Second offering today is Babatunde Olatunji, a Yoruba man who's life revolved around drums, he didn't stay in Nigeria but found his way to the States where he recorded his passion and tought others.
The Mandinka, Malinke (also known as Mandinko) are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa with an estimated population of eleven million. They are the descendants of the Empire of Mali, which rose to power under the rule of the great Mandinka king Sundiata Keita. The Mandinka in turn belong to West Africa's largest ethno-linguistic group, the Mandé. Mandinka culture is rich in tradition, music, and spiritual ritual. Mandinkas continue a long oral history tradition through stories, songs and proverbs. This rich oral history is passed down through the ages by griots backed by music. They have long been known for their drumming and also for their unique musical instrument, the kora. It has made music one of the most distinctive traits of the Mandinka.
The Baoulé (or Baule) are an Akan people and one of the largest groups in the Ivory Coast. The Baoulé are farmers who live in the eastern side of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The Baoule people are represented by religion, art, festivals, and equal society . There are more than sixty-five different Akan-speaking ethnic groups living in Cote d'Ivoire. In the 17th century the Baoulé left present day Ghana and traveled west into present day Côte d'Ivoire under the lead of the Queen Pokou. According to oral tradition, the Baoulé were forced to leave Ghana when the Ashanti rose to power. While they were fleeing for their lives they came to a large river that they were unable to cross. Myth has it that the Queen sacrificed her son so they could cross and other side cried the child is dead- or in local lingo "baouli," hence her people were known as the Baoulé. A general peaceful equal society, must be a matriachaat then..it is. Sensible grasp of religion too..the domain of God (Niamien), the earthly materialistic realm and the beyond spiritworld where their ancestors reside (blolo). And we in the west have been calling these peoples primitives for ages.
Our last player on this album is Sonar Senghor a bit of a rebel who when he got to Paris to study law, decided he much more loved the theatre, soon he had to provide for himself and landed him on stage where he maneged to recite anti colonial poems from his homeland, Senegal, obviously the french police decided this troublemaker needed a lesson and arrested and tortured him before throwing him back on the streets. He became the spokesman against colonialism in Africa. In 1950 he took under his tutelage Keita Fodeba and they successfully form the National ballet of Keita Fodeba with its premier performance in 1953. By 58 he was ready to return with the concept of a theatrical development he wanted to create in Senegal. He was appointed director of Theatre du Palais and created the National Ballet of Senegal in 1960. In 1964 he is appointed director of Theatre National Daniel Sorano and his theatrical movement flourishes with the creation of several more companies, the second ballet, the lyric and instrumental ensemble and dramatic troupe. Maurice Senghor would spend 20 years at Sorano. Where he ultimately left disappointed as the state refused to fund his work. Feeling humiliated and abandoned by most Mr. Senghor returned to France in 1996 to live alone. He died in July 2007 at age 80 years.
African Tribal Music And Dances ( 345mb)
01 Malinké - Festival Music
02 Malinké - Solo For The Seron
03 Malinké - Hymn Of Praise
04 Malinké - Percussion Instruments
05 Malinké - Festival Of The Circumcision
06 Malinké - Dance Of The Hunters
07 Malinké - Dance Of The Woman
08 Baulé - Invocation, Entrance, And Dance Of The Glaou
09 Baulé - Duet For Flutes
10 Baulé - Solo For Musical Bow
11 Baulé - Xylophone Solo
12 Baulé - Male Chorus And Harp
13 Baulé - Dance Of The Witch Doctor
14 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Sicco
15 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Toffi
16 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Ibonga
17 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Gnounba Gnibi
18 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Dianka Bi
19 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Sibi Saba
20 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Sindhio
21 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Didrenquo
22 Sonar Senghor And His Rhythms - Bonomiollo
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Olatunji was born in the village of Ajido, a small town near Badagry, Lagos State, in southwestern Nigeria. A member of the Yoruba people, Olatunji was introduced to traditional African music at an early age. He read in Reader's Digest magazine about the Rotary International Foundation's scholarship program, and applied for it. He received a Rotary scholarship in 1950 and was educated at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he desired to, but never sang in the Morehouse College Glee Club. After graduating from Morehouse, he went on to New York University to study public administration. There, he started a small percussion group to earn money on the side while he continued his studies.
Olatunji won a following among jazz musicians, notably creating a strong relationship with John Coltrane and Columbia Records A&R man John Hammond who signed him to the Columbia label in 1957. With Coltrane's help, he founded the Olatunji Center for African Culture in Harlem. This was the site of Coltrane's final performance. In 1959 Olatunji released his first of six records on the Columbia label, called Drums of Passion.
Olatunji favoured a big percussion sound, and his records typically featured more than 20 players, unusual for a percussion based ensemble. Drums of Passion became a major hit and remains in print; it first opened American ears to the power and spirituality of Nigerian music. In 1969, Carlos Santana had a major hit with the Olatunji tune "Jingo" a cover version recorded for his debut album. (Goldy Rhox 17) Olatunji's subsequent recordings include Drums of Passion: The Invocation (1988), Drums of Passion: The Beat (1989) (which included Airto Moreira and Carlos Santana), Love Drum Talk (1997), Circle of Drums (2005) . Over the years Olatunji recorded with many other prominent musicians aswell.
Olatunji was known for making an impassioned speech for social justice before performing in front of a live audience. His progressive political beliefs are outlined in The Beat Of My Drum: An Autobiography, with a foreword by Joan Baez. He toured the American south with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and joined King in the march on Washington. Olatunji was also a music educator, and invented a method of teaching and recording drum patterns which he called the "Gun-Dun, Go-Do, Pa-Ta" method after the different sounds made on the drum. Olatunji taught drum and dance workshops year-round starting in the late 1950s. Over the years he presented workshops nationally and internationally at colleges, universities, civic, cultural, and governmental organizations too numerous to list here. He co-wrote, Musical Instruments of Africa: Their Nature, Use and Place in the Life of a Deeply Musical People. He also taught at the Esalen Institute in California from 1985 until shortly before his death in Salinas, California from diabetes in 2003, on the day before his 76th birthday.
Originally released in 1986 as Dance To the Beat of My Drum on the now-defunct Blue Heron label, the album features such guest players as master Brazilian percussionist Airto Moriera and noted rock guitarist Carlos Santana. Three tracks on Drums of the Passion, The Beat feature his trademark guitar soaring against the thunderous backing of Olatunji and his troupe of percussionists.The album is Olatunji's tribute to the power of rhythm. As he puts it, "Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Everything and every human action revolves in rhythm." This is also Olatunji's first recording with producer Mickey Hart, who released this album as part of his series "The World."
Babatunde Olatunji - Drums of the Passion, The Beat ( 236mb)
1. Beat of My Drum (7:08)
2. Loyin Loyin (7:32)
3. Ife l'Oju l'Aiye (6:49)
4. Akiwowo (Chant to the Trainman) [Acapella] (1:40)
5. Akiwowo (Chant to the Trainman) (7:45)
6. Se Eni a Fe l'Amo-Kere Kere (9:13)
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