Archive for the 'ngoni' Category

Deviations from the “Traditional” Ngoni


When one thinks of instruments ‘inspired’ by the ngoni, the banjo or the guitar is usually the first to come to mind. However, many Malian artists have been able to alter and ‘defy’ the traditional connotations that are associated with the ngoni. Continue Reading »

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Famous Ngoni Players

The ngoni (or xalam) is said to be the most ancient of the jeli instruments: in an fRoots interview, Bassekou Kouyate, Mali’s most famous ngoni-playing jeli, states, “It is the first instrument of the griots, so ultimately the ngoni is the source of all griot melodies… Continue Reading »

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Ngoni: Construction, Tuning, and Playing

Common regional/ethnic names: bappe, diassare, hoddu (Pulaar), koliko (Frafra), komsa, kontigi (Hausa), koni, konting (Mandinka), xalam (Wolof), molo (Songhay/Zarma), ndere, ngoni (Bambara), and tidinit (Hassaniyya Arabic).

Playing and Construction:

The ngoni is a simple lute constructed with a wooden body acting as a sound box. The body is oval-shaped and is covered with cattle hide. Continue Reading »

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