Traditionalist generally attribute the refrain of this song to Tumu Manian, an old griot woman who left with Sunjata during his exile. Many of the couplets of this song were improvised by Bala Faseke Kouyate after the victory of Sunjata over Soumangourou.
“Sundjata” is drawn from the panegyric “Sundjata [faassa]” devoted to the founder of the Empire of Manden. Among the various versions of “Sundjata [faassa]”, I have choosen this one below for its synthetic point of view; but actually, the panegyric of Sundjata is much more longer because it includes (very often) :
- many parts of the “Soumaworo faassa”, i.e the Soumaworo Kante’s panegyric, his main enemy ;
- many verses having proverbial intents of the song “Sûba” ;
- certain parts of the song “Janjon” which enlarge on panegyrics of the Kamara lineage and Fakoli Kourouma, nephew of Soumaworo Kante and warchief allied to Sundjata as well as the panegyric of Tira Manghan, general of Sundjata.