Baobab – Tree of Life
Thanks to my love for West Africa I have been drawing Baobab trees over the last days. I am enchanted by these ancient giants! Kora music has been played for centuries under trees like the Baobab, there is something magical listening to the griot masters from Mali playing their ancient songs, passed on from father to son.
Below you can listen to the world famous kora master Toumani Diabate.
“A 700 year old linegae of musicians transmitting their melodies, being witnessed by these magnificent elders (the Baobab), who whisper it to the birds carrying it on their wings, across the globe…”
Sketch with pen:
I used this image (see below) as an example for my drawing, which is from an excellent article by Eric Ross called Historic Baobab Trees of Senegal. (I recommend it if you want to know more about the Baobab tree).
I came across your blog when I was looking to see if there were any old links between music and the Baobab. I have wondered about this since discovering that one grew over the old music room at the Alpha Boys School in Jamaica. Unfortunately this tree, which was known as the ‘Monkey Tambourine Tree’, has died now; but it had been one of the oldest Baobabs in Jamaica and the seed from which it grew was certainly brought to the island from West Africa in the times of enslavement. Boys from the school have included some of Jamaica’s most influential musicians from the jazz era all the way through to modern reggae times, so it is fascinating to learn that music has been played under Baobab branches in Africa for so long. Thank you for sharing such interesting facts on your blog. Now I’m suspecting that this music room may have been located under the tree intentionally; maybe because African musicians were known to perform under them! Cheers!
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wow! this is amazing! I felt emotional reading it, to think that a seed from a Baobab in West Africa traveled to Jamaica..and the music room under it…. it’s so symbolic! As long as there are seeds, life will flourish…throughout the most horrendous times (slave trade). Thanks so much for sharing this!