Author: Daybo

After years in the Sahel, I am, although neither griot nor poet, one of West Africa's greatest praise-singers.

The Mandé Ritual Clown

Comedians, contrarians, jokesters and tricksters have made their appearance in all human societies, from the more or less secular, bell-capped court jesters of the English Royal Court to the humorous …

The Blacksmith

To the percussive rhythm of the forge — clanging hammers, puffing bellows, hissing vapor — the West African blacksmith has been shaping the culture around him since the ancient, artistic, …

The Talking Drum

In the creative process known as ilu sise, the Yoruba drum maker uses only wood from trees along manmade roads; trees that are conversant in the human language of passers-by.

The Baobab, Muse and Myth-maker

“A majestic tree with a massive trunk, the baobab reigns in nature’s midst like a lion among animals. Its huge, tortured, root-like branches give credence to the belief that, thanks …

The Sogo Bò Masquerade

"We were in the center of the village and children, playing the djembé, poured out from everywhere. Young people announced the performance by blowing through cattle horns; adults were adorned …

The Masons of Djenné

The master mason makes his way through the maze of twisting alleyways, staircases, rising spires, and banco houses that not only typify Djenné, but designate it as a World Heritage …