Mudcat Café message #3937697 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3937697
Posted By: Vic Smith
16-Jul-18 - 08:38 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Pseudonymous gives interesting quotations from 'the first ever issue of the Journal of American Folklore" and the one comment that struck me hardest was:-
The second division of folk-lore indicated is that belonging to the American negroes. It is but within a few years that attention has been called to the existence among these of a great number of tales relating to animals, which have been preserved in an interesting collection.

I would really like to be able to ask the person who who wrote this if there is any aspect of human artistic expression where humans do not interact constantly with other creatures; they are a constant source of wonder and companionship for us as well as being a major source of our nutrition.

I had news on Friday of the death of a close friend, Suntou Kouyaté, the great Gambian jali who played, made and taught the balafon. I find that I have been knocked sidewards by this news and am thinking about him and many other jali friends in and around Brikama in the Gambia.
I have been deeply immersed in jaliya culture for over twenty years now and have made many recordings of it (which I must get properly catalogued soon) At the root of most jaliya stories are animals that communicate with humans and are either of great assistance or hindrance to them. I find that the different song-stories seem to have fashions of popularity than are replace by others but then re-emerge after some years. Three of the most popular on my last visit in November were:-
Mali Sajo This tells a beautiful story about the love a hippopotamus felt for a young girl. Later it was killed by European hunters.
Simbo A hunter is wondering about his dog's devotion to him and compares this to his own devotion to a superior being, usually but not always Allah.
Kado During a war between the Fulas and the Mandings the monkeys act as spies for both sides.
I have always been sceptical of those who claim to see very close connection between African and Afro-American culture with statements such as "The Blues comes from Africa" and "The banjo developed from the West African n'goni." and I always tread very carefully when comparing West African animal tales with slave tales from the American south.