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UMS Concert Program, October 20, 1972: Dancers Of Mali --

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University Musical Society
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Concert: Fifth
Complete Series: 3785
Power Center For The Performing Arts Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
National Ensemble of the Republic of Mali
with Dancers Acrobats Warriors
Singers Drummers Musicians
BOUBA DIALLO, Director General MAMADOU BADIAN KOUYATE, Artistic Director
Friday Evening, October 20, 1972, at 8:00
Power Center for the Performing Arts
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fifth Program International Presentations in Power Center Complete Concerts 3785
L'Oiseau Sacre (Sacred Bird)
The Sacred Bird is a mystical symbol of great significance to the Malian people. The Sacred Bird of the Bambara, for instance, reportedly appears only at night. It is ridden by an elf called FarimaNi who is excessively talkative, sometimes funny and enchanting, other times mysterious and sad. Here is the L'Oiseau Sacre of the Bambaras, bringing you greetings from the people of Mali.
This is an ancient mask from the Bambaras. Representing a lion, it always signifies the end of a ritual or ceremony. The acquisition of this mask and the holy rituals accompanying it are identical to the ceremonies observed at marriage proposals.
The Call of the TamTam
The TamTam is an extraordinary instrument made of hard wood and the skin of sacrificed animals. Sending vibrations all over Africa to the rhythm of the heartbeat, absorbing the pulse of the suffering, the happy and the loving, the TamTam calls all together, invites them to unite and to let their hearts beat at the speed of the TamTam. The TamTam is calling!
To express the joy about the arrival of winter, the young men and women of a village organize popular festivities to honor Mandan, the god who changes the seasons.
Le Masque de Force (Dogons)
The masks worn in Dogon dances are several hundred years old and are national treasures. They are rarely permitted to travel abroad because of their antiquity, their delicacy and historical significance, their rarity, and their inestimable value. These masks are used to this day by the Dogons in observance of their exotic rites, which are among the most unusual and most fascinating practiced by any people on earth. The Dogons, isolated from civilization by the sheer, towering cliffs in the region of Sangha, in which they make their homes, take us back in time many centuries with these primitive tribal masks, made of hard wood, reeds, feathers, animal hides and cowrie shells.
This dance from Kharta is performed by the young men and women to celebrate the abundance and prosperity of a good harvest.
The Dance of the "Possedes" (The "Possessed")
The observance of this rite is widespread throughout the Republic of Mali, and amongst most of the tribes especially the Bambaras and the Songhais. Many centuries old, the ceremony involves the wild, hypnotic rhythms of the TamTam, the Tambourines, and the Balafons. A sick young girl, whom the tribe's doctor cannot seem to cure, is mystically united with the spirit (devil). She becomes "possessed." She rolls, wailing, on the ground, generating a similar state of being "Possessed" in the members of the tribe who surround her. Invisible horsemen mount the dancers who become the horses of the gods. They become caught up in the frenzy of the rite, and, in a fever pitch of emotional excitement, they become "possessed," throwing themselves on the ground and rolling about in horrible convulsions.
Enter the "fetish man," a personality wellknown throughout Africa. He is always on the lookout for manifestations of the devil's presence and handiwork, and the bodies of the "Possessed"
afford the devil a natural hiding place. By touching the victims and pronouncing in a highpitched voice the proper sacramental words, he seeks to exorcise the devil; and almost immediately the convulsive writhing ceases. The fetishman is the victor; the devil has been put to flight.
But the TamTam, the Kora, and the Balafons play on, weaving their strange, hypnotic spells over one and all. Before long, the "Possessed" are again dancing frantically, caught in the spell of the devil and his music.
The Dance of the Hunters
Since earliest times the hunters of a tribe enjoyed a position of special prominence and im?portance, since they not only provided food for their people but also assured the protection, peace, safety, and security of their villages from marauding beasts or tribal enemies. As combination con?stabulary--militia--armed forces, these fearless tribesmen remain even today a vitally important part of tribal society.
To be a good hunter it is not enough for a man to be an expert marksman, and to possess intrepidity and courage in abundance; one must also be knowledgeable about all manner of flora and fauna. The hunt is always preceded by certain tribal rites. During these, the Griot (troubadour) praises the actions and skills of the best among the hunters assembled. This often causes intense rivalry among hunters, who throw themselves into proving their exceptional prowess by performing wildly exciting dances.
Here are some popular dances from the African griots (troubadors) as they are commonly pre?sented for happy and joyous occasions.
A Malinkee betrothal and wedding dance is performed by the young women of Mandingue in Southwest Mali.
N' Tessanoufe Songs
These old songs are interpreted by the charming Oumou Kouyate.
This ancient dance from the Segou region is performed in celebration of any occasion in tribal social or religious life. It combines the fervor of the TamTams with the grace and skills of the dancers.
A salute of the entire Ensemble.
Staging Cheick Oumar Maiga
Costume Supervision Cheick N'Diaye
Personnel Mama Tanogo
General Manager Wolfgang Schimansky
Tour Manager Henri Lehousse
An Evening with The Duke
Saturday, November 11, in Hill Auditorium at 8:30
Duke Ellington and his worldfamous orchestra will be presented by the University Musical Society for the first time as a special Benefit Concert, with the contributions to help insure the longstanding tradition of excellent concerts in Ann Arbor. Tickets, including contribution, are priced at $50, $25, $15, $10, $7, $6, and $4, and are now on sale at our Burton Tower offices. Included in the $50 ticket is a special afterconcert supper party and "more jazz." Brochures with complete details available upon request.
Ah Ahk, Music and Dance from Korea Guaeneri String Quartet Batsheva Dance Company from Israel Royal Philharmonic Orchestra . Chinese Skin Shadow Puppets . Yuval Trio from Israel .... Christopher Parkening, Guitarist
Paniagua Quartet.....
Itzhak Perlman, Violinist ....
Sunday, October 22 (2:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Sunday, October 29 (2:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Friday, November 3 (8:00, Power Center)
Saturday, November 4 (8:30, Hill Auditorium)
Monday, November 6 (8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Wednesday, November 8 (8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Tuesday, November 14 (8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Saturday, November 18 (8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Tuesday, November 21 (8:30, Hill Auditorium)
Handel's Messiah
For over ninety years, the University Choral Union has presented the Messiah in celebration of the Christmas Season. Donald Bryant conducts the chorus, members of the Interlochen Academy Arts Orchestra, and soloists Louise Rus?sell, soprano, Sofia Steffan, contralto, Waldie Anderson, tenor, and Benjamin Matthews, bass, in three performances in Hill Auditorium. Tickets now on sale.
(8:30) Friday, December 1
(8:30) Saturday, December 2
(2:30) Sunday, December 3
Austral String Quartet from Sydney.....Tuesday, December 5
(8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
sold out
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Phone 6653717

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