Niane, Djibril Tamsir. 1975. Le Soudan Occidental au temps des grands empires XI-XVIe siècle. Paris: Présence Africaine.


p. 215

Il y a plusieurs masques récréatifs, les thèmes et les sujets varient pour ainsi dire à l'infini, d'une région à une autre ou même parfois d'un village à un autre. . . . Les Malinkés et les Bambaras exhibent le Konden et le Sogoninkoun, masques à représentation animale. . . . Les nombreuses occasions de fête en saison sèche font des masques des êtres familiers du folklore : l'annonce de l'appartition du Sbondel, du Konden ou du Sogoninkoun est un événement heureux, que les jeunes gens attendent avec impatience. Ainsi les masques récréatifs constituent un élément central de la vie culturelle villageoise.

Keita, Mamady. 1995. Mögöbalu. Fonti Musicali, FMD 205.


The Kondèn or Konèn is the masker who protects the older bilakoro in the days leading up to their circumcision. Very handsome, he is also a fine dancer, which accounts for his popularity amongst the young.

The best Kondèn are to be found in the current prefecture of Siguiri (Upper Guinea) and in the village of Banfèlèh in particular. He had the reputation of inventing the finest dance movements, but also of being quick to strike out with his riding crop to punish naughty children. He is in this somewhat the equivalent of the Francophone Père Fouettard or the English Mr. Bogeyman.

Banfèlèh, Banfèlèh, Banfèlèh, Banfèlèh,
Kondén di wa Banfèlèh, The Kondèn will go to Banfèlèh,
Kondén Fadima djy karo bada böö, The time has come for the circumcision of Fadima Kondèn,
Kondén di wa Banfèlèh! The Kondèn will go to Banfèlèh.

(Kondé Diarra)

Kondé is the name of a sacred mask which is taken out on the last day of the celebration that follows Ramadan. The percussion resound [sic] all night long, along with the bull-roarers that evoke a lion's roar (diarra) and frighten the women and children.

At night, "...a young boy is given to the Kondédiarra. Kondédiarra, do not kill me, I am my parents' only child...",

At dawn, "...the rooster has sung and the day is breaking. Women, get up and go to the celebration...",

Billmeier, Uschi, and Mamady Keita. 1999. A Life For the Djembe: Traditional Rhythms of the Malinke. Engerda, Germany: Arun-Verlag.


Traditional Ethnic Group: Malinke; Wassolon Region/Kurussa Region

Konden is a mask which walks fast and dances. Konden is a mask dance dedicated to the young men between the ages of fifteen and twenty years. Konden runs after the guys, and, when he catches them, hits them with a rod. In earlier times, the dance was only accompanied by singing and clapping. The mask dancer holds thin branches with leaves in his hands. The mask looks truly frightening and the little children get scared, their fear intensified further because of threats made by the adults: "If you are not nice the Konden will come and get you!"

This rhythm, especially the dunun voices, varies by region.

Keita, Mamady. 2000. Balandugu Kan. Fonti Musicali, FMD 218.


Konden is the protective mask of the bilakoro, the uninitiated boys. Its protection is particularly demanded in the days before circumcision. Today he dances also at public festivities.

Kemilölen temasidi gbengbeden kewulen badibadi The man who is standing up and who has fastened his belt is a red man.
E konden nankö tuyee You, Konden, there is the forest of the Nanko river.
Wara sanni tubabuma All has been sold to the white man.
Nankö tyuee There is the forest of the Nanko river.

Keita, Mamady. 2004. Guinée: Les rythmes du Mandeng. Vol. 2. Fonti Musicali, FMU 0320 & Vol. 3. Fonti Musicali, FMU 0330.

(Konden I & II)

Konden is a Malinke mask from the Wassolon region of Guinea. It is a terrifying costume, causing fear in young children, but it is also Konden who takes care of the youngsters dancing around him. From one region to another, the accompaniment parts vary. That is why I call "Konden I" the version that we play in Wassolon and "Konden II" the version from the region of Kouroussa.*

* Transcription mine; of English-language DVD narration.

Camio, Mansa. 2006. An Bada Sofoli: Malinké Dunun Music of Upper Guinea. Middle Path Media, MPM 001.


This song honors the ancient Barati, the Kondé-dji.

Hé Kondé-oulen nan gnada yé Hé the mother of Konde-oulen was good.
Kondji nan gnada yé The mother of Kondé-dji was good
Nan gnani né Was good
Kondé dji nan gnada yé The mother of Kondé-dji was good
Hé Kondé-oulen nan gnada yé Hé the mother of Konde-oulen was good.
Djirilanka The people of Djirilan
lou te folon dalamon don’t celebrate the pond, Folon dala
Djirilan ka di wouyafo They are good liars
Dougnan gbalon ni folonka yilayé But Folon's people are the best liars!

Bangoura, Kerfala "Fana." 2008. Sekha Kan-Kolon. Self-produced.


From the Upper Guinea region played by the Malinke peoples. Sacred music played in magic ceremonies of sacred men.

Oulare, Fadouba. 2008. Fadouba Oulare. Abaraka Music.


A mask dance from Kouroussa Guinea, played to keep away evil spirits.

"Banfaley Banfaley konden nyiwa Banfaley, konden farahma na karo barabo konden nyiwa Banfaley." Banfaley, Banfaley konden, Let's go to Banfaley. Time is close to go to Banfaley go dance konden.

Delbanco, Åge. 2012. West African Rhythms. Charleston, SC: Seven Hawk.

(Konden #2)

Mask dance from the Kouroussa region of Upper Guinea (now often wrongly played with dununba kenkeni.)