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The Cultural Legacy of West Africa


The Cultural Legacy of West ... skilled entertainers ... into the present Are detailed and expressive Influenced Spanish painter Pablo Picasso Textiles and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Cultural Legacy of West Africa

The Cultural Legacy of West Africa
  • Chapter 15

Words you need to know
  • Genealogy an account of the line of ancestry
    within a family
  • Folktale a story that is usually passed down
    orally ad becomes part of a communitys tradition
  • Call and response a song style in which a
    singer or musician leads with a call and a group
  • Terra-cotta a baked clay often used to make
    pottery and sculptures
  • Appliqué a technique in which shaped pieces of
    fabric are attached to a background fabric to
    form a design or picture

  • Their culture is diverse
  • Poems and stories to music and visual arts
  • Oral traditions stories, sayings and history of
    city so not forgotten kept by a griot
  • They helped preserve West Africas history and
    cultural legacy

West African oral and written traditions
  • Beliefs, values and knowledge of West Africans
    were passed from one generation to the next
  • Griots record keepers of the people verbal
    artist of Mande people
  • Tell stories, sing songs of praise and recite
    poems while playing a drum or stringed instrument
    skilled entertainers kept historical accounts
    and genealogies
  • Every village had their own griot
  • Tell the history of everyone in the village
  • Could speak for hours or even days
  • Passed from one griot to another
  • They were trusted advisors to the king

Folktales and proverbs
  • Folktales
  • Used to pass along history and to teach young
    people morals and values
  • Many brought to America with slaves
  • Trickster tale story of a clever animal or
    human that outsmarts others (hare)
  • Brer Rabbit
  • Proverbs
  • Popular sayings
  • Images from everyday life to express ideas or
    give advice giving wisdom and values
  • every time a man dies, a library is burnt down
  • Written tradition
  • After Islam came to West Africa writing became
  • Turned ancient oral tradition into novels and
    other works

West African music
  • Important part of life
  • Communicates ideas, values and feelings
  • Celebrates historic events and important
  • Call and response
  • Leader sings a short phrase call
  • Group answer by singing short phrase response
  • Used to ease burden of hard work for slaves
  • Influenced gospel, jazz, blues, rock and roll,
    and rap
  • Musical instruments
  • Balafon wooden bars across a frame
  • Ngoni small stringed wood with fishing line
  • Kora harp like with 21 strings gourd and cow
  • All these instruments are still used today

  • Drummers perform during parties, religious
    meetings, and ceremonies
  • Made of hollowed out logs and covered with animal
  • Drummers play in ensembles or groups with
    different sizes and types of drums.
  • Drumming, singing and dancing take place in a
    circular formation sometimes a call and
    response style
  • Slaves brought the drumming traditions to America

  • Dance is as important as singing and drumming
  • Dance during rituals and ceremonies
  • Dance to educate children
  • Seek help from spirits
  • To connect with dead ancestors
  • Movements reflect conditions live in
  • Forest people look like they are moving through
    forest undergrowth
  • Sometimes wear masks to represent spirits of
    traditional West African religion

West African visual arts
  • Fabrics and basket for everyday
  • Masks and sculptures for rituals and ceremonies
  • Sculpture
  • Used to honor leaders
  • Nok sculptures were made of terra-cotta narrow
    heads, unusual hair styles and dramatic
  • Yoruba made sculptures of terra-cotta and later
    bronze and copper
  • By 16th century making elaborate plaques showing
    kings power and authority
  • Masks
  • Wooden masks worn during ceremonies and in sacred
  • Used to bring spirits of gods and ancestors into
    the present
  • Are detailed and expressive
  • Influenced Spanish painter Pablo Picasso

Textiles and everyday objects
  • Stamped fabrics, story fabrics, kente cloth
  • Use stamps to fill in squares with patterns
  • Represent proverbs, historical figures, objects,
    plants or animals
  • Story fabrics depict events (kings hunting lions)
  • Made appliqués attached to background pieces to
    make designs or pictures
  • Famous for kente cloth narrow strips of silk or
    simple fabrics with symbolic meanings that
    reflect history, values or beliefs
  • Everyday objects
  • Ceramic storage containers, utensils, furniture
    and baskets
  • Used coil method for basket made tight so can
    hold water
  • Still made today

  • Cultural achievements of West Africans still
    influence today
  • Griots helped to preserve history and culture of
    West Africa
  • Folktales and proverbs part of oral tradition
  • Muslim scholars added written tradition
  • Call and response
  • Traditional drumming, instruments and dance
  • Visual arts sculpture, masks, textiles, and
    everyday objects
  • Music and art vital in West African life