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Duran, Lucy (2015) The Voice of Tradition: Bako Dagnon and her Family. SOAS [Growing into Music]. Available from

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On July 7, 2015, Mali lost one of its most iconic and revered singers, Bako Dagnon,aged only 62. She was not well known outside the country, despite two international CD releases, but at home she was feted by everyone from Mali’s presidents to the humblest farmers and taxi drivers.  Musicians such as Ali Farka Touré and Rokia Traoré were inspired by her voice, which was not only beautiful, but carried great authority. Bako transcended politics and regional styles; she represented the last of the old school of hereditary musicians, who learned her skills and knowledge with the elders, face to face.  Between 2009-2012, the 'Growing into Music in Mali' film team were extremely fortunate to film this charismatic singer at her home in Bamako, as well as in her remote native village, Golobladji. In a rare extended interview, Bako explains and demonstrates her ideas and philosophy about passing on musical skills and knowledge to the next generation, and we see several of her granddaughters learning and performing. The film features griot music and dance in Golobladji,including rare footage of the sansene, a tradition of songs sung to encourage farmers in their laborious work in the fields during the rainy season, with powerful dancing by the ancient hyena mask. This film provides unique insights into the nature of oral transmission of music among Mali’s legendary ‘griots’ (hereditary musicians) as they interface with 21 st century technology and changing attitudes towards this centuries-old tradition.

Item Type: Videos
Additional Information: A film by Lucy Duran edited by Michele Banal.
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Music
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2017 13:49

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