Santankoye is home to about 1,200 people who farm peanuts, millet, and corn. Historically the Pulaar people who comprise the majority of residents in this village have been herders. Like their ancestors, the residents of Santankoye herd cows to sell milk in the nearby city of Kolda and make kossam (cultured milk) for their own consumption. The women of the village are very active, with at least four women's groups organized to address the needs and well-being of the community's women and girls. The community will use the proceeds from the sales of their recordings to increase the number of women's gardens in the community which are used to supplement families' diets as well as providing a unique source of income to women. There are many female entrepreneurs in Santankoye, and so they will also fund the women's groups' micro-lending and micro-enterprise initiatives.
About Community Voice International and the Pilot Project
Community Voice International is a nonprofit organization that facilitates cultural understanding and supports international development by improving communities' capacity to share cultural resources. Community Voice International works with communities to record local music, distribute the recordings online to engage a global audience, and return 100% of the proceeds to the communities to fund local development efforts chosen by the communities themselves.
In June 2013, Community Voice traveled to Senegal to pilot its music project in collaboration with Peace Corp Volunteers and Tostan, a non-government organization specializing in holistic, non-formal education. The team partnered with eight communities across Senegal, recording performances of local music in each of these communities. These communities come from five of Senegal's major ethnic groups—Bambara, Mandinka, Pulaar, Soninke, and Wolof—and each performs a unique style of music. Musicians played stringed instruments (kora, hoddu, and ñaañeru), drums, and other percussion instruments including various uses of calabashes, gourds, and bowls. Solo singers and call and response ensembles sang lyrics ranging from traditional griot stories to Muslim chants to new compositions celebrating the growing importance of women's rights in Senegal. The members of our partner communities are excited to present their music and are proud to share this part of their culture with a global audience.
These songs were recorded in the local context—often outside under the shade of a tree. In addition to the voices and instruments of the community, each recording is rich with the sounds of daily life: babies crying, birds chirping, and the murmur of conversations. We believe these sounds add to the recordings, rather than detracting from them. Each community holds the copyright to its own recordings and has named Community Voice International to act as agent on their behalf.
For more information on Community Voice International, Peace Corps Senegal, and Tostan, please visit our websites: