Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Growing into music in Mali - Da Kali: the pledge to the art of the griots

Music SIG Seminar - all welcome!

Growing into music in Mali - Da Kali: the pledge to the art of the griots

Dr. Lucy Durán, School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), Music
Department, University of London

Thursday 6th June

1.00 - 2.00

Room: 944

Further details from Lucy Green,

All are welcome

This paper will present some key findings about childhood music
learning from her film Da kali, the pledge to the art of the griot,
filmed on location in Mali between 2009-12, illustrating her talk with
a selection of excerpts featuring children in four celebrated griot
families learning song, dance, kora and jembe.
With the high international profile of Malian musicians, it is
tempting to think that griots (hereditary musical artisans, or jelis
as they call themselves) and their music are thriving. By exploring
how, what, and when young children of jeli families learn to perform
the music and dance of their heritage, the film Da Kali constitutes
unprecedented research on how children in Mali 'grow into music', and
suggests a more nuanced view of the current state of play with Malian
music (just before events in 2012). Despite the commitment of elder
jelis to the transmission of their art to the new generation, the
reality is that they are competing with many other factors, such as
globalised youth culture, the media, old social prejudices about the
artisans, and the lack of institutional support for their music,
threatening the future of this ancient art form.
The film is officially being launched as part of the AHRC Beyond Text
Growing into Music project on June 7, 2013, at SOAS.

Lucy Durán is a university lecturer specialising in West African
music, and is based in the Music Department of the School of Oriental
and African Studies, University of London. She has published widely on
Mali's star women singers, and on the kora. She is also a broadcaster
(she has been the regular presenter of BBC Radio 3's leading world
music programme World Routes since it began in 2000).
Durán has a long professional involvement with the music
industry, and has been at the forefront of the promotion and
dissemination of Malian music for the past 20 years. She is also a
music producer, and has produced many Malian artists including Grammy
award-winning kora player Toumani Diabate, and the highly acclaimed
Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate.
Having devoted much of her professional life to balancing her
broadcasting, recording, and academic work, Durán argues for the need
to forge better links and understanding between the media and
academia. She is committed to the promotion, production and
dissemination of Malian music, and to finding ways of creating a
contemporary voice for Malian artists working within their own
traditions. Her work as Principal Investigator of the AHRC funded
project Growing into Music <> has sparked
off a special interest in oral transmission of music across