Sundjata, fondateur du Manden
© Sylvie Berté - Pastel 2002
«Sundjata» is the most famous song of the Manding tradition. This song is also known under the title of «The Anthem of the Bow» or «Simbo».
«Sundjata» is drawn from the panegyric praising verses «Sundjata [faassa]» devoted to the founder of the Empire of Manden, Sundjata Keïta (1218-1255, king 1235 to 1255).
The panegyric praising verses devoted to Sundjata are often quite extended because they include :
many parts of «Soumaworo faasa», i.e the Soumaworo Kante's panegyric, enemy of Sundjata ;
many verses having proverbial intents from the song «Suba» ;
some parts of the epic song «Janjon» that widen on panegyrics of the Kamara lineage and Fakoli Kourouma, nephew of Soumaworo Kante, and also some warchief allied to Sundjata as well as the panegyric of Tira Makhan faasa, general of Sundjata.
Note the precision of Massa Makhan Diabate, in Janjon and other folk songs of Mali : [bibliography] :
«Traditionalists jèlílua jèlí (plural, jèlílu) is a bard, loremaster, and praise-singer in the Manding areas whose functions are story-telling, speaking about lineages, singing and playing music as he want and hear it... Read more. use to say that the refrain of that epic song was composed by Tumu Manian [Kwâté], an old jeli women who would have followed Sun Jata in exile ; then, the main lyrics would have been improvised by Bala Faseke Kuyate after the victory of Sun Jata against Sumangurun.»
Famous performers of «Sundjata» :