Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Videos of Baaba Maal & Ndeye Coumba Dia – Gilli & Coumba Gawlo Seck

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is Part II of a three part series on the name "Coumba" in Senegalese culture.

This post showcases a video of a song by the Senegalese singers Baaba Maal & Ndeye Coumba Dia – Gilli and a video of a song by the Senegalese singer Coumba Gawlo Seck.

While I'm delighted to have found these videos, and showcase them on this blog post, I confess that part of my delight was that these videos added to the information that I began gathering about the name "Coumba". As part of that search, the Addendum of this post includes information from a Wikepedia article about the Senegalese King Kumba Ndoffene Joof II.

Click for Part I of this series.

Part I showcases a sound file of Orchestre Baobab's song entitled "Coumba". That song is also featured in a video of Dakar, Senegal's street life. Information about orchestra Baobab and comments from those video's viewer comments threads are also included in this post.

Click for Part III.

Part III showcases an excerpt of and my comments about a 2007 university paper by Michelle Margoles, 2007 about the Saint Louis, Senegal river goddess Mame Coumba Bang. That post also includes a Senegalese traditional dance video with a title that includes the name "Coumba".

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

To make a long story kinda short, I learned that Coca Cola's Super Bowl XLVIII ad featured people of different races and ethnicities singing "My Country Tis Of Thee" (a relatively well known United State's anthem) in various languages.* One of the languages featured in that ad is Senegalese-French. I then found out that Coca Cola also posted complementary videos that focused on each of the people singing in those other languages, including a video of the young woman taping the Senegalese-French portion of that ad. The inclusion of the Senegalese-French language in that Coca Cola video prompted me to find out how a traditional Senegalese language sounds.

Since I wasn't sure about which languages are traditionally spoken in Senegal, the first website that I visited was
where I red this information:
"Senegal...officially the Republic of Senegal (République du Sénégal, IPA… is a country in West Africa...

French is the official language, used regularly by a minority of Senegalese educated in a system styled upon the colonial-era schools of French origin (Koranic schools are even more popular, but Arabic is not widely spoken outside of this context of recitation). Most people also speak their own ethnic language while, especially in Dakar, Wolof is the lingua franca[citation needed]. Pulaar is spoken by the Fulas and Toucouleur. The Serer language is widely spoken by both Serers and non-Serers (including president Sall, whose mother and wife are Serers); so are the Cangin languages, whose speakers are ethnically Serers...

Senegal has a wide variety of ethnic groups and, as in most West African countries, several languages are widely spoken. The Wolof are the largest single ethnic group in Senegal at 43 percent; the Fula[37] and Toucouleur (also known as Halpulaar'en, literally "Pulaar-speakers") (24%) are the second biggest group, followed by the Serer (14.7%),[38] then others such as Jola (4%), Mandinka (3%), Maures or (Naarkajors), Soninke, Bassari and many smaller communities (9%). (See also the Bedick ethnic group.)"
Then I started a YouTube search and happened upon a video of Senegal's Ochestre Baobab's Coumba (given as Example #1 in Part I of this series). And since I'm interested in names & name meanings, I began to started a Google search for the meaning of the word "Coumba". If I had continued on YouTube, I would have found the video given as Example #2 in Part I of that post. That video (which is actually a sound file), includes a comment that indicates that "Coumba" is a rather common name in Senegal and Gambia. But prior to finding that video & reading that comment, I found the paper on the river goddess Mame Coumba Bang (that I subsequently featured in Part III of this series), information about a Senegalese king whose name was Kumba, and the videos that are featured in this post.

All together, I would say that I've had a great time learning something more about Senegalese culture, all because of that Coca Cola Super Bowl (American football) ad.

Coca-Cola - It's Beautiful - Official :60, Coca-Cola - It's Beautiful in Senegalese-French; and for a listing of the other languages spoken in that commercial, with special emphasis on the Tagalog language.

By the way, some conservatives in the United States are up in arms about that Coca Cola video, complaining that the national anthem shouldn't be sung in any language but English (Note: "My Country Tis Of Thee" isn't the United States' national anthem".) But I like that ad because of its content, and because it led me to this cultural research about Senegal, West Africa which I am now sharing with you.

Example #1: Baaba Maal & Ndeye Coumba Dia – Gilli

lybabasn, Uploaded on Nov 7, 2008

Golle maaytataa - Hommage à Tidiane Hanne
"Baaba Maal (born 12 November 1953) is a Senegalese singer and guitarist born in Podor, on the Senegal River. He is well known in Africa and internationally is probably Senegal's most famous musician after Youssou N'Dour. In addition to acoustic guitar, he also plays percussion. He has released several albums, both for independent and major labels. In July 2003, he was made a UNDP Youth Emissary.

Baaba sings primarily in Pulaar[1] and is the foremost promoter of the traditions of the Pulaar-speaking peoples who live on either side of the Senegal River in the ancient Senegalese kingdom of Futa Tooro."
I've not been yet found any information about Ndeye Coumba Dia-Gill. However, that video shows him to be a talented male vocalist.

Example #2: Coumba Gawlo - Bine Bine

siteteranga, Uploaded on Apr 21, 2010
This song is a cover of South African singer's Miriam Makeba's hit song "Pata pata".

Here's information about Coumba Gawlo Seck from :
"Coumba Gawlo Seck is a Senegalese singer-songwriter and composer who was born in February 1972 in Tivaouane. She is the second best selling Senegalese singer in Senegal after Youssou N'Dour.[citation needed] Her greatest success was a version of Pata Pata, a platinum single which was number one for two weeks in Belgium and sold 50,000 copies one day in France in 1998."
That Wikipedia page suggested that people could also visit for information about this singer that is written in French. Here's one quote from that much more lengthy page:
"Ses débuts
Elle est issue d'une famille dite Gawlo : griot en pulaar car Coumba hérite de sa mère Fatou Kiné Mbaye1 une voix particulière et remarquée dès l'âge de 7 ans."
Because I don't understand French, I visited Google Translate to read the English version of that sentence. The translation that was given is:
"His debut
“She comes from a family called Gawlo: Pulaar griot because Zandi inherits his mother Fatou Kine Mbaye1 a particular voice and noticed at the age of 7 years.”
I changed this to [somewhat] standard American English this way:
"Her debut
She comes from the Gawlo family, a family [which included a] Pulaar griot. At age seven people noticed that Zandi (Coumba] inherited her mother’s distinctive voice"...
Note that in that Google Translate quote, the name "Zandi" is given for "Coumba".

A comment written by rochegador in the viewer comment thread of the "Orchestra Baobab - Coumba" which is given as Example #1 in Part I of this pancocojams series indicates that "Coumba" is a girl's name often found in the area around Senegal, Gambia".

In Google Translate's English translation of a comment written in French by dimnarion95st, another commenter in that same viewer comment thread, the name "Zandi" is also given as a substitute for "Coumba".

I don't know if this is a Google Translate error, or if "Zandi" is indeed another name for "Coumba". I also don't know what the name Zandi means in Senegal (I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean "Sandy" like some name sites (that Google Search led me to) attests.

Does anyone reading this know what the names Zandi, Coumba, and Kumba mean in Senegal and the Gambia? If so, I'd appreciate you sharing that information in the comment section below.

I also found this information in the Google summary of a page‎ that isn't available in the United States:
Coumba Gawlo Seck is "Descended from a long line of griots (praise singers), Coumba Gawlo Seck has continued to pursue the tribal roots”

Click for more biographical information on Coumba Gawlo Seck.

My search for the meaning of "Coumba" led me to this Wikipedia page:
"Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Fa Ndeb Joof, also known as Kumba Ndoffene Joof II or Bour Sine Coumba Ndoffène Fandepp Diouf, was a King of Sine (now in present-day Senegal).[2] Maad a Sinig (also: Mad a Sinig or Maad Sine) translates as "King of Sine", Maad meaning king in the Serer language. The surname Joof is the English spelling in the Gambia. Diouf is the French spelling in Senegal (see : Joof family)."
Note the spelling of the name "Kumba" is also given as "Coumba".

This example suggests to me that "Kumba" is the traditional Serer (or Wolof?) language form of "Coumba". And it also appears that the king's name and the name Ndeye Coumba Dia – Gilli refute the information given as a comment and quoted above that "Coumba" is a female name". Maybe the commenter meant that "Coumba" is mostly a female given name.

Google Search also gives examples of the name "Coumba" as a last name. But it's not uncommon in the USA to find certain personal names as last names. Also, it's not that uncommon in the United States for females to be given a personal name that is usually considered a male name (like the name "Michael") or for males to be given names that people would consider "unisex" if not "female names" - the name "Shannon comes to mind. Also, some names given in the United States that used to be considered masculine are now almost always considered to be feminine (like the name "Ashley"). I wonder if that is what happened with the Senegalese name "Coumba".
It occurs to me that "Jaffe Joffer", the name of the king of the fictitious African nation in the Eddie Murphy movie Coming To America,* was probably based on the name of the historical Senegalese king Kumba Ndoffene Joof.

Wow! I wish that information had been publicized to African Americans and other folks along with information about that movie. African Americans and other Americans know so little about African history. That movie would have been a great way to refute the lies that we have been told or we thought to be true that there were no such things as Black Kings & Queens - except in Egypt, which some people said didn't count because even some Egyptians dispute that they are Africans.

All this to say that I'm very glad that I stumbled on to this information about that Senegalese king.

*Click for information about that 1988 hit American movie.

Thanks to the musical talents of the vocalists who are featured in this post.

Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks also to the producers of those Coca Cola commercials which started me on this particular cultural journey.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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