Griots walking History books? May 10, 2010 0:05:45 GMT -5
Post by anansi on May 10, 2010 0:05:45 GMT -5
Griots walking History books?
In some sociaties where writings maybe confind to a few if at all present..the griot roll as keeper of community records is was important..if put to song then such records can survive for a very longtime providing the language does not change too drastically over the centuries...but is it history??...some folks regards the written words as almost unasailible, detractors like to point out that one cannot say bad things in a praise song about a king or a high official,...maybe true but the written word can be changed edited,mis-reperesented in many ways,...really how often us moderns get to carry around our own personal griot.
What is striking is some of the griots stories seems impossibly old..as mentioned in another thread that recounts the drying of the Sahara..
And another thread started back when I was in lurker status..about the Bozo..relatives of the Dogan and others recalled a comet or an astriod that hit an area in some-where in West Africa..and was able to tell the projected angle it came in.
It seems to me if we students and teachers of Africana studies we had better spend time and rescource..interviewing and recording the words of these poeple in earnest.
Praise singing and the performance of epic narratives constitute the greater part of a griot’s repertoire, yet their role in Mande (Mandingo) society includes many other important functions. This has led to several terms being used by authors to describe their function, with “singer-historians”, a term that notes their role as the retainers of their culture’s history, being the most common. They are also often referred to as “bards”, or on occasion as “casted bards”.
Other authors have described them, more eloquently perhaps, as "ministers of the spoken word". “Praise-singers” would arguably be the most ubiquitous term in common usage. While griots are all these and more, it is important to recognise that individual musicians will often specialise in a particular field which allows their skills to become finely honed. Particular musicians, therefore, will be sought for their authority in matters in which they are regarded to have a superior knowledge. Accordingly, there are various specialist groups into which the griots can be divided. There are those who are well-versed in the Koran, while others are knowledgeable of the political history of their local area. Some griots perform solely as entertainers for the public at large, while there are also those whose role is attached to the hunters’ societies.
A griot’s command of Mande history and society extends into genealogy, and griots are able to recite a patron’s ancestry for many generations. This aspect is essential to the performance of praise songs, whereby patrons from the noble class are entertained by the griot’s references to important lineages and historical events pertinent to the patron’s family. A griot’s knowledge of genealogies is perhaps their most recognizable quality, a circumstance that is largely due to the success of Alex Haley’s novel "Roots". Their specialised knowledge of genealogies, however, coupled with their mastery of the word, affords them significant powers. This is especially true within the context of praise singing, for if the patron is less than generous with his reward he risks offending the griot, who has at their disposal the intimate knowledge of the patron's genealogy.
please go here^ and read more fasinating stuff.
I think you should read Amadou Hampate Ba's article titled The Living Tradition in UNESCO's General History of Africa Vol 1. There you will get the details of the culture of the doma. Those are the ones you want to talk to. The dieli (griot) isn't held to the same standards as a doma when it comes to history. It is a life-style and this article is the most definitive work I have come across on this subject.
Profile for Brada-Anansi Thanks Asar it was you who re-ignighted my intreast.I'll do an on-line search.
Rate Member Icon 1 posted 28 September, 2009 09:37 PM Profile for Brada-Anansi Author's Homepage Send New Private Message Edit/Delete Post Reply With Quote Originally posted by Djheuti:
Just to touch more on the topic, it reminds me of the ancient Egyptian myth about how writing was invented. According to the Egyptians, before the time of writing, all records were kept strictly to human memory by a select class of men and women who were usually priests. This sounds alot like griots. But then the goddess of knowledge, Seshat invented writing to make communication and the delivery of messages easier. Her husband Djehuti argued though that humans might get lazy and not bother remembering the records on their own especially if these records become lost or damaged. So writing was introduced by the gods to mankind, but priests still had to put to memorize all of thier history, hymns, and