Posted: July 9, 2012 by phermc10 in Context of Film

Further research into the history of these community storytellers opened up more access into a legend that continues to live on in traditional and new age forms.

  • Here is the trailer for the documentary GRIOT. “They fought Islam and won. They fought European colonialism and won. Now, after a thousand years of religious, political and cultural onslaughts, a monolith of West African culture is showing signs of change in the form of a radical new individualism… Griots today are at a crossroads between the traditional, which is increasingly irrelevant, and … something new.” ” The film captures this moment of historic change in the griot tradition, caught now, as it is, between the imperative to maintain the social structures of the past and the need to enter into a dialogue with the international community. “

Other modern references to the tradition can be found in

  • ‘Innercity Griots’ is a hip-hop/ rap group from California, USA. “Inner City Griots (a griot is an African storyteller) takes on Aceyalone’s twisted nursery rhyme “Cornbread,” the positive vibes of “Inner City Boundaries,” the locker-room machismo of “Shammy’s” (an inevitable ode to the ladies), and “Way Cool,” a tale of serial killing horror.”

Reflection: Song and lyric tells the story of the modern urban and suburban lifestyles. What  realities and struggles exist, where joy and pleasures can be found. These tales connect people who can relate and understand, but also reveals a new world to those people who may not know. In this way, these songs unit by keeping the spirit alive and extend the knowledges to those knowing, teaching them other realities.

  • Paule Marshall’s ‘Praisesong for the Widow’. The protagonist in this seems to take on the role of a griot, when passing on history to her grandchildren. The oral story of Africans brought to the U.S. Sea Islands to be slaves promptly turned around and walked back to Africa over the water.

( N/A, . “Litetature Annotations.” Literature, Arts and Medicine Database . New York University, 12 December 2006. Web. 9 Jul 2012. . )

Reflection: These books involve similar contemporaries – slavery era in the United States. Both works connect the audience to a grander story by relating them to individuals and their plights. The characters in these stories represent histories and lessons of life. projecting past histories and knowledges to future generations continues the education of not only the one community, but other global communities. One communities life lessons and knowledges can be spread through  to receive a larger reception. Relating and educating others to the lessons learned of past events is essentially education. How the fruit of that story/ lesson should be received, advances us into the future.



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