Somono Bala of the Upper Niger

River people, Charismatic Bards, and Mischieveous Music in a West African Culture


The Somono are an ethnic group specialized in fishing on the river Niger. Somono Bala is an epic story. This is the first ever translation of this narritive from the Maninka language into English.

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David Conrad holds a Ph.D. in African History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is Professor of History at the State University of New York, Oswego, and President of the Mande Studies Association. Specializing in oral tradition, indigenous religion and early kingdoms of the western sudan, he conducts research in Guinea and Mali. His books include two volumes of edited translations: A State of Intrigue and Epic Ancestors of the Sunjata Era, and he is co-editor of Status and Identity in West Africa.