Fulani Griots – Keepers of Africa’s Heritage

The griots of the Fulani people, as with many west African peoples, are historically the keepers of the peoples’ most important stories and family histories in West African culture. Their knowledge has been passed down through the ages as part of the oral tradition of story-telling, the sharing of poetry and music.

Griots have been in existence in the region for thousands of years. Masters of the spoken word as well as of sound and rhythm, they occupy a unique place in West African culture.

They are storytellers, yes, but also historians, social commentators, entertainers, town criers, singers, genealogists, guardians of the past and instructors for the future.

There are griots in other cultures besides that of the Fulani people, but the latter have been termed the “gypsies of Africa” and can be found from Cameroon to Senegal, so their cultural influence is widespread. The Fulani griots stand as a warm reminder of all that can be surprising, moving and historically fascinating about Africa, the continent where mankind’s story began.

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