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INTRO (Repeats for a while)

Dj        . . M . M . M . . . M . M . . B >
          b . B . b . . B b . B . b . . . >
Dun       . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B >
          B . B . b . . B b . B . b . . . >
Bell      x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . >
          x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x .

Lead Standard Break Begins on 5th Muff.

          1 - - - 2 - - -
Dj1       T t S s B . S s 
Dj2       S . . s S . T t 
Dun       B . B . B . . B


NAME OF RHYTHM: Lamban, Lamba, Lambambaa, Lanbango, Lambango, Lambang, Jali,

                Jeli Foli, Jalidon,  Dialidon, Diely-Don, Griot

COUNTRY: All Mande countries (Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast,

                                     The Gambia and Senegal)




Here's my understanding of Lamban (sometimes spelled Lamba or Lambango in The Gambia), also known as Jeli Don (Dance of the Jelis ) or simply Griot (a term that originally apeared in French travel writing in the 17th century referring to jelis or the Wolof or Fula equivalent):

It has origins on the balafon as a piece created by and for jelis (Maninka hereditary professional musicians), specifically the Kouyate lineage. If you want to praise a Kouyate, all you need do is play Lamban. How and when the dundun came along with Lamban is impossible to speculate upon--maybe it even started out on dundun, but there are no oral traditions about this. At any rate, it makes the most sense that the jembe is a later accretion to Lamban. The crux of the problem is: when jembe players played along with balafon and dundun players, why did they choose a 4/4 generic accompaniment pattern (albeit played at times with a triplet feel)? I can't see any basis for an answer to this question yet. (snip)

In Greensboro, Joh had explained that Dansa was played to encourage workers during agricultural labor and Lamban was played by jelis to celebrate when the fruits of that labor (the harvest) was shared with them. He may also have said that Dansa was played to celebrate the harvest. But I wouldn't pin Joh down to that single explanation; of course he may have simplified what he knew due to the circumstances. There does seem to be a close connection between Lamban and Dansa, but the historical explanation is unclear. On Djimo Kouyate's cassette he has the dundun go into Dansa during Dialidon (Jelidon), and that is typical. The bilingual article "Pre-theatre et rituel: National Folk Troupe of Mali" in African Arts, Spring 1968 vol. 1, no. 3, pages 31-37, written by Jean Decock, shows a drawing and photo of Dansa dancers indicating it is danced by girls from Khaso (Xaso) to celebrate the harvest. (Eric Charry) During Sunjata's time (13th century), there was an occasion when all the balaphon players gathered together. They said, "We should have our own tune, which we can dance to ourselves". So it was on that day they invented "Lambango" for the jalibas to dance to. It became a general tune for all jalis, which they used to play and dance to, to entertain their heroes, kings, and patrons.

Although it originated as music for the balaphon, it was also played on the kontingo (lute). There was a kontingo player named Lamin Dambaketeh who modified "Lambango" to its present style, changing the tune a bit. Lamin Dambaketeh was about to marry a very famous jali woman, Bantang Kuyate, who was an excellent singer and historian. One day, Lamin left his village to visit Bantang. Unfortunately, before he arrived, she died and was buried. Upon his arrival, he was told the sad story. He asked the people to show him Bantang's grave. He went there with his kontingo and played a special version for his dead fiancee.

"All is possible, Bantang Kuyate (but) Beauty will not prevent death, Bantang Kuyate" This modified version of the melody has since become the standard "Lambango" and the original version is no longer played. (Lynne Jessup)

In past times, Lambambaa was played as a celebration of the culture of the Jaliyaa. Unlike the vast majority of songs in the traditional repetoire, which are centered around non-jali figures, Lambambaa is meant for the members of the jaliyaa in the village in which it is performed, as the men play the kora and balo, and the women dance and sing. Today this song is extremely popular in the Mandinka area, and especially in Gambia where it has been adapted to include lines that call for the populace to pull together for the good of the country. (Morikeba Kouyate)

This is a dance celebrating the art of the jali. (Ancient Heart)

Lamban is one of only several kora pieces that was created by jalis for their own entertainment. The piece has not been traced to any other particular story or legend, and probably originated on the balaphon. Malian jalis often play this classic piece to relate any event they may wish. Lamban is also played in Suata tuning (Ed. note - a kora tuning). Amadu's interweaving of kumbengo and birimintingo illustrates the depth of his musical prowess. (Much of kora music is based on short cycles of finger movements called kumbengo. These kumbengo may be continuously developed within a piece with slight variations in rhythm and melody. Another important element of kora playing is birimintingo, or downward spiralling melodic runs, which can be fast and highly ornamental in nature.) (Amadu Jobarteh)

This is supposed to be one of the oldest tunes in the Manding repertoire. "The musicians didn't compose this for any patron, they did it for themselves. They would just sit down with their wives and feel happy, and their wives would dance and sing.". Lambango is originally a balaphon tune, in Hardino tuning. (Ed. note - another kora tuning; this recording is a kora performance) (Jaliology)

A griot song and dance celebrating the Griots themselves, praising God for giving them the art of music. Griots rejoice in this ancient song that is played in many villages, especially on moonlit nights. (Jali Kunda)

This song praised the Jali (Oral Historians) who keep alive the tribal culture of the people of West Africa (Vieux Diop)

This tune is dedivated to griots whenever they host a ceremony (M'Bady Kouyate)

This rhythm is played by the griots, a class of travelling musicians, poets and story tellers whose duties include the recitation of family and tribal histories. (Khassonka Dunun)

Lamba is the dance of the Jalis, Keepers of the Oral Tradition. Lamba is a spiritual dance and rhythm that is used in healing to promote a sound mind and body. (Nurudafina Abena)

Lamba is a song/dance/ceremony enacted at passages of life and for spiritual cleansings (Sule Greg Wilson)

This music is played by the Griots for Griots, also known as Djelis. They say Allah did a good thing in creating the status of Djelli. (Yaya Diallo)

Dialidon is traditionally the special rhythm for only griot families. Today it is popular and danced by many people in the cities and villages. However, the song that accompanies the music is specifically to honor griotmembers. (Djimo Kouyate)

One of few songs designed to entertain griot clan members, griot families only play this song when amongst themselves. Lambang is accompanied by the Jalidon, the griot dance. When the moon is bright the men come out and play the kora and the balaphone while the women dance and sing the Lambang song. Music is created by God and God created us to play good music and dance. (Mandeng Tunya)

In Mali, Lamba is played entirely on dunun; in Guinea and Senegal it is played by djembe and dunun together. It is a celebration and processional rhythm, One version is the "Kings Lamba" used by rulers and chiefs, another is the "Dance of the Griots" which is danced and played for the Jeli or griots; the traditional oral historians, praise singers, ambassadors and advisors of West Africa. (Impala)

A Bambara/Manding rhythm (with it's accordant songs, dances, clothes, talismans, and so forth) played at rituals of major passages in life - marriage or circumcision for example. A royal court dance of gesture and protocol where the dancer gives praise to the almightly chiefs, kings, queeens and so on. The introduction is a series of praises and salutations. (Christine Reagen Rosales)

The term for a group of dances from the Malinke people of West Africa used as court dances for kings, and dances of healing and rites of passage. (Bomidele)

A widely known song about the joys of being a jeli. The lyrics refer to a familar expression which stresses the importance of the jeli to social cohesion: "Jeliya, o ye jalla di, ni jalla wulila, kulusi be wuli" (The art of jeliw is like a belt; if you take it away, the trousers fall down). (Ana Be Kelen)

That's another very old song. I don't know who composed it. There are lots of new ideas in this version, to see how it goes with the band. The song comes from Mali. If a musician, a jali, likes to marry a jali woman, then the day of the marriage all the jalis come together and play this song, and dance. It's a song for the jalis. (Dembo Konte)

Song of the Jelis (Mali-Guinee) God himself entrusted the jelis with their mission just as he created invisible spirits and mortal humans. A jeli cannot fear telling the truth to men who, one day, will return to the earth since the jeli's words are immortal. Hear ye, I know a land where men scrape the hard earth without complaining and women reap immense fields of sadness. In this land, babies die of hunger and mothers cry softly. (Cisse)



Ye, jaliyaa, Alla le ye ka jaliyaa da

(Ah, jaliyaa, it was God who created jaliyaa)

Alla nung ka mansayaa da, ate le nata bannayaa da

(It was God, too, who created kingship, and then wealth) (Morikeba Kouyate)

Ye, Jaliya-o, Alla le ye ka jaliya da

(Oh music, God created music) (Jali Kunda)

Fugaba sangban kodole tokole fuga mogo lombali milon

Fuga, fugaba mogo lambali milon

Dia dia dia dia dia e dia dia lombali a dimini

Sangban kodo e ate togola fugala

Old field is not barren desert, He who doesn't know you, ignore what you're

worth. Old field, old field. He who doesn't know you, ignore what you're

worth. Oh! How ignorance can hurt! (Kendigo)

Oh Libo Mansanya

Nye Kilebo La Ila

Simbo Mansanya

E ye Djallia (Lasensua)