The Griots of West Africa
Music has served as a language of memory in many cultures around the world. In West Africa, a Griot, or Jali, is part of a special, hereditary caste of individuals charged with knowing and retelling the stories and histories of the local people. Most often these stories are conveyed through music as a Griot will recount the genealogies and history of a people in song, usually accompanied by a kora, or a long-necked harp.
"Postcard showing griot (musician and story-teller), c. 1904," British Library,