This troupe is playing an important role to carry forward the indigenous music and dance traditions of Mali related to TAMAN, an age-old percussion musical instrument native to Mali and West Africa.
Cheickne Sissoko 5Tamans, a cultural troupe of Mali specializing in Mali’s centuries-old traditional music and dance, participated in the 2nd National Tribal Dance Festival 2021. This festival was held at Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh, from October 28-30, 2021.
“It was a unique opportunity not only for the Malian troupe, which was on its first visit to India, to showcase the richness of their Malian culture in India but also for the Indian audience to get glimpses of Mali in India and appreciate their diverse and attractive cultural traditions,” Ambassador Anjani Kumar, Embassy of India in Mali told Financial Express Online.
More about the troupe
Led by Cheickne Sissoko, Cheickne Sissoko 5Tamans is a versatile cultural troupe of Mali. This troupe is playing an important role to carry forward the indigenous music and dance traditions of Mali related to TAMAN, an age-old percussion musical instrument native to Mali and West Africa.
According to the Indian envoy, “It is also called the Talking Drum because of its ability to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech. Taman comes in various sizes which are placed between one arm and the body of the person who plays it.”
Cheickne Sissoko 5Tamans is recognized for its contribution in preserving and propagating this indigenous art form of Mali. Cheickne Sissoko runs a cultural school in Bamako where he trains his students and also practices with his troupe. Prior to visiting India, this troupe had performed at prestigious cultural festivals across Mali and in other countries like the USA, France, Denmark, Gabon, Togo, Cameroon, Sweden, to name a few. They include both musicians and dancers. I have personally seen the performances of Cheickne Sissoko 5Tamans in Bamako on multiple occasions. They are able to create a mesmerizing and elevating symphony through their captivating and powerful music.
How did they perform in India?
They were sent by the Indian embassy in that country.
“When the Embassy received the proposal from the Government of Chhattisgarh about the upcoming National Tribal Dance Festival, we felt that Mali, given its rich and diverse culture, must be represented at this festival. We are thankful to both the ICCR and the Government of Chhattisgarh for making it possible for the Malian Troupe to participate in the festival at Raipur,” Ambassador Kumar explained.
Adding, “During my stay in Mali for close to two years, I have had the pleasure of witnessing the immense richness and diversity of Malian culture as reflected in their native music and dance. In fact, Mali is a music powerhouse with a long list of distinguished musicians who are respected on the international arena like Ali Farka Toure, Selif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Babani Kone, Habib Koite, Toumani Diabaté, Bassekou Kouyate, Sidiki Diabaté, Vieux Farka Toure, Fatoumata Diawarra, to name just a few. In fact, Toumani Diabaté, Habib Koite and Vieux Garka Toure had earlier performed in India as well.”
The performances of the Malian troupe were liked by the audiences in Raipur. One of the tweets shared by the Office of Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh says, “माली के लोक कलाकारों ने प्रथम दिन की अंतिम प्रस्तुति में दर्शकों को झूमने को किया मजबूर”
माली के लोक कलाकारों ने प्रथम दिन की अंतिम प्रस्तुति में दर्शकों को झूमने को किया मजबूर@TribalAffairsIn @TribalCgGov @tribesindia @GoChhattisgarh @culture_deptt #TribalFestivalCG pic.twitter.com/Ivtj9MMX6t
— CMO Chhattisgarh (@ChhattisgarhCMO) October 28, 2021
Another video shared shared by the CMO of Chhattisgarh shows that Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel happily playing Taman, the Malian musical instrument, and everyone around him are enjoying the friendly occasion which has become memorable for the Malian troupe.
— CMO Chhattisgarh (@ChhattisgarhCMO) October 31, 2021
How did the troupe feel after performing in India?
“The Malian troupe returned to Bamako with happy memories of their brief visit to India. They were impressed by the diversity of India culture which was on display during the National Tribal Dance Festival with cultural troupes from various Indian States participating in it. They got an opportunity to meet some of them and also those who came from other countries. They also loved Indian hospitality and the way they were warmly welcomed in India in the best tradition of Athiti Devo Bhava,” said the Indian envoy.
Mali was one of only seven countries from across the world that participated in the National Tribal Dance Festival in India. Interestingly, last September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken in his Mann Ki Baat about Mr Seydou Dembele of Mali, a Malian Indophile who has been promoting friendship between India and Mali through Indian music and films.