Djoliba Crossing by Dave Kobrenski

Djoliba Crossing: Journeys into West African Music and Culture
by Dave Kobrenski


Djoliba Crossing: Journeys into West African Music and Culture is a beautifully constructed book written and illustrated by Dave Kobrenski that chronicles the diverse and rich musical traditions that exist in the Niger River valley in Guinea, West Africa. Through his firsthand experiences with the Mande people, Kobrenski learned a great deal about the culture, practices, rituals, and ideology of this African civilization. The book is very much a case study in the field of anthropology, as the author recounts stories that speak the truths of the Mandes. This book would be a perfect addition to any university’s Cultural Anthropology curriculum, as there are so many interesting facts presented here that students would take pleasure in studying and discussing. In addition to the informative text, Kobrenski has also included several photographs, and many beautiful full page paintings that depict the African people, their homeland, practices, and general ways of life. Throughout this narrative we learn how important the great river Djoliba is to the people, how music and dance are integral to daily life, and what many native words of the Mande signify.

Part of the main reason why this book is such a treasure is because of how expertly Kobrenski has put it together. You can tell right away from picking up Djoliba Crossing how much his time spent with the Mande people of West Africa has meant to him, as he carefully explains their many practices and customs, and through the beautiful illustrations he has made to go along with the words he’s written. Stylistically, we wish we saw more books that were on par with this high level of production, because it really makes the book stand out and shine. Through personal accounts, stories, explanations, and definitions, the information presented is organized and easy to follow. Having majored in Anthroplogy in college, I can honestly say that this is one of the nicest text books exploring a specific aspect of a culture that I have ever seen. The best part about the book is that it is sure to appeal to both anthropologists and general book lovers alike. Djoliba Crossing: Journeys into West African Music and Culture will look great on any shelf, no matter who you are, or where your interests lie.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.