Originally Kuku (Koukou, Cucu, Coucou) is a circle-dance for the woman, celebrating the return from fishing. To the Beyla-and Nzerekore-area, (situated partly in Guinea partly in the Ivory Coast) there was once a Malinke-migration. The Malinke mixed with the local people here and formed the Konianka (,Konya, Konyagui or Manian, as the Malinke say) who now speak a Malinke-dialect. This was where the rhythm originally comes from. The rhythm was only played by one low-tuned djembe (see djembé-pattern 1) and one very large solo-djembé. Only later, out of this djembé-pattern, the patterns for the bass-drums evolved.
Nowadays Kuku is very popular all over West Africa and played on many occasions. Because of this popularity the rhythm is known with lots of varietys in the different areas that it’s played.
Langinabé, ee ewontang
jaga langinabé, o ma la guinee borima
peace for us, peace for the people from Guinea
O ya, ité kuku fonié
Yes, play the Kuku for me!