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Mezana Dounia

By Massa Dembele

In Western Burkina Faso Dembele is one of the few surnames bound to the Jeli (commonly known as griot)-a hereditary caste of West African musicians who act as praise singers, historians and social commentators. Given the historic weight attached to his name, Massa Adama Dembele's entrance into the life of a musician can be seen as a matter of destiny. Growing up in the village of Dara, Massa was immersed in community musical life. Through performances at ceremonies and social gatherings he was initiated on a variety of traditional instruments including the djembe drum and the balaphon (xylophone). However, it was the discovery of the kamele n'goni that would have the greatest impact on Massa's emerging creative life. This West African harp, that resembles the kora in construction and sound, would soon become the focus of Massa's songwriting and the instrumental voice he would use to speak to the world.

IZNIZ006. Coming in July, 2017