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Wudaabe: Art Of Seduction.

The Wodaabe (Fula: Wo?aa?e), also known as the Mbororo or Bororo, are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic.The number of Wodaabe was estimated in 2001 to be 100,000.They are known for their elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies.

The Wodaabe speak the Fula language and don’t use a written language.In the Fula language, wo?a means “taboo”, and Wo?aa?e means “people of the taboo”. “Wodaabe” is an Anglicisation of Wo?aa?e. This is sometimes translated as “those who respect taboos”, a reference to the Wodaabe isolation from broader Fulbe culture, and their contention that they retain “older” traditions than their Fulbe neighbors. In contrast, other Fulbe as well as other ethnic groups sometimes refer to the Wodaabe as “Mbororo”, a sometimes pejorative name, translated into English as “Cattle Fulani”, and meaning “those who dwell in cattle camps”] By the 17th century, the Fula people across West Africa were among the first ethnic groups to embrace Islam, were often leaders of those forces which spread Islam, and have been traditionally proud of the urban, literate, and pious life with which this has been related. Both Wodaabe and other Fulbe see in the Wodaabe the echoes of an earlier pastoralist way of life, of which the Wodaabe are proud and of which urban Fulbe are sometimes critical.
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Men beauty contest: Art Of Seduction

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Ensure safe working conditions

Protect the rights of children

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Develop long term relationships

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Promote fair trade

Pay promptly & fairly These are our core values we operate by.

All of us here at www.touchofafrica.ca are grateful for your support and look forward to a bright new year.
Thank you so much.
Omar Thiam and The Touch Of Africa Team.
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Happy Holidays: African Christmas Song. ...

♫ Santa dedicates this to the many different cultural traditions of Christmas. He wishes you all a Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas. (This is part of a series of vid...

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Dances Of The Dinka People Of Sudan

The Dinka people are an ethnic group inhabiting the Bahr el Ghazal region of the Nile basin, Jonglei and parts of southern Kordufan and Upper Nile regions. The Dinkas are mainly agripastoral people, relying on cattle herding at riverside camps in the dry season and growing millet (awuou) and other varieties of grains (rap) in fixed settlements during the rainy season. They number around 4.5 million people according to the 2008 Sudan census, constituting about 18% of the population of the entire country, and the largest ethnic tribe in South Sudan. Dinka, or as they refer to themselves, Muonyjang (singular) and jieng (plural), one of the branches of the River Lake Nilotes (mainly sedentary agripastoral peoples of the Nile Valley and African Great Lakes region who speak Nilotic languages, including the Nuer and Luo). Dinka are sometimes noted for their height. With the Tutsi of Rwanda, they are believed to be the tallest people in Africa. Roberts and Bainbridge reported the average height of 182.6 cm (5 ft 11.9 in) in a sample of 52 Dinka Ageir and 181.3 cm (5 ft 11.4 in) in 227 Dinka Ruweng measured in 1953–1954.However, it seems the stature of today's Dinka males is lower, possibly as a consequence of undernutrition and conflicts. An anthropometric survey of Dinka men, war refugees in Ethiopia, published in 1995 found a mean height of 176.4 cm (5 ft 9.4 in). Other studies of comparative historical height data and nutrition place the Dinka as the tallest people in the world.

The Dinka people have no centralised political authority, instead comprising many independent but interlinked clans. Certain of those clans traditionally provide ritual chiefs, known as the "masters of the fishing spear" or beny bith, who provide leadership for the entire people and appear to be at least in part hereditary.

Their language, called Dinka or "thuɔŋjäŋ" (thuongmuoingjang), is one of the Nilotic languages of the eastern Sudanic language family. The name means "people" in the Dinka language. It is written using the Latin alphabet with a few additions.

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African Tie Dyeing: The Art Of Colors.
A common method of tie dyeing is the formation of
patterns of large and small circles in various combinations. This is found particularly among people from Senegal to Nigeria (Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin.) There are several techniques used for resist-dyeing. For instance, a cloth is tied or stitched tightly so that the tying or stitching prevents the dye from penetrating the fabric, and sometimes-starchy substance is applied to the textile. This will resist the dye giving pale areas on a dark background when it’s washed at the end of the dyeing process. Another method of tie dyeing consistsWest African tie-dyeWest African tie-dye of folding a strip of cloth into several narrow pleats and binding them together. The folds and the binding resist the dye to produce a linear and cross-hatched effect. Another very popular tie-dyeing technique is to paint freehand with starch before dyeing in order to resist the dye. These are only a few examples of tie-dyeing methods used in Africa today. The tie dye process is time-consuming, but it increases the diversity of patterns and offers the artist control over the finished product. In Africa, tie dyeing is approached with care and creativity.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uhIbN9ahcVU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Anita Whittle made this 2 part film about Traditional Tie Dye and Batik in The Gambia,following her research between 1996-98. Today, 18 years later, the same...

African Maskerade: Dancing Of The Spirits.
Masquerade is a very interesting performance, usually carried out to entertain
people during festivities. It has ageless practice in most African communities
and enjoys, among other things, durability and continuity over time made
possible by family and communal inheritance of the art, craft, magic and
culture. It is generally believed that masquerades are spirits, springs
from the ground and that the spirits and ancestors of the
community are embodied in them.
Masquerade is played all over the world in various forms and in various occasions.
Santa clues, Halloween, clowns, masquerade balls, as played in European and American countries,
are forms of masquerade where people disguise, wear masks and special costumes to perform and entertain people.
The Mathom(Limba Devil) and Ghongorli are some special masquerades played in Sierra Leone of Africa.
The Elewe, Aja-dudu are some types of special Egungun [masquerade] played in Yoruba tribe of Nigeria.
Also, the Mbakara, Ajofia, Mgbada Ike, Ebule are some special Nmonwu [masquerade] played in Eastern Nigeria.
In Nigeria, as part of culture, Masquerades are mostly played during New yam festivals [Iri-ji],Burial ceremony of a greatman,
chieftaincy coronation, and other special festivals. Also played in some parts in Easter and Christmas celebrations.
These masquerades come in various forms and sizes and for different occasions.

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African dance-masquerade dance. PalominoProDVD-CD.com These video clips were given to us by James Esoimeme of southern Nigeria for us to use in our do...

Kruger National Park.

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. The administrative headquarters are in Skukuza. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa's first national park in 1926.

To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.

The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere an area designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the "Biosphere").

The park has nine main gates allowing entrance to the different camps. Enjoy the video:
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www.krugerparkbookings.com - Best Kruger National Park Safari, South Africa. This is just a short video of one of the Best Kruger National Park Safari...

NiokoloKoba.

The NiokoloKoba National Park is a World Heritage Site and natural protected area in south eastern Senegal near the Guinea-Bissau border. It is served by Niokolo-Koba Airport, an unpaved airstrip.


Established as a reserve in 1925,Niokolo-Koba was declared a Senegalese national park on 1 January 1954. Expanded in 1969, it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1981 as a UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve.In 2007 it was added to the UNESCO List of Endangered World Heritage sites.

The park lies in an upland region through which the upper stretch of the Gambia River flows, towards the northwestern border of Guinea. The Biosphere park itself covers some 9,130 square kilometres, in a great arc running from Upper Casamance/Kolda Region at the Guinea-Bissau border into the Tambacounda Region to within a hundred kilometers of the Guinean border near the southeast corner of Senegal. Its altitude ranges from 16m to as high as 311m.

Most of the park is woodland savannah and semi-arid Soudanese forest, with large areas of wooded wetlands and seasonal wetlands. The park contains over 1500 species of plants and 78% of the gallery forest in Senegal.

The national park is known for its wildlife. The government of Senegal estimates the park contains 20 species of amphibian, 60 species of fish, 38 species of reptile (of which four are tortoises). There are some 80 mammal species. These included (as of 2005) an estimated 11000 buffalo, 6000 hippopotomii, 400 western giant eland, 50 elephants, 120 lions, 150 chimpanzees, 3000 waterbuck (kobus ellipsiprymnus), 2000 common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), an unknown number of red colobus (Colobus badius rufomitratus) and a few rare African leopards and West African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus manguensis), although this canid was lothought to be wiped out throughout the rest of the country.

Around 330 species of birds have been sighted in the park, notably the Arabian bustard, black crowned crane, southern ground-hornbill (Bucorvus cafer), martial eagle, bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus), and white-faced duck (Dendrocygna viduata).

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Le Niokolo est situé à une heure et demie de route au Sud de Tambacounda. Il est l'une des aires protégées les plus précieuses de l'Afrique de l'ouest. D'une...

Africa: The Serengeti.

The Maasai people had been grazing their livestock in the open plains of eastern Mara Region, which they named "endless plains", for around 200 years when the first European explorer, Austrian Oscar Baumann, visited the area in 1892. The name "Serengeti" is an approximation of the word used by the Maasai to describe the area, siringet, which means "the place where the land runs on forever".

The first Briton to enter the Serengeti, Stewart Edward White, recorded his explorations in the northern Serengeti in 1913. He returned to the Serengeti in the 1920s and camped in the area around Seronera for three months. During this time, he and his companions shot 50 lions.

Because the hunting of lions made them scarce, the British colonial administration made a partial game reserve of 800 acres (3.2 km2) in the area in 1921 and a full one in 1929. These actions were the basis for Serengeti National Park, which was established in 1951.

The Serengeti gained more fame after the initial work of Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael in the 1950s. Together, they produced the book and film Serengeti Shall Not Die, widely recognized as one of the most important early pieces of nature conservation documentary.

To preserve wildlife, the British evicted the resident Maasai from the park in 1959 and moved them to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There is still considerable controversy surrounding this move, with claims made of coercion and deceit on the part of the colonial authorities.

The park is Tanzania's oldest national park and remains the flagship of the country's tourism industry, providing a major draw to the Northern Safari Circuit encompassing Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It has over 2,500 lions and more than 1 million wildebeest.

.The park covers 14,750 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem.

The park is usually described as divided into three regions-
Serengeti plains: the almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other hoofed animals - zebra, gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, waterbuck - also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. "Kopjes" are granite florations that are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons.
Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the swampy savannah of this region. The Grumeti River is home to Nile crocodiles, colobus monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands (predominantly Commiphora) and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), the bushy savannah is the best place to find elephant, giraffe, and dik dik.

Human habitation is forbidden in the park with the exception of staff for the Tanzania National Parks Authority, researchers and staff of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, and staff of the various lodges, campsites and hotels. The main settlement is Seronera, which houses the majority of research staff and the park's main headquarters, including its primary airstrip.
Enjoy the video:
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Tanzania is famous for the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti national park. But offers also very good off the beaten track safaris in Selous Natio...

Traditional Bwiti Ritual Gabon

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. It is a psychedelic with dissociative properties.

Ibogaine is not currently approved for any medical uses in the United States. Preliminary research indicates that it may help with drug addiction, however, there is a lack of data in humans. Its use has been associated with serious side effects and death. It is used as an alternative medicine treatment for drug addiction in some countries. Its prohibition in other countries has slowed scientific research. Ibogaine is also used to facilitate psychological introspection and spiritual exploration. Derivatives of ibogaine that lack the substance's psychedelic properties are under development.

Ibogaine-containing preparations are used for medicinal and ritual purposes within African spiritual traditions of the Bwiti, who claim to have learned it from the Pygmy peoples. Although it was first commonly advertised as having anti-addictive properties in 1962 by Howard Lotsof, its Western use predates that by at least a century. In France it was marketed as Lambarène, and used as a stimulant. Additionally, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) studied the effects of ibogaine in the 1950s.

Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid that is obtained either by extraction from the iboga plant or by semi-synthesis from the precursor compound voacangine, another plant alkaloid. The total synthesis of ibogaine was described in 1956.Structural elucidation by X-ray crystallography was completed in 1960.

Ibogaine is a psychedelic. The experience of Ibogaine is broken down in two phases, the visionary phase and the introspection phase. The visionary phase has been described as oneirogenic, referring to the dreamlike nature of its psychedelic effects, and lasts for 4 to 6 hours. The second phase, the introspection phase, is responsible for the psychotherapeutic effects. It can allow people to conquer their fears and negative emotions. Ibogaine catalyzes an altered state of consciousness reminiscent of dreaming while fully conscious and aware so that memories, life experiences, and issues of trauma can be processed. Enjoy the video: youtu.be/3s6xiDEqsjU
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Wishing you a great, prosperous, blissful, healthy, bright, delightful, energetic and extremely Happy New Year 2016.

New Year is not about changing the dates but direction; it’s not about changing the calendar but commitment;

it’s not about changing the actions but attitude. May each and every day of yours is renewed with lots of happiness and love.

May the bad times you faced in the year 2015 be your stepping stones to success and may you be blessed

with many happy moments in 2016. Happy New Year.

Thank you so much for your support and friendship.

Omar Thiam and the Touch Of Africa Team.
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Argan oil, available at Touch of Africa

Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) that is endemic to Morocco. In Morocco, argan oil is used to dip bread in at breakfast or to drizzle on couscous or pasta.

The production of argan oil by traditional methods
The fruit of the argan tree is small, and round, oval, or conical. A thick peel covers the fleshy pulp. The pulp surrounds a hard-shelled nut that represents about 25% of the weight of the fresh fruit.

The nut contains one to three argan oil-rich kernels. Extraction yields from 30% to 50% of the oil in the kernels, depending on the extraction method.

Extraction is key to the production process. To extract the kernels, workers first dry argan fruit in the open air and then remove the fleshy pulp. Some producers remove the flesh mechanically without drying the fruit. Moroccans usually use the flesh as animal feed.

The next stage involves cracking the argan nut to obtain the argan kernels. Attempts to mechanize this process have been unsuccessful, so workers still do it by hand, making it a time-consuming, labour-intensive process. Berber women often engage in this arduous task.

Workers gently roast kernels they will use to make culinary argan oil. After the argan kernels cool, workers grind and press them. The brown-colored mash expels pure, unfiltered argan oil. Finally, they decant unfiltered argan oil into vessels. The remaining press cake is protein-rich and frequently used as cattle feed.

Cosmetic argan oil is produced almost identically, though the argan kernels are not roasted to avoid an excessively nutty scent.

The decanted argan oil is left to rest about two weeks so that solids suspended in the argan oil settle to the bottom, creating a natural sediment. The clearer argan oil is further filtered, depending on the required clarity and purity. Pure argan oil may contain some sediment. This is a natural part of the production process and does not affect quality.

Properties and uses:

Fatty acid Percentage

Oleic 42.8%
Linoleic 36.8%
Palmitic 12.0%
Stearic 6.0%
Linolenic <0.5%

Argan oil has a relative density at 20 °C (68 °F) ranging from 0.906 to 0.919

Argan oil contains tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene, and fatty acids, (80% unsaturated fatty acids)[ The main natural phenols in argan oil are caffeic acid, oleuropein, vanillic acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, (epicatechin and (+)-catechin.

Depending on the extraction method, argan oil may be more resistant to oxidation than olive oil.

Culinary argan oil (argan food oil) is used for dipping bread, on couscous, salads and similar uses. Amlou, a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter, is produced by grinding roasted almond and argan oil using stones, mixed with honey and is used locally as a bread dip.

Various claims about the beneficial effects on health due to the consumption of argan oil have been made. Researchers have concluded that daily consumption of argan oil is "highly likely" to be one factor that helps prevent various cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.

The results of a nutritional intervention study, in which volunteers consumed either argan oil or animal fats (butter) in their diet, were published in 2005. The results showed that—as with olive oil and some other vegetable oils—regular dietary intake of argan oil instead of butter reduced harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

Moroccans traditionally use unroasted argan oil to treat skin diseases, and as a cosmetic oil for skin and hair:

"In cosmetics, argan oil is advocated as moisturizing oil, against acne vulgaris and flaking of the skin, as well as for "nourishing" the hair. This oil has also medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns ... Externally, argan oil is used ... for hair as brilliantine, to fortify and ... in the treatment of wrinkled or scaly dry skin.

Argan oil has become increasingly popular for cosmetic use. The number of personal-care products on the US market with argan oil as an ingredient increased from just two in 2007 to over 100 by 2011. It is sometimes mixed with pomegranate seed oil due to its antioxidizing beneits with vendors promoting this blend as an all-in-one serum both for skin and hair Argan oil is also sold without additives as a natural skincare and hair care produ

The increasing popularity of argan oil has prompted the Moroccan government to plan for increased production, with their aim being to increase annual production from around 2,500 to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.

The argan tree provides food, shelter and protection from desertification. The trees' deep roots help prevent desert encroachment. The canopy of argan trees also provides shade for other agricultural products, and the leaves and fruit provide feed for animal

The argan tree also helps landscape stability, helping to prevent soil erosion, providing shade for pasture grasses, and helping to replenish aquifers.

Producing argan oil has helped to protect argan trees from being cut down. In addition, regeneration of the Arganeraie has also been carried out: in 2009 an operation to plant 4,300 argan plants was launched in Meskala in the province of Essaouira.

The Réseau des Associations de la Réserve de Biosphère Arganeraie (Network of Associations of the Argan Biosphere Reserve, RARBA) was founded in 2002 with the aim of ensuring sustainable development in the Arganera

RARBA has been involved with several major projects, including the Moroccan national antidesertification programme (Programme National de Lutte contre la desertification, PAN/LCD). The project involved local populations and helped with improvements to basic infrastructure, management of natural resources, revenue-generating activities (including argan oil production), capacity reinforcement, and others.
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Xalam Traditional Musical Instrument.

Xalam, also spelled khalam, is the Wolof name for a traditional stringed musical instrument from West Africa. The xalam is thought to have originated from modern-day Mali, but some believe that, in antiquity, the instrument may have originated from Ancient Egypt. Many believe that it is an ancestor to the American banjo.

The xalam is commonly played in Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Niger, Northern Nigeria, Northern Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Western Sahara; it is also known in other languages as bappe, diassare, hoddu (Pulaar), koliko (Gurunsi), kologo (Frafra),komsa, kontigi (Hausa), koni, konting (Mandinka), molo (Songhay/Zarma), ndere, ngoni (Bambara), and tidinit (Hassaniyya Arabic).

Someone who plays the xalam is called a xalamkat (a word composed of the verbal form of xalam, meaning "to play the xalam", and the agentive suffix -kat, thus meaning "one who xalams").Xalam, also spelled khalam, is the Wolof name for a traditional stringed musical instrument from West Africa. The xalam is thought to have originated from modern-day Mali, but some[who?] believe that, in antiquity, the instrument may have originated from Ancient Egypt. Many believe that it is an ancestor to the American banjo.

The xalam is commonly played in Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Niger, Northern Nigeria, Northern Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Western Sahara; it is also known in other languages as bappe, diassare, hoddu (Pulaar), koliko (Gurunsi), kologo (Frafra),komsa, kontigi (Hausa), koni, konting (Mandinka), molo (Songhay/Zarma), ndere, ngoni (Bambara), and tidinit (Hassaniyya Arabic).

Someone who plays the xalam is called a xalamkat (a word composed of the verbal form of xalam, meaning "to play the xalam", and the agentive suffix -kat, thus meaning "one who xalams").
In most areas the xalam is played by male [[griots]], or praise singers who are born into the profession. It most often acts as a solo or duo instrument to accompany praise songs and historical recitations, and in some areas it may form part of a larger group including kora, drums, and calebashes. It is traditionally heard at weddings, infant naming ceremonies, and (always with amplification) is now a common member of folklore ensembles, popular ''[[mbalax]]'' groups, and ''ndaga'' variety shows.

Important past and present Senegalese xalam masters include Sàmba Jabare Sàmb, Ama Njaay Sàmb, Abdulaay Naar Sàmb (all from the Jolof), Abdulaay Soose (from the Saalum), and Bokunta Njaay (from the Bawol). The best known Malian ngoni players are Banzumana Sissoko, Bassekou Kouyate, Mama Sissoko, Moriba Koïta, Sayan Sissoko, and Fuseini Kouyate.
For more info, enjoy the video in our blog:
touchofafrica.ca/2015/10/xalam-traditio…cal-instrument
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الشنتوفي احمد, Joss Rossiter and 18 others like this

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Alhagie SoweAnd the Fulani people who are probably the largest tribe in west Africa and possibly live in every country where this traditional musical instrument is played call it HODU... And to Fulanis, it is not only played as a musical entertainment but also to boost the courage and bravery of men in times of battles.

2 years ago   ·  1
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Corrie QuintenHeel apart dit muziekinstrument 😀

2 years ago   ·  1
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Jesse BennettI would definitely come check out the store. I remember when I used to go to the Newestminster location and I met Ohmer. I bought a sculpture and a cobra incense holder. From you and I remember when my mom got a dress from you too. At the Newestminster location which is not there. I'll check out the Tinsel Town store location. Jesse Bennett

2 years ago
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Touch of Africa added 2 new photos.

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of its total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states (or countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.

Africa's population is the youngest among all the continents; 50% of Africans are 19 years old or younger. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.

Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century European countries colonized most of Africa. Most modern states in Africa originate from a process of decolonization in the 20th century.

Pre-colonial Africa possessed perhaps as many as 10,000 different states and polities characterized by many different sorts of political organization and rule. These included small family groups of hunter-gatherers such as the San people of southern Africa; larger, more structured groups such as the family clan groupings of the Bantu-speaking peoples of central, southern, and eastern Africa; heavily structured clan groups in the Horn of Africa; the large Sahelian kingdoms; and autonomous city-states and kingdoms such as those of the Akan; Edo, Yoruba, and Igbo people in West Africa; and the Swahili coastal trading towns of Southeast Africa.

By the ninth century, a string of dynastic states, including the earliest Hausa states, stretched across the sub-Saharan savannah from the western regions to central Sudan. The most powerful of these states were Ghana, Gao, and the Kanem-Bornu Empire. Ghana declined in the eleventh century, but was succeeded by the Mali Empire which consolidated much of western Sudan in the thirteenth century. Kanem accepted Islam in the eleventh century.

In the forested regions of the West African coast, independent kingdoms grew up with little influence from the Muslim north. The Kingdom of Nri was established around the ninth century and was one of the first. It is also one of the oldest kingdoms in present-day Nigeria and was ruled by the Eze Nri. The Nri kingdom is famous for its elaborate bronzes, found at the town of Igbo-Ukwu. The bronzes have been dated from as far back as the ninth century.
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Touchofafrica is sponsoring again the UBC Africa Awareness Initiative Fashion Show.
Therefore come and enjoy.Permalink: touchofafrica.ca/2015/04/ubc-fashion-show/
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Tama Talking Drum
The talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum from West Africa, whose pitch can be regulated to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech. It has two drumheads connected by leather tension cords, which allow the player to modulate the pitch of the drum by squeezing the cords between his or her arm and body. A skilled player is able to play whole phrases.
The pitch of the drum is varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. This is done by varying the tension placed on the drumhead: The opposing drumheads are connected by a common tension cord. The waist of the drum is held between the player’s arm and ribs, so that when squeezed the drumhead is tightened, producing a higher note than when it’s in its relaxed state; the pitch can be changed during a single beat, producing a warbling note. The drum can thus capture the pitch, volume, and rhythm of human speech, though not the qualities of vowels or consonants.

The use of talking drums as a form of communication was noticed by Europeans in the first half of the eighteenth century. Detailed messages could be sent from one village to the next faster than could be carried by a person riding a horse. In the nineteenth century Roger T. Clarke, a missionary, realised that “the signals represent the tones of the syllables of conventional phrases of a traditional and highly poetic character.Like Chinese languages, many African languages are tonal; that is, the pitch is important in determining the meaning of a particular word.The problem was how to communicate complex messages without the use of vowels or consonants, simply using tone. An English emigrant to Africa, John F. Carrington, in his 1949 book The Talking Drums of Africa explained how African drummers were able to communicate complex messages over vast distances.Using low tones referred to as male and higher female tones, the drummer communicates through the phrases and pauses, which can travel upwards of 4–5 miles. This process may take eight times longer than communicating a normal sentence but was effective for telling neighboring villages of possible attacks or ceremonies.He found that to each short word which was beaten on the drums was added an extra phrase, which would be redundant in speech but provided context to the core drum signal.
Playing styles are closely linked with the drum’s construction and the tonal qualities of each language. There is a clear difference in playing styles between areas with predominantly Fulani and Mande-speaking populations and traditionally non-Mande areas further east.

The predominant style of playing in areas further west such as Senegal, Gambia, western Mali and Guinea is characterized by rapid rolls and short bursts of sound between the stick holding hand and accompanying free hand, and correlates with the various pitch accent and non-tonal languages heard in this area. This is a style typically heard in the popular Mbalax genre of Senegal.

From eastern Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana, towards Niger, western-Chad and Nigeria, (with the exceptions of areas with Fulani and Mande-speaking majorities) the playing style of the talking drum is centered on producing long and sustained notes by hitting the drum head with the stick-holding hand and the accompanying free hand used to dampen and change tones immediately after being hit. This produces a rubbery sounding texture to its playing, which mimics the heavy and complex tones used in languages from this area (see Niger–Congo tonal language chart). This characteristic style can be clearly heard in the popular music of this area, particularly in those where the talking drum is the lead instrument, such as Fuji music of the Yoruba of Nigeria.
Follow the link to enjoy The Tama Talking Drum video:
touchofafrica.ca/2015/02/tama-talking-drum/
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History of The Balafon

There are several idiophone instruments in West Africa, one of which is the balafon. The balafon, also known as balafo, bala, Balani, Gyil, and Balangi, is a type of tuned percussion instrument. It is played by using two padded sticks to strike the tuned keys.

Now, where did the balafon originate and what makes it special?

Brief History

An instrument known to have existed since the 12th century CE during the Mali Empire, the balafon has been and still is popular in West Africa. Its name has a Manding origin but the name varies in some parts like Senegal,Gambia,Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Balafon means the “act of playing the Bala,” with “Balan” corresponding to the instrument, while “fo” a verb meaning “to play” in the Malinke language.

Guinea’s Susu and Malinke peoples, as well as the Manding people dwelling in Senegal, Mali, and Gambia are the popular users of the instrument. Balafon traditions were also recorded in Chad, Cameroon, and around the Congo Basin.

In ancient times, the balafon is considered a sacred instrument that is exclusive to trained and skilled caste members. It was stored in a temple for safekeeping and can only be played at certain traditional and ritual occasions such as funerals, weddings, and festivals. Not to mention that the balafon has to be purified first before being played.

Playing Styles

The balafon is played in a wide variety of ways, depending on the culture in a certain area. Some hold solo balafon performance, while others, especially those from Cameroon, create an orchestra consisting of six balafons. The instrument can also be a part of an ensemble, just like in Guinea and Mali, where people use an ensemble of three: low, medium and high pitches.

There are two main types of balafon. One is called the fixed key, which involves a fixed frame with keys strung over it. Most of the time, calabash resonators are placed underneath it. The other type is the free-key balafon. Its difference is that the keys are independently attached to a padded surface. The typical balafon features 17-21 keys. It is up to balafon players what kind of tuning they want – tetratonic, pentatonic, or heptatonic scale.

Popular Balafon Players

Given balafon’s rise to popularity, many artists have started using it in their music. Among the most famous ones include Ba Banga Nyeck, El Hadj Djeli Sory Kouyate, and Modibo Diabate. Balafon players can be found all over Africa and other parts of the world. The sound created by balafon is associated with jazz and other music genres.Follow the link to enjoy the music in our website blog: touchofafrica.ca/
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The djembe has a great cultural heritage in Africa. Although similar in cultural use and significance to many countries and tribes on the African continent, it has minute but significant differences.The Djembe is the drum of the Mandinka, Diola other people of Western Africa, and its origins dates back to the great Mali Empire of the 12th century. The djembe is also known as djenbe, jembe, sanbanyi, jymbe or yembe. It is made from an single piece of wood and carved into the shape of a goblet that is hollow throughout with a skin covering over the top.

djembesThe drum is played with bare hands.Of all the African drums, the djembe has become extremely sought after in the Western world and is regarded as the most popular. This drum has inspired master drum makers now found all over the world.The djembes below are made in Mali and Senegal. In and around the Kayes region. The drum rhythm or Diansa is performed in the evening for most celebrations, example during full moon, spring, summer and winter harvesting time, weddings, baptism, honoring of mothers, immediately after Ramadaan (the month of fast for all Muslim brothers and sisters) or other celebrations. Dancing is the most popular form of entertainment and various rhythms and beats are played on the djembe.

Similar type celebrations and cultural rhythms are applicable to Senegal as well as other regions of West Africa.African goatskins from Mali are the most suitable for covering the playing surface of a djembe, due to central Africa having the perfect climatic and grazing conditions for the goats. The West African goat skin are also thicker and tougher and impacts greatly on the quality of the sound.Follow the link to enjoy the Oldest Djembe Music Video known to man:
touchofafrica.ca/2014/08/african-djembe-drum-history/
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The story

Doudou Ndiaye Rose is one of the most renowned African musicians of the 20th century. While he specializes in the sabar, he also plays many other types of drum such as saourouba, assicot, bougarabou, meung meung, lambe, n'der, gorom babass, and khine. The child of a Griot (West African bard caste) family, Ndiaye Rose began performing in the 1930s, but continued to make his living as a plumber for some time. Shortly before Senegalese independence, he performed with Josephine Baker, and became a favorite amongst Dakar audiences. In 1960 he made the first head of the Senegalese National Ballet, and in the 1970s with his Doudou Ndiaye Rose Orchestra as well as his collaborations with Miles Davis and the Rolling Stones.

Family of drummers:

He is the founder and chief drum major of the Drummers of West Africa (all members of his family - he has 43 children in all),with which he also performs. He also leads an all-female drum group called Les Rosettes, composed entirely of his own daughters and granddaughters.

Styles:

Ndiaye Rose is purported to have developed 500 new rhythms, and, indeed, his music is quite complex, featuring ever-changing rhythmic structures which he conducts with his trademark vigorous style.He has also invented new types of drum that are available in our store.
Click on the link to enjoy the tradition sabar video: touchofafrica.ca/2014/07/african-sabar-drums/
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Experience the enormous contribution to African arts and culture made by Senegal, a country that has inspired centuries of poetry, music, literature, dance, and visual art.

Learn to create or perform Senegalese art, music, and dance through workshops in djembe, batik, glass painting, bronze sculpture, ceramics, and traditional Senegalese instruments such as the tama.

Led to independence by internationally acclaimed poet and philosopher Léopold Sédar Senghor, Senegal has long emphasized the transformational roles of artistic expressions and cultural awareness. Senghor believed that — beyond politics and economics — knowing and supporting one’s own culture was the key to true development.

With the capital city of Dakar as home base, students examine the complex social, economic, and political issues facing Senegal. Topics of study include the role of Islam in Senegalese life; contemporary development; challenges posed to women’s rights; education; and traditional West African music, rhythms, and storytelling.

The program takes a critical approach to Senegalese artistic and cultural forms — from traditional aesthetic expressions to modern notions of cosmopolitanism/afropolitanism and urban identities realized in new artistic formats such as hip-hop, street art, and graffiti. Students not only learn a variety of West African art forms and what they represent but also learn to create and perform them.

Through the program’s homestays, students live with different Senegalese families in urban and rural parts of the country, thereby experiencing contrasting expressions of everyday life. Stays in the coastal Wolof town of Mouit, near Saint-Louis, and the remote inland town of Kédougou, near Mali, reveal similarities and differences among Senegal’s different ethnic groups.http://touchofafrica.ca/2014/07/african-sabar-drums/
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The water in Senegal's Lake Retba always seems to have a pinkish hue to it. However, catch it during the dry summer months when the saline levels are high and you will see it turn strawberry pink and sometimes, even red. The good news is that color is not the result of chemicals being dumped in the lake but nature, working its magical tricks!

Located in the Cape Vert Peninsula that lies north east of Senegal's capital Dakar, the lake's unusual appearance is caused by a salt-loving green micro alga called Dunaliella Salina that resides in the lake, known for its high concentration of the mineral.As you can imagine, very few organisms can survive in such highly saline conditions. The only reason this single-celled organism is able to do so, is because of its ability to create large amounts of Beta-Carotene, that helps protect it against the intense light that reflects off the salt and also gives the algae its dark pink hue.

While the color may make the lake appear eerie and unsafe, the micro organism is safe not only to swim amidst, but also, consume - Good news for the locals that are constantly wading in to mine the salt. In fact, the algae are so rich in antioxidants that they are often harvested and used in cosmetics and dietary supplements.
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The African Renaissance Monument, a 164-foot-tall bronze statue outside of Dakar, Senegal, built by North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio in 2010. Photo by Christophe Blitz. Courtesy Monument de la Renaissance Africaine, Dakar. ...

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محمد علي النمر الاسمر, Khady Tall and 5 others like this

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Alhagie SoweI hope all is well my brother. Jaa Jeff

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