Niger : The Tendé, a unifying instrument of nomadic peoples

Ancestral music and unifier of the nomadic peoples, the Tendé is played for entertainment but also serves to strengthen the cohesion between people during reunions, weddings or naming ceremonies.

The manufacture of this traditional instrument is done with objects used in the house. «The Tendé, as its name suggests in Tamasheq, is a utility object, a traditional mortar made by artisans to deal with the need to grind grain. It is this object which one covers the orifice with a tanned skin. Then we put on each side, big sticks on which we sit after having tied and connected it» explains Jules Augué, former minister of Niger.

The music allows the camel riders to demonstrate their dromedary control through parades around singing women. « When the camels go around the Tendé or when they come and go, there is a rhythm that the camels respect. It’s the same rhythm as the Tendé, then, it’s no longer the men who are dancing but it’s the camels. The trained camels for the occasion are made to dance », adds Augué.

Beyond the sound, the Tendé has a deep meaning for nomads. For Abu, a man of culture, this ancestral instrument is like «an upper for the Tuaregs». According to him, the Tendé ” has a particular importance, it calls for integrity, reserve and brings the person, in any case, the Tuaregs to avoid a negative behavior».

Today, the preservation and promotion of this cultural heritage common to the Tuareg and Arab communities of the Sahel-Saharan region, are the challenges that the Association for Integrated Local Development is facing in Niger.

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