Session/Séance 8h: CSTM Film Series 3. Saturday/samedi 27 May 2017.
Chair: Meghan Forsyth (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
The Sunjata Story: Glimpse of a Mande Epic (2016)
Marcia Ostashewski, Cape Breton University
The epic genre (fasa) of the Mande griots (jeliw) is probably the most vibrant and celebrated example of a living oral epic tradition on the African continent. The life story of Sunjata Keita, the prince who founded West Africa’s greatest empire almost 800 years ago, has been passed down for generations through song, spoken recitation, and musical accompaniment on traditional Mande griot instruments such as the 22-key balafon. Most performances focus on only one or two episodes of Sunjata’s life; it is rare for the whole story to be performed on one occasion. This special performance features two master musicians from Mali: singer Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté accompanied on the balafon by Fodé Lassana Diabaté. Professor Chérif Keita (Carleton College) provides a poetic translation of the story to accompany the traditional performance.