Kante, Mamadou. 1983. Drums from Mali. Playasound, PLS-65132.


Dance of rejoicing performed by the men and women of Karta after harvest.

Charry, Eric. 1996. "A Guide to the Jembe." Percussive Notes 34 (2): 66-72.


p. 68

Jembe repertories draw from many different sources. There are widespread core Maninka rhythms and dances such as Dundunba (one of the most widely recorded jembe rhythms), as well as more geographically limited dances such as Soli (Maninka of Guinea), Dansa (Xasonke of Mali) and Sunu (Bamana of Mali).

Blanc, Serge. 1997. African Percussion: The Djembe. Paris: Percudanse Association.


From the Soninké ethnic group, originating in the Kayes region of Mali.

This very popular rhythm is believed to date back to the precolonial era. At that time, in the village of Sagabari, there was a pretty young girl named Sunu Mamady (her father had the same name.)

Everyone loved her, and her qualities as a dancer were greatly appreciated. No festivity could take place without her participation. This rhythm was created in her honor by a djembefola troupe from her village.

The dance is played to celebrate good harvests. It is a moment for young girls to demonstrate their grace and beauty, sometimes even their provocativeness, and for young boys, especially in the Kaarta circle, to demonstrate their strength an vigor and show their acrobatic prowess.

Polak, Rainer, prod. 1997. D˛nkili/Call to Dance: Festival Music from Mali. PAN Records, PAN 2060CD.


Rhythm and song: Sunun.

Sunun originates from the region in the far north of Mali which borders Mauretania. The Kag˛˛r˛, descendants of the Bamana, founded the empire of Kaarta there in the 18th century.

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


Traditional Ethnic Group: KassounkÚ; Mali, Kayes region

Sunun and Djansa (or Dansa) are popular rhythms played at all popular festivities. At one time, Sunun provided the opportunity for young men to express their rivalries.

ForŔ FotÚ. 1999. WonberÚ: Music and Dance in Black and White.


MalinkÚ folk rhythm of welcoming from the border between GuinÚe and Mali played on traditional feast days including marriages, baptisms, and Ramadan.

Polak, Rainer, prod. 1999. Jakite, Dunbia, Kuyate, and Samake: Bamak˛ F˛li: Jenbe Music from Bamako (Mali). Self-produced.


Sunun comes from Kaarta, which is a region and former kingdom in the Nioro, Bafulabe and Kolokani triangle. The people are called Kag˛˛r˛ or Kak˛˛l˛; sometimes they are referred to as a Bamana subgroup. Fulbe, Soninke and others live in the same region. Kaarta is both the northern-most area where a Manding dialect is spoken, as well being the northern-most extension of the jenbe heartland.

Keita, Mamady. 2004. Guinée: Les rythmes du Mandeng. Vol. 1. Fonti Musicali, FMU 0310.


Sunun is a rhythm which comes from the KassonkÚ of Mali. In earlier times, it expressed the rivalry between the young boys. It's a very, very popular rhythm that today we play at all traditional festivals in the Malinke region.*

* Transcription mine; of English-language DVD narration.

Polak, Rainer, prod. 2008. The Art of Jenbe Drumming: The Mali Tradition. Vol. 2. Bibiafrica 30542.


"Sunun" comes from Kaarta, a region in the north-western part of Mali where the Bamana ethnic group had a powerful kingdom in the 17th and 18th centuries. Kaarta may be the northern-most region where the jenbe was played traditionally before it went global. The feeling of this rhythm is rather special and typical of the Mali style of jenbe playing.

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


From Mali.