Books and Films


The following list is by no means exhaustive, but these texts are recommended for further reading on the culture, history and music of the Mande people.

  • Griots and Griottes Masters of Words and Music (African Expressive Cultures) Thomas A. Hale (2007)
  • Griots at War: Conflict, Conciliation, and Caste in Mande Barbara Hoffman (2001)
  • La kora: objet-témoin de la civilisation manding Ousmane Sow Huchard Presses Univ. de Dakar, 2000 (in French; difficult to buy)

  • In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali Banning Eyre (2002)

  • Mande Music Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology) Eric Charry (2000)
  • Sidikiba’s Kora Lesson (with CD) Ryan Thomas Skinner (2008)
  • In search of Sunjata: the Mande epic as history, literature and performance. Austen, Ralph (ed.) (1999)
  • Sunjata, Gambian versions of the Mande epic. Bamba Suso and Banna Kanuteh, edited by Lucy Durán, and Graham Furniss. (1999)


  • Growing into Music in Mali and Guinea.

Two films funded by the UK Arts & Humanities’ Research Council, “Da Kali - the pledge to the art of the griot” and Part 2 “Dò farala a kan: something has been added” are about the lives of children growing up in Jali families in Mali. They learn traditional songs and play kora, ngoni, jembe and bala. The films were made by Professor Lucy Durán and can be viewed online:

  • Mandekalou (2004) The Art and Soul of the Mande Griots.

A short French language documentary (51 minutes) based on the album of the same name (of which a second volume was later released.). It features several interview recounting the history of Jaliya and covers the making of the CD, which features numerous West African artists.