Sounds of Casamance WAV
This pack was recorded in Dakar at Laboutique Studios, produced by Pape Armand Boye. Working with musicians from the Casamance region – a tiny, isolated sliver of land below Gambia – this pack is a deep dive into the Diola ethnic music of the region’s people.
The Diola are famous for the akonting, a folk lute instrument. Interaction between voice and ekonting is a central feature of ekonting music, with the melody of the ekonting said to “follow” the vocal melody. Both music and lyrics are typically based on relatively short strophes, often consisting of a repeated four-measure phrase or couplet.
Like most West African regions, music is very important in the daily lives of Diola people. Casamance has seen immense conflict and holds a distinct identity apart from the rest of Senegal. As a result, their lyrics tend to be about pain and suffering. Yet, their music is deeply participatory, inherently social, and associated with positive valences of tradition and heritage, and is often used at festivals, ceremonies, casual gatherings, and beyond.
In this pack, we explored other West African instruments including percussion and strings, in addition to the akonting, along with a modern Senegalese take.