Mande popular music and cultural policies in West Africa: Griots and government policy since independence
During the independence era in West Africa (1958-1984) many nations embarked on ambitious programs aimed at rejuvenating their traditional arts. These programs were realised through new cultural policies such as authenticité, with music being a prime focus. In the 1960s West African governments created dozens of orchestras throughout the region. They paid the musicians a salary, bought them musical instruments, and instructed them to "look at the past" for inspiration. Herein lies the foundation for such famous orchestras as Bembeya Jazz and the Super Rail Band, groups who were at the centre of a cultural renaissance which inspired the whole continent. This book examines the major orchestras and musicians of the independence era, and explains the role of the government and griots in the creation of the new musical styles. The text is supported through biographies of musicians, descriptions of traditional musical instruments, and extensive discographies of African recordings.