A Griot is an oral historian from West Africa. In the days before books, people remembered their history by telling stories. People who were particularly skilled became professional story tellers, in charge of carrying on the oral tradition of their society.
The audience often participates in the story telling process, playing music, acting out parts, singing, responding, and contributing sound effects to enhance the story.
The Griot profession is hereditary and has long been a part of West African culture. The Griotsí role has traditionally been to preserve the genealogies, historical narratives, and oral traditions of their people; praise songs are also part of the Griotís repertoire. Many Griots play the kora, a long-necked harp lute with 21 strings. In addition to serving as the primary storytellers of their people, Griots have also served as advisers and diplomats.
Read more about Griots here (this link will take you to an outside source).