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Lisa Feder is a cultural anthropologist with twenty years of experience in the field, mostly with Manding West African jeli (Griot) musicians and oral historians. She is the founder of Manding Grooves, a French-based company that supports jeli musicians in Africa, the US, France, and elsewhere to promote their culture and music.

Lisa was an instructor of anthropology at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for over ten years, where she taught students the art of integrating into a culture through an embodied practice, and representing their experiences in creative ways. Currently she creates programs that promotes the education and dissemination of jeli music to the world. 


In 2015 Lisa founded and co-developed a pilot ethnographic field school hosted by the University of Alberta, which is still running in Belgrade, Serbia, using principles of Transformative Ethnography. Since 2021 she published "Jeliya at the Crossroads," (Palgrave Press 2021), and has dedicated all of her efforts to promoting the music and practice of jeliya, or griot music and wisdom.  


Lisa has lived with host families in France, Costa Rica, Brazil, the Gambia, Guinea, Israel, and in the Brazilian Amazon with the Kayapo indigenous community of A'Ukre village. She speaks English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese and smatterings of other languages. She currently resides in Marseille, France.

In my doctorate program at Cornell University, I studied jeliya, a musical profession of oral-historians and spiritual leaders of the Manding people in West Africa. Through embodied practice, I learned and practiced what Manding people value in both bodily and mental composure and as a result, I learned previously inconceivable ways of experiencing reality for me. I experiment with essays, audio, film, as well as academic writing to represent ethnographic experiences.

Lisa Feder, Ph.D in cultural anthropology.


Mory Kanté and Lisa Feder 2019, Paris


 with Saikou Jobarteh 2006, the Gambia


With Sekouba Kandia Kouyate and Famoro Dioubaté, Guinea 2022

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