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Sory Kandia Kouyate was a very great artist worldwide famous. I know him only by the story that my father told me about his friendship with this legendary artist ; for fear of misjudging about such a great man, I 'd rather talk about :
the exclusive story of the meeting of M. Amadou Berthe, my father, with Sory Kandia Kouyate
a synthesis of legends and historic origins of the clanic and patronymic name «Kouyate».
Justin Morel's Web site
Legend tells that, at the beginning, Bala Fasseke was the appointed «jeli» of Sundjata.
When he went as a messenger to Sundjata's enemy, the king of the Sosso called Soumaoworo Kante, Bala Fasseke was so fascinated by a weird instrument (a xylophone like, the bala), that he came into the private room of the king and began to play it at once. Actually, «the weak side of the jeli is the music, for the jeli's soul is shaped by music», D.T. NIANE, Sundiata, an Epic of Old Mali, Trans. G. D. Pickett. Reprinted Essex: Longman, 1986 .
Hearing those godlike unheard sounds, Soumaoworo Kante rushed in his room and found out Bala Fasseke playing. He blamed the jeli's break in but he fell himself so enamoured by the new tune improvised by Bala for him that he took Bala as prisoner. The aftermath was a « casus belli » and war broke out between Sundjata, the despoiled king, and Soumaworo Kante, the sorcerer king.
Legend has on it that Soumaworo Kante cut Bala Fasseke heel's nerves so he's been bounded then to stay at his own service ; then, Soumaworo Kante gave him those (nick)names : «(é) Bala Fa Sé Ké », i.e. « You are able to make bala talk » and « (An) Ku Yan Té », i.e. : « About it, we can't talk » or « We share a secret » ; that (nick)name was turned in « Kouyate » by French people. Thus, « Kouyate » became the clanic patronymic name of Bala Fasseke male progeny.
«Jelis» and traditionists use to trace back the clanic patronym of « Kouyate » (Kwâte) to an earliest ancestor named « Djakuma (the Cat) Doko Doua », the father of Balla Fasseke. Thus, the cat is the totemic animal of the Kouyate people.
Even today, in many Manding countries, many Kouyate people are «jelis» or artists ; they are the only one who have the ability to tell about the true history or origins of the Mande.
The storyteller of Sundjata, the Epic of Old Mali , is called Djeli Mamadou Kouyate.
During official ceremonies, the Kwâte use to shout out loudly that they are at the most higher estimated degree among the « ñamakalaya » (group of people who belongs to a specific cast). It occurs particularly when «jelis» are singing the song «Lamban».
Source of patronymic name : «Kanté»