Thursday, August 26, 2004

There is only one Mande

Many people in the djembe community are talking about “Guinea Style”, “Mali Style”, “Senegalese Style”, etc. It seems that separation has arisen in our community through an overemphasis on regional differences. We need to remember that this music is “Mande Style” in the end. Everything came from Mande. Guinea, Mali and Senegal were all part of Mande. My teacher, Abdoulaye Diakite, has been emphasizing this point lately because of a growing division in the community based on what country style you study.

Djembe is one. Differences in rhythms result from the traveling of peoples and cultures. Each rhythm has its own history and place of origin. It is important to discover the complete story of each rhythm and understand how it has evolved through its different travels and different tribal integrations. This stuff can seem pretty complicated at times, but it is important for us to remain calmly on the path continuously open minded and forever learning.

The djembe is the drum of unity. Its purpose is to unite people in happiness and harmonious community. This is why it’s old Bamana name is “Jebebara”- “Unity Drum”. Division has no place inside the djembe. The djembe welcomes all.

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