music and blues, here's what Baba Salla had to say:  "I always ask myself these questions," he said, "but I don't know the answers. In Wassoulou and Bambara the rhythms are faster [than in most blues]. But Songhai music is a lot like the American blues. They love slow songs. I can take an American thing like this[breaks into the classic John Lee Hooker vamp] and I can put Songhai folklore into that easily." A great article, well-written and thoroughly researched.

Musiques Afro-Caribéennes ( French and English )
The nice thing about these web sites is, that you can approach the music from different directions i.e.. by artist,  instrument, style, country, label etc. Once you make a selection, i.e. the group "Farafina", you get not only information about the CD "Bolomakote", but, in addition, via hyperlinks, info about Burkina Faso, information regarding other artists who come from that country (i.e. Adama Dramé ) is also available. Once again I'd like to see more traditional African music, but it's a good site for getting an overview of Afro-Carribean  music.

Pan African Arts Management
"Pan African Arts Management Ltd, was formed  in 1988 with the intention of creating coherent international circuits for the presentation of world-class traditional and contemporary African music, dance and theater and raising the profile of these art forms through the medium of live  performance, television, film, press and radio coverage." A beautifully designed site with information about "Les Ballets Africaines", "Pan African Orchestra" and many more excellent West African artists.

Pentatonic Passport - A Malian Phrase book by Banning Eyre
From Guitar Player, August '97 
"Mali soloists like to flaunt flowery ornamentation, but to learn the basics of Mali's musical languages you have to feel comfortable with the rhythms. In these examples, which are mostly accompaniments, the notes are fairly easy, but to get the sound you have to get into the groove - what Malian guitarists call the cadence. Check out recordings and listen, listen, listen! "
I second that and encourage you enjoy a few licks and riffs from Malian guitarists.

  "Lobi Traore, Ou celui qui n'aime pas ce qui fâche..."

Various Rhythmic Notation Catalogs and Rhythm of the Month Sites       Rhythmic Notation Catalogs

West African Music
Interesting site that focuses primarily on Mali and Senegal; it contains short biographies and reviews of recordings by Habib Koite, Oumou Sangare, Baaba Maal, Kasse Mady Diabate, Youssou N'Dour and others as well as brief discussions of the major musical styles and instruments of the region.