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Lamba

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This ancient song is one of the few pieces which Jaliw play in order to commemorate themselves and the bardic institution of Jaliyaa.

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This ancient song is one of the few pieces which Jaliw play in order to commemorate themselves and the bardic institution of Jaliyaa. There are several variations upon the musical theme with other names attached to the title such as Lamba, Lambango, Jali, Jeli, Jeliyaa, Waraba and many more. This song, originally dedicated to the descendents of the 13th Century Jali Balla Fasseke Kouyate has become an anthem to all griots practicing the art of Jaliyaa. Possibly the most famous refrain of the song is:

“Ye, Jaliyaa, Allah le ye ka Jaliyaa da. (Jaliyaa, it is God who has given us Jaliyaa!”

Lamba is important also because it belongs to a complex of tunes played during the retelling of the Epic of the Emperor of 13th Century Mali known as Soundiata Keita. Other songs in this complex include: Boloba and Sunjata Fasa.

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