West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha; the population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016, at 381,981,000 as of 2017, to which 189,672,000 are female, 192,309,000 male. Studies of human mitochondrial DNA suggest that all humans share common ancestors from Africa, originated in the southwestern regions near the coastal border of Namibia and Angola at the approximate coordinates 12.5° E, 17.5°S with a divergence in the migration path around 37.5°E, 22.5°N near the Red Sea. A particular haplogroup of DNA, haplogroup L2, evolved between 87,000 and 107,000 years ago or approx. 90,000 YBP. Its age and widespread distribution and diversity across the continent makes its exact origin point within Africa difficult to trace with any confidence, however an origin for several L2 groups in West or Central Africa seems with the highest diversity in West Africa.
Most of its subclades are confined to West and western-Central Africa. Because of the large numbers of West Africans enslaved in the Atlantic slave trade, most African Americans are to have mixed ancestry from different regions of western Africa; the history of West Africa can be divided into five major periods: first, its prehistory, in which the first human settlers arrived, developed agriculture, made contact with peoples to the north. Early human settlers from northern Holocene societies arrived in West Africa around 12,000 B. C. At Gobero, the Kiffian, who were hunters of tall stature, lived during the green Sahara between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago; the Tenerian, who were a more built people that hunted and herded cattle, lived during the latter part of the green Sahara 7,000 to 4,500 years ago. Sedentary farming began in, or around the fifth millennium B. C, as well as the domestication of cattle. By 1500 B. C, ironworking technology allowed an expansion of agricultural productivity, the first city-states formed.
Northern tribes developed walled settlements and non-walled settlements that numbered at 400. In the forest region, Iron Age cultures began to flourish, an inter-region trade began to appear; the desertification of the Sahara and the climatic change of the coast cause trade with upper Mediterranean peoples to be seen. The domestication of the camel allowed the development of a trans-Saharan trade with cultures across the Sahara, including Carthage and the Berbers. Local leather and gold contributed to the abundance of prosperity for many of the following empires; the development of the region's economy allowed more centralized states and civilizations to form, beginning with Dhar Tichitt that began in 1600 B. C. followed by Djenné-Djenno beginning in 300 B. C; this was succeeded by the Ghana Empire that first flourished between the 9th and 12th centuries, which gave way to the Mali Empire. In current-day Mauritania, there exist archaeological sites in the towns of Tichit and Oualata that were constructed around 2000 B.
C. and were found to have originated from the Soninke branch of the Mandé peoples, according to their tradition, originate from Aswan, Egypt. Based on the archaeology of city of Kumbi Saleh in modern-day Mauritania, the Mali empire came to dominate much of the region until its defeat by Almoravid invaders in 1052. Three great kingdoms were identified in Bilad al-Sudan by the ninth century, they included Ghana and Kanem. The Sosso Empire sought to fill the void, but was defeated by the Mandinka forces of Sundiata Keita, founder of the new Mali Empire; the Mali Empire continued to flourish for several centuries, most under Sundiata's grandnephew Musa I, before a succession of weak rulers led to its collapse under Mossi and Songhai invaders. In the 15th century, the Songhai would form a new dominant state based on Gao, in the Songhai Empire, under the leadership of Sonni Ali and Askia Mohammed. Meanwhile, south of the Sudan, strong city states arose in Igboland, such as the 10th-century Kingdom of Nri, which helped birth the arts and customs of the Igbo people, Bono in the 12th century, which culminated in the formation the all-powerful Akan Empire of Ashanti, while Ife rose to prominence around the 14th century.
Further east, Oyo arose as the dominant Yoruba state and the Aro Confederacy as a dominant Igbo state in modern-day Nigeria. The Kingdom of Nri was a West African medieval state in the present-day southeastern Nigeria and a subgroup of the Igbo people; the Kingdom of Nri was unusual in the history of world government in that its leader exercised no military power over his subjects. The kingdom existed as a sphere of religious and political influence over a third of Igboland and was administered by a priest-king called as an Eze Nri; the Eze Nri managed trade and diplomacy on behalf of the Nri people and possessed divine authority in religious matters. The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today Western and North c
Mali the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa, a region geologically identified with the West African Craton. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres; the population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako; the sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on mining; some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, salt. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa.
In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan joined with Senegal in 1959. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of a territory in the north, in April declared the secession of a new state, Azawad; the conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and fighting between Tuareg and rebels. In response to territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second-round run-off held on 11 August, legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.
The name Mali is taken from the name of the Mali Empire. The name was derived from the Mandinka or Bambara word mali, meaning "hippopotamus", but it came to mean "the place where the king lives"; the word carries the connotation of strength. Guinean writer Djibril Niane suggests in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali that it is not impossible that Mali was the name given to one of the capitals of the emperors. 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta reported that the capital of the Mali Empire was called Mali. One Mandinka tradition tells that the legendary first emperor Sundiata Keita changed himself into a hippopotamus upon his death in the Sankarani River, that it's possible to find villages in the area of this river, termed "old Mali", which have Mali for a name; this name could have been that of a city. In old Mali, there is one village called Malika which means "New Mali."Another theory suggests that Mali is a Fulani pronunciation of the name of the Mande peoples. It is suggested that a sound shift led to the change, whereby in Fulani the alveolar segment /nd/ shifts to /l/ and the terminal vowel denasalises and raises, thus "Manden" shifts to /Mali/.
Mali was once part of three famed West African empires which controlled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt and other precious commodities. These Sahelian kingdoms had rigid ethnic identities; the earliest of these empires was the Ghana Empire, dominated by the Soninke, a Mande-speaking people. The empire expanded throughout West Africa from the 8th century until 1078, when it was conquered by the Almoravids; the Mali Empire formed on the upper Niger River, reached the height of power in the 14th century. Under the Mali Empire, the ancient cities of Djenné and Timbuktu were centers of both trade and Islamic learning; the empire declined as a result of internal intrigue being supplanted by the Songhai Empire. The Songhai people originated in current northwestern Nigeria; the Songhai had long been a major power in West Africa subject to the Mali Empire's rule. In the late 14th century, the Songhai gained independence from the Mali Empire and expanded subsuming the entire eastern portion of the Mali Empire.
The Songhai Empire's eventual collapse was the result of a Moroccan invasion in 1591, under the command of Judar Pasha. The fall of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the region's role as a trading crossroads. Following the establishment of sea routes by the European powers, the trans-Saharan trade routes lost significance. One of the worst famines in the region's recorded history occurred in the 18th century. According to John Iliffe, "The worst crises were in the 1680s, when famine extended from the Senegambian coast to the Upper Nile and'many sold themselves for slaves, only to get a sustenance', in 1738–1756, when West Africa's greatest recorded subsistence crisis, due to drought and locusts killed half the population of Timbuktu." Mali fell under the control of France during the late 19th century. By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control as a part of French Sudan. In early 1959, French Sudan and Senegal united to become the Mali Federation; the Mali Federation gained independence from France on 20 June 1960.
Senegal withdrew from the federation in August 1960, which allowed the Sudanes
A djembe or jembe is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands from West Africa. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose. In the Bambara language, "djé" is the verb for "gather" and "bé" translates as "peace."The djembe has a body carved of hardwood and a drumhead made of untreated rawhide, most made from goatskin. Excluding rings, djembes have an exterior diameter of 30 -- a height of 58 -- 63 cm; the majority have a diameter in the 13 to 14 inch range. The weight of a djembe depends on size and shell material. A medium-size djembe carved from one of the traditional woods weighs around 9 kg; the djembe can produce a wide variety of sounds. The drum is loud, allowing it to be heard as a solo instrument over a large percussion ensemble; the Malinké people say that a skilled drummer is one who "can make the djembe talk", meaning that the player can tell an emotional story.
Traditionally, the djembe is played only by men. Conversely, other percussion instruments that are played as part of an ensemble, such as the shekere and kese kese, are played by women. Today, it is rare to see women play djembe or dunun in West Africa, African women express astonishment when they do see a female djembe player. There is general agreement that the origin of the djembe is associated with the Mandinka caste of blacksmiths, known as Numu; the wide dispersion of the djembe drum throughout West Africa may be due to Numu migrations during the first millennium AD. Despite the association of the djembe with the Numu, there are no hereditary restrictions on who may become a djembefola; this is in contrast to instruments whose use is reserved for members of the griot caste, such as the balafon and ngoni. Anyone who plays djembe is a djembefola—the term does not imply a particular level of skill. Geographically, the traditional distribution of the djembe is associated with the Mali Empire, which dates back to 1230 AD and included parts of the modern-day countries of Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
However, due to the lack of written records in West African countries, it is unclear whether the djembe predates or postdates the Mali Empire. It seems that the history of the djembe reaches back for at least several centuries, more than a millennium; the goblet shape of the djembe suggests that it may have been created from a mortar. There are a number of different creation myths for the djembe. Serge Blanc relates the following myth reported by Hugo Zemp: Prior to the 1950s and the decolonization of West Africa, due to the limited travel of native Africans outside their own ethnic group, the djembe was known only in its original area; the djembe first came to the attention of audiences outside West Africa with the efforts of Fodéba Keïta, who, in 1952, founded Les Ballets Africains. The ballet toured extensively in Europe and was declared Guinea's first national ballet by Guinea's first president, Sékou Touré, after Guinea gained independence in 1958, to be followed by two more national ballets, the Ballet d'Armee in 1961 and Ballet Djoliba in 1964.
Touré's policies alienated Guinea from the West and he followed the Eastern Bloc model of using the country's culture and music for promotional means. He and Fodéba Keïta, who had become a close friend of Touré, saw the ballets as a way to secularize traditional customs and rites of different ethnic groups in Guinea; the ballets combined rhythms and dances from different spiritual backgrounds in a single performance, which suited the aim of Touré's demystification program of "doing away with'fetishist' ritual practices". Touré generously supported the ballets and, until his death in 1984, financed extensive world-wide performance tours, which brought the djembe to the attention of Western audiences. Other countries followed Touré's example and founded national ballets in the 1960s, including Ivory Coast and Senegal, each with its own attached political agenda. In the United States, Ladji Camara, a member of Ballets Africains in the 1950s, started teaching djembe in the 1960s and continued to teach into the 1990s.
Camara performed extensively with Babatunde Olatunji during the 1970s raising awareness of the instrument in the US. After the death of Sekou Touré in 1984, funding for the ballets dried up and a number of djembefolas emigrated and made regular teaching and performance appearances in the west, including Mamady Keïta, Famoudou Konaté, Epizo Bangoura. A number of other djembefolas—M'bemba Bangoura, Abdoulaye Diakite, Bolokada Conde, Mohamed "Bangouraké" Bangoura, Babara Bangoura, among others—followed their example, creating a ready supply of expatriate performers and teachers in many western countries; the 1991 documentary Djembefola by Laurent Chevallier depicts Mamady Keïta's return to the village of his birth aft
The Baga people are a West African ethnic group who live in the southern swampy lands of Guinea Atlantic coastline. Traditionally Animist through the pre-colonial times, they converted to Islam during the colonial era, but some continue to practice their traditional rituals. Rural and known for the agricultural successes with rice farming, the Baga people speak a language of the Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo family, they are known for their historic animist pieces of artwork, which are on display for their beauty and sophistication at many major museums of the world. After independence, a totalitarian Islamic-Marxist government took over Guinea in 1958, whose forced seizure and program of "demystification" that lasted till 1984 destroyed their ritual arts of the Baga people; the Baga people include a number of tribes. The subgroups include the Mandori, the Sitemu, the Pukur, the Bulunits, the Kakissa, the Koba, the Kalum, they are closely related to the inland Landuma, to the Nalu of Guinea-Bissau and to the Temne of Sierra Leone with whom they share linguistic similarities.
The name Baga is derived from the Susu phrase bae raka, “people of the seaside.”They speak the Baga languages, but many speak the Mande language Susu because it has been the regional trade language. The Baga language exists in many dialects, some of these have become extinct. According to Baga oral tradition, the Baga originated in Guinea's interior highlands and were driven by aggressive neighbors westward to the coastal swamplands, they are considered "first-comers" along the many areas of the Upper Guinea coast, accrued landlords rights in consequence of this. Here they constituted an acephalous society comprising a series of autonomous communities. From the sixteenth century the development of Portuguese trade routes extending down from further north reached the region, which had attracted trade routes from the hinterland; the Baga people, principally involved in the cultivation of rice and kola nut, the production of salt, were a source for supplies to these traders. This new economic activity attracted new settlers to the area and led to the transformation of the society.
Portuguese settlers Lancados, integrated into the evolving multi-ethnic society by marrying the daughters of Baga chiefs, some coming to assume the role of political leaders and establishing ruling dynasties. Thus for example there arose the Gomez and Fernandez Dynasties, with them the start of the colonial era influence. In the eighteenth century, the Fula people created an Islamic theocracy from Fouta Djallon, thereafter began slave raids as a part of Jihad that impacted many West African ethnic groups including the Baga people. In particular, states Ismail Rashid, the Jihad effort of Fulani elites starting in the 1720s theologically justified enslavement of the non-Islamic people and led to successful conversion of animist peoples to Islam; the demand for slaves in colonial plantations made the slave trade economically lucrative. The Atlantic coasts of Guinea became attractive for English and American traders involved in the slave trade. During this period the Susu people migrated into the area where Baga people lived, established dominance in land-based trade in cooperation with the Imamate of Futa Jallon.
The Futa stationed a santigi in Bara to pay tribute to the Imams. In the late 19th century, Guinea became a French colony which impacted all ethnic groups of Guinea including the Baga people. After Guinea's independence in 1958, the Islamic-Marxist Government adopted Islam as the state religion implemented the policy of "forced demystification" of its population and destroyed all Baga traditional religious icons and outlawed non-Muslim religious practices. Only after the death of Sekou Toure in 1984 did Baga culture began to reemerge as an affirmation of tribal identity; the Baga people their women, are known for their skills in rice farming in the swampy lowlands of southern Guinea coastline. The men are fishermen who tend palm and kola trees; the joint family is lineage-based, patrilineal authority rests with the male elders of these kin groups. The elders constitute a village council, but Guinea's nationalization of land and property with socialist laws in mid 20th-century ended the effective power of the Baga elders.
Most families live in clusters of cylindrical mud structures with thatched roofs made from rice straws, these clusters are sometimes grouped to form small villages. The Baga people refused to convert to Islam and retained their animist beliefs. During the colonial slave trading period of West Africa all Baga people converted to Islam. Now predominantly Muslim, they continue to practice animist rituals. For example, they ritually expose their dead for a period of time in a sacred grove, burn some of the possessions and the house of the dead person, before the Muslim style burial; the Baga people are known for their rich history in arts with wood and metal. These include the mask called Nimba, an icon for the goddess of fertility and the largest known masks produced in Africa, they carved Elek symbols as guardian symbols and for coding their Simo society secret lineage into it. Various utilitarian arts included similar encoding of spiritual themes. Another mask called Bansonyi the Baga used to make was a painted pole, colorfully decorated, ending in a calico flag and a triangular icon.
The Bansonyi was used in male initiation ceremonies. After the systematic destruction over the 30 period rule of Islamic-Marxist government, this art is nearly extinct. Mouser, Bruce L. “Who and where were the Baga
African dance refers to the dance of Sub-Saharan Africa, more appropriately African dances because of the many cultural differences in musical and movement styles. These dances must be viewed in close connection with Sub-Saharan African music traditions and Bantu cultivation of rhythm. African dance utilizes the concept of as well as total body articulation. Dances teach social patterns and values and help people work, praise or criticize members of the community while celebrating festivals and funerals, reciting history and poetry. African dances are participatory, with spectators being part of the performance. With the exception of some spiritual, religious or initiation dances, there are traditionally no barriers between dancers and onlookers. Ritual dances have a time when spectators participate. Traditional dance in Africa occurs collectively, expressing the life of the community more than that of individuals or couples. Early commentators commented on the absence of close couple dancing: such dancing was thought immoral in many traditional African societies.
In all sub-Saharan African dance, there seems to be no evidence for sustained, one-to-one male-female partnering anywhere before the late colonial era when it was considered in distinctly poor taste. For the Yoruba, to give a specific example, touching while dancing is not common except in special circumstances; the only partner dance associated with African dances would be the Bottle Dance of the Mankon People in the Northwest Region of Cameroon or the Assiko from the Douala people that involve an interaction of Man and Woman and the way that they charm each other. Emphasizing individual talent, Yoruba dancers and drummers, balss example, express communal desires and collective creativity. Dances are segregated by sex, where gender roles in children and other community structures such as: kinship and political status are reinforced. Many dances are performed by only males or females, in part due to many dances having developed in association with occupational activities, beliefs in gender roles and gender expressions.
Dances celebrate the passage from childhood to spiritual worship. Young girls of the Lunda of Zambia spend months practicing in seclusion for their coming of age ritual. Boys show off their stamina in energetic dances, providing a means of judging physical health. Master dancers and drummers instruct children to learn dances as taught without variation. Improvisation or a new variation comes only after one has mastered the dance and has received the appreciation of spectators and the sanction of village elders. "Musical training" in African societies begins at birth with cradle songs, continues on the backs of relatives both at work and at festivals and other social events. Throughout western and central Africa child's play includes games that develop skills in understanding rhythms. Bodwich, an early European observer, observed that the musicians' maintained strict time, noting that " children will move their heads and limbs, while on their mother's backs, in exact unison with the tune, playing."
The sounding of three beats against two, known as a polyrhythm, is experienced in everyday life and helps develop a two-dimensional attitude to rhythm. The most used musical instrument in Africa is the human voice. Nomadic groups such as the Maasai do not traditionally use drums. In an African community, coming together in response to the beating of the drum is an opportunity to give one another a sense of belonging and of solidarity, a time to connect with each other and be part of a collective rhythm of the life in which young and old and poor, men and women are all invited to contribute to the society. Shoulders, pelvis, legs etc. may move with different rhythms in the music. Dancers in Nigeria combine at least two rhythms in their movement, the blending of three rhythms can be seen among skilled dancers. Articulation of as many as four distinct rhythms is rare, they may add rhythmic components independent of those in the music. Complex movements are possible though the body does not move through space.
Dancers are able to switch forth between rhythms without missing movements. The drumming represents an underlying linguistic text that guides the dancing performance, with most emotional meaning being derived from the actions and metalanguage of the dancer's performance. While the spontaneity of the dancer's performance creates an impression of improvisation, it is a rather strenuously rehearsed technique; the use of this style of dance is not to emphasize the individual's experience, but instead to mediate the interaction between the audience and the drummers performance. Different parts of the body are emphasized by different groups; the upper body is emphasized by Lobi of Ghana. Subtle accent of the hips is characteristic of the Kalabari of Nigeria. In Agbor, strong contraction-release movements of the pelvis and upper torso characterize both male and female dancing; the Akan of Ghana use the hands in specific ways. The stamping dance known as Indlamu is done by the Nguni group of each in their own fashion.
It is a secular dance performed by young men in double line. Different tempos, manners of stamping the ground, ending the dance, ways of holding their dance sticks are used by each tribe: the Itlangwini from Southern Natal. Adumu is a Maasai dance, performed during Eunoto, the coming-of-age ceremony of warriors; this danc
Guinea the Republic of Guinea, is a west-coastal country in West Africa. Known as French Guinea, the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other countries with "Guinea" in the name and the eponymous region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Guinea has an area of 245,860 square kilometres; the sovereign state of Guinea is a republic with a president, directly elected by the people and is head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, its members are directly elected by the people; the judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country. The country is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa, it ends at the Sahel. The English term Guinea comes directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which emerged in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples below the Senegal River, as opposed to the'tawny' Zenaga Berbers, above it, whom they called Azenegues or Moors.
Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population. Guinea's people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. French, the official language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are spoken. Guinea's economy is dependent on agriculture and mineral production, it is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, has rich deposits of diamonds and gold. The country was at the core of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue. In 2011 the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, abuse of women and children were ongoing abuses of human rights; the land, now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. From independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers.
For the origin of the name "Guinea" see Guinea § Etymology. What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires; the earliest, the Ghana Empire, grew on trade but fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period; the Sosso kingdom flourished in the resulting void but the Mali Empire came to prominence when Soundiata Kéïta defeated the Sosso ruler Soumangourou Kanté at the Battle of Kirina in c. 1235. The Mali Empire was ruled by Mansa, the most famous being Kankou Moussa, who made a famous hajj to Mecca in 1324. Shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century; the most successful of these was the Songhai Empire, which expanded its power from about 1460 and surpassed the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth. It continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in 1582; the weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later.
The Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom however, it split into many small kingdoms. After the fall of the major West African empires, various kingdoms existed in. Fulani Muslims migrated to Futa Jallon in Central Guinea and established an Islamic state from 1735 to 1898 with a written constitution and alternate rulers; the Wassoulou or Wassulu empire was a short-lived empire, led by Samori Toure in the predominantly Malinké area of what is now upper Guinea and southwestern Mali. It moved to Ivory Coast before being conquered by the French; the slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European traders in the 16th century. Slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade. Guinea's colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century. French domination was assured by the defeat in 1898 of the armies of Samori Touré, Mansa of the Ouassoulou state and leader of Malinké descent, which gave France control of what today is Guinea and adjacent areas.
France negotiated Guinea's present boundaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the British for Sierra Leone, the Portuguese for their Guinea colony, Liberia. Under the French, the country formed the Territory of Guinea within French West Africa, administered by a governor general resident in Dakar. Lieutenant governors administered the individual colonies, including Guinea. In 1958, the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies Indochina and Algeria; the founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear on 8 August 1958 that France's colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community or immediate independence in the referendum to be held on 28 September 1958. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea—under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence.
The French withdrew and
Music of Africa
The traditional music of Africa, given the vastness of the continent, is ancient and diverse, with different regions and nations of Africa having many distinct musical traditions. Music in Africa is important when it comes to religion. Songs and music are used in rituals and religious ceremonies, to pass down stories from generation to generation, as well as to sing and dance to. Traditional music in most of the continent is not written. In sub-Saharan African music traditions, it relies on percussion instruments of every variety, including xylophones, djembes and tone-producing instruments such as the mbira or "thumb piano."The music and dance of the African diaspora, formed to varying degrees on African musical traditions, include American music and many Caribbean genres, such as soca and zouk. Latin American music genres such as the rumba, bomba, cumbia and samba were founded on the music of enslaved Africans, have in turn influenced African popular music. Like the music of Asia and the Middle East, it is a rhythmic music.
African music consists of complex rhythmic patterns involving one rhythm played against another to create a polyrhythm. The most common polyrhythm plays three beats on top of two, like a triplet played against straight notes. Beyond the rhythmic nature of the music, African music differs from Western music in that the various parts of the music do not combine in a harmonious fashion. African musicians aim to express life, in all its aspects, through the medium of sound; each instrument or part may represent a different character. African music does not have a written tradition; this makes it impossible to notate the music – the melodies and harmonies – using the Western staff. There are subtle differences in pitch and intonation that do not translate to Western notation. African music most adheres to Western tetratonic, pentatonic and heptatonic scales. Harmonization of the melody is accomplished by singing in fourths, or fifths. Another distinguishing form of African music is its call-and-response nature: one voice or instrument plays a short melodic phrase, that phrase is echoed by another voice or instrument.
The call-and-response nature extends to the rhythm, where one drum will play a rhythmic pattern, echoed by another drum playing the same pattern. African music is highly improvised. A core rhythmic pattern is played, with drummers improvising new patterns over the static original patterns. North Africa is the seat of ancient Egypt and Carthage, civilizations with strong ties to the ancient Near East and which influenced the ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Egypt fell under Persian rule followed by Greek and Roman rule, while Carthage was ruled by Romans and Vandals. North Africa was conquered by the Arabs, who established the region as the Maghreb of the Arab world. Like the musical genres of the Nile Valley and the Horn of Africa, its music has close ties with Middle Eastern music and utilizes similar melodic modes. North African music has a considerable range, from the music of ancient Egypt to the Berber and the Tuareg music of the desert nomads; the region's art music has for centuries followed the outline of Arabic and Andalusian classical music: its popular contemporary genres include the Algerian Raï.
With these may be grouped the music of Sudan and of the Horn of Africa, including the music of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Somali music is pentatonic, using five pitches per octave in contrast to a heptatonic scale such as the major scale; the music of the Ethiopian highlands uses a fundamental modal system called qenet, of which there are four main modes: tezeta, bati and anchihoy. Three additional modes are variations on the above: tezeta minor, bati major, bati minor; some songs take the name such as tizita, a song of reminiscence. The ethnomusicological pioneer Arthur Morris Jones observed that the shared rhythmic principles of Sub-Saharan African music traditions constitute one main system. Master drummer and scholar C. K. Ladzekpo affirms the "profound homogeneity" of sub-Saharan African rhythmic principles. African traditional music is functional in nature. Performances may be long and involve the participation of the audience. There are, for example, little different kinds of work songs, songs accompanying childbirth, marriage and political activities, music to ward off evil spirits and to pay respects to good spirits, the dead and the ancestors.
None of this is performed outside its intended socialess context and much of it is associated with a particular dance. Some of it, performed by professional musicians, is sacral music or ceremonial and courtly music performed at royal courts. Musicologically, Sub-Saharan Africa may be divided into four regions: The eastern region includes the music of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe as well as the islands of Madagascar, the Seychelles and Comor. Many of these have been influenced by Arabic music and by the music of India and Polynesia, though the region's indigenous musical traditions are in the mainstream of the sub-Saharan Niger–Congo-speaking peoples; the southern region includes the music of South Afric