Music of West Africa

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The influence of the music of West Africa can be found in music elsewhere. Griots, who are wandering musicians, are found throughout the region.

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Instruments

There are commonly drums found in West African music. The main types of drums in Western Africa are the Djembe and the Talking Drum. Also an instrument named the Balafon is very often found in West African music, such as Yiri. There are String instruments found throughout the region. These include the Kora, Ngoni, Adjalin and the Xalim

West Africa Westernmost region of the African continent

West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016, and at 381,981,000 as of 2017, of which 189,672,000 are female and 192,309,000 male.

Djembe rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa

A djembe or jembe is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose. In the Bambara language, "djé" is the verb for "gather" and "bé" translates as "peace."

Balafon type of wooden xylophone originating in Mali

The balafon is a gourd-resonated xylophone, a type of struck idiophone. It is closely associated with the Mandé peoples of West Africa, particularly the Guinean branch of the Mandinka ethnic group, but is now found across West Africa from Guinea to Mali. Its common name, balafon, is likely a European coinage combining its Mandinka name bala with the word fôn 'to speak' or the Greek root phono.

Countries

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The music of the Dominican Republic is primarily influenced by West African, European, and native Taino influences. The Dominican Republic is mainly known for its merengue and bachata music, both of which are the most popular forms of music in the country.

Music of Nigeria overview of music activities in Nigeria

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Music of Mali

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Culture of Equatorial Guinea

While lying on the enriched continent of Africa, Equatorial Guinea has proved to be entrenched in ancient rituals and songs. This is especially true for the Fang, a people whose territories begin at the southern edge of Cameroon south of Kribi, Djoum, and Mvangan in the South Province and continue south across the border, including all of Rio Muni in Equatorial Guinea, and from there south into Gabon and Congo. The capital island of Bioko has largely been influenced by Spanish customs and traditions during the colonial period, when education and health services were developed in the country.

Music of Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea's culture has been less documented than most African countries, and commercial recordings remain scarce.

Music of Guinea

Guinea is a West African nation, composed of several ethnic groups. Among its most widely known musicians is Mory Kanté - 10 Cola Nuts saw major mainstream success in both Guinea and Mali while "Yeke Yeke", a single from Mory Kanté à Paris, was a European success in 1988.

Drums in communication

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Music of Chad

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Shekere percussion instrument from West Africa

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Dunun generic name for a family of West African drums that have developed alongside the djembe in the Mande drum ensemble

Dunun is the generic name for a family of West African drums that have developed alongside the djembe in the Mande drum ensemble.

Slit drum idiophone

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Sub-Saharan African music traditions

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Akonting Senegalese string instrument

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African Journey: A Search for the Roots is a blues album by an American historian Samuel Charters and an attempt to trace the roots and influences of American blues from the 1920s and 1930s back to the tribal music of West Africa. He draws connections and similarities through song content and instrument type and usage. In 1974 he traveled the length of the crescent from Senegal to Nigeria. He then returned to travel up the Gambia River to a slave pen at Jang Jang Bure. His travel path emulated the paths of slave traders. All the musical performances were recorded by means of a tape recorder. The album was released as a double vinyl set. Volume One contains songs performed by historians as well as celebratory songs from The Gambia, Senegal, and Mali. Volume Two consists of funeral processions, dances, and songs from Ghana, Togo and The Gambia.

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