NY West African Griot Summit – 11/26/12-11/28/12

Back in September there was a meeting of West African griots in NYC at the Wave Hill Gardens overlooking the Hudson, in the Bronx. November 26-28th there is another West African Griot Summit, put together by Live@365. In addition to closed sessions, the conference included a free to the public lecture / demonstration Griot Traditions Across West Africa on Monday, November 26th. The ticketed, public concert West African Griot Summit with more than 20 griots and guest artists is tonight, November 27th at 7PM, at the CUNY Graduate Center Elebash Hall on 365 Fifth Avenue. If you are interested in attending the conference sessions, please send an email to erm3381@gmail.com.

Griots are also known as “praise singers,” incorporating gossip, satire and political commentary into their songs. Along with performing a canon of traditional songs, griots are well versed in local history, calling upon past and current events in their music. This amazing event is organized by Sylvain Leroux, a friend to many in the New York West African community, researcher, flute player and member of the Mandingo Ambassadors.

“There is no school to become a Griot; you’re just born into it, and you can hear this in how amazing they are at playing their instruments and singing. Their artistry is so powerful and deep.” – Sylvain Leroux

Join Sylvain and a number of fine griots for an exciting concert on November 27th at the CUNY Graduate Center Elebash Hall. Confirmed musicians include: Abdoulaye Diabate, Abdourahmane Mangara, Yacouba Diabate, Mamady Kouyate, Mamady Kourouma, Famoro Dioubate, and other griots from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, the Gambia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Learn about their history as they perform on guitar, timbin (flute), gambare (lute), ngoni (lute), kora (harp/lute), balafon (xylophone), and djembe (drum) with contributions from guest vocalists. For a taste, check out a nice video from the NY West African Griot Summit in the summer of 2012 below.

Bards of West Africa: The Griot Summit from Michal Shapiro on Vimeo.

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