People & Culture
People | Languages |
Festivals & Events | Cooking
& Recipes | Music | Art &
major peoples in size order are Bambara 31.4%, Fula Macina 9.6%,
Soninke 7.4%, Sanghai 6.3%, Dogon
The largest tribe is the Bambara, who occupy many of the civil
servant positions. It is the Dogons and the Tuareg who practice a more
traditional way of life.
Dogon are an ethnic group located mainly in the administrative districts of
Bandiagara and Douentza. Within these regions the Dogon population is most
heavily concentrated along a 200 kilometer (125 mile) stretch of escarpment
called the Cliffs of Bandiagara near Timbuktu, South of the Sahara Desert in
West Africa. The cliffs provide a spectacular physical setting for Dogon
villages built on the sides of the escarpment. There are approximately 700
The Dogons are incredibly industrious farmers, their
homeland, the Pays Dogon, has been designated a World Heritage site because of
its cultural significance.
The Dogon are also famous for their artistic
designs in woodcarvings and elaborate masks. Their dances include over 80
varieties of masks, each depending on the type of celebration. (
Africa's People of the Cliffs This stunning photographic
book demonstrates how geography, with a 125-mile range of cliffs, has protected
and dictated the culture of the intensely spiritual Dogon. The focus is on the
people of the cliff face in their villages built beside steep-walled gorges
that are accessible only on foot. Photojournalist Hollyman and anthropologist
van Beek detail the Dogon's skill as agriculturists in growing sorghum, millet,
corn, and onions, and as skilled artisans famous for the masks they
(amazon.com) - USA
(amazon.co.uk) - UK
The Fulani of Mali are also known as the
Fulfulde or Peul. Most estimates of their number in Mali range between 850,000
to 1,000,000 people. The majority of the Fulani are from a sub-group known as
the Futa Jalon. The Fulani people comprise the largest nomadic society in the
world covering at least six nations in West Africa. Fourteen million Fulani are
spread throughout Northwest and Central Africa. The major concentration of
Mali's Fulani population is located within a 150 kilometer radius of the city
of Mopti. Most urban Fulani tend to be sedentary, commercial people, whereas
the rural Fulani tend to be migratory herdsmen.
Photo of Fulani
Information on Fulani People
Fulani Social Life : An Introspective Ethnography A
remarkably well-written and insightful account of Fulani life. . . . In
addition to using the conventional approaches of participating in and observing
the daily activities of the Jelgobe . . . Riesman enriches his account by
examining his personal feelings about particular incidents.Library
(amazon.com) - USA
(amazon.co.uk) - UK
The Tuareg, or 'blue men of the desert' (named
for their indigo robes and turbans) are an ancient nomadic tribe still eking
out a desert existence. They are a proud race of people, famous for their
fighting abilities and artwork, now staring urbanisation and resettlement in
the face. Drought and government policy are threatening their traditional way
of life but Tuaregs and their camel-caravans still appear unexpectedly on the
horizon before melting into the desert again.
Websites with more info
African Tribe Stars in Sirius Mystery
Fulani People - daily chores at the well
Mali National Anthem
Words of the
In all, there are thirty-two languages
listed for Mali, but French is the official language and a large part of the
population uses Bambara as its mother tongue, and as secondary language it is
employed to communicate nationwide.
Languages of Mali
FETIVALS & EVENTS
Festival in the Desert
This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience!
Visit the festival yourself with this 14 day itinerary
Billed as the "most
remote music festival in the world" the Festival is a three-day Afro-pop powwow
held by the Tuareg, the traditionally nomadic "blue people" of the Sahara. It's
a tribe often feared for the banditry of its rebels and respected for the fact
that it has never really been conquered. Combining traditional Tuareg music and
dance, camel races, and competitions during the day, the Festival comes alive
at night with modern Malian music, which is becoming popular the world over
from incorporation into music as diverse as that of Robert Plant and Paul
Simon. Although the centerpoint of this trip is the Festival in the Desert in
Essakane, the itinerary also includes more well-known Mali attractions such as
Dogon country, Djenne, and Timbuctu. Visit the festival:-Click to
view full itinerary
Festival on the Niger 31 January - February 2008
tradional malian musique and dance, a Forum with theme "development
trough culture and tourism", a Fair with local art and food
Fête des Masques - April
The Dogons are famous for
their masks and during the five-day event many of them are used in ritual
ceremonies that go back more than 1000 years . At each Sigui festival, a new
ceremonial mask is carved especially for the occasion, then placed in the
Tellem caves. Remnants of these masks going back hundreds of years have been
found in the caves.
Crossing of the cattle - December
Crossing is the most important Fulani festival in Diafarabe. Every December,
herders bring cattle from the grazing lands to the river at Diafarabe. Here
everyone crosses the river. On the other side families are reunited for a few
days, before they take the cattle to new pastures. The first day is the
Promenade des Jeunes, when the unmarried men and women dress up to attract each
other. There is also a competition to judge the fattest and best looked-after
cattle, with useful prizes.
COOKING & RECIPES
The food in Mali is similar
to that found in Senegal and other areas of West Africa.
Niger river, fish dishes are popular and include Nile perch (or capitaine)
which is either fried or grilled, stewed or baked.
Mali is home to some of the most beautiful,
and successful, contemporary music in Africa. The traditional music of Mali is
based on the songs of the jalis (or griots), a distinct caste in the social
structure since the days of the Mali Empire.
A range of traditional
instruments are used including the Kamal Ngoni (a type of 6-string guitar), the
Djembe (deerhide drum) with modern keybords, electric guitars, flute, strings
The choice of instrument for the jalis is the kora, a
harp-lute string instrument with 21 strings stretched over a long neck of
rosewood and plucked with the thumb and index finger of each hand.
Mali's most famous musician, Salif Keita, is an ambassador for griot
|Awaken the Rhythm of Africa - purchase
one of these fine drums...
hand made. The drum
surface is leather made from animal hide/skin and the base is made of sturdy
carved wood, encircled with plain or braided rope.
In Mali, nearly all ceremonies
are accompanied by the timeless and distinctive melody of drums. Approx. 16-18"
tall, 10" diameter.
Changes the tone when
played. It is played by holding under the arm and striking with a curved stick.
A totally unique; and beautifully African sound.
ART & CRAFT
Whether it be architecture, wood
carvings, brass carvings, wicker crerations, mud cloth fabric designs, bead
bracelets, gold jewellery, dance, or music, the people of Mali are creative.
Mali is also famed for Genuine mudcloth with hand-painted designs using
the traditional methods which have been passed down for many centuries. The
cloth is first woven, then a design is painted on by hand using natural
ingredients. This cloth is then dipped in to specially prepared dyes made with
mud, left to dry and then often dipped again. The process may take several
weeks from start to finish.
Their artistic designs include a whole
variety of woodcarvings and masks
Visit our Mali Art & Craft Shop for a huge variety of art,
craft and fabric from Mali