What's A Griot?

GRIOT

Griots specialize in the art of invoking supernatural beings of all kinds and sing their praises in order to ensure their pardon, protection or goodwill. Music is at the heart of all their activities. He is concerned with the past the history of his people, wisdom of its philosophers, its corporate ethics and generosity of spirit, its thought – provoking riddles and the ancestral proverbs that serve as a reminder that everything on earth is destined to pass, just as time itself. The Griot is a troubadour – a living archive of his peoples traditions. Above all he is a musician, without whom no celebration or ritual would be complete. His repertoire is extremely wide. The virtuoso talents of the Griot command universal admiration – the culmination of long years of study and hard work. People fear them because they know too many secrets. They are often treated with contempt. The art of the Griot is essentially contemplative, individualistic and preeminently self interested. When the Griot speaks or sings, he expects immediate attention. He combines the multiple functions of musician, dancer, story – teller and storehouse of oral tradition.
Francis Bebey: African Music -A Peoples Art – Lawrence Hill

Shaman

Medicine man endowed with strong supernatural powers who intercedes with the spiritual world (for good or Evil) on behalf of individuals or a group. A healer.

Boko

A sorcerer (Vodou) in a musical sense of sounds.

Baul

Man of the Heart. Minstrels whose songs of longing for mystical union with the Divine evoke a profound spirituality, combining elements from devotional Hinduism, Tantric Buddhism and Sufism and integrate them into a simple, natural and direct approach to God that seeks to transcend established religious boundaries. It is their belief that love for humankind is the path leading to love of God. The best worship of God takes place only deep within one’s heart. A reputation as nonconformists. Derived from batul, meaning “afflicted with the wind” or “mad.”
Purna Das Baul @ Bauls Of Bengal

ALCHEMIST

“One who is versed in the practice of alchemy – an ancient tradition of sacred chemistry used to discern the spiritual and temporal nature of reality, its structure, law and functions – a sign of change, inner change, a period of transformation – one who seeks an elixir of life, a panacea, an alkahest and the philosopher’s stone.”