The Koroba

Activity: The Evening of Tribute to the Late Lazare Tembely
Date: Friday December 03, 2021
Location: Missabougou (Bamako – Mali)

On the occasion of the first year of the disappearance of the late Lazare Tembely (1970-2020), the Ginna Dogon association in consortium with the organizing committee of the Ogobagna Cultural Festival, supported technically by Instruments 4 Africa, organized a tribute evening on the football field from Missabougou.

The parents, friends and close collaborators of the late Lazare Tembely all wanted to be present at this night of funeral orations under the traditional notes of Koroba (traditional Dogon song). The late Lazare Tembely was the current president of the youth of the Adema party (PASJ), former chief of staff of the ministry of national education and first vice-president of youth “together for Mali”.

In addition, he was greatly appreciated by his family, in particular thanks to his fervent and deep attachment to the promotion of the art and culture of the Dogon plateau. His immeasurable love during his lifetime for local Koroba songs prompted his relatives to dedicate a traditional tribute evening to him.

It was around 9 p.m. after a few interludes of local songs accompanied by sketches of Dogon dance steps that the duo of animators composed of Yacouba Yalcoué and Ousmane Kassogué welcomed all the guests in Dogosso (Dogon language) .
In the sights of the podium, we could notice the significant presences of Mr. Andogoly Guindo, Minister of Culture, Mr. Seydou Nantoumé CEO of Toguna industries, Mr. Amadou Aguimé Guindo Secretary in charge of art and culture of the association Ginna Dogon, Colonel Nèma Sagara and Honorable Youssouf Aya and Amadou Diepkilé said Kadhafi.

After moving introductory speech by Mr Amadou Aguimé Guindo who in short retraces the brilliant social and professional career of the illustrious deceased, a minute of silence was observed to pay tribute to the late Lazare Tembely and to the thirty deaths that occurred this same day following the attack on a fairground bus on the fish route (Badiangara-Bankass-Koro) more precisely in the village of Songho.

To take over from Mr Guindo, the Tembely family, represented in turn by Emmanuel Tembely, brother of the deceased, thanked all the close and distant collaborators of the late Lazare who, despite the man’s disappearance, did not cease to spare any benevolent effort towards the family. She testified to man’s kindness, humility and selflessness for her community before concluding this captivating memorandum with prayers for the rest of the soul of the deceased.

Issa Ouologuem, close friend of the late Lazare also testified to the human qualities and moral virtues of man before bursting into tears under the weight of bitterness and the emptiness left by the sudden disappearance of his old companion of all time.

Make way for Koro-Ba songs

In his interview with the i4africa team, Mr. Yacouba Yalcouyé, cultural promoter, briefly tells us about the genesis of this song.
The words “Koro” (the calabash in dogosso) and “Ba” which literally means (to type) give a primordial role to the calabash beats which rhythmically accompany the singer’s words.

The Dogon hunters were so amazed by the sound of the flapping of the wings that the bustard made when they lit a fire to make it start from its brood. Once, faced with the blazing heat of the fire, the bustard could only flap its wings to fan the fire before fleeing without its eggs.

It is from this history that the Koroba song draws its source and since then this song has taken an essential place in most of the great events in the Dogon environment. Unlike other types of songs where there is a lot of dancing, koroba singers usually express themselves in parables to praise or decry the good and bad behavior of society. This is the ideal opportunity to promote, preserve and safeguard Dogon customs and traditions in front of an admiring and very attentive audience.

The koroba singers from the Dogon country and those residing in Bamako, namely the old Ambatigué Guindo, Wana Biné Kansaye, Wara Salif Bamian, Amadou Tapily and Moussa Guirè took turns praising the late Lazare Tembely and recalling the audience of the many accomplishments he had to make for the promotion of Dogon culture. With only as a conductor, the symphony of the sound of calabashes adorned with cowries and the sporadic cries of a chorister to raise the emotional elevator, several myths of the Dogon country were told to the audience. And as is the old Dogon tradition, the singers of Koroba drank grape juice throughout the evening. The tribute evening ended around 5 a.m. and the public met from January 24 to 30, 2022 for the 7th edition of the Ogobagna cultural festival on the banks of the Niger River.

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