Category: Culture

The collective heritage – the shared perceptions, beliefs, behaviors, and interactions – that at once differentiate and unite the peoples of West Africa. Behind the material expressions of culture, (i.e. language, art), lie the more intangible societal values that create and refine these diverse West African identities.

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, …

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 ― …

Joking Relationships

In most cultures, it would be rude to openly mock a complete stranger, absolutely insulting to call them a slave, and downright criminal to waltz into their home and steal …

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 …

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 …