Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

read more

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xiv

The first time I ever met a griot, I had no idea what a griot was or did or even that there was such a person. It was in August of 1978 in north central Coˆte d’Ivoire where I was attending the funeral of a dear friend’s uncle. It was my first African funeral and many strange and wondrous things went on, things I could not explain or make any sense of at the time. ...

read more

NOTE ON ORTHOGRAPHY

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xv-xvi

In the Mande texts, the orthography follows that in the most recent publications of the Malian National Office of Functional Literacy and Applied Linguistics (DNAFLA). Several different systems of transcribing Mande languages are now in use in Mali as well as in printed materials throughout the world. The following chart shows the equivalences of the symbols that ...

read more

PROLOGUE: An Invitation to War

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-7

April in Mali is burning and dusty. It is the time of the harmattan, a desert wind that blows from the north, from the Sahara, carrying with it not only inescapable heat but also the grit of desert sand. The temperature can reach a low of 90 degrees Fahrenheit at night and quickly climb from there once the sun is up. It is a difficult month to get through, long after harvest when ...

read more

ONE. Power and Paradox: Griots and Mande Social Organization

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 8-17

My tɔn-sisters and I joined thousands of griots ( jeliw)1 in the town of Kita, in western Mali, for a three-day period of discourse, song, music, and dance in honor of the installation of the new Jelikuntigi and the opening of a newly constructed Jelibolon. Jelikuntigi, Chief Griot in colonial parlance, is better translated as Head Griot, more faithful to the Mande word.2 We were called ...

read more

TWO. In the Hands of Speech: Mande Discourse

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 18-34

A Mande proverb states kuma tε mɔgɔ bolo, mɔgɔ de bε kuma bolo, literally “speech is not in people’s hands, people are in the hands of speech.” To have something in your hand is to own it, to possess it, control it. In other words, we may think we control what we say, but in reality what we say exerts some control over us; it affects our lives in many ways, some obvious and overt, ...

read more

THREE. A History of Fadenya: Interpretations of the Kita Griot War

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 35-52

The war of the Kita griots was, like all wars, an event with many different possible interpretations. Both sides in the conflict had fluid, changing rationales for their positions, and the allies of each faction, spread like fingers throughout the core Mande areas and even into the fringes in southern Coˆte d’Ivoire and Gambia, also constructed their arguments, their justifications, ...

read more

FOUR. Making Boundaries: When Griots Speak Before Nobles

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 53-84

The continual generation of social distance between groups with different cultures living together in the same community, or schismogenesis, occurs frequently in heterogeneous societies. In most diverse communities, numbers of groups must live and interact with one another while maintaining their differences through a kind of mutual agreement that may, at times, permit ...

read more

FIVE. Breaking Boundaries: When Nobles Speak Before Griots

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 85-164

Throughout the three days of the celebration, the notion of the oneness of all jeliw and their distinction from the hɔrɔnw was repeatedly expressed in speeches, songs, and dances, by both men and women griots. There were celebrations morning and evening on Saturday, including a masquerade by the Guinea delegation, numerous songs praising the clans of the most important ...

read more

SIX. The Healer Who Is Ill Must Swallow HisOwn Saliva: When Griots Speak to Griots

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 165-233

On Monday, after three days of celebrating the installation of Makanjan Jabate as the new Head Griot of Kita, the leaders of the griot delegations gathered at the home of Simbo Keita along with the principals of the warring griot factions to talk with one another. Their discussion provided them with one more opportunity to arrive at a consensual interpretation of the footing ...

read more

SEVEN. Caste, Mande-Style

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 234-251

A recurring theme at the 1985 gathering of griots in Kita was the celebration of social difference. The songs and speeches of the event did not spotlight the distinctions between rich and poor, schooled and non-schooled, farmer and civil servant (although all these distinctions were mentioned at various points) but rather they highlighted the ancient ways of dividing the Mande ...

read more

EPILOGUE: "A Wound Cannot Heal on Pus"

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 252-264

In July of 1999, I returned to Kita to learn what had transpired since the Kita Griot War of 1983–1985. Most of the bards who had worked so diligently to put an end to that war had passed away by that time, including Kela Balla Ba Jabate, his brother Yamuru Jabate, their cousin Siramori Jabate, the Guinean bard Sanasi Kuyate, and several of the principal participants from Kita. ...

NOTES

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 265-281

BIBLIOGRAPHY

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 282-291

INDEX

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 293-298