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Griots and Griottes: Masters of Words and Music Hardcover – March 22, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Hale (Pennsylvania State Univ.), already well known for his other publications on the griot (masculine) and griotte (feminine), provides here an encyclopedic introduction to and overview of this ubiquitous and important West African figure. His text starts with the obscure and debated etymology of the word and a definition of this role in terms of traditional functions, which include poet, praise-singer, oral historian, and ritual figure, to name only some regular activities. He then moves on to the possible origin of the griot in the dim past of the region's complicated history. Subsequent chapters consider the making of a griot and the complicated social status of these individuals, i.e. both admired and debased, in the numerous societies in which they appear. Other sections, on the significance of female griottes and the spread of this African cultural symbol to other parts of the world, are less didactic and as such provide fresher reading. Taken together with Paul Stoller's more interpretive work The Cinematic Griot (CH, Jan'93), Hale's study is a valuable addition to the literature on both African societies and the African Diaspora. Upper -- division undergraduates and above.W. Arens, SUNY at Stony Brook 1999oct CHOICE.



"Hale... provides here an encyclopedic introduction to and overview of this ubiquitous and important West African figure.... a valuable addition to the literature on both African societies and the African Diaspora. Upper-division undergraduates and above." -- Choice, October 1999



"Thomas A. Hale's clearly written, informative work is a comprehensive historical and contemporary account of the griot phenomenon, which originated in West Africa....It is, in its entirety, of benefit to a variety of researchers from fields as diverse as history, music, anthropology and sociology, linguistics and literature." -- African Studies Quarterly, Volume 11.2 & 3, Spring 2010

About the Author

Thomas A. Hale is Professor of African, French, and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University. His publications include an edition and translation, The Epic of Askia Mohammed (Indiana University Press, 1996).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (March 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253334586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253334589
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,678,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Jali in America this book was a great resource, it is filled with so much info it is a must for any true storyteller.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BookManBookWoman TV REVIEWS on January 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Hale explains the importance and genius of the music and stories told by these unique community leaders in Africa."
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