About Gambia

:: Forward ::

My name is Basiru Njai known as Bass. Am from a town call Bakau in the country called Gambia in West Africa. Gambia is a very small country with about one million people the whole population. We have six different tribes, I come from a tribe called the Mandinka, but we have other tribes as Fullers Balantas, Wolof, Jolla’s and the Manjakurs.

In Gambia all this tribes you see are traders. In many years ago before the slaver started in Africa or before the people know about money, that time people do only (Bartering) and they will travel around Africans doing trading, like they will trade there marital in one place and travel to another place. In that time Africa was a one big country, you have only tribal borders, where every tribes have their area. So the trading goes wetting the tribes in that time, and some of these traders from the western part of Africa and settles in Gambia and continues there trading or business.

All those tribes have their own language, culture, traditions even the food we eat, and all the tribe s are completely different from each other, we have to learn each others culture, tradition and language in other to know moor about other tribes. In Gambia if I want to know more about other tribes I to learn there language, so we have to learn others language to understand what the person is saying, some time we learn each others language true neighbour and intermarried. Even doer we all are Gambians still we have to learn each other’s language.

Mandinkas are the larges tribe in the country, that way it is the common language along with wolof almost all the people in the country can speak one of this two languages, and there is no segregation within the tribes. We see each other as brothers and sisters and we have intermarriages within the tribes.

:: Musical life in Gambia::

In Gambia the musicians from all the tribes are stuck in to their own traditional music. Like am a Mandinka musician so I will play only Mandinka traditional music, and that how it is in every tribe, if you see they play other tribes music, which happens only when there is a drumming session going on.

Like a Mandinka tribe is having a ceremony and a drum session is going on and a person from another tribe jumps in that drumming session and started to dances to the Mandinka music, but the musicians can see how the person dance to the rhythm. So they will change the rhythm to that person traditional rhythm as a guest dancer. And when that guest dancer stop dancing the musicians will change the rhythm back to there own traditional music.

But the good thing with all this traditional music’s from those different tribes, you never get boring, because every tribe have moor then three rhythms and all this rhythms have there own dancing and singing and the best thing in drumming season, there is no time barriers, when the drummers are playing in Gambia they can play one rhythm for almost one hour or some times moor.

And when there is a ceremony or party some where, you can always go to that ceremony, it does not matter, which tribe you come from in Gambia, when you here drumming in one of the compound you can always go and listen or maybe when it is a ceremonial party you can join in the party no one will even notes that you are there.

Because when we are having a ceremony it is always open for any one. We have this believe that the moor we are together the happier we all will bee and the moor people in the ceremony the moor crowded it become and the person who have this ceremony get moor happier. And when the drumming season comes in the evening moor people will come to dances and sing some like just to watch season.

Read also about:

:: My musical life and how i became a drummer

:: The Instrument of the tribes


For contact: Bass Njai - Tel.: +45. 62 25 15 94 - e.mail: bass@african-drumming.com