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Mande Music

Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa

Mande Music

Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa

With Mande Music, Eric Charry offers the most comprehensive source available on one of Africa’s richest and most sophisticated music cultures. Using resources as disparate as early Arabic travel accounts, oral histories, and archival research as well as his own extensive studies in Mali, Guinea, Senegal, and the Gambia, Charry traces this music culture from its origins in the thirteenth-century Mali empire to the recording studios of Paris and New York. He focuses on the four major spheres of Mande music—hunter’s music, music of the jelis or griots, jembe and other drumming, and guitar-based modern music—exploring how each evolved, the types of instruments used, the major artists, and how each sphere relates to the others. With its maps, illustrations, and musical transcriptions as well as an exhaustive bibliography, discography, and videography, this book is essential reading for those seeking an in-depth look at one of the most exciting, innovative, and deep-rooted phenomena on the world music scene. A compact disc is available separately.

531 pages | 78 halftones, 30 line drawings, 36 musical examples, 8 maps | 6 x 9 | © 2000

Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology

African Studies

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Music: Ethnomusicology

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Technical Notes
Transcription Guide and Rhythm Concepts


Tuning and Scales
Playing Techniques and Styles
Languages and Neighboring Peoples
Islam and Mande Music
Traditional and Modern
1. The Mande
West African Prehistory
Ancient Ghana (Wagadu)
European Contact, the Colonial Encounter, and Independence
Nyamakala and Notions of a Mande Class System
Mande Aesthetics and the Creative Artist: The Ngara
2. Hunter’s Music
Performers and Performance
Hunter’s Harps

Simbi Repertory
Simbi and Donso Ngoni Tuning
Simbi Playing Technique and Style
3. Jeliya
Performers and Performance
Jeli Instruments
The Repertory of Jeliya
Jeli Tuning Systems
Playing Techniques and Styles
4. Drumming
Performers and Performance
Dundun, Sangba, and Kenkeni
Mandinka Kutiro/Tangtango Ensemble
5. The Guitar and the Modern Era
Performers and Recordings
Repertories of Modern Music
Guitar Tuning
Guitar Playing Styles

6. Music Terminology
Julu, Dònkili, Fasa
The Many Uses of Ben (Agreement)
Terminology for Pitch Height
7. Perspectives
When a Context Modernizes
Mande Ways of Learning Music, Ways of Learning Mande Music
When Teaching Westernizes
Manden Te Banna
Appendix A: References Related to Mande Music in Historical Sources from the Eleventh to the Mid-Nineteenth Century
Appendix B: Keys to Vocalists, Musicians, and Their Instruments

Appendix C: Recordings of Traditional and Modern Pieces in Mande Repertories
Appendix D: Syliphone Recordings
Glossary of African Terms

Personal Interviews, Lessons, and Recordings
Subject Index
Personal Name Index
Title Index


African Studies Association: Melville J. Herskovits Award

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