Djembe Rhythm Traditional Mandingue
This logo was created by Mamady Keïta.
It groups under the same banner all African artists who are concerned with preserving traditional Mande music in all its forms, both artistic and social.
Many artists have already responded to this call. They are the ones who have signed this page.
An instrument does not fall from the sky. It is created from an idea. A man thought it, reflected upon it and created it. This reflection, this thought, this history must not be lost.
An instrument represents a culture that must be learned. Thus, one respects the instrument and the culture from which it comes.
The djembe is not a primitive instrument on which one beats in just any way. There is a history behind it, a tradition that is transmitted from generation to generation…
It is played by very specific ethnic groups and individuals… It is played on special occasions… It has a specific importance within Mande society, an immutable symbolism…
All the rhythms have names, a history transmitted from generation to generation, and it is necessary to know them.
Alas, many djembe players around the world use the instrument only for personal enjoyment. We solemnly ask them here to respect the instrument and its culture, and to respect the traditional rhythms.
Today there are thousands of djembe “masters” around the world. They call themselves “masters” but they are merely players, sometimes great players, but not masters.
One doesn’t bestow this title on oneself! Among the Mande people, one receives the title after having passed many tests of technique, of rhythm.
A master must also have been initiated. This is very important. Without this step, no one can lay claim to this title.
The djembe is not reserved only for tradition. It is a popular instrument that can harmonize with all other instruments. It is open to all. There are performances and then there is the tradition. One must not confuse them. They are completely different
Drum and dance troupes in Africa are based on tradition, but are all changing in order to entertain. It is necessary to keep this distinction in mind and to know which context we are referring to.
Teachers, especially African teachers, should have the courage to tell their students that they don’t always know the tradition, that they are sometimes from another ethnic group, that they, themselves, are creating the rhythms.
Alas, the lie is often there for commercial reasons.. It is not necessary to betray tradition.. Otherwise, it will be lost, changed..and it is Africa, in the end, that will lose her soul…
Doudou N’Diaye Rose