Diommaya is a song by two of West Africa’s most celebrated griots that cautions the ruling elites of Guinea and Mali about the dangers of exaggerating their own self-importance. Wealth and power are blessings, but will often bring forth arrogance and a lack of consideration for others.
Sory Kandia Kouyaté (1933–1977) was born into the Kouyaté line of griots who have served as poets, oral historians, advisors and counselors to the Keita dynasty since the 13th century, when Sundiata Keita founded the Mali Empire.
In the verses that follow, the musician and singer Seydou Camara, narrates the events leading to the battle of Kambili against the sorcerer Cekura.
Born for a reason and learning are not the same.
Putting tradition aside for one day’s pain is not good.
Hot pepper of the Game…
The Somali Sufi poet, Sheekh Caaqib Cabdilaahi, uses the setting of an arbitration council as a stage for the personification of two of human natures most common vices.
At this council, Pride and Greed are the disputants who have come to express their grievances with one another and to seek to obtain the sympathy of the judges.
Pride and Greed are disputing over a matter
let people assemble for they want to be heard…
Siti Muharam, released her debut album, Siti of Unguja, in 2020 with her own rendition of her great-grandmother’s (Siti binti Saad) acclaimed taarab song, Kijiti.
Siti binti Saad was the first female singer of taarab and the performer who brought the music out of the Sultan’s court and to a mass audience by singing in Swahili and becoming the first musician from Zanzibar to make commercial recordings in 1929.
One of Siti binti Saad’s songs that is most treasured by taarab enthusiasts is Kijiti, a song composed to protest the injustices encountered by women. Kijiti was never recorded by Siti for commercial release, but was learned by other female taarab singers from Siti’s live performances and sustained by the oral tradition through women’s taarab groups.
Look you all, look at what Kijiti has done,
To take a guest and force her to run from his chase.
He went with her to the bush and brought her back as a corpse…