Friday, February 24, 2017

Homage To Omar Mané - Senegalese (Balanta) lead singer of Njama Niaaba

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides showcases two videos of Omar Mané, the lead vocalist and composer for the Senegalese (Balanta ethnic group) musical group "Njama Niaaba". Omar Mané died suddenly in late December 2014.*

Information about the Balanta ethnic group is also included in this post along with information about Omar Mané and Njama Niaaba and selected comments from the discussion thread of one of the showcased videos.

The Addendum to this post features three videos of a concert or concerts that were held in homage to Omar Mané.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Omar Mané for his musical legacy and thanks to other members of Njama Niaaba. Rest in peace, Omar Mané.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
* I just happened upon these videos of Omar Mané while "YouTube surfing" for African music/dance videos. I tried to find information about this vocalist and his music group but haven't been successful in finding much information-particularly in English. My apologies for not being certain about the date of Omar Mané's passing. Additions and corrections to the information found in this post would be appreciated.

Click for a related pancocojams post that showcases five YouTube videos of traditional Balanta music and dance.

"The Balanta (same spelling in Guinea-Bissau Creole and Portuguese, balante in French transliteration), meaning literally “those who resist”, are an ethnic group found in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and the Gambia. They are the largest ethnic group of Guinea-Bissau, representing more than one-quarter of the population. Despite their numbers, they have remained outside the colonial and postcolonial state because of their social organization. The Balanta can be divided into four subgroups, three of which are Balanta Kentohe, Balanta Ganja, and Balanta Brassa, the largest of which are the Balanta Brassa.

Archaeologists believe that the people who became the Balanta migrated to present-day Guinea-Bissau in small groups between the tenth and fourteenth centuries C.E. Oral tradition amongst the Balanta has it that they migrated westward from the area that is now Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to escape drought and wars. During the nineteenth century, they spread throughout the area that is now Guinea-Bissau and southern Senegal in order to resist the expansion of the Kaabu kingdom. Today, the Balanta are mostly found in the southern and central regions of Guinea-Bissau"...

[Pancocojams Editor: This excerpt is translated from French to English by Google Translate, and given as it was found except for the word Balanta being given as "balancing" in that translation.]
From Njama Niaaba: The lead vocal Omar Mané, struck by an infarction: the orchestra Njama Niaaba loses the voice, Jan 14, 2015 by Lamine BA
"The musical group, the bearer and promoter of the culture of the ballade, lost last weekend its lead vocal and composer. Omar Mané left brutally, depriving his orchestra of his voice, and leaving all the Balantacounda in disarray...

Struck by fate, he was buried at 14:40 on Saturday in Niafor his native village, located to the south east of the department of Goudomp.

Lead vocal, Omar Mané is the conductor of the Njama Niaaba. A name given to this orchestra to immortalize a heroine of the balancing [Balanta] community who had to conduct warlike expeditions in the presence of men. "She is endowed with a mystical power that places her above her community," Omar Mané testified. "Unknown to the younger generation, its history that marked its era is rich and full of teachings," confided the deceased in an interview conducted at the last Balenbuger festival n Sédhiou.

Omar Mané fakes the company to his friends at the age of 37 years. His band was founded in 1994, in Niafor by a band of friends. "At first it's a childhood story. Later on, we thought of putting it seriously by focusing on the quality of a renowned balanfonist son that I am. My comrades and I thought of revalorizing this legacy, "said the artist.

The group that wants to be ambassador of Balantacounda, has produced three albums. The first is called Balusna kijaago which means, "Let's value our culture". A way of inviting the balancing community to mobilize to valorize the balancing language which in its eyes is on a dangerous downward slope, and which must be redressed. This album launched the group and brought the expected results, as evidenced by the enthusiasm of young people who sing their music at concerts.

The second album entitled Doua, is a solicitation of the blessing of the wise for a better fulfillment of the young, who are the hope of tomorrow. Sounia or circumcision in a balancing [Balanta] country, is the last album that attests to the confirmation and maturity of a group that makes hearts vibrate.

The Njama Niaaba is based on a new musical style, born from a mixture of diverse sounds of the natural Casamance but whose balafon remains the key element. It is the "afro balante". The aim is to highlight the balancing [Balanta] balafon, which is not well known to the general public. "However, it has features that distinguish it from the dialonké balafon and the Indian xylophone, thanks to its varied and rich diatonic range. We realized this during our tours around the world, notably at the festival called "triangle du balafon" held in Mali.

On December 27, the group performed in Kinthiengrou. After this farewell concert to fans of the Boudhie taken by the announcement of his death, the music lovers were invited to Diattacounda in the department of Goudomp but due to a malaise of the vocal lead, the concert was postponed And will eventually not take place. While promoting the Baltic culture, the problem of peace in Casamance is on the menu of the music of Njama Niaaba. The orchestra organizes concerts every year and pays the money collected to the parents' associations, in order to put an end to the provisional shelters in this part of the country"...

Example #1: M-Seydi

nielsm22 Uploaded on Jan 28, 2010
Omar Mane
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread
sangalang baa
"hey ma guy this is a great sound it over touched and i wish you could post much of this, i did re found and touched another great aspect of africa with rich tradition and our beautiful langauge ooooooooooooooooo Mama africa lets go back to tradition without known our past then we mean nothing to be in this world. Africa is our home and it will always be there for africans so with our culture and tradition we will get to were we wanted to be blessing alway from the gambia."

MainaCaramel Bee
"C vraiment dommage kil n'y ait pratiquement que du Mbalax ,Rnb , Rap Français qui passe à longueur de journée dans nos chaines nationales sénégalaises au lieu de venir en aide a ces artistes ki sont du pays ils préfèrent mettre en avant d'autres musiques c pas normal jai limpression kil y a un complexe de la part des médias au niveau de certaines ehtnies ou cultures au Sénégal ,ce genre de musique devrait être mis au devant de la scène et non dans les coulisses heureusement que Youtube existe lol sinon la musique est vraiment bien jkiffe !"
From French to English
"C truly a pity that there was practically nothing but Mbalax, Rnb, Rap French who spend all day in our national Senegalese chains instead of helping these artists ki are from the country they prefer to put forward other music C not normal jai impression k y there is a complex on the part of the media at the level of certain ehtnies or cultures in Senegal, this kind of music should be put in front of the scene and not behind the scenes luckily that Youtube exists lol if not the music Is really good jkiffe!"

"repose en paix omar mané tu as bien représenté la musique balante"
"Rest in peace omar mané you represented well the balante music"

baba sow
"homage à c grd musicien omar et a tt la famille particuliermnt la cmunoté balante.c du bn music j'ador c son"
Translated from French to English:
Tribute to c great musician omar and has tt the particular familymnt the cmunoté balante.c of bn music j'ador c son

youssouph badji
"On ne connait la vraie valeur d'une pesonne que kan, elle nous a quitté. Je ne suis pas balante, mais ce que je vpis, cé très cool. Cé ce que nous voulons. Malheureusement, il est parti au delà, sans que bcp de Sénégalais ne le découvrent véritablement. Je me rapelle l'avaoir suivi une fois au Centre Talibou Dabo, invité alors par les communauté balante de Grand -Yoff et Parcelles. Que Dieu l'accueille au Paradis. Mané Balanté."
Translated from French to English [with my translation corrections given in brackets]
"One knows the true value of a person as kan, she [he] has left us. I am not balanced [Balanta], but what I see, it is very cool. What we want. Unfortunately, he went beyond, without the bcp of Senegalese really discover it. I remember having followed it once at the Talibou Dabo Center, then invited by the Grand-Yoff and Parcelles swinging communities. May God receive him in Paradise. Mané Balanté."

youssouph badji
"Moi j'ai eu la chance de le suivre en pleine prestation, alors invité par le communauté Balante des Parcelles, Grand Yoff, au Centre Talibo Dabo. Sincèrement, je pense qu'il mérite qu'o perpétue sa mémoire en parrainnant des manifestation culturelles sur toute la Casamance, de même le saxphoniste de Ucas, Kunta...... merci. RIP"
Translated from French to English
"I had the chance to follow him in full performance, then invited by the community Balante des Parcelles, Grand Yoff, at the Talibo Dabo Center. Sincerely, I think that it deserves that o perpetuates its memory by sponsoring cultural manifestations on all the Casamance, likewise the saxophonist of Ucas, Kunta ...... thank you. RIP"

Example #2: SUUNAA dernier clip d'Omar Mané du Njama Niaaba

SedhiouTV Published on Oct 27, 2016
Google translate from French to English: SUUNAA latest clip of Omar Mané from Njama Niaaba

I wrote a comment below about what I believe this song and video are about.

Example #1: Omar Mané ,Njama Niaaba ,has gone !

Ousmane Demba Published on Mar 25, 2015

Example #2: Njama Naaba: La communauté Balante du Sénégal rend un vibrant Hommage à Omar MANE

SnlTV, Published on Jul 7, 2016

La communauté Balante du Sénégal rend un vibrant Hommage à Omar MANE le chanteur Njama Naaba
Translated from French to English: "The Balante community of Senegal makes a vibrant tribute to Omar MANE the singer Njama Naaba"


IBARA TV Published on Jan 8, 2017

Hommage à Omare Mané

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1 comment:

  1. If I correctly understand the translation from French to English of the lengthy summary* for the video showcased as Example #2 in this post, Omar Mané is singing about the positive cultural tradition of female circumcision.

    I’m showcasing that video for its aesthetic value although I’m opposed to this tradition.

    *That video summary isn't included in this post.