Songlines | Explore Mande music

Mande music Profile

The Mande empire, which was was founded eight centuries ago and spanned modern-day Mali and Guinea, bequeathed a rich musical legacy, handed down by generations of griots (traditional musician and singers) who orally preserved the traditions of Mande culture and history. The best known classical griot instrument is the kora, followed by the lute-like ngoni and the wooden xylophone known as a balafon. In the 1970s Mande music was modernised by groups such as the Rail Band and Les Ambassadeurs du Motel combining traditional and popular contemporary styles and then taken to an international audience by singers such as Salif Keita and Mory Kante.

Watch

Subscribe from only £34.50 per year

Start your journey and discover the very best music from around the world.

Subscribe

View the Current
Issue

Take a peek inside the latest issue of Songlines magazine.

Find out more