When times change and anyone with money can pay for their music, the role of the griot changes too. Mali’s reinvented storytellers bring tradition into the 21st century.
Mali’s griots – poets and storytellers and tradition bearers – belong to the Nyamkalas cast. As tradition bearers their role has been to serve the nobles and the prominent classes in Mali. The griots were the spokespersons of their masters who said the things that the members of the aristocracy would not permit themselves to say. Furthermore their tasks used to be to pay tribute to the aristocraticracy and to give the prominent men they served advice in their various dealings.

The role of griots is crucial in a society where oral culture plays an important role. But in an era in which anyone who has money belongs to the aristocracy, the griots have had to change too.