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Author Hoffman, Barbara G.

Title Griots at war : conflict, conciliation, and caste in Mande / Barbara G. Hoffman ; Mande transcriptions and translations prepared in collaboration with Kassim Koné
Published Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [2000]
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Description 1 online resource (xvi, 298 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of color plates) : illustrations
Summary In 1985, while she was an apprentice griot or jelimuso, Barbara G. Hoffman saw and recorded a remarkable event that took place in the small town of Kita, Mali. For four days, thousands of griots from all parts of the Mande world gathered together to talk, sing, and make music in celebration of the opening of the new Hall of Griots and the installation of the recently named Head Griot. This unprecedented assembly, unheard of in the history of the Mande, also marked the end of the two-year long 'War of the Griots'; a deadly conflict fought with the tools of the griot verbal masters - words, reputations, and sorcery. "Griots at War" captures griots in action as they made speeches, sang songs of praise, and danced in honor of their renewed unity. Hoffman's discerning transcription and examination of the speeches not only reveals the oratorical skills of griots, but their skill in using history, metaphor, religion, proverbs, and praise to mend a community that had been torn apart by war. But Hoffman discovers a startlingly keen edge to the griots' words. Who intervenes, and how, when war breaks out in the griot community? The speeches made at Kita expose both griots and nobles engaged in behaviours that were strikingly unexpected of people of their status. Hoffman shows that griot public oratory also functions to delineate the boundaries of griot castes and to persuade other castes to recognise and respect what gives each caste its unique identity. While the verbal art of griots has been well documented in the form of epic poetry, "Griots at War" brings their formidable linguistic abilities to the fore as they negotiate, reestablish, and assert their cultural power. This exceptional book offers surprising and important insights into the multiple meanings of Mande culture, caste, and identity
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL
digitized 2010 HathiTrust Digital Library committed to preserve pda MiAaHDL
Print version record
Subject Griots -- Mali -- Kita
Mandingo (African people) -- Folklore.
Mandingo (African people) -- Social life and customs.
Oral tradition -- Mali -- Kita
Oratory -- Mali -- Kita
Storytelling -- Mali -- Kita
Kita (Kayes, Mali) -- Social life and customs.
Genre/Form Folklore.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 00038859
ISBN 0253108934 (electronic bk.)
9780253108937 (electronic bk.)