On my last day of training wth Hammay, we went to Sanementereng which is a very important place. It is the place that Jali Madi Wuleng first received the kora from the spirit world of the Jinns. When I first visited The Gambia in 2012, I found this place accidentally on my own taking a long walk from Sukuta as I was feeling lonely and homesick after 5.5 weeks in a new land. I walked all the way to the turntable and beyond in the blazing hot sunshine until a kind taxi driver stopped me and offered me a lift to the Brufut fishing place for free. Then I walked along the beach and sat under a tree. Not long after, a man stopped to chat and after explaining I was learning the kora, he let me into the secret of the place. We walked up to the holy tree, I removed my shoes, wrote a prayer and buried it under some small stones.
It was so good to return there again after 6 years. As I explained earlier in my blog, I can only share an outer husk of this experience through words. Perhaps the music Hammay and I shared with the spirit world can give an impression. I’ll be working on trying to improve the audio quality when I get chance but here’s the rough cut for now of one of the pieces we played our last training day together. We sat on the tree roots and said thank you to the spirits/universe/God first before playing.
This song Djata, as I explained below, is compiled from different parts of the Djata story. Son of Farakoro Makhan and Sukulun Konteh, Djata saved the Mandinkas from the evil grasp of a brutal tyrant. Djata the first born and the last, He took the bows and arrows.