(An ancient Mandingo song)
By Suntou Touray
Domori woo is a song sang in all occasions to lighten up the atmosphere and create a jovial pretext. Domori woo literally means, eating. Domori woo is a women repertoire to demystify a misconception that a visiting women delegation or a guest whose arrival coincides with mealtimes is design to partake in it eating.
The significance of the song is genuinely captured in weddings, naming ceremonies and impromptu events. Say, for instance, a lady comes to visit a friend or a household and coincidentally arrives at lunchtime. Some Sanyang, Ceesay, Manneh or Suso kunda folks do commence making long faces, feeling the undesirability of a guest at mealtimes. They would look around and wonder why visiting at this opportune moment? The visiting woman neutralises the tension in the air with Domori woo song;
M´man naa domori laa
Teng kullu wayang
Nkono fela bang
N´teh man-naah domori laah
Teng kullu wayang
(Eating, that is not the reason of my visit, hence I have my tummy full, says the visitor)
This song although conveys a sensitive vibe, the manner in which it is sang makes it jovial, the hosts joins in and an impromptu dance ensues. The atmosphere is lightened up and everyone forgets about the misconception and suspicion.
In weddings the song passes a serious message too. The bride’s family can initiate the song as a coded message to the groom’s family insinuating that their daughter has not been hungry in her father’s house or in current terms, is not from a poor background. To that some humorous grooms respond by claiming they have just rescued the bride from oblivion. Domori woo reminds the groom and assures the bride that she is always welcomed back in the comfort of her father’s house.
Domori woo goes a long way expounding that, visitors whose arrival coincides with mealtimes are not in search of food. Now food sufficiency is such that the Sanyang, Camara, Ceesay and Suso kundas elders hardly raise their eyebrows to visitors arriving at lunchtime. So I hope all the greedy kundas will stop frowning at guests whose visit coincide with mealtimes.
The song became internationalised through Kanbaka Sahko the famous griout in France. I contact Kankaba at her home in Paris to explain in general terms why she sang the song and what is the historical meaning of it.
In her response, Kankaba explain that, Domori woo is a song which has a long history, she said the song was composed by what the Mandingos referred to as Dinbalu ( suckling mothers).
The myth around suckling mothers is a strong one. They are naturally seen as big eaters. Hence some family heads always fear seeing them in their homes during meal times. The women took it upon themselves to eradicate the misconception. That effort came in the form of a song.
The women it is believed started the trend of suckling mothers at village levels holding annual food festivals.
In it she added the following terms: ite mu dukaleti (I am a vulture, the vulture of a Mali, Guinea, Gambia and Paris) here what she meant is that, griouts are like vultures, they flyby wherever there is interest for them. The big vultures on takeoff show fluffy areas, this kankaba call, (sii nyafari nyafari sii nyafari).
A full interview with Kankaba will be run in due course.
Kankaba further adds that, the customary blocking of the entry of brides in their husbands compound is connected to the song. This symbolic tradition is common in Badibu, Kiang, Jarra, Niani, Wulli, Sandu and all other parts of the provences.
Domori woo perfectly goes with water base calabash drum (gii dun dunw).