Original artwork.
“Dununba: Barati Dancer with Djende” - 19 x 24 in. (48 x 61 cm), graphite on bristol.

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Dununba: Barati Dancer with Djende

19x24 graphite on bristol.

Dununba is a family of rhythms played on the traditional Malinké drums: djembe, sangban, kenkeni, and dununba. The dance that accompanies the dununba rhythms (referred to by the same name) is performed by the strongest men of the village, who dance with members of the age group to which they belong. Day-long feats of endurance and stamina, the events were once used to settle disputes between the age groups, in sometimes bloody contests — but today are showy (and impressive) events in which it is the dancing of the men alone that proves their strength. In modern times, the dance has become popular in urban areas, and both men and women dance the dununba.

Here, a member of the barati age group dances the Dununba with the traditional axe (called djende in Malinké).

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