Through music, an entire region is emerging… the Mandingo Empire. From Abidjan to Dakar, through Bamako, Segou, Ouagadougou, Conakry, Nouakchott, Niamey and Banjul, different music is fading. The greatest stars of African music are geographically the Mandé. One discovers the extent, cultures and languages of a people.
“A part of the singers and musicians photographed belong to this caste traditionally invested with an essential role: the transmission of memory by speech in a society without writing – because despite the ancient Islamisation, outside the mosques, Arabic Koranic has never succeeded in supplanting the oral tradition. Mandingo music is above all “verbal”: it is the expression of a magnificent language, which in its various variants (bambara, dioula, malinké) plays a predominant role throughout West Africa – economic, historical, political and social – because it is the language of business. For a Mandingo musician, the melody is above all a matter of meaning.
Gérald Arnaud, journalist