After several attempts to integrate in one way or another the European guitar into the Mauritanian musical system,
the musicians have chosen to retain their traditional instruments.
At the summit of the hierarchy is the lute Tidinit, reserved exclusively for male use, and for men who are professional musicians...
This type of instrument,known in the Sudanese Sahel with various names, may have existed already before the conquest of what is today Mauritania by the Hassan Bedouin tribes.
Its Berber etymology leads one to think so.
The tidinit has at least four strings designated by the griots according to their function and position :
the two longest ones the embart,are the playing or melody strings.
the two shorter strings ,the tichchebbiten , are placed on each side of the playing strings and most often played open.
All of the recordings presented here were realized in Eastern Hodh, where the mixture of populations is particularly remarkable. This anthology of Mauritanian music was made up of four records giving an
overall view of the major forms of musical expression of the griots.
Eastern Hodh is a region little explored on the musical level.
it is in permanent contact with extremely different ethnic groups:
Tuareg, Bambara,Sarakollé. Wolof, Peul - Tukulor.
Moreover all of this region of the East has been subject to the Ghana and Mali empires as well as that
of the Songhai.
lf the influence of the so calIed Sudanese zone (including the ethnic groups living south of the Sahara,
from Nigeria to Senegal) on Mauritanian music is not contested by anyone, the importance
attributed to it varies considerably. In Hodh they say that the griots of the ancient tribe of Ulad Mbarek
learned their craft in Mali from the Bambara
griots from whom they brought back the "Black Way".
ln any case, the cross breedings are numerous,emancipated and former slaves were all black,
and certain musical terms would be of Sudanese origin wille others are Berber or Wolof.
from the notes
this double anthology of Mauritanian music from Ocora and 1980
contains in it's first 2 volumes that are presented here..
Volume 1 solely devoted to:
Chaykh Well Bacha griot known as one of the best instrumentalists in Mauritania,
who plays several very ancient pieces, alternating them with more recent ones"
Volume 2 is rather a family affair,as in the first side
EI.·Hamal ment Dendanni plays ardin and sings alone or with and her children
among them Mhammed on the tidinit and Sektu on the harp.recorded in her house in Nema
and on the second side her husband , excellent griot,Badi Well Hembare ,plays in the
" Black way"
and presents very ancient pieces...recorded in their home too
The audience present at the time of the recordings, the musicians' friends and children
all lovers of music, support the performers : we hear their long sighs of satisfaction,
their exclamations, their ah!'s of enthusiasm which punctuate the most successful moments of each piece.
This atmosphere is absolutely indispensable to the griot ; it stimulates him and encourages him
to surpass himself, the audience often being made up of connoisseurs.