Griots, rappers, and deejays

Henry, William Anthony (2015) Griots, rappers, and deejays. In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America. SAGE, Thousand Oaks, California, USA. ISBN 9781452258218

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Abstract

There is within the myriad expressive cultures of the African diaspora, acknowledgment of the functional role that the rhythmic voice plays as the conveyor of experiential reality, based on what has been, what is, and what is to come. Indeed the ‘spoken word’ that currently manifests as rapping in the USA and deejaying in Jamaica are rooted in the Jali or the more commonly known griot traditions, which can be traced back for millennia and are commonplace across West Africa. However there is much controversy and debate around the appropriateness of the term ‘griot’ to describe this oral culture, as the suggestion is that it is of French origin and does not do justice to their ‘multi-functional’ roles and Hale suggests often reduces them to ‘praise singers’ or bards. In a fundamental sense griots are the mouthpiece of the community they serve and the knowledge system they represent is in many ways unique to their cultural group. They utilize various musical and oral techniques accompanied by drums and other instruments, the most common being the Kora which is harp-like and the name Jali is associated with traditional Kora players.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Social sciences > Communication and culture
Depositing User: William Anthony Henry
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 14:27
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 15:22
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/3384

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