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Duran, Lucy (2015) '“Soliyo” (Calling the Horses): Song and Memory in Mande Music.' In: Harris, Rachel and Pease, Rowan, (eds.), Pieces of the musical world: the study of music in culture. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 27-44.

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Soliyo (Soruwo) (literal translation, ‘Horses, oh! – but usually known as ‘Calling the horses’) is an archaic song in the Mande griot (jeli) repertoire, performed acapella by female griots (jelimuso) in praise of their patrons. It is fundamental to the expression of jeli culture, and yet, little has been written about it. At worst, the song is formulaic and predictable; at best, it is an exhilarating vocal tour de force, technically demanding, powerful, improvisational and highly individual - a praise song par excellence. This chapter considers why Soliyo is so widespread throughout the Mande world today, and traces it back to the 14th century, drawing on recent archeological work in Mali, suggesting that it probably originated as a literal ‘call to horses’. .

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Music
ISBN: 9780415723114
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2015 16:25

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