The Epic of Kelefaa Saane

Edited by Sana Camara

by Sirifo Camara

Published by: Indiana University Press

6.00 x 9.00 in, 5 b&w illus., 3 maps

  • eBook
  • 9780253004246
  • Published: April 2010


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This powerful and popular epic honors the legendary warrior prince of Kaabu and Mandinka cultural hero, Kelefaa Saane. A standard of the griot repertoire, the epic of Kelefaa Saane is customarily taught to young performers at the beginning of their careers. Sirifo Camara's masterful recitation was recorded in Dakar in 1987. It has been transcribed in Mandinka and is translated into English here for the first time. The epic, as it describes Kelefaa's life and exploits, relates what it means to be Mandinka. Kelefaa's extraordinary prowess and virtue derive from the political, social, moral, and theological founding myths of the Mandinka people. This beautiful and engaging performance provides a unique perspective on the intellectual and literary heritage of West Africa.