For this installment of Splice Sessions, Django Diabate joined the Sessions team at Laboutique Studios Dakar to play the stunning ngoni. This intricate instrument has appeared in several of the previous Sessions packs, so we’re delighted to highlight its unique sounds and value.
The ngoni is a string instrument originating in West Africa. It has several variations intended for different uses. Some are used in celebrations and special occasions, others are reserved for ceremonial purposes.
The ngoni is known to have existed since at least 1352 when Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveler reported seeing one in the court of Mansa Musa. It’s believed to have evolved into the banjo in North America after Mande slaves were exported there.
The base of the ngoni is actually a drum, allowing the instrument to fill nearly any space with sound and for the player to be a one-person show, simultaneously crafting rhythm and melody.