Friday, January 01, 2016

A Djenné New Year

Christmas and Maoloud (the celebration of the birth of  Mohammed) coincided perfectly this year for the first time since the sixteenth century apparently. Djenné always resembles an illustrated childrens’ Bible of the Holy Land and this impression has been magnified this year by the melodious  Fatias (sung Koran recitals) which have been  held day and night at the numerous Koran schools and traditional Djenné homes during this festive season. It was all supposed to be over on the 30th of January, but seemingly unstoppable  the recitals have continued and even this morning before first light I could hear the sound of a multitude of chanting male voices which travelled across from some Djenné Koran school.

 I was invited to one of these Fatias yesterday, held at the Koran School and home of the Tomagnan family.  It is rare to be invited to one of these events and  Keita, as an ‘outsider’ born in Kayes  has never been to a Djenné Fatia. The Tomagnan family  are the owners of quite an important manuscript collection which they have entrusted to the Djenné Manuscript Library, and I guess that is why I was invited.
I always go when if I am asked, although it is of course a very male affair with the women only allowed to watch on the side- I climbed the mud stairs of the two storey  traditional mud  building and photographed the event from above in the company of these young girls who were very excited about  my camera.

The older women are either sitting apart listening to the reading or in the kitchen preparing the customary sweet dough nuts which I was given on my way home.

In the evening Keita and I decided to get dressed up and celebrated a quiet New Years Eve with some of his friends from the hospital and today he left for Segou. Birgit is still here and tomorrow our old friend Andrea from Brazil is arriving so no time to mope around feeling lonely...


Blogger Pascal et Monique said...

Sophie, quelle joie de te retrouver telle que toi-même: enthousiaste, entreprenante,ouverte au monde, en pleine santé!
On te souhaite une belle année 2016, en continuité avec ces quelques premiers jours de ton retour au Mali.
Et en egoistes, on se souhaite de te revoir à Lyon...
All the best Sophie, to you and Keita!
Monique et Pascal

8:04 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Je veux bien vous revoir un jour à Lyon! Pour le plaisir de vous voir et aussi pour passer du temps avec vous dans un bon 'Bouchon'de Lyon! Je n'ai jamais mange aussi bien... Je vous souhaite une tres bonne Année!

2:45 PM  
Blogger David said...

Another aspect of Djenne life new to the blog (as far as I can remember). Infinite interest there, and yet more material for the book when you eventually decide to do it.

Sat in the Wigmore surrounded by the ancient this morning and remembered your generous words about the West End being for the young, and how the old needed a space too. Quite right, I just wish so many of them wouldn't sleep through electrifying performances like the one we heard today.

Joyeuse annee to you and Keita.

3:16 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

And what was the concert? Wish I had been there with you! And a very happy New Year to you

7:54 PM  
Blogger David said...

An electrifying sibling duo, cellist Johannes Moser (whom I knew from his having made total sense of a really difficult concerto I hadn't liked before, Lutoslawski's) and his brother Benjamin. Shostakovich and Prokofiev (best performance of the Cello Sonata I've ever heard).

10:05 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Oh, how lovely! Do keep ALL the spare tickets for such things for late spring for me!!!

6:37 PM  
Blogger David said...

Of course, dahling, if only so that you can up the glamour/style count at the notoriously dowdy Wigmire (no typo there).

10:06 PM  
Blogger Laurent said...

Meilleurs Voeux de Bonne Année 2016 à vous tous. Very interesting story about the Fatias.

9:06 PM  

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