BSU Professor Examines the Contextual Influences of Yankadi


Dr. Janice Haworth, associate professor of music at Bemidji State University, will present a April 21 Honors Council Lecture which will discuss the cultural and historical significance of Yankadi rhythms to the Susu people of Guinea.

Her presentation, “A Contextual Analysis of Yankadi: A Traditional Rhythm from Guinea (West Africa)", begins at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer Hall 112. BSU's Honor Council lectures are open to everyone free of charge.

During the lecture, Haworth will look beyond the rhythmic patterns of the Yankadi to analyze its influences and social, cultural and historical significance.

Yankadi is a traditional Guinean rhythm from the Susu people of the Coastal region of Guinea. The moment the drummers begin to play this rhythm, the entire Susu community is swept up in the joy of the memories and connotations of the sounds and the culture that it conveys. Many aspects of Guinean culture become part of this rhythm – including the coastal geography, the French colonization, the history of the Susu people, the oral teaching tradition, the Yankadi dance, and even the simple folk song about the tailor that is often sung with it.

“Hearing Yankadi simply as an exercise in playing polyrhythmic patterns misses the whole point of the music,” Haworth said. “This study is an attempt to look at this one rhythm from as many perspectives as possible and to create a contextual analysis of what Yankadi represents historically as well as what it means today.”


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