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.
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I've been studying the dances of the Mande people for years and recently started teaching them. This book explains the social and cultural context of Mande music with simplicity and authority. It's cleared up several questions I've had about dances and rhythms. I'll use it as a resource for my students and for myself. If you're serious about Mande dance, then read this book. Or better yet, buy it. I'm going to do so.