Global griots. Performance in the African diaspora
Dorsch describes in how the institution of griots (and griottes) flexibly adapts to changing conditions and that by this strategy, or behavior, they are successful on the global music market. They also function as an image of African authenticity. Postcolonial elites legitimize their position via the connection by the sign of the griots as representants of pre-colonial power. In the imagination of Afro-America the symbol of the griot appears as the connection with the continent of the ancestors and thus becomes the expression of a black history and their contribution to the culture of the Americas. So, for West-African migrants in Europe griots are the epitome of the cultural wealth of their lands of origin. As actors, griots have their own agenda when following their patrons into the diaspora or on concert tours. Using performance theory Dorsch shows how the African homeland is constructed during concerts. The chapters of the book deal with 1. the origin of griots and the essence of the Jaliya (griot in the Mandinka language); 2. Mande and the peoples of Sudanese West-Africa (as a background for understanding the function of griots as designers of ethnicity); 3. Griots in modernity and in the diaspora; 4. Griots as "open signifiers (acting in global "spaces" and between diasporas); 5. Griots as "diasporists" Ð music, performance, homeland. In-between the chapters there are (translated) accounts of griots, to make them "tangible" and get a direct impression of their thinking and logic. The appendix has photographs, a glossary, and a list of films.