West African Oral and Written Traditions
Griot: In medieval times written traditions became important. Griot is a Poet-Musician who tells stories. They perform music, dance, and drama. Every village had its own griot. Griot record keepers of the people. Griots are famous artist in West Africa.
Folktales: West Africa`s oral tradition includes hundreds of old stories called folktale. People in West Africa used folktales to pass and teach their history to young people so they can have respect and to not give up. Many traditional folktales were brought to the America. The folktales became part of South and North America and the West Indies culture. Trickster tales are one example type of folktale. Trickster tales are popular in many cultures. The one famous trickster was in West Africa is "HARE".
Proverbs: West Africa oral tradition includes proverbs or popular sayings. West Africa proverbs use images from everyday life to tell people to don`t give up. One proverb shows how Africans respected their stories.
Written Tradition: When Islam spread to West Africa written tradition became more important. Islam has written many stuff in Arabic.
West African Music
Music has always been an important part of their life. The music tradition continue to influence both African and the world culture. West African have instruments there are called balafon, the ngoni,and the kora.
Drum play an important part in west african cultrue. the drum are covered with animal skin. West African slaves brought the drum to the American. Drumming is an important elements of West African music. drums have different sizes, and shapes often have bells and rattles attached to them. west african drum music and afrocuban druming are popular elements of world music.
West African dance is as much a part of life as singing and drumming are. traditional west African dance are still played in African and around the world. dance can be celebrate a wonderful day at work or help educate children.
West African Visual Arts
They used sculptures to honor their leaders. They also used sculptures to call upon the spirits to bring wealth to West Africa. Sculptures have been discovered in Nigeria. The oldest example came from the Nok cultures in 500 B.C.E. to 200 C.E.
The Nok made terracotta sculptures that had long narrow heads a lot of the time and hair styles and dramatic expressions. Scholars believe that they announced ancestors of mythical figures.
West Africans had wooden masks that were worn on ceremonies and in performance and in religious rites.
West Africans made a lot of textiles that are both beautiful symbolic.
The Nok Sculpture