The Epic of Sumanguru Kante contains the Bamana text and English translation of griot Abdoulaye Sako’s oral narrative of the life of Sumanguru, recorded in 1997 in Koulikoro (Mali), together with explanatory notes, a scholarly introduction, and sections on the Bamana language and musical accompaniment. Sumanguru is a familiar figure within Manding epic oral traditions about ancient Mali. But while these narratives generally focus on Sunjata Keita, Sako’s oral poem is rare in according Sumanguru the central role. In so doing he includes hitherto undocumented episodes relating to Sumanguru’s life and role as the ruler of Soso, the little known state said to have flourished in the western Sudan between the fall of ancient Ghana and rise of ancient Mali.
Stephen P.D. Bulman (Ph.D. 1990, University of Birmingham) is a management consultant in higher education and has published several historiographic and literary studies on the Sunjata epic.
Valentin F. Vydrine is a Professor of Manding at INALCO and an Enseignant-Chercheur at LLACAN (CNRS), both in Paris. He has published widely on Manding.
Editors’ IntroductionAcknowledgementsList of FiguresIntroductionStephen P.D. BulmanA Note on the Language and Transcription of the Bamana TextValentin F. VydrineGlossary of Manding WordsTranscriptions of the Major Musical Themes That Abdulaye Sako Played on the ngɔ̀ni to Accompany His Performance of the Epic of SumanguruSam DickeySummary of Contents of the Epic of SumanguruBanama Text and English Translation of the Epic of Sumanguru by Abdulaye SakoValentin F. Vydrine, Amadou Togo and Stephen P.D. BulmanBibliographyIndex
All interested in pre-colonial West African history, ancient Mali, Manding (Manden or Mande) oral tradition and the epic of Sunjata (or Sundiata) Keita.