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How Griots Tell Legendary Epics thru Stories + Songs in West Africa

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

"In the western Sahel, legendary tales are shared and passed down through different forms of expression, but especially spoken word."

"What is a Griot?" you ask.


In the region of West Africa known as the western Sahel, legendary tales are shared and passed down through different forms of expression.

While some famous tales are written down,

spoken word is the most well-known way to tell these kinds of stories.

"Griot" (pronounced GREE-oh)

is the French name given to the oral historians of West Africa.

Traditionally griots, also known in some cultures as Jeliw, travel from city to city and village to village as living newspapers,

carrying in their heads an incredible store of local history and current events.

They pass on their knowledge of history by singing traditional songs,

which they must recite accurately, without errors or deviations.

Born into their highly respected position, griots play an important role. As well as being storytellers, they are poets, historians, genealogists, and musicians.

Griots often accompany their stories and songs with music from instruments like the kora (a stringed instrument similar to a harp) or balafon (a kind of xylophone).

Like rappers, they also make up songs as they go to share current events, gossip, political commentary and satire.

I remember many past lifetimes. Most definitely I was some kind of Griot or Jeliw in at least one; a poet, mystic, and spiritual medium in others. Many don't understand my online communication style, but now they know what a Griot does, they might understood me a little better.

Who knows? One can only hope ...

I hope you all enjoyed coming along on this little

multicultural ride with me!

"Woof Woof Woofles!"

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