Sidikiba Coulibaly plays the simbi, the Mandinka hunter’s harp. “If the simbi dissapears, when there is not one simbi player left in Mande, it will mean the end of the Mande culture. The simbi gives Mande it’s reputation.”

Function of Tradition: This Simbi is played for all major hunter’s ceremonies including initiations, deaths, and important reunions. When played for hunters, the music provokes bravery and incites hunters to perform acts of courage. Simbi players function as griots for hunters, singing their stories and recounting their exploits, reminding people of the role of the hunters throughout the history of Mandé.

Reason for Disappearance:
The youth are not interested, they believe it is not a respectable career path and won’t earn them money. Parents discourage their children from learning the simbi because it is associated with animism and is not Muslim. The society that supported artists like Sidikiba has been in decline for many years. Development and globalization, secular and non-secular, are the latest wave of change affecting tradition lifestyles in Mali.

Looking for an original holiday gift?  For a donation of $100 USD or more, the Instruments 4 Africa girls choir will sing a custom praise song (in Bambara) for you or for someone you would like to honor.  In Mali,the praise singer, or griot is the community historian.  They provide an aural history of Mali’s proud culture.  Honor your loved ones this holiday season with a praise song!  Click her to donate through our causes page on facebook.