Ethnic group: Peul et Bamanan
Canadian Museum of Civilization
The Wassoulou region, which straddles the border between
Mali and Guinea, is known for its solid musical tradition. The hunters' brotherhood
in that region is a society that has initiation rites, a strong hierarchy and
quasi-military discipline. Music is played at gatherings of hunters, where there
are power struggles between the great hunters themselves, then between musicians
and hunters. In Mali, since hunting is an activity reserved for men, only men may
play the hunters' musical instruments. The music essentially describes the hunt
and praises the great hunters who venture into the unknown by confronting wild
animals. The musician tells the story, and a person may mime each stage, including
the approach of the prey, and the way the animal moves and senses danger. The
nobleness of the animal facing death is also praised, as is the bravery of the
hunter facing danger. A harp-lute plays the main melody and another accompanies it.
One of the musicians is also the singer.