making music, writing culture

View My New Short Documentary on Sufi Praise Song

Reverberation1 is one of four short documentaries emerging from my fieldwork with women musical artists here in Dakar, Senegal. Binta Sarr Diop, the woman singer featured in this film, is one of the women I’ve been working closely with over the last two years in Senegal.

Read more about the history and importance of the Baay Fall groups in Senegal and see my photos and hear field recordings of the group here.

This film documents the praise song of Binta and the young people of the Baay Fall order of Mouride Sufi Islam, a group committed to a philosophy of relentless communal work and prayer in the fields and streets of Senegal. Their spiritual life centers around their weekly praise and al-Qua’ranic study meetings, where they drum, dance and sing praise songs to Allah and their spiritual teachers both in their native Wolof language and in Arabic. The work of the Baay Fall tell us something important about the complexity and beauty of global Islam, and the ways it matters in the lives of West African people.

This film is based on that of Trinh Minh-Ha, who made a documentary called « Reassemblage » about rural women’s traditional culture in Senegal thirty years ago.

Here is a link to the first part of four of that film, each of which are available on youtube.

Since that time, a severe national drought has caused most Senegalese families to migrate to Dakar. Here, I work with women such as Binta to understand how the vast, beautiful and complex traditions of Senegalese women’s song emerge in the contemporary urban landscape.

Raleigh, North Carolina, has an active and open Mouride and Baay Fall community. If you’d like to find out more about these groups, you can visit this site.

Raleigh’s Block 2 Gallery will be showing the film in their street-level window throughout the month of February:

The Opening Reception is Thursday, February 4th, from 5-7 p.m.

Here’s the full film:

And some nice footage I found of other Yaay fall singers from the annual Mouride/Baay Fall Senegalese Sufi pilgrimage Magal Touba 2011–wa keur serigne aziz fall from Guemez NIANG:

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Chris Givens Said:

Thanks for this; is it normal for women to sing in dahira, and do they have any full-length recordings available?

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