In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali Paperback – 14 Feb 2002
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?Banning?s book presents a riveting, richly illustrative and insightful look into his extraordinary seven month?s journey deep into the heart of Mali?s music scene...With the explosion and popularity and appetite for world music, Banning?s book is one of a kind primer on just how deep the connection runs between West African cultural traditions and nearly all of our Western popular music. I can?t remember when a Westerner has been able to dive so deeply into another culture with such soulful results? Bonnie Raitt ?One of the best can?t -put-it-down roots music reads in recent memory? Folk Roots ?An essential and extraordinary read for anyone interested in Africa and world music? World Music
About the Author
Professional guitar player and international music journalist for the Boston Phoenix and National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Banning Eyre contributes regularly to Billboard, Ms, Rhythm, the Beat, and New Music Monthly. He has travelled extensively in Africa and has produced many programs for the public radio series Afropop Worlwide. In 1995, Eyre co-authored AFROPOP! An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music with Sean Barlow. He is currently Senior Editor for Africa at www.afropop.org.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The tone of the book strikes one as reminiscent of the journalistic voice the author employed in the past during his work for magazines and papers, the mix of anecdote and more academic material tightly woven together such as to make it irresistible to a non-academic readership. This, however, belies the truly remarkable ethnographical value of the material. In all the tales and accounts, the attention to detail- the head gasket being blown on the Nissan, the food the women prepare after the windfall of Babani's visit, even the "scratching whiskers" of a stranger in a bar- amounts to an incredible wealth of insight into the transition between tradition and modernity, changing priorities and a myriad more issues.
In chapter ten, we are introduced to Sali Sidibe', "the Black Pearl of Wassoulou," with whom the author works for a period during his teacher's absence.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Throughout his study, Eyre remains humble, admitting that there is a whole host of young musicians in Mali half his age more advanced than he in this study. At one point he likens studying with Djelimady to "reaching into a rushing stream of water hoping to pull out a fish before it slithered away forever." Though Eyre is upfront about his preference to study music "stripped of its context," he doesn't skimp on highlighting the importance of politics, religion, and history surrounding the music.
His approach to viewing Africa is refreshing; where international aid workers "looked around and saw sickness and suffering, good people held down by backwardness... I looked around and saw a cultural lodestone, musical diamonds and gold everywhere. I wanted the Malians to give me the hard lessons." It's hard not to agree with Eyre's perception of Mali's musical greatness; in fact, in the `60s and `70s, the government mandated that the bands they subsidized all maintain deep roots to Malian tradition- unlike many other African countries, whose musical identities have been whitewashed by Western influences.
Of course I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in studying African music, but it should also be compelling for anyone interested in a "cultural exchange" with the remote and exotic city of Bamako, Mali, which happens to not be all that far from Timbuktu.
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