Yé Ké Yé Ké


The song comes from a wonderful tradition we have in the villages. You know, when young griots are approaching the age of marriage, they flirt with each other through music. They court and ensnare each other through their songs and dances. These are sweet songs, I swear. ‘Yekeke’ is one of them. It’s the sound that young women make when they dance … It’s their way of communicating their interest.

Mory Kanté in an interview in 1998

This music is called ‘World music’. I have mentioned it shortly before, but I would like to shine a more closer light on it (is that a mixed metaphor?). The term world music was created by ethnomusicologist Robert E. Brown in Connecticut, in the early Sixties. He used it in his undergraduate programs as well as in a series of concert held there.

It was picked up around twenty years later by the music industry as a marketing term for all music not coming from a Western (or more particular American/British) origin. The definition of the term is not that straightforward however: the widest definition holds all music made in the world. And that is indeed what I mentioned earlier.

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