Jola Initiation Ritual: Mapping No-1

The phenomenon of folkloric festivals and cultural identity in the contemporary Senegal region of the Casamance provides a unique opportunity to experience and describe customs that have dictated creative and functional experiences for over a thousand years in the western mid enclave of African continent. In seeking to understand this subject we are made aware of the changing textures of time and space and the beauty of physical universe existence, as well as the challenge of continental mapping and composite humanity. This is so because the essence of African identity can be sensed through its integration of individual and communal ‘zones of experiences as well as the blending of multiple planes of consciousness (i.e. reception /hearing). This same sensibility can be viewed in African music as well and the spectra of this phenomenon encompasses the role of creativity as a transcendent factor that underlines (and ‘cements’) the aesthetic imprint of summation cultural identity and vibrational dynamics. The folkloric festivals of this region of the African continent has an added significance when seen in the total context of a changing African landscape and constantly shifting geo-political world order. Slowly but surely, the future of contemporary research into the aesthetic spiritual and/or functional components of African continental experiences (dynamics) will be based on examining the collected isolated fragments and recorded documents that were gathered through actual encounter experiences from the first and second wave of scholars that partitioned Africa- (starting from the second wave of documentation and travel records from the sixtieth century extending to the present era) as opposed to the possibility to experience an actual real time African ritual creative experience – that would allow for an opportunity to experience first hand and penetrate (learn) into the earliest continental ‘genesis-secrets’ of given cultural ritual/symbolic practices, or ‘zones of focus’; because this area of African experience is undergoing profound change as we move into the third millennium.

The folkloric festival in Casamance is a timely occurrence that gives insight into the regional cultural qualities of a people in transition. In seeking to penetrate into this subject one has an opportunity to: 1) better understand the subject of Identity from a universal perspective 2) notice the ‘spectra’ of correspondence qualities that allow for ‘genesis associations’ as ‘experienced from responses from actual events in progress- as a ‘point of focus’ to speculate on the larger question of African aesthetics and value systems 3) look at the subject of form and interaction dynamics (and what value a given formal state might have as for ‘inquiring into a unified African vibrational and mental disposition- that could also assist the effort to better understand the subject of Africa from a continental and universal perspective) and finally 4) to better understand the special role of music, and what I call ‘vibrational dynamics’, in composite African culture and what this subject could mean to trans-African ‘vibrational-radiance’ as we approach the new millennium. In the first category, the challenge of identity for this paper will involve an attempt to isolate the kind of ‘event-action focuses’ that took place during an actual festival that happened in Casamance, in — Africa as a way to look for geo-sonic/image ‘qualities’- that in its extended sense can be equated with the primary constructs of tri-metric modeling. The opportunity to explore this idea is possible because Doctor Peter Marks of Wesleyan University has given me access and copies of his video recording collection of Jola initiation ritual re enactment’s at the festival of Casamance – this paper is possible only because of a unique opportunity to examine actual video documentation and I thank Dr. Marks for this opportunity. Video tape number one documents the second day in a Jola men’s initiation ritual that took place at Thionk-Essyl (which is one of the largest urban centers outside of Bignona. I have sought in this paper to explore the connections between tri-metric modeling techniques in my system and the existential ‘doingness of a given ‘focus and/or actions’ in Jola ceremonial ‘experience’ – as recorded on video tape during an actual performance; as a way to better understand the similarities and differences that such a study might render to the notion of universal ‘form-states’. I have taken this approach for my paper because the subject of African culture cannot be penetrated with present day western music analysis tools that only emphases the isolated particulars of isolated actions and/or responses, separate from the person making the action. Besides, these approaches have already been done.

The subject of identity in trans-Senegalian Africa ritual structure is an important subject that is not isolated to only the particular experiences of a given regional people or culture, but rather in seeking to understand the vibrational ‘qualities’ of this subject one is reminded of the historical dimensions of composite African history. Because the Jola people are connected to the genesis ‘cultural-sentiments’ of the region from a continental historical perspective – that is, their experiences and ‘particulars’ (and emanations) can be viewed as an affirmation of the unique ‘experiences of continental Africa’- going back to ‘the original ways’ of the people long before the onslaught of Islamic and Christian religion influences. As such, the subject of identity and ‘states of identity’ in Jola culture (as a genesis quality and/or construct) gives insight into the aesthetic dimensions of African vibrational dynamics as well as the phenomenon of cultural and ‘continental perception’, as a progressional phenomenon (context and ‘quality’) that is separate from the influences of the modern era. To experience the procession of events in video tape number one immediately notices: 1) the spectra of old and modern practices co-existing in the composite community, 2) the ‘terms of balance’ that allows for cultural interaction dynamics, and 3) the vibrational ‘blending’ of the composite community. The aesthetic ‘disposition’ of the opening ceremonial preparations opens to a community of people that quickly establishes the ‘weight of the community’ rather that the individual- while at the same time there is a kind of ‘community-fluidity’ that allows for a kind of interaction blending that reflects on a unique family communal environment dynamic. In some ways the very opening moments of Professor Marks video tape establishes the genesis formal construct of and African nuclear formal synergy that I am looking for. This is so because the energy flow of the opening video opens to a community of relationships that are constantly in motion- that also allows for internal individual particular interactions and finally that allows for transient occurrences that redirects the ‘flow of cultural energy’ throughout the composite environmental time-space.

The effect of trans-temporal identities in the opening Jola preparation ceremonies (and dancing practices) can be seen in the clothing of the people and the role of creative dressing in the composite festival space. The folkloric festival of Casamance is an occasion for the composite Senegalese people to come together to re enact their original customs and practices- and in doing so, to keep their traditions alive and relevant for the future. The opening scene quickly establishes a spectrum of community dressing styles that range all the way from a) modern western dress and pants to b) traditional tribal styles to c) isolated individual attire. In seeking to understand the range of dressing style approaches in the opening video scene we are reminded of the extended influence of western culture and the widening gap that has already affected each succeeding generation of Jola people. The subject of identity in this context reflects on a quality of ‘blending’ that allows for ‘reflective qualities’ that have transcendent implications. The re enactment of the Jola ritual initiation gives all of the citizens of the region to come back to the home territories. Identity in dressing style gives ‘a reflection’ of the experiences of its given people; from the young men who have had to move into the more dense urban areas in pursuit of work, or the senior members of the community who might wear tradition robes. And so it is from this most basic point that the subject of identity can be pursued, because the dynamics of African creativity seems to contain 1) the use of extreme color concepts 2) the use of extreme color combinations (including the use of no color and/or ‘drab-like’ materials’ ) – in other words, anything can be used.
The composite effects of a given event state in the opening video provides an environment context that contains a) isolated groups of people working together, b) groups of women working together c) groups of transient ‘experiencers’ who come in and out of given area-spaces ( in accordance to their own individual agendas). This is a state of multiple form that is constantly breathing and redefining itself. The phenomenon of identity in this context serves to focus more on the ‘forms of qualities’ rather than the particulars of a given stylistic decision. It is this aspect of Africa that is most mis-understood. In describing the phenomenon of African dressing style I could have very well been referring to the wonder of African music as well. The consideration of individual and group dress is important because it can be viewed from a concrete perspective that allows for a grounded bases to better understand the aesthetic implications of music in African culture.

The subject of concrete identities, as a means to better understand the subject of abstract modeling in African ritual music (postulation) can also be used to consider the subject of spatial location and extended form. This is so because the experience of video tape number one details a constantly reshifting area-space that allows for the establishment of a) central activities that are defined and time-space relevant to the given defined subject/event at hand b) secondary activities which supports and expand the objective focus of the time-space event and c) interjection events that are sometimes in opposition to the task/focuses at hand ( but are in fact connected). To understand this category of identity is to view the multi-layedness of African culture as not separate from the genesis ‘qualities’ of an area-space (leading to a continental space). In looking at this subject we are in fact looking at a giant family gathering that contains many different focuses (activities) going on simultaneously. Suddenly there is a group of mothers working together in concert…, suddenly we are given an opportunity to see the young men initiates practice their dancing in preparation for the symbolic ritual re enactment ( notice the women playing music for the young men to warm up on- everyone is aware of the challenge of the ritual structure and works to advance the proceedings). The use of color in Jola ritual ceremony, as this subject applies to social dressing and the concept of style, gives an clue into the subject of identity and creative integration. For color in this video tape is not used as the beginning and/or end of a ritual statement or theme that is isolated from the composite event-state, but rather the phenomenon of color-invention is used as a backdrop consideration that reflects the ‘blending’ of a composite state. In this example, as in the later musical examples that I will use in this paper, the phenomenon of African identity ( as this subject relates to the subject of individual and group dress style) can be viewed as a ‘summation-quality’ of what was possible in a particular moment. A ‘summation-quality’ event resultant that re asserts its power of definition through a kind of osmosis induction that re-centers isolated experience ( and focus) into the ‘ways of a family experience’. The question of depth-perception interpretations becomes relevant in attempting to understand this phenomenon, because the parameters of Jola identity modeling seems to be implying that a ‘certain distance’ is necessary if one hopes to understand the genesis ‘qualities’ that allow for conceptual/emotional and spiritual ‘closure to exist’ ( to arrive at that point we in the west would call ‘an idea’).

MUSIC AS AN IMAGE-LOGIC

The Jola men’s initiation ritual re enacted at Casamance can be looked at as an opportunity to observe the formal tendencies and qualities that permeate trans-Senegalian interaction dynamics- this is true whether one chooses to focus on social or abstract formal qualities. In seeking to understand this phenomenon my attention was directed to: 1) the use of circle structures 2) the use of line forming structures 3) the use of multiple event-state structures 4) the use of parade strategies and 5) the use of routing strategies and ritual symbolic connections. In the first example of this form-state, the use of circle formations can be sited at every part of the ritual initiation re enactment at Casamance. Circle formations in these examples are structural enclosure environment platforms that synergistically ‘directs the energy-force’ of a given event-action into the greater area-space of the composite circle. In this way, everyone and every group is both alone to him/herself and with the group at the same time. There are two aspects of circle summation events that have direct relevance for Jola structural identity ( and the meat-reality implications of extended Jola form associations). In the second aspect of circle modeling in video tape number one can be viewed the circle dance of a group of initiates dancing around the tree locked arm in arm . In this example, the position of the tree has now taken the ‘object-focus’ of ‘an enclosure’. The use of circle enclosure in this manor seems to be a kind of ‘object-extraction’ osmosis use of form that establishes a relationship between ‘inside and outline’ zones of consciousness ( and intention). To experience the circling of a tree in this manor is to really witness the ritual transferal of power from nature to the human community- that is, from the spirit world to the land of humans. The use of line formations- leading into circle chain like structures or the use of half circle formations ( when coming to the edge of the forest) can also be viewed as formal-indicators that shed insight into the structural imprint tendencies of the Jola people ( and as such, to Jola culture architectonic and symbolic tendencies- even the houses in the communities are built in circular shape formations- these concepts are not separate from present day perceptions of feminine deity formal/logo as a model of representation for spiritual/mystical recognition ).

The use of multiple event action experiences in Jola initiation ceremony is consistent with the composite ‘qualities’ that are found in composite African creativity. To understand and experience the synergy relationship of local and expanded ‘energies’ in video tape number one is to notice that 1) there are no clear lines that marks stable and mutable logic separation in circle-logic parameters 2) that the actions in a given circle space makes full use of ‘the creative spectra of possibilities’ of a given situation, and 3) the vibrational and actual thrust of a given experience (or set of ‘experiences’) can be ‘sensed’ as an inductive synergy-force that allows for maximum correspondence and interplay between given individual and/or group participation. In the first category the phenomenon of multiple experiences serves as a backdrop to a) multiple exchanges of dialogue b) no separation between the observer and the observed c) the emergence of a ‘vibrational field of continuity’ that serves as a kind of image/vibrational/sonic curtain that frames all perceptual events in a ‘state of motion’ outside of a single structural domain (or focus). The experience of this ‘vibrational quilt’ of activity gives a sense of communal interaction that is extreme by western standards. It could be somewhat difficult for a person who seeks an individual ‘experience’- (which of course describes the work of the Griot musicians tradition completely; but this is a separate subject with its own special dynamics and will be introduced later on in this paper). The dynamic reality of the Jola initiation ritual establishes a spatial environment that allows for the co-existence of many different realities; like the use of isolated flute ensemble interaction experiences in the beginning and end of the video tape, or the ‘sudden forming’ of a given group to sing a known verse or song between themselves. The phenomenon of multiple event strategies, as a fundamental axiom of Jola formal dynamics can be seen by how easily disrupted group of wanderers are absorbed into the composite ‘flow of event’ in the festival ceremony. This is a concept of creative postulation that doesn’t separate composite creative functions in a way that is separate from the person experiencing the postulation. I am particular fascinated by the co-existence of different areas of the arts in one area-space; including the different ‘levels’ of dialogue interaction experiences from musicians, poets, dancers.

The use of parade formation in Jola ritual ceremony gives one an opportunity to reexamine present day formal documentation. This is true because 1) the use of Jola formal ceremonial parade involvement gives insight into the emergence of the English Masque of the Middle ages 2) allows for a connection with the ritual structures that help create the emergence of ‘the restructural circus’ – into the modern era and 3) is consistent with the composite aesthetic strategies of the ancient period documentation that saw the inclusion of animals, nature and the total community as one of the aesthetic functions of form. In the first instanced, the use of parade experiences in video tape number one shows the position of ‘line forming logics ( strategies) as a formal tool that allowed for the greater unity of the community as well as the most efficient construct to allow for group mobility ( and target spatial objectives). The concept of parade ceremony in this context is also connected with the outline of target direction (path route) that the parade passes. In this structural ‘experience-state’ we are given an opportunity to reflect on the weight of social and political relationships and the ‘order of encounter strategies’ that reflect social and political cultural values. To understand the significance of parade structural dynamics and its relationship to Jola ritual ceremony is to notice that the route a given parade passes is consistent with the importance of symbolic recognition and respect- both for the leaders of a given community and for the spiritual connection to the dead (who are also seen as not really dead, but rather in a state of change). It is this aspect of recognition that would form the basis of the restructural English Masque ceremony of the middle ages- that being; a) the use of parade formations that activated the start of the festival season b) the use of dance as a composite factor that helped to emancipate the move towards social dance ‘vibrational acceleration’, and c) the adaptation of conceptual themes from Africa that involved transformation ( from black, represented as evil, to white, represented as godly and good)- as a formal ‘poetic construct’ that would come to inform the iconic characterizations and Christian image constructs. The most famous of these masques would cause a scandal in Royal Victorian England. Even the ritual bow to ‘the leader of the city’ that takes place in every ethnic parade in present day America ( from the Irish parade in New York City to the Labor Day parade that salutes community leaders) can be viewed as intricately connected to the greater thrust of parade mutable logic possibilities.

MUSIC AS GEOMETRY

Functioning in the position of the ‘experiencer who records his experience’, the mapping parameters of video tape number one represents a beginning attempt on my part to ‘notice’ whatever comes up on my ‘curiosity-screens’. I make this declaration not to declare the obvious but only to stress my total numbness as to what in the real world this information actually means. From my perspective, I am looking for a means to experience and understand whatever is possible for a person who did not grow up in Africa, but is very interested in the subject.

The very beginning of video tape number one contain wonderful pictures of Dr. Marks son ( and there are two sections on the tape that have beautiful pictures of the ground); I will not refer to these moments in my commentary, nor will I use this material in future attempts to edit the tape. (this is true even though there are beautiful photographs of Dr. Mark’s son on the video tape).

A

1. The tape opens with men dancing. {group music}

a. Hocket like rhythms; strong one and two beat accents.
b. the men are practicing their dancing
c. Women ensembles

(3rd x) the use of bells
woodblocks
two beat pulse

2. Men dancing in a circle.
a. Women making up the circle.
b. Village people marching forward outside the village
c. Men kills cow for guest
(image of goats and sheep)
d. people moving out of village
e. two men dancing
f. the use of parade as ‘spatial location’
g. everybody sing and plays; but the Griots are ‘different’
h. the circle ring dance
i. circle dance (around a tree) in groups

(3rd x) Circle dance (people stand in a circle, moving as a group in a circle)
i) bell as call and response
ii) rhythm always changing
iii) polyrhythmic
iiii) men in the circle
iiiii) men charging (repetitive flutes)
- horns playing repetitive sounds
- people lined up
- strong down beats

B (the form of initiation – routing)
{the symbolic role of the forest- magic & inversion}

a. preparation for initiation
b. festival
c. multiple events
d. always dance and movement
e. roving internal groups

1. The crowd goes to one of the Kings house’s
(the man with the red costume hat)

a. the parade is now going to ancestor burial grounds.
b. nice pictures of the developing festival grounds

(3rd x) long melodic lines- line forming logics
i) angular like melodic lines

2. Young initiates are seen in their normal clothes before
going into the forest.

a. the boy dance
b. there is a man playing music with a circular horn (he is playing
something that is very blues like).

3. The camera focus switches to a smaller group of people
a. people are coming down the road
b. there is a man with a flute- play: long phrase lines w/ill regular formings
(coming to the edge of the forest) – very interesting!
c. good panning shots of the lines of women in the circle formation.
d. the initiates are wearing ‘hay like’ dresses

4. Arrival at the edge of the forest.

a. ‘Stick man dances’
notice- exaggerated movements, dances, walking parade dance/movements
b. moving towards the forest
(first explosion)
c. initiates get instructions
5. mystery period (secret rites are conducted and the camera is turned off)

6. a. after the experience the initiates are in a group, on their knees,
about to receive ointments on their heads
b. there are men with swords
c. initiates start to march into the forest
(second explosion)

7. Arrival at the edge of the forest

a. new- line wall- (i.e. ring)
b. five women dancing
c. something is put on the young men’s head (they are being painted)
d. the flute quintet guys (Griots)- this group is kept separate from the rest the group by the men with the swords.
e. the initiates are still sitting in the grass (there is a sense of community here)
f. Women dancing (beautiful)
g. Men and Women dancing and singing (beautiful)
———————– (suddenly);

8. There is a kind of composite environment area-space that has properties that can be described:

a. there are many different events taking place.
( I hear the beginning of a trance music sound environment)
{ a trans-rhythmic continuum- ‘notice the eighth note pulse’}
b. A large final circle (with many inter-events)
c. A group of women are dancing (‘yes’)
d. beautiful walking dances
i) they are dancing at the graves of the elders.
e. there are groups of roving men with sticks running through the area-space.
f. flute quintet is back- (hocket music)
g. there are people who are not participating as well
h. there is a group of men whose responsibility seems to be to
attend to the initiates ( a kind of ‘line of communication from the elders?).

(3rd x) festival space with many things happening inside.
i) people dancing, people running, people looking, women in small groups, various groups in different sizes and shapes, small groups of men)

9. Transition

a. the initiates go into the forest

10. Transformation

a. the initiates come out of the forest

LANGUAGE MUSIC IDENTITY MODELS – OBSERVATION NO-1

1. LONG SOUND

A. Continuos states, Trance musics, static or stasis time-state

a. eight note ‘inner pulse’ (a king of ‘Ghost Trance’ music)

2. ACCENTED LONG SOUND

a. quarter note beat time frame

3. TRILLS

a. the use of whistles

4. STACCATO LINE FORMINGS

5. INTERVALLIC FORMINGS

6. MULTIPHONICS

7. SHORT ATTACKS

8. ANGULAR ATTACKS

9. LEGATO FORMINGS

a. phrase grouping sounds- melodic line against rhythm

10. DIATONIC FORMINGS
a. the use of songs

11. GRADIENT FORMINGS

a. the use of curved horns.

12. SUB-IDENTITY FORMINGS

a. Animal sound associations

EXTENDED FORM

The use of extended routing paths that outline the ritual pathway of the Jola ritual initiation ceremony can also be viewed as not separate from 1) the use of lineage-based shrines (called ‘buneeti in Thionk-Essyl, ‘sineeti or ‘ukiin elsewhere in the region) 2) a demonstration of ‘projected form’ (that is, path route formation as a hint of Jola perceptions of form and formal dynamics 3)

MASQUERADE AS A HIDDEN FORM

The use of masquerade in video tape number one is consistent with the image logic characteristics of the composite culture. In seeking to understand this quality the ‘experiencer’ is reminded that: 1) the men are dressed as women before going into the forest, as a way to symbolize the change from adolescence to manhood 2) the recognition of witch craft 3) the adopted use of paid ‘experiencers’ 4) the leading of the parade by the Kanyalen sorority women 5) the use of modern day video cameras as a factor that symbolizes change (and illusion 6) the emergence of composite folkloric festivals as a point of ‘change’ in regional pageantry 7) the recognition of ‘polarity-balance aesthetics/experiences that allows for the use of familiar and foreign ‘actualization’s’ to take place all at the same time and 8) the internal lineage connections between all of the people in the Casamance region. All of these matters give insight into the spectra of poetic experiences that allow for the use of masquerade and the extended thrust of this phenomenon encompasses a) the wonder of sexuality; the creation of prescribed roles for the older women, special ‘responses’ made with the camera in mind, the use of combining ethic ritual celebrations. In the end there is really no difference between the Jola and the Balanta people; instead the folkloric festival of the Casamance is also an illusion that allows for the Jola to continue to claim ownership of the land- that is: masquerade as a political tool.

And what of the music one might ask? This subject is for me also connection with the ‘search for hidden truths’. I write this because the most basic impression I am left with after listening to the video tape over four separate mapping session is 1) music in the Jola ritual ceremonial is a kind of sonic-tapestry that serves as a vibrational mechanism that unifies the ‘balance’ of social, functional and vibrational postulates 2) music as connected to ‘disposition’; as in the psychological spectra of ‘poetics’ 3) music as part of the supernatural strata of the culture 4) music as a context for ‘signals’ (local and community). The phenomenon that we in the west call music is so totally inter winded into the essence of African culture that it is sometimes hard to isolate a given ‘sonic postulation’ for two dimensional grounding. To experience the video experience of the Jola initiation ritual is to notice the presence of a super environment space aesthetic that allows for the possibility of spatial location directives as well as three dimensional ‘cross conversations’- some of which might not even concern the ‘intended target’. There is music in the background, music in the foreground, a given group has isolated itself and started creating a song while working (or something). Songs in video tape number one serves many different functions a) as a source for tribal memory b) as a context for passing signals
c) as something to do while working. To understand this aspect of Jola culture is to know that music is totally intertwined into the cultural and vibrational reality of Jola identity- that is to say; everyone in the culture seems to be a musicians of some sort. The video tape shows us a picture of a dynamic environment that contains music in every form, happening all the time ( in a way). Creativity as ‘a way of life’ describes the kind of images that the tape shows. And so it is especially interesting to know that the Griot musicians are kept separate from the public ceremonial functions. When Griot musicians show up at given parts of the ceremony they are always tolerated by the greater social community, but there is a distance between both groups; with the discipline of music as a wedge that separate into different states of reality- which is consistent with the wedge that really exist in Jola society. In both appearances in the video tape the Griot musicians were playing a kind of hockett rhythmic music that emphasized the use of sound-attack languages.

It should not be lightly noted that the ‘reality-existence’ of the historical Griot musician is kept separate from the composite culture, and this aspect of the musician/culture connection needs to be better understood. Because the Griot musician is a) the person who carries the history of the culture forwards through his work b) because the Griot travels a wider area-space than most given ‘local’ citizens c) because Griot musicians have a relationship with the ‘upper power’ structure d) because the Griot musicians have a connection with witchcraft and sorcery and e) because everyone seems to ‘know’ that the discipline of ‘music as a life’s work actually means ‘music as the It of Its’. That is; ‘music as something else’. This point cannot be over stretched. In an area-space in which, for the most part, everyone is a musician; that there would be a class of citizens known as Griot masters really points to the super natural components of this discipline (which is really a ‘calling).

Musical ideas in video tape number one exist in four types a) the use of rhythmic cell motivic materials b) the use of principle and secondary concept devices c) the use of melodic line formations that create fresh states of melodic and ‘feeling dimension’ and d) the use of dynamic improvisation. In the first example the use of rhythmic and melodic cell configuration material serves as a point for both musical identity and structural ‘constellation’ formal space objectives. A given musical ideal in this context will appear in one sonic-shape but be repositioned into any part of the micro-macro strata of the greater ‘active’ time-space. It is not simply that embellishment is the rule of thumb in Jola creative music it is more that everything in the ‘active’ creative space is ‘negotiable’. The use of musical material in this manor demonstrates the use of fix and mutable operatives in both the stable or improvised event space. In the end African creativity is about dealing with the uniqueness of the moment, or the creative possibilities that can exist at a given moment, as opposed to the idea of presenting something that is fixed and complete. The phenomenon of embellishment can also be viewed as a hidden truth example; because the mutable space operatives of Jola initiation music disguise the use of primary and secondary melodic materials that can be approach as a) softer and/or louder b) slower or faster c) in any key ( including ‘out of key’) d) only part of a primary statement can be used e) or the possibility to add the ‘emotion’ of the moment ( and, in taking that option, change the poetic ‘slant’ of a given postulation). This is a state of ‘living experiences’ that transcends any one structural perspective.

The dynamic phenomenon of ‘ever present music’ can barely be isolated into any one aesthetic construct (or context) for extended analysis because music is part of the belief system ‘disposition’ of the people of Africa. This is a discipline that is totally intertwined into the composite culture’s ‘vibrational fabric’- even to the point where there are special songs created for furnaces and-or iron tools. There is also the component use of music as an always present factor in the phenomenon of ‘hidden truths’ ( and ‘veiled meanings’); that being, the quality of secrecy, as a term that describes several different levels and/or ‘planes of communication’ (some of which might involve you, but not necessarily everything- it just depends on the particulars of the moment . Dr David Conrad made a point of mentioning, in his guest lecture (on 4/10/ 96 at Wesleyan) that ‘secrecy in Mande society is very important’. And in that same lecture he listed; a) the concept of power space ‘locations b) the use of secret locations c) the phenomenon of ‘the chain of burial’ and related ‘associations’ d) the concept of spirits that dwell in the water
e) the use of charismatic individuals f) the use of scocery ( and the special position of power that Mande women have- especially Professor Conrad’s mention that the Mande men view their women as more fearful- I can relate to that idea!). (but what can I say when Dr. Conrad also acknowledges that the women are also the best musician and singers- I can also relate to that!). The concept of power locations can also be extended into the domain of repetitive logic music ‘sound fields’, as a forum that allows for the use of trance music strategies and extended time-space experiences. From a tri-centric perspective that seeks to ‘sense’ the genesis aesthetic ‘qualities’ of African culture ( and for this paper, the creativity of the Jola men’s initiation ritual) it could be written that the discipline of music, and indeed, composite African invention dynamics, involves a recognition of the occult areas of a) a postulation b) an occupation c) a variation (from a given identity target)