Banna Kanuteh........

 

Allegedly......not an educated man........Banna travelled the African continent and  became fluent in more than 20 languages. He co-wrote the Penguin modern classic "Sunjata" with Bamba Suso..... and has left a musical legacy that enriches not only his family and his country, but also the Griots and Jalis who have maintained the tradition of Balafon playing.......and musicians of every colour and creed around the world..............

Home Page  Artists  Video Archive 

If you want to stream... or buy... tracks from  this Artist....  go to   City Walls Music-Broadjam    


                                       

Banna's father Jali Madi Kanuteh ....aka....Balafo Madi..... was born in Sankarang Duwako in Guinea Conachrie. His mother Aja Kunadiya (lucky) Sakiliba (Susso) was born in Horokoto Nyambia in Mali.....They travelled to Gambia together with a The humour in Banna's playing is obvious to all......and he was a favourite with members of Governments......travelling widely to provide entertainment for celebrations and trade festivals.......the richness of African tradition can be heard in all of his playing.....and of course the people would love to dance to the music that he played.....He was also instrumental in the development of the National Troupe........and the recordings that we have found to start off this archive include his working with his future wife Jali Mamanding Kuyateh....and Dembo Konteh....who as we shall see has also played a major part in the development of West African music.merchant called Fili Darboe ..... and Banna was born in The Gambia in 1916 in Nyani Kayai in CRD...(Cenral River Division).  

Both Bamba Suso and Banna Kanuteh give their own very personalised accounts of the life of "Sunjata" in this wonderful Penguin Modern Classic. Bamba Suso...who was from the Eastern division....and who's parents were from Mali .....gives a Madinka view that reveres tradition and is spoken. This was how a Ngara....or Master Musician ......should perform....!  Banna Kanuteh.....on the other hand.....also from the Upper River area ....was a powerful..... flamboyant....sometimes abrasive character....! A born showman.....he would punctuate his singing with virtuosi instrumental interludes.....As he began to travel in the 1950s....he made his first recordings for the BBC World Service.....and by the 1960s had become a major influence on the development of the National Troup!

This photo with the drum depicted some time during a cultural festival in Nigeria. He was demonstrating the Mandinka Seuruba Drum called Belengwo. Banna would play this drum during wrestling contests and when the Mandinka Kankurangwo Masquerade was performing either at Weddings.... or Naming and Circumcision ceremonies. He also played the Wollof  Harp....The Riti.....and used to perform with his ensemble including his three wives and prominent Gambian Kora players on Radio Gambia. The programme was called Fatafingla Kukoto (African Renaissance) and later developed into Banna la Sumungwo ( Banna’s Show).Banna always expressed his music in the context of 800 years of village life........Griots....Jalis....and the way in which great Warriors like Sunjata affected the growth of the village and the values that were espoused......!  Finally married to Jali Mamanding Kuyateh in the late 1970s....their son....... and heir to a great tradition....Saihou ........was born.......!   To this day he carries a torch for the future generations of West African music. Banna Kanuteh died in 1995....leaving a legacy that will in time be seen as the defining era in Balafon music. The future had not yet arrived.....yet he spoke with such truth...and in his own way....he let the music of his ancestors pervade his every musical narrative!

 

 

                                  Banna's son Saihou has cleverly edited old news reel footage of his father into the Video for Brikong...it gives an insight into the life of  a Griot 50 years ago....with thanks to Hi-Tech..The Gambia.... 

 

 

Kanuteh..Brikong

 

 

Home Page  Artists  Video Archive 

cnt>contact:  paul@musicman1.net



Copyright © 2013. Musicman 1. All rights reserved.