Author: Daybo

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

The Puppeteer

The West African puppeteer lurches, leans and sways, giving himself over to the demands of his carved creation. He is at once ajogi, a Yoruba dancer of the wooden image, …

The Weaver

Somewhere in the Futa Tooro region of Senegal, a Tukolor weaver, or mabube, reenacts an ancient ritual. He gathers his loom parts — pulley, wheel, shuttle, beater that have been …

Rhythm

So synonymous is rhythm with life and movement, that many sub-Saharan languages, like Igbo, Efik, Hausa and Yoruba, do not have a distinct, disambiguating, readily translatable word for rhythm ― …

The Griot

Above the din of everyday culture — from the spontaneous chatter of the marketplace to the polyphonic rhythms of the traditional shuttle loom, anvil or pestle — rises the acoustic …

Kwaku Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom

The traditional web of legend and lore that allegorizes human nature — particularly its propensity for wisdom, ingenuity, resourcefulness, yet also for the shrewdness and duplicity that often goes hand-in-hand …

The Power of Words

The ‘word’ in West African cultures, once loosened from the lips as if drawing back the strings of a talisman pouch, diffuses a special force, the primal energy of creation …