Djibril Tamsir Niane audiorecordings documenting Guinean oral traditions
Scope and Contents
The Djibril Tamsir Niane audiorecordings comprise an oral history of Guinea. The recordings (63 reel-to-reel audiotapes) were made by noted Guinean scholar Djibril Tamsir Niane, primarily from 1969 to 1971. Included in the collection are field recordings of interviews, oral histories, epic tradition and musical performances, and ceremonies of several ethnic groups, particularly the Baga and Maninka, in several languages. The recordings are the only significant body of audio historical data on Guinean indigenous history and culture collected between 1958, when Guinea gained independence from France, and Sékou Touré’s death in 1984. Also included in the collection are a few recordings of radio broadcasts.
- Circa 1960-1980
Language of Materials
The material is primarily in Bamana, Mininka, Gambian Mandinka, Wasulunke, Baga, Susu, Wolof, and French.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
The entire collection is digitized. Researchers must use the digital copies instead of the originals.
Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.
Existence and Location of Copies
The entire collection is available in digital form.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright is retained by the creator(s) of this collection for materials they have authored or otherwise produced. After the lifetime of the creator(s), copyright passes to Yale University. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Djibril Tamsir Niane, 2009.
The tapes are arranged by tape number assigned by the repository.
15.75 Linear Feet (63 audiotapes)
The Djibril Tamsir Niane audiorecordings comprise an oral history of Guinea. The recordings (reel-to-reel audiotapes) were made by noted Guinean scholar Djibril Tamsir Niane, primarily from 1969 to 1971. Included in the collection are field recordings of interviews, oral histories, epic tradition and musical performances, and ceremonies of several ethnic groups, particularly the Baga and Maninka, in several languages. The recordings are the only significant body of audio historical data on Guinean indigenous history and culture collected between 1958, when Guinea gained independence from France, and Sékou Touré’s death in 1984. Also included in the collection are a few recordings of radio broadcasts.
Biographical / Historical
Djibril Tamsir Niane (II) was born in Conakry, Guinea, in 1932. He is a noted Guinean scholar historian, editor, dramatist and author of Epopée de Soundiata (1960, published in English as Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali in 1965). He published widely on West African oral tradition and West African history. His early career spanned the tumultuous years of Sékou Touré’s regime in Guinea. From 1961 to 1964 he was imprisoned for his activities as a member of the teachers' union. He was released to take part in a Polish-Guinean archeological expedition, on which he worked until 1967. In 1968, Niane became dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Conakry. While there, he conducted ethnographic research on Guinean oral traditions. In Guinea-Conakry from 1969 to 1971, Professor Niane conducted research while the Sékou Touré regime’s "demystification program" focused on the destruction of all traditional cultural elements, actively discouraging academic interest in such subjects. At considerable personal risk, Niane and a team of his university students investigated Baga culture in their coastal villages, as well as collecting oral history and tradition elsewhere in Guinea. Fearing further political persecution, Niane left Guinea in 1972. He escaped to Dakar, Senegal, where he and his family remained in exile until the death of Touré in 1984. In addition to his scholarly career, Niane held several ministerial and cultural posts while in Dakar and was a member of the comité de pilotage in Guinea.
Sources: Conrad, David C. “Bold Research During Troubled Times in Guinea: The Story of the Djibril Tamsir Niane Tape Archive,” History of Africa 37 ( 2010), 355-378, and “Djibril Tamsir Niane,” in Henry L. Gates Jr., and Emmanuel Akyeampong (eds.), Dictionary of African Biography (Oxford, in press).
This collection was digitized through the generous support of the Arcadia Foundation.
The Niane audiorecordings were described by David Conrad as part of a digitization project funded by the Arcadia Foundation. During the digitization process it was discovered that tapes (boxes) numbered 52 and 57 were blank and were not retained as part of the collection.
- Guide to the Djibril Tamsir Niane Audiorecordings Documenting Guinean Oral Traditions
- compiled by Mary Caldera and David Conrad
- March 2011
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository
Yale University Library
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Sterling Memorial Library
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