The griot, Djeli Mamadou Kouyaté introduces himself as a "master in the art of eloquence." He briefly introduces his ancestors and tells that the Kouyatés have always served the Keita princes of Mali. He describes their duties as harboring old secrets, memorializing the names and deeds of great kings, and preserving "the memory of mankind."
He claims to know the names of all kings who ruled Mali, how the tribes were split, and why they were named as they were. All information he learned from his father. He teaches kings their history so that they might use precedent to guide their choices, as "the future springs from the past." He also preemptively explains that "royal griots do not know what lying is." As a result, they have often been called to mediate tribal differences, which they do by reminding the parties of oaths their respective ancestors took.