God and the spread of roots: Griots in a contemporary world
Carolina Hofs (Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon)
In the light of a traditional mande song - Allah la ke - this work in progress proposes a discussion on how mande griots from Guiné-Bissau are in their way to build a common discourse and reflection on their ancestral roots and to engage a political space in that society. The settlement of mande people and their griots in this country seems a particular case in the context of West Africa, being a former Portuguese colony getting its independency in the middle of the 1970's. These initial thoughts aims to contribute for the writing of a PHD thesis on the cosmopolitan status of griots living in Portugal and in Guiné-Bissau taking in consideration the major importance of their songs and Allah la ke, in particular, for the building of a mande identity and their connection to religiosity and artistry.