mandebala.net

Links


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Harald Loquenz's Jaliya v4 revolutionized the way that I learn and transmit Mande bala music. Soon, under the mandebala.net transcriptions tabs, it will be possible to download the Jv4 files that I have written (and that correspond with the videos and tablature transcriptions found in the same section.) At €100, the purchase of the full version of Jv4 may seem like quite an investment, but I feel very strongly about it being worth every penny—er, that is . . . every "euro cent."

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Paul Nas' WAP Pages website was without question one of my principal inspirations for developing mandebala.net. It is an excellent resource and I recommend it unreservedly to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of Mande drumming traditions. Resources like the WAP Pages (or if I may, mandebala.net) can of course never replace teachers, but they certainly are a valuable supplement to Mande-music studies.

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At Radio Africa, Graeme Counsel offers probably the most comprehensive Golden Age Mande music discographies available anywhere, as well as "occasional reviews of rare and out of print classic recordings from Africa." On this page he also links to his YouTube channel, RadioAfrica1, through which he shares some fascinating, rare music videos from Mande and beyond.

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If you're in the market for a xylophone, you would do well to check out the BaraGnouma workshop, situated in Bobo-Dioulasso. In their own words: "BaraGnouma est un groupe de musiciens et d'artisans qui jouent et fabriquent des instruments de musique traditionnelle d'Afrique de l'Ouest." They also have an impressive YouTube presence; indeed, many of their videos (and their balafolalu) are featured throughout mandebala.net.

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Through their blog, YouTube channel, and record company, the four-person team at T.P. Africa (or, Africa "tout puissant"), does impressive work to make the culture, music, and history of the African continent more readily available to people everywhere. Publishing in Italian and English, they not only provide excellent first-hand accounts of Mande Music in Africa and abroad, they also directly promote the work of at least two of my own xylophone teachers: Mawdo Suso and Naby "Eco" Camara.

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In existence since 1997, Frank Bessem's Musiques d'Afrique is one of the most complete online sources for biographical and discographical information of African artists that I have come across. The site is well organized and user-friendly, and it is regularly updated and expanded. Content is available in both French and English and many of the best-known jelilu in Mande are covered.

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I believe that Chants et Histoire du Mandé was originally conceived as a resource for korafolalu, but the information found there would be of interest to anyone wishing to know more about Mande culture and history. The author, Laurent Berté, continues to make frequent updates and the content is quite solid—indeed, the illustrated historical summaries for repertory items are among the best on the Web. Translations are made from French into English and Italian.

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The Mande Studies Association (or MANSA) (in French, the Association des Etudes Mandé) is an "independent society with membership open to all individuals with an academic or professional interest in the Mande region of West Africa." In addition to producing an annual newsletter, they organize conferences and publish their own academic journal, and their website features a lovely photo gallery and also a link to their Facebook page.