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Group of musicians in the street of Niamey, Niger, playing traditional instruments

Zarma culture: traditions

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Zarma - Songhay culture: yeenandi, the rain dance

(At DailyMotion with 30 seconds commercial at start)

This video is part of Jean Rouch's film titled "Yenendi, les hommes qui font la pluie" (Yenendi, the men who make rain) made in 1951. Yenendi or yeenandi is a ritual ceremony, the celebration of rain. The film was shot in the Songhay village Simiri in Niger. The length of the original film is 29 minutes, the video shows one and a half minute.

By the summons of the drummers of the calabashes and the player of the violin the dance of the possession begins. One by one the spirits "mount their horses": Moussa the spirit of the wind, Niabri goddess of the earth, Sadyara the rainbow, Tyirey master of lightning, Hausakoy master of divine inspiration, and Dongo master of the thunder and rain. Next the priest and the faithful consult the "hampi", a ritual clay pot filled with water and millet grains that represents the firmament of the coming rainy season put on earth. During a new possession, Dongo knocks over the pot of the firmament, the rains of the coming rainy season fall on the earth of Simiri . Based on the pattern of lines of water and the distribution of the grains, the men know whether the season will be good and the harvest abundant [source: Africiné].

More traditions
Marcanda, still from video
Hippo hunt, still from video
Hippo hunt
Rain dance, still from video
Rain dance
Waffa braiding, still from video
Waffa braiding
Riddle, photo of playing children
More information
[1] Stoller, Paul (1997) Fusion of the worlds. An ethnography of possession among the Songhay of Niger. University of Chicago Press, 268 pages.
[2] Vidal, Laurent (1990) Rituel de possession dans le Sahel. Edition L'Harmattan, Paris, 304 pages.
[3] Jean Rouch and His Camera in the Heart of Africa. Film by Philo Bregstein. Preview

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Last updated: 20 Januari, 2016