This abridged rendition of the story of Sunjata Keita, founder of the Mali empire, is valuable for several reasons. Firstly, it is an opportunity for listeners to appreciate the soaring vibrato voice of Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, a true master of the art of the griot.
The Swahili poetess Mwana Kupona binti Mshamu composed Utendi wa Mwanakupona (“The Book of Mwana Kupona”) for her teenage daughter, Mwana Hashima binti Sheikh, around 1858. It’s apparent from the lyrics that Mwana Kupona was very ill at the time of writing these verses and the composition reads an ailing mother’s affectionate advice to her young daughter on how she should conduct herself during her own life.
Come close to me my daughter,
and listen to my advice…
Kambili is the name of the hero of an epic Mandinka poem of the Wasulu hunters of Mali (see Kambili the Hunter for an earlier segment of the poem and further background).
At this time, kolas had been sent out for a wife for Kambili.
And what was Kambili’s first wife’s name?
Her name was said, Kumba…
Kambili is a Mandinka epic poem of the Wasulu hunters of Mali. The poem concerns a heroic hunter, Kambili, and it is set during the reign of the Imam Samori Toure in the 19th century.
Kambili the hunter spoke out,
“My Father, Kanji, he said: “Yes?” the reply…
The following epic poem of Amoogu was composed by Kaalu Igirigiri, an Ohafia Igbo poet, and transcribed by Professor Chukwuma Azuonye from recordings made in the field between 1971 and 1977.
Wardrum, without whose leadership there is fear on the way!..
The following epic poem was transcribed by Dr Alice Werner, who was the professor of Swahili and Bantu languages at London’s School of Oriental Studies between 1917–1930. Dr Werner first encoutered the story of Miqdad and Mayasa during her visit to the village of Bomani, a village in Kenya’s Kilifi County, in 1913.
I begin with the name of the Compassionate,
and pray for the faithful one…