Music and dance are everywhere in Senegal. Anytime is a good time to have a party and a dance (christenings, weddings, social successes). Whether these dances are organized by an individual, a group or an entire neighbourhood, the organizers are women only.

Women hire one or more musicians to provide the rhythm for the variation of the movements. These include the sabar player in particular (a triangular shaped tom-tom) and the tama player (a gourd-shaped drum held under the arm). The rhythm is taken up by the audience clapping their hands.

These traditional dances take place outside in the courtyard of a house or in the street. Sessions are open to everyone and even passers-by can take part and become, for the space of a movement, the star attraction.
Music and dance are everywhere in Senegal. Anytime is a good time to have a party and a dance (christenings, weddings, social successes). Whether these dances are organized by an individual, a group or an entire neighbourhood, the organizers are women only.

Women hire one or more musicians to provide the rhythm for the variation of the movements. These include the sabar player in particular (a triangular shaped tom-tom) and the tama player (a gourd-shaped drum held under the arm). The rhythm is taken up by the audience clapping their hands.

These traditional dances take place outside in the courtyard of a house or in the street. Sessions are open to everyone and even passers-by can take part and become, for the space of a movement, the star attraction.

© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Glass Painting

The Dance

Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
Canadian Heritage Information Network

© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Senegalese wrestling is a traditional sport practised in small towns as well as cities.

Before the match, the wrestler shows off before his audience, sometimes accompanied by tom-tom and tama (arm drum) players.

During this parade, he boasts about his strength and bravery and lists all the opponents that he has beaten. He is covered in charms to give him strength and to protect him during the bout and these are placed at strategic points on his biceps, torso, wrists and head. He holds another talisman in his hand to ensure that the spirits cooperate in his victory.

The fight unfolds rapidly and whoever throws his opponent first is declared the winner.
Senegalese wrestling is a traditional sport practised in small towns as well as cities.

Before the match, the wrestler shows off before his audience, sometimes accompanied by tom-tom and tama (arm drum) players.

During this parade, he boasts about his strength and bravery and lists all the opponents that he has beaten. He is covered in charms to give him strength and to protect him during the bout and these are placed at strategic points on his biceps, torso, wrists and head. He holds another talisman in his hand to ensure that the spirits cooperate in his victory.

The fight unfolds rapidly and whoever throws his opponent first is declared the winner.

© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Glass Painting

The Parade of the Wrestlers

Mor Guèye
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
c. 1996
© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


An orchestra full of traditional instruments is portrayed here. The artist wanted to gather women and men together with instruments familiar to him. But this is a personal vision and not very accurate. Indeed, playing music is a male prerogative, more specifically for men of the "griot" caste. The women ("griotes") sing to the accompaniment of the musicians.

In the foreground we have:
the balaphon, which is a percussion instrument something like a xylophone with wooden bars and a resonator made from various sizes of calabash, open on the top and attached under the bars. the xalam, a five-cord instrument like a guitar. It accompanies storytellers as they recount traditional historical tales and recite family genealogies. the bolon, a four-stringed instrument like a harp.
In the background, we have:
the cora, which is an instrument with twenty-one strings on a wippen mounted on a calabash over which a cow hide is stretched. The calabash may be decorated or left plain. the riti, a Peul instrument like a single-stringed violin. The string is made fr Read More
An orchestra full of traditional instruments is portrayed here. The artist wanted to gather women and men together with instruments familiar to him. But this is a personal vision and not very accurate. Indeed, playing music is a male prerogative, more specifically for men of the "griot" caste. The women ("griotes") sing to the accompaniment of the musicians.

In the foreground we have:
  • the balaphon, which is a percussion instrument something like a xylophone with wooden bars and a resonator made from various sizes of calabash, open on the top and attached under the bars.
  • the xalam, a five-cord instrument like a guitar. It accompanies storytellers as they recount traditional historical tales and recite family genealogies.
  • the bolon, a four-stringed instrument like a harp.

In the background, we have:
  • the cora, which is an instrument with twenty-one strings on a wippen mounted on a calabash over which a cow hide is stretched. The calabash may be decorated or left plain.
  • the riti, a Peul instrument like a single-stringed violin. The string is made from horsehair and the body from bombax wood covered with skin.
  • the lital, a kind of multicoloured, two-holed traverse flute.

© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Glass Painting

The Orchestra

Mbida
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"

© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Children amuse themselves in the bush by hunting small game. They hunt in a group. Some chase rats while others try to steal eggs from nests in the hollows of trees. The birds being held by the youngest here are toucans. Some of these edible animals are grilled or cooked by the youngsters. But this small game is not normally served at the family meal.

These young hunters wear very little clothing, usually castoffs. A long piece of cloth is passed between the legs and folded in front and back over a belt made from a piece of cord.
Children amuse themselves in the bush by hunting small game. They hunt in a group. Some chase rats while others try to steal eggs from nests in the hollows of trees. The birds being held by the youngest here are toucans. Some of these edible animals are grilled or cooked by the youngsters. But this small game is not normally served at the family meal.

These young hunters wear very little clothing, usually castoffs. A long piece of cloth is passed between the legs and folded in front and back over a belt made from a piece of cord.

© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Glass Painting

Children Hunting

Alexis Ngom
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
c. 1996
© 1997, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • describe elements of life in Senegal, with emphasis on the recreational activities;
  • describe the colours and patterns utilized by glass painting artists and analyze how these artistic elements relate to the theme communicated through the finished product;
  • describe the role of glass painting in Senegal’s culture.

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