Kamelen n’goni and Donzon n’goni are pentatonics instruments, Kora’s cousin. They are a kind of traditional harpe-luth with 6, 8 or 12 strings, built from a big calabash 3/4 cut and empty. These instruments are 1m50 high. A wood neck crosses the calabash and maintains nylon strings (2 parallel lines as the kora). Strings are fixed with woods machine head (traditional) or metal machine head (modern). The calabash is covered with an animal skin (goat or veal). A 10 cm hole is made on the inside of the calabash to enable the sound coming out.
The kamelen ngoni and the Donzon ngoni look like very similar but have different functions in Africa traditions. Each one has its own musical genre as well as rhythms, repertoires and occasions to play.
Kamelen ngoni is an instrument created around the 70th and used to play uninitiated music outside the traditional framework. It’s usually played by young people (girls, boys & women) for occasions such as weddings, baptisms, anniversary, etc. It is smaller, tuned a fourth higher then the traditional n’goni and has eight, ten or twelve strings.
The Donzon N’Goni is a key instrument of the griot culture and the hunter’s world; it is the emblem of this brotherhood. Used for ceremonial purposes, as hunting techniques, occult power, weapons, fetishism and traditional medicine, it is, often, accompanied by singing and karagnan, a serrated metal tube that is scraped with a metal stick. Used for hunting ceremony, it’s one of the Wassoulou treasures in Mali has six strings and a deep sound.
Tuning : The pentatonic scale used most frequently for hunting’s music is quite unusual : tonic, Maj sec. Forth, fifth, and Maj seventh. Kamele ngoni plays often with other instruments as pentatonic balafon (minor pentatonic) and it will be tuned as the balafon.
La Goutte The Drop
Slam & lyrics Jonas.
Music by Madou Zerbo voice, Camelen’goni & Adama Kone Balafon.
Produced by Marc Liebeskind “Nomad Hip Studio”.
Image Laurence Zulianello & Marc Liebeskind.
Editing Laurence Zulianello.