A griot (or traditional West African storyteller) and his n’goni—which is said to be the African ancestor of the banjo. They weave an epic poem here, trotting along at a leisurely pace. I believe the language is Fulfulde… Anyone know? I enjoy the rhythmically minimal n’goni accompaniment Daouda Dembele provides for himself while he recounts the story of El Hadji Sekou Oumar. A little clackity-click of the finger with the darkly repetitive n’goni phrases goes a long way.
This tape is from Mali. There’s a lot of music like this all over the Sahel from Senegal to Nigeria, and beyond. The n’goni is just one of the many instruments used by griots to accompany their stories and praises. Kora is the most internationally famous musical instrument used by some griots.