Chanter le baja ni : abirè le voyant Dogon

TitleChanter le baja ni : abirè le voyant Dogon
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsW.E.A.van Beek, A.D. Saye, and O.S. Ongoiba
Series titleASC occasional publications
Issue37
Date Published2020
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL)
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number9789054481805
KeywordsDogon, Dogon language, funerals, Mali, singing, songs, songs (form)
Abstract

English abstract. In the 19th century a blind singer roamed the plains and cliff side area of the Dogon in Central Mali. His name was Abirè Goro, and both as a singer and a prophet he gained a huge reputation that still reverberates among the Dogon, who not only still remember and quote his many local predictions, but still sing his main legacy, a cycle of songs called the baja ni. As part of the funeral rituals, these chants are sung during a full night, in a performance lasting seven hours. The texts relate about history of the villages, local wars, village life, but are mainly songs of mourning, expressions of the essence of life as seen by the Dogon: life, death and destiny, the joy of life and the ways to cope with its inevitable demise.This book encapsulates such a song performance, taking the reader to one particular night in one cliff side village, Tireli, where on 8-9 June 2005 some 83 songs of the prophet/singer were performed by a large group of singers. With this performance they took a fond farewell from one of them who had died. For the first time, the texts of these baja ni songs have been transcribed, translated and put into print, with extensive comments and explanations of the often cryptic and symbolic wording. An elaborate introduction gives an overview of the prophet’s life and times, of the ways the Dogon have kept this legacy alive and its place in the funeral proceedings, and delves into the philosophy of life that emanates from these songs. The last chapter deals with the dynamics of these chants, comparing the performance of the book with a series of earlier recordings, since this book is based upon data spreading 40 years.

French abstract. La culture dogon est bien connue, mais un élément de cette culture, d'une extrême richesse et d'une importance capitale, a échappé à l'attention publique. Il s'agit du baja ni (baju nun en Jamsay), un cycle de chants bien au centre des rites des funéraires, mais qui se déroule en pleine nuit avec peu de spectateurs. Ces chants ont été composés par une des grandes figures de l'histoire dogon, Abirè Goro. Chanteur aveugle, il a parcouru la plaine du Gondo et les villages de la falaise au 19ième siècle, et a légué un riche héritage à sa postérité, un énorme acquis non seulement de chansons, mais aussi de prédictions sur le futur du pays, toutes enveloppées dans des légendes sur sa vie. Cet ouvrage révèle l'ampleur de ces traditions, et s'appuie sur une performance complète enregistrée en 2005 dans le village de Tireli; le texte, chanté en Jamsay, est transcrit et traduit avec une introduction sur la vie d'Abirè, ce chanteur-voyant, figure clé dans l'histoire des Dogon, voire du Mali. Chantés comme deuil collectif, ces baja ni recèlent un trésor d'information sur la culture Dogon, et ouvrent une voie surprenante dans la pensée dogon touchant aux grandes questions de vie et mort, de guerre et paix, et finalement sur le destin de l'être humain.

Notes

The book includes a CD containing a selection of the songs described.

 

 

 

 

Citation Key10568