I represent a theater group called “Goomu Pinal”. I come from Walaldé, in the province of Podor (Northern Senegal). I represent a theatre group called “Goomu Pinal”, which means theatre group in Pulaar. Pinal means culture in Pulaar. Our theatre is engaged [in social issues] and our theater pieces get inspired in the problems lived by our people, for instance: political problems, and problems of castes.Yes, our Pulaar society is subdivided in castes and some of them consider themselves superior. This brings many difficulties. Inter-castes marriage is impossible if the two castes do not share the same level at the social pyramid. However, things begun to evolve positively thanks to our work.
I am thioubalo, that is, a fisherman. We have the PEKANE, a way of singing which is specific to us. These chants are linked to the water and the river. During the PEKANE evenings, the fishermen pronounce their letanies. They pronounce incantations to protect the bad spirits of the river, against the crocodiles and to improve the catch of fishes.
There are many dangerous things in the water, like crocodiles and other creatures. I had the chance to take part in the crocodile hunt. We fight the crocodiles all together. We know how to do it, we all practice it.
Guelaye Aly Fall is a big singer of Pekane. I don’t know how to chant. Guelaye died before I was born or when I was very young, however he has left behind audio tapes that are regularly broadcasted on radio.
Currently our group does less and less theater we have became an orchestra. We don't make any theater plays anymore, we just do the dances with the chanting.
We work a lot and do not ask anything to anyone. We want to live from our art. With the support of NGAARI LAAW, we have co-organised Festival de l'eau in our town, in Walalde on 28 and 29 December 2008. That’s why I’m here.
The festival has started after a popular appeal by NGAARI LAAW and their guests. During the afternoon we have organized the parades of canoes. People sang and played the tam-tams on the canoes. That’s what we call the FIFIIRE. There was also an exhibition of traditional costumes.
The festival allowed us to immerse ourselves in our cultural past and to bring back to life our cultural heritage, which is about to disappear.