Journal article

Guardians of culture: The controversial heritage of Senegalese Griots

AH Hearn

Australian Journal of Anthropology | Wiley | Published : 2004


The low-caste Griots of Senegal's Wolof community, traditionally employed as singers of histories and praises, earn their keep today by playing sabar drums at private women's dance parties. Although these gatherings are publicly scorned for the sexually expressive dances they involve, they are nevertheless immensely popular behind closed doors. Many Griot drummers justify their participation in sabar performances by linking the activity with the work of their historically marginalised ancestors, though this connection is disputed by elderly Griots, who view it as departure from their occupational tradition. While sabar is criticised for subverting both Griot heritage and public standards of ..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers

Citation metrics