Chapter 23/2020 – Storytelling
Good Monday Morning to this week 23 of 2020 (week 11 with restrictions)
Waking up after the shoulder operation last week, I had this intense urge for music. I’m not sure what it was, but you can’t imagine how desperately I wanted to get back to my room and put on a mix of music I had with me, varying from Worship to African and more.
You might have missed this news of the passing of great musician this week. If I’d play the tune you’d immediately recognize it: “Bi sounkouroun lou la donkégna ah ah” … One of the biggest hit songs by an African music artist, “Yé ké yé ké” is sung in Bambara, an official language of Mali (Kanté was born in Guinea to a Malian mother). Originally a success across Europe in 1988, with the dance remixes up to the mid-1990’s.
Guinean singer Mory Kante, helped introduce African music to a world audience in the 1980s, died in the capital Conakry on the 22.05.20, his family said. He was 70. “Guinea and the whole world have lost a great personality,” Kante’s son Balla Kante told The Associated Press on Friday. “My father was a great personality. We lost a large library today.”
We lost a library …. an interesting quote. Since the 13th century, when Griots originated from the West African Mande empire of Mali, they remain today as storytellers, musicians, praise singers and oral historians of their communities. Theirs is a service based on preserving the genealogies, historical narratives, and oral traditions of their people.
Storytelling … music is storytelling, with or without words be it through tone painting or many other ways. Just imagine the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman and Jesus in Mark 7.24-30
Immediately as a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at Jesus’ feet. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. Jesus says first, let the children eat all they want, he told her, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs. Yes Lord, she replied, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs. Then Jesus told her, “for such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”. She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Just imagine this story and encounter composed for storytelling and singing. The song leader directing the group, accompanied by a traditional drum, thumb piano and hand shaker, the emotion of a woman’s pleading for her daughter highlighted by style and rhythm of the song. The words matched the rhythmic syllabic space, the context in a form of liturgy, and recognized as an open courtyard. Appellations are exchanged as she addresses Jesus: Lord, Teacher, Respected Leader. The song leader then guides the music to the woman’s riposte with an additional accentuated rhythm led by drums with an occasional silence. A final turn comes as the storyteller finishes the story with the woman’s daughter greatly relieved and freed from demons. An incredible proclamation of the nature of God in song and deed. This experienced performance opens up an opportunity for liberation as a community interacts with the powerful biblical message.
One crumb of power and grace from Thy table shall cast the devil out of my daughter.” Oh, what lightning quickness, what reach of instinctive ingenuity, do we behold in this Syrophoenician woman! Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
One crumb of power and grace from Thy table!
Wishing you a good story of God’s grace this week.