Monday, February 22, 2021

Spirit Of Fi Yi Yi & The Mandingo Warriors: Increased African Aesthetics In Mardi Gras Indians Suits & Music Instrumentation Part #2

SneakinSal, March 19, 2012

Spirit of the Fi Yi Yi, the most African inspired of the many Mardi Gras Indian tribes of New Orleans. Big Chief Victor Harris.
"Fi Yi Yi" is pronounced to rhyme with the first syllable in the word English"fire". "Fi Yi Yi" also rhymes with the English words "by", "cry", "high". etc.   


Tony Tafiti, Apr 29, 2017

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of this pancocojams series about the increased African aesthetics in Mardi Gras Indian suits and music instrumentation.

Part II of this series showcases two videos of the Spirit Of Fi Yi Yo and Mandingo Warriors. Links to two additional videos are presented in this post in addition to those two showcased videos.

Click for Part I of this post. Part I showcases one video that documents this increased African aesthetics and presents links to two additional YouTube videos of this Mardi Gras Indian tribe. 

Part I also presents two online excerpts about this subject..

This post also includes my observations about the increased African aesthetics and elements that I observed in the videos that are embedded or given as links in this post. 

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all the Mardi Gras Indians. Thanks to all those who are showcased in these YouTube examples and thanks to the publishers of these YouTube examples. 
I only have second hand online and offline
knowledge about Mardi Gras Indians. 

This post doesn't mean to imply that Spirit Of Fi Yi Yi and the Mandingo Warriors are the only Mardi Gras Indians whose suits and music instrumentation reflect increased African aesthetics. 

Note added Feb. 23, 2021- If I understand what I have read correctly, The Spirit of FiYiYI is the chief and Mandingo Warriors is the name of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe. That said, both are Spirit of FiYiYi (aka FiYiYI) and Mandingo Warriors are included in the list of Mardi Gras Indian tribes on on retrieved on Feb. 23, 2021  (although that list may not have been correct and probably isn't complete or otherwise correct at this time.)
-end of added note-

Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday Fi Yi Yi 
michael girl, March 20, 2011


Mardi Gras Indians: Spirit of FiYiYi CD Release Celebration at Backstreet Cultural Museum

Big Red Cotton, May 2, 2013

In addition to those elements that are mentioned in the articles excerpted in Part I of this pancocojams series, some other examples of the increased African aesthetic in Fi Yi Yi and Mandingo Warriors are:
1. the name "Mandingo Warriors" 
The Mandinka, Malinke, Maninka, Mandingo or Manding,[note 1] [14]are a West African ethnic group primarily found in southern Mali, eastern Guinea and northern Ivory Coast.[15] Numbering about 11 million,[16][17][18] they are the largest subgroup of the Mandé peoples and one of the largest ethnic-linguistic groups in Africa. They speak the Manding languages in the Mande language family and a lingua franca in much of West Africa. Over 99% of Mandinka adhere to Islam.[19] They are predominantly subsistence farmers and live in rural villages. Their largest urban center is Bamako, the capital of Mali, which is also inhabited by the closely related Bambara."...

2. The name "Fi Yi Yi" is used as a chant throughout the tribe's procession/march. 

3. Many Spirit Of Fi Yi Yi / Mandingo Warrior's male drummers and other accompanying musicians wear African print dashikis and sometimes also matching African print pants. I've also seen some male Fi Yi Yi/Mandingo Warriors wearing cone shaped hats that come from the Mandinka people of West Africa.

I noticed that many female Spirit Of Fi Yi Yi / Mandingo Warrior musicians wear African or African inspired clothing, have facial paint that can be associated with Africa, and perform West African dance movements. Some female members of Fi Yi Yi/Mandingo Warriors also wear beaded head bands that are traditionally associated with some South Africans ethnic groups.

4. The African instruments that are played by the Spirit Of Fi Yi Yi / Mandingo Warriors are from the Mandinka people of  West Africa and include the djembe, dundun, shekere, and iron bell.
"A djembe or jembe...JEM-bay; from Malinke jembe [dʲẽbe]... is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose. In the Bambara language, "djé" is the verb for "gather" and "bé" translates as "peace."[3]


Traditionally, the djembe is played only by men, as are the dunun that always accompany the djembe. Conversely, other percussion instruments that are commonly played as part of an ensemble, such as the shekere (a hollowed-out gourd covered with a net of beads), karignan (a tubular bell), and kese kese (a woven basket rattle), are usually played by women. Even today, it is rare to see women play djembe or dunun in West Africa, and African women express astonishment when they do see a female djembe player.[4]"...

5. Traditional African centered designs such as adinkra symbols and other African centered or concepts/stories are used in the "patches" in that tribe's suits.
What African aesthetics/elements in the Spirit of Fi Yi i/Mandingo Warriors Madri Gras Indian tribe did you notice? Please share your observations in the comment section below. 

This concludes Part II of this pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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