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Old African Music

Listen to the Djeli and his N’goni

Bazoumana (Banzounama or Banzumana)
1890-1987

This n’goni player – aka the « old lion » – was a Malian national treasure as well as a djeli (jeli) or griot.

The quintessential n’goni player was the late Banzumana Sissoko, perhaps the most revered and beloved Malian griot of the century. Until his death in 1987, he could virtually bring affairs in Mali to a halt when he went on the national radio to sing and play his large, deep-toned n’goni. Of course, it was principally Banzoumana’s incisive words that won people’s breathless attention, but the fact that he played a n’goni is significant. For Malians in particular, this instrument is deeply tied to their sense of history and identity.

via the late Charlie Gillett

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