What is a Griot?

“Unique to Western Africa, the griot, or jeli, profession encompasses many roles. Griots have been referred to as historians and storytellers, but there is no real word in the English language that includes all of their functions. A traditional griot could do everything from recounting history to composing music, to teaching students, to acting as diplomats. They are genealogists, historians, spokespeople, ambassadors, musicians, teachers, warriors, interpreters, praise-singers, masters of ceremonies, advisors, and more. Not every griot does all of these things, but these are all examples of functions the griot profession embodies.”

Learn more from The Griot Institute here.

Our Griots-in-Residence

Delia Younge

Jordan Anthony Elijah Barnes






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