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Mande Music: Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology) Paperback – 1 Oct 2000
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From the Inside Flap
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 pre-dating 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 developed, 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 and a compact disc (available separately) 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.
About the Author
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
For starters, the Mande people and their close relatives inhabit a relatively large area of westernmost Africa, including much of Mali, Guinea, and Senegambia, as well as parts of the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and to a lesser extent, other surrounding countries.
As regards this specific topic alluded to above - the farthest western branch of the Mande world mainly uses a three-drum ensemble of modified hourglass-shaped drums (waisted drums, shaped somewhat like a section of the symmetrical outline of a female torso as seen frontally or from behind). The ensemble is known collectively as "kutiro". The drums usually use peg-style tuning rather than the more familiar Malian weave tuning/suspension seen on djembe drums from further to the east.
Tatango and sabaro are synonyms for the kutiro ensemble. Sabaro is also the name of one of the three (different-sized) drums of the ensemble--kutiriba and kutirindingo are the others. By contrast, the "sabar" drums are further to the west, from the coastal Wolof tribe, a non-Mande people. There are 5-7 different-sized drums in the sabar/Wolof ensembles, most which look like the kutiros although one is barrel-shaped and still another is a small hourglass-shaped talking drum with an iguana skin drumhead.
'Mande Music' the book is filled with clearly delineated info such as this. It is comprehensive in scope, and very well organized. It's amazing that the author got access to such a wealth of information, then managed to write about it is so useful a manner.
He covers the historical and sociocultural dimensions of this music, then dives into categorical and individual discussions of the instruments, their tunings, distribution, and repertoire as well. Besides the numerous photographs and drawings, there is quite a number of useful maps [for instance, showing the distribution of the various types of harps and xylophones in West Africa, their names, tribes, and differing physical characteristics]. There are detailed charts showing tunings of the various instruments.
There are a number of transcriptions, which are sonically illustrated on the CD, which must be purchased separately. Be sure to check out the extensive appendices, as well as the 4-page glossary of African terms used in the text, and there is an index of people and another of subject/topic.
Especially amazing are the 28-page bibliography and 24-page discography/videography (all in fine print). The discography/videography is organized according to country.