Here’s a sneak preview of the new song Fadama, for the upcoming Afroflute album.
Learn more about Afroflute, and get a free download of the first EP here:
In the village of Fadama, the ancient traditions of the Malinke People dance among the living and breathe fresh air each day.
Here, stories and songs take the place of textbooks for passing down a rich oral history that spans centuries. It is the griots who keep this living history alive, and Fadama’s population is comprised largely of griot families.
This song is my tribute to the people and traditions of Fadama:
Composed and performed by Dave Kobrenski. Features kamale ngoni (12-string Mandinka harp), Fula flute, and calabash.
I wrote about the village of Fadama in my second book, Drawing on Culture. Here’s an excerpt:
“The roots of ancient tradition run deep here in Manden country, and the past is always kept close, thanks in part to the oral histories that are sung by the griots on their 21-stringed koras. The griots are the history keepers of the Malinké people, and belong to the social caste known as nyamakala. The nyamakalaw (plural) are the hereditary lineage of skilled workers who are specially trained to work with the nyama, or spiritual energy, of certain elements. Griots then, as part of the nyamakala caste, are trained wordsmiths—experts at manipulating the energetic power of words and stories. Historically, they have wielded this power to influence kings and chiefs, and to keep the lessons of the deep past in living memory. It is an invisible power that has been capable of nothing less than shaping empires and transforming the futures of entire regions.
“There is a village not far from here on the Niandan River called Fadama; it is a veritable cultural learning center. The population of Fadama is comprised primarily of griot families, mostly from the Condé clan. As such, this unassuming little village has long been renowned as a place of knowledge, and dedicated to the dissemination of oral histories through the collective work of countless generations of griots.”
“This evocative account of one person’s travels in Guinea, West Africa, along with delightful drawings and perceptive observations of village life as well as of our current world dilemmas, is a pleasure. As a respectful and alert sojourner, Dave Kobrenski manages to navigate between worlds in a sensitive and sensible fashion. Writing as a musician, he provides sounds and sights of the people.”
— Philip M. Peek, Ph.D, editor of African Divination Systems: Ways of Knowing