Reflection: How Does Our Modern Day Griot Practice?

Posted: June 11, 2012 by phermc10 in Film Critique(Evaluative Analysis)

This is not an ancient, forgotten form of storytelling to educate and keep the past alive. These methods are still being practiced and praised all over the world. It has evolved with us. New technologies allow us larger social networks. Through these means we are able to share and exchange our collective histories as well as our personal histories with more and more people. These advances are the mediums that educate and  keep our pasts and essentially our spirits alive.

Our Griot can utilize new technologies and medium to convey the messages, not only locally, but now to the entire world. Not only can the messages and stories be transmitted, using blogs and other social mediums can allow the Griot and the student to connect on other more personal levels. This also allows for the everyday or sometimes random knowledge to be expressed almost immediately.

Perhaps one might think that, that is part of the beauty of storytelling. That over time and through the course of the human mind, the story morphs, aspects of the tale are lost and/ or added on.  Traditionally, the story from the Griot was only presented to small groups and sometimes individuals, in an intimate setting. But, by way of these new mediums, perhaps the story is still allowed to morph, and that can be found in the many different interpretations occurring from the larger audiences. For example, a Griot might now have a website and regularly publish on a blog. This extension of the Griot makes up for that traditional intimate setting. The location for such relation has now moved into the virtual realm. And perhaps more can be shared…

I have been reading one Griots’ blog. Here is a quote from one of his almost daily postings:

Just to note: This Griot is very active. He is currently touring festivals and working as a Master Teaching Artist with the Orange County Performing Arts Center, designing curricula which fuse the arts with classroom instruction, and has presented in hundreds of schools and other institutions. There is much recognition for his creative uses of storytelling and his commitment to community.

Through out his blog, he records the events and happenings of his travels in real time.

“Why is it important to teach our children that they must be able to stand in a line?”

“All schools are not equal. That goes without saying and I don’t think many will debate the thesis, but there seems to be a shift in the equality of our expectations on our children. I visit more public schools than any other type. Occasionally a private school will bring me to their campus to share tales of my travels, music and even allow me to do a little storytelling every now and then. In every single public school I’ve ever entered, the importance of getting students to form and remain in “straight” lines has been an “entry-level” aspect of the meta-curricula. There are a host of other reasons why educators and parents deem it of paramount importance that our children be able to form lines but I’ll leave that to the more informed among us to expound on.” ( )



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