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.

Andra Kouyate, (Bassekou Kouyate’s brother) is known for reinventing the instrument into a “ngoni bass”. This invention is larger and longer than the normal hollow canoe-shaped ngoni. Andra is an important figure because he challenges the belief that traditional instruments can not be altered to accommodate the evolving face of music in Mali. 

                                            Andra Kouyate 

Rokia Traore, is also an innovative artist, who has challenged the traditional notions/ restrictions associated with the ngoni. Her revolutionary use of the ngoni and the bala in her music is a trait the makes her exemplary among artists in this field. In general, Traores, a lineage of nobility, are discouraged from performing as entertainers/musicians. Additionally, it is exceptionally rare to witness a woman playing the ngoni.

                                   Rakia Traore

(Posted by JGyamera)

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