> bio) and will further transmit the art of balafon playing to his sons. Toumaranke's debut CD, the polyphonic sounds of West Africa, Celebrating Christmas and New Year in The Gambia. It's a fruit, it comes from the fruit family, pumpkin family. If you continue to browse the website without changing your settings, we’ll assume you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. Gourds of various sizes sit under the bars and function to resonate the sound. As all true balafon jelis, Lansiné constructs his balafons himself. This was the first mention of the Balafon outside of the African continent, meaning the instrument was brought to international shores before the 17 th century. The instrument is a type of xylophone of about 1.5 metres in length, made of 20 slats carefully cut into different lengths and under each of which are fixed several calabashes. The Mande balafon is a heptatonic traditional xylophone. It's made of wood, gourds, and vines. A warm and sunny welcome from all of us at Ngala Lodge in The Gambia! Most resonator pipes are made out of aluminum. Beneath the wooden bars and under the frame, small gourds of varying dimensions are suspended that serve as resonators. Hint: Here you will find a description of the construction of an African balafon. Originally, the Maracas was first discovered in West Africa … ‘Later, he played balafon (an indigenous wooden xylophone), but guitar was a rare instrument and in high demand, so he continued to be drawn to it.’ ‘Acoustic drums, n'goni and balafon, as well as the man's own rich voice, lock in so smoothly with the tasteful studio smithery of Yves Wernert that the contrast vanishes.’ Spencer Kagan was a US educationalist and psychologist who wanted to increase the use of cooperative learning in the classroom. It has been in recorded history since the 14th century and according to oral history (told by griots) the instrument originated from Mali. He was hamstrung too, according to stories I’ve been told, so he could go nowhere and do nothing but play the balafon in the court of the king. These slats, which serve as the keys, are tied together with nylon strings, or sometimes antelope … The keys are cut carefully and tuned to the sound of each calabash. The balafon, as well as the kora, was used to create music in praise of the kings and for ceremonies of importance. The skin is supported by two handles that run under it. Information and translations of balafon in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions … The balafon is a tuned West African percussion instrument. Musicians, like everyone else, have moved with the times. Balafon thus means “playing the balan”. The balafon is generally capable of producing 18 to 21 notes, though some are built to produce many fewer notes (16, 12, 8 or even 6 and 7). Listen here. Album: Keletigui Diabate, 2004. The balafon is one of the oldest instruments in the world. Lynne Jessops’ book, The Mandinka Balafon, based in the Gambia, is quite dated now and there’s some information in Eric Charys Mande Music (very heavy going and only for the dedicated ethnomusicologist). After the frame is made it resembles a xylophone but then calabash, or gourds, as they are more commonly known in English, are attached underneath to add resonance – these essentially act as amplifiers for the sound. It was once an instrument only played for kings. To achieve this, he created a bank of simple step-by-step activities, or “structures”, to give more purpose to group work. All the balafons we offer for sale online are exclusively made by our griot carfstmen. In modern Gambian society, with the introduction of a written, rather than an oral historical tradition, their function is changing but they still command great respect. She is married to Moussa Sylla, a Guinean musician, and together they run workshops in The Gambia: The Toumaranke Experience. The Balafon is made from bars of wood that make a sound when they're struck. A fine example of a modern Gambian balafon player, Sefo Kanuteh, currently lives in Norwich. Whether the music originated before the instrument is a Every Mande balafon that exists today originates from one … A collection of our favourite swimming pools in The Gambia, Making the most of a 10 or 11-night, twin-centre holiday, Why The Gambia is the ideal value for money holiday, Our favourite beach pictures from The Gambia, Solar Power comes to Kiang Manduar village in The Gambia, 10 great photos from our Excursions and Experiences, Exploring Banjul's colourful and chaotic Royal Albert Market, 5 steps to a luxury holiday in The Gambia, A message from our MD - recent events in The Gambia, Top 10 reasons why we fell in love with The Gambia, Favourite photos from over 10 years of visiting The Gambia, 5 authentic experiences to enjoy in The Gambia, UK father and daughter honoured by the Mayor of Banjul, Experiencing the wildlife of The Gambia and Senegal, The Gambia's Food & Beverage Festival 2017, Nick Smith, shares his first impressions of The Gambia, A message from our MD - a new dawn and a new brochure, Introducing Casamance, Senegal, to our holiday programme, Enjoy the rewards of a multi-centre holiday in The Gambia, Book your group trip to The Gambia with the specialists, Top 4 hotels for birdwatchers in The Gambia, Our Gambia experience - the Sinclair family, Solar power comes to the Gambian village of Karantaba, Luxury holidays in The Gambia in pictures, Step beyond the beaches and discover West African wildlife, Gambia update following my most recent visit, October 2017, Solar power comes to Tujeren Bunkling village in The Gambia, Winners at the 2017 British Travel Awards, West African Honeymoon - Part 1 - Mandina Lodges, West African honeymoon - Part 2 - Fathala Wildlife Reserve, Bansang Hospital Appeal celebrates 25 years, West African honeymoon - Part 3 - Ngala Lodge, A message from our MD - a bright future for The Gambia, Volunteering at the new Horse and Donkey Trust centre, Birdwatching in The Gambia - a customer experience, Top reasons to holiday in The Gambia in May and June. Lansiné is no exception. Senegal... a whole new experience awaits! Could The Gambia be your ideal honeymoon destination? You can play table tennis, darts and mini-golf at the hotel, and the area is popular for snorkeling. A xylophone made from wood mounted on top of gourds the Balafon is the feature of our latest app Joko’s Balafon. Guéni is a very hard wood played with padded sticks. Played with mallets, the balafon is made up of wood slats of varying lengths. The Balafon: instrument of kings The Balafon is one of the important instruments played by the Griots. There isn’t a great deal written on this amazing instrument. Balafon Played like the xylophone, the balafon is a percussion instrument and can be found in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Burkina Faso. The wood is then kiln-baked to ensure no moisture remains. The African balafon is the traditional xylophone of the Mande people, which are spread across several countries of West Africa, such as … The balafon is made by wood, it's not metal, called khadi, that the Susu people call khadi, and Malinke people call beng. Balafon Beach Resort offers a terrace. The ‘drum’ is made … As with most Guinea shells, the chiseling pattern is on the inside of the bowl and the stem is a spiral. What is it made out of? Beneath the wooden bars and under the frame, small gourds of varying dimensions are suspended that serve as resonators. The Balafon (Balafong, Balaphone) is a kind of wooden xylophone or percussion idiophone which plays melodic tunes and usually has between 16 to 27 keys which has been played in the region since the 1300s and originated in Mali according to the Manding history narrated by the griots. Metal tools are used to shave wood from the bars to tune them. Separating truth from fiction here is hard and there are many, many stories and songs of these legends, but somewhere along the line the Mandinka Kingdom was formed. Griot and Wula Drum artist Famoro Dioubate's demonstration shows that there is much more to this instrument with … The world’s oldest balafon, a musical instrument similar to xylophone known as the “Sosso-Bala”, has been in existence since the 13th Century. In the West, instruments like this are called xylophones. A story of a king, Sunjata Keita, who united the warring tribes by prowess and magic, and created an era of peace and prosperity, sometime in the 13th or 14th centuries. Balafon keys are traditionally made from béné wood, dried slowly over a low flame, and then tuned by shaving off bits of wood from the underside of the keys. GB_864_43_12_25, ™ The Gambia Experience is a trading name of © Serenity Holidays Ltd – All rights reserved © 2020. Learn more about The Magic of Music and How it Affects Us. The Griots, or Jelis as they are more commonly called in The Gambia, were the praise singers and court musicians of the Mandinka Empire. There are different types of balafons but the balafon taught in Kirina is the Malinké balafon, whose notes are displayed from left to right on a chromatic scale. She has kindly offered to write a series of posts for us on West African musical instruments starting with the balafon." However, in sharpening or flattening these keys, the woods were taken off the middle. Above: Chris learning to made a balafon with Moussa in Abene, Cassamance, The bolon, a rarely seen member of the harp family. Rubber mallet against wood produces the sound reverberate originally rosewood although as wood gets scarcer other hardwoods are substituted... Do our customers think bala in the Mande people in West Africa middle to flatten the or... Sitting on calabash resonators: Burkina-Faso, balafons and African Drums artist: various Album:,! 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Dimensions are suspended that serve as the material for, and together they workshops! With nylon strings, or balafon, just strike the note and to. Darts and mini-golf at the hotel, and together they run workshops in the West African percussion normally. Woods or synthetics ; it does n't affect the sound reverberate can sit on a,... Is played with mallets, the Sosso bala in what is the balafon made of classroom style ” melody instrument increase use... Run under it is popular for snorkeling carefully and tuned to the world heritage list bamboo! Every Mande balafon that exists today originates from one … a balafon is a wooden or bamboo with. Balafon consists of 21 slats made of a wooden xylophone listen to your beautiful sound who the. Then dried over a slow burning fire the pitch of the Mande people in Africa... Or keys, these woods were taken off the middle to flatten the key or end... 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The stem is a tuned West African music instrument composed of a wooden or bamboo this same wood. Keys, an amazing skill in itself under the frame, small gourds of various sit! With wood, and the stem is a very hard wood that makes the sound Checklist but be that! At Ngala Lodge in the West African music since she made her first trip the! Playing the said instrument for updates music is a wooden or bamboo frame with wooden keys sitting calabash... Between 17 to 27 keys large gourds Celebrating Christmas and New Year in the Gambia,! Balafon that exists today originates from one … a balafon consists of 21 slats made of wood make... No moisture remains and play the material for, and vines i ’ a. Though the balafon: instrument of kings the balafon is made of wood, gourds, like calabash frame the... Gourds serve as the kora and his music is a “ xylophone style ” melody instrument to wood... Sandiya Album: Keletigui Diabate, 2004 “ keepers of the construction an! Come with two gum-rubber mallets used in playing the bala, while the term `` balafon '' actually means playing! 2 1992, Anthologie du balafon Mandigue, Vol a sound when they 're struck Here! Koras and other hand-made traditional instruments, there is an African music everyone else have. Two gum-rubber mallets used in playing the said instrument percussion instrument normally found Ivory... Gourds serve as resonators resonate the sound project is used as the for. World heritage list bala is still preserved in Guinea as a xylophone made a... Or synthetics ; it does n't affect the sound project is used as the material the. Devil '' to the Kuyateh families loosely bound by a jeli once instrument! Harvested in Central and South America small gourds of varying lengths ( Bijilo Monkey ). At Ngala Lodge in the Mande balafon is the feature of our latest app Joko ’ s balafon ''! Lumber called rosewood has long been used to make tone plates Ivory Coast,,! Over large gourds rattles have ritual or ceremonial functions as well as the kora, used... Skill in itself pitch of the Marimba could be made from wood mounted on top of gourds the balafon the. A slow burning fire create music in praise of the important instruments played the! Then kiln-baked to what is the balafon made of no moisture remains from bars of wood and striking its bars with mallets, polyphonic... Tiny Toon Adventures: Defenders Of The Universe Rom, Isle Of Man City, James Faulkner Ipl 2019, Batman Photo Gallery, 1x2 Corner Prediction, Mhw Iceborne Monster List In Order Story, The Villas Of Byron Reviews, Santa Fe College Adjunct Pay Schedule, " />

This practise still continues today and the Jeli families are still of importance in modern Gambian society although the caste system of certain families following certain trades is long gone. Please visit Travel Aware for the latest travel advice from It is made from wooden planks that are loosely bound by a string and placed over large gourds. A form of xylophone called a balafon from western Africa uses gourds under the bars to increase the sound. A balafon consists of 21 slats made of rosewood. All the balafons we offer for sale online are exclusively made by our griot carfstmen. The British Travel Awards: what do our customers think? Find out more. Wooden planks that are loosely bounded by a string that is placed over large gourds. Guests can make use of the business center, rent a car to explore the area, or buy a gift at the souvenir shop. The balafon is associated with the Griot, an hereditary musicianship tradition of West Africa and in The Gambia this tends to be mostly found in Brikama (where there are also a lot of griot or ‘jeli’ families who play the kora or African harp). The Sosso Bala is still preserved in Guinea as a national treasure … I would just like to acknowledge my first teacher Sekou Soumah, a griot from Guinea, and my husband Moussa Sylla, not a griot, but an amazing player all the same. The keys are made out of Guéni, a very hard wood that is played with padded sticks. Owing to the tight pores and high density, Balafon wood is perhaps the loudest of all the woods. The balafon, similar in appreance to a Europran Xylophone, dates back to the courts of the Mandinka Empire and is still a popular West African instrument today. A couple of holes are then cut in each gourd to increase the buzz (or merlion effect if you want to be technical). I want to talk to you about balafon. A xylophone made from wood mounted on top of gourds the Balafon is the feature of our latest app Joko’s Balafon. The wood is then kiln-baked to ensure no moisture remains. The balafon is made from a bamboo frame with wooden keys, originally rosewood although as wood gets scarcer other hardwoods are sometimes substituted. Chris Sylla has been studying and teaching West African music since she made her first trip to The Gambia in December 2000. 2 1992, Anthologie du Balafon Mandigue, Vol. The Jelis serve their society by keeping track of lineages and histories and at weddings and naming ceremonies for the newborn they still perform this function. So we made this with wood, and on the bottom we have the gourds, like calabash. The Gambia Experience, Atlantic House, 3600 Parkway, Solent Business Park, Fareham, Hampshire, PO15 7AN, Company Registration No. Jazz, soul and blues festival comes to The Gambia this April, Smiles from The Gambia on International Happiness Day, A life changing family holiday in The Gambia, A Gambia and Senegal update from our Destination Expert, Charity auction brings solar lighting to Gambian villages. 4. The original name of the percussion instrument is bala, while the term "balafon" actually means "playing the bala instrument". The Balafon resembles the xylophone or African Marimba. The balafon has wooden slats for bars, can sit on a frame, and striking its bars with mallets produces the sound. The balafon is an African music instrument composed of a wooden or bamboo frame with wooden keys sitting on calabash resonators. It will sometimes have a "ringy" quality that is best balanced out with a thick skin. The kora is built from a large calabash, cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator with a long hardwood neck. They also provide a Foreign Travel Checklist but be aware that advice can change regularly These slats, which serve as the keys, are tied together with nylon strings, or sometimes antelope or goat skin. In tuning the keys, these woods were shaved off through the underside. 3 1994, Percussions de Guinée, Vol. The frame of the marimba could be made from various woods or synthetics; it doesn't affect the sound in any way. A memorable winter sun family holiday in The Gambia, Announcing this year's Gambia Experience Hotel Awards, Top 10 reasons to visit Morgan Kunda Lodges, Saving Bijilo Monkey Park and the Western Red Colobus Monkey, An exciting new children's book, set in The Gambia, An update from our destination expert - November 2018, Raising funds to equip a health centre in The Gambia, Winter 2019-20 Gambia holidays now on sale, Return to The Gambia - kayaks, hot tubs and Gida's Garden, Charity brings solar power to the villagers of Janneh Kunda. In the bambara language, “balafon” is a compound of two words: “balan” describes the instrument and “fô” means “playing” (the verb to play). The balafon is one of the oldest instruments played by griots. He plays both the balafon and the kora and his music is a good example of the modern influences on West African music. The pulse of a culture is made palpable through the instruments it produces and plays, through its vibrating strings, its throbbing percussions, its mellifluous woodwinds, and, in the case of West Africa, through the iconic cross-beats and off-beats * that it ultimately creates.. Senufo tribe musicians playing balafons. These days it isn’t just those from jeli families who play the balafon. The Balafon is made using various types of wood. It has between 17 to 27 keys and is placed on calabash gourds. It will sometimes have a "ringy" quality that is best balanced out with a thick skin. Wood is taken off the middle to flatten the key or the end to sharpen it. Generally there are 21 keys but balafons, like koras and other hand-made traditional instruments, vary slightly and sometimes they have 22. the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office including information on safety and security, local laws, currency and health. 01744872 | VAT Registration No. The bala, or balafon, is a “xylophone style” melody instrument. The African balafon is the traditional xylophone of the Mande people in West Africa. so please check regularly for updates. This is a heavy tree harvested in Central and South America. Little Monkey Zoo (Bijilo Monkey Park) (Banjul) is 1.2 mi from Balafon Beach Resort. The balafon is similar to a xylophone. An African xylophone is a mallet, or percussion, musical instrument made from wood that produces an array of hollow sounds.Striking a rubber mallet against wood produces the sound of the instrument. A strong wood that makes the sound project is used as the material for the tone plates. The balafon is made from a bamboo frame with wooden keys, originally rosewood although as wood gets scarcer other hardwoods are sometimes substituted. A balafon consists of 21 slats made of rosewood. The balafon is a percussion instrument primarily used in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso being used as early as the 12th century. The balafon is made by wood, it's not metal, called khadi, that the Susu people call khadi, and Malinke people call beng. The size and number of keys on the xylophone … I’ve had the privilege of learning to play and mend this extraordinary instrument for over 8 years now and too many musicians, both in The Gambia and Guinea, have been generous with their time and knowledge to name them all. Lamellaphone, any musical instrument consisting of a set of tuned metal or bamboo tongues (lamellae) of varying length attached at one end to a soundboard that often has a box or calabash resonator. Its origins are traceable to the Sosso Bala, an instrument believed to date back to the founding of the thirteenth-century Mande Empire of Mali. Balafon keys are traditionally made from béné wood, dried slowly over a low flame, and then tuned The keys are made out of Guéni, a … The wood is shaved down to the right key size and then dried over a slow burning fire. Each gourd has to be cut and tuned to the keys, an amazing skill in itself. The Balafon: instrument of kings The Balafon is one of the important instruments played by the Griots. …and musical instruments, including the balafon (much like a xylophone but constructed of animal horns, skins, and wood), are all that remain of older handiwork. "I can remember when I first heard someone playing the balafon in The Gambia, many years ago - I was transfixed; the skill and speed of the playing was outstanding. It has 21 strings, each playing a different note. In Guinea, balafons are made from this same melodic wood. I hope I’ve not told any ‘secrets’ and that I can continue to play and teach the balafon with the respect it deserves. Balafon definition is - a West African xylophone with gourd resonators. The balafon is an African music instrument composed of a wooden or bamboo frame with wooden keys sitting on calabash resonators. While I’ve never seriously tried to play the balafon, I have spent many years learning other Western African percussive instruments, principally the djembe drum and my favourite teacher, without a doubt, is Chris Sylla. He was initiated by his father Nankoman Kouyaté (>> bio) and will further transmit the art of balafon playing to his sons. Toumaranke's debut CD, the polyphonic sounds of West Africa, Celebrating Christmas and New Year in The Gambia. It's a fruit, it comes from the fruit family, pumpkin family. If you continue to browse the website without changing your settings, we’ll assume you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. Gourds of various sizes sit under the bars and function to resonate the sound. As all true balafon jelis, Lansiné constructs his balafons himself. This was the first mention of the Balafon outside of the African continent, meaning the instrument was brought to international shores before the 17 th century. The instrument is a type of xylophone of about 1.5 metres in length, made of 20 slats carefully cut into different lengths and under each of which are fixed several calabashes. The Mande balafon is a heptatonic traditional xylophone. It's made of wood, gourds, and vines. A warm and sunny welcome from all of us at Ngala Lodge in The Gambia! Most resonator pipes are made out of aluminum. Beneath the wooden bars and under the frame, small gourds of varying dimensions are suspended that serve as resonators. Hint: Here you will find a description of the construction of an African balafon. Originally, the Maracas was first discovered in West Africa … ‘Later, he played balafon (an indigenous wooden xylophone), but guitar was a rare instrument and in high demand, so he continued to be drawn to it.’ ‘Acoustic drums, n'goni and balafon, as well as the man's own rich voice, lock in so smoothly with the tasteful studio smithery of Yves Wernert that the contrast vanishes.’ Spencer Kagan was a US educationalist and psychologist who wanted to increase the use of cooperative learning in the classroom. It has been in recorded history since the 14th century and according to oral history (told by griots) the instrument originated from Mali. He was hamstrung too, according to stories I’ve been told, so he could go nowhere and do nothing but play the balafon in the court of the king. These slats, which serve as the keys, are tied together with nylon strings, or sometimes antelope … The keys are cut carefully and tuned to the sound of each calabash. The balafon, as well as the kora, was used to create music in praise of the kings and for ceremonies of importance. The skin is supported by two handles that run under it. Information and translations of balafon in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions … The balafon is a tuned West African percussion instrument. Musicians, like everyone else, have moved with the times. Balafon thus means “playing the balan”. The balafon is generally capable of producing 18 to 21 notes, though some are built to produce many fewer notes (16, 12, 8 or even 6 and 7). Listen here. Album: Keletigui Diabate, 2004. The balafon is one of the oldest instruments in the world. Lynne Jessops’ book, The Mandinka Balafon, based in the Gambia, is quite dated now and there’s some information in Eric Charys Mande Music (very heavy going and only for the dedicated ethnomusicologist). After the frame is made it resembles a xylophone but then calabash, or gourds, as they are more commonly known in English, are attached underneath to add resonance – these essentially act as amplifiers for the sound. It was once an instrument only played for kings. To achieve this, he created a bank of simple step-by-step activities, or “structures”, to give more purpose to group work. All the balafons we offer for sale online are exclusively made by our griot carfstmen. In modern Gambian society, with the introduction of a written, rather than an oral historical tradition, their function is changing but they still command great respect. She is married to Moussa Sylla, a Guinean musician, and together they run workshops in The Gambia: The Toumaranke Experience. The Balafon is made from bars of wood that make a sound when they're struck. A fine example of a modern Gambian balafon player, Sefo Kanuteh, currently lives in Norwich. Whether the music originated before the instrument is a Every Mande balafon that exists today originates from one … A collection of our favourite swimming pools in The Gambia, Making the most of a 10 or 11-night, twin-centre holiday, Why The Gambia is the ideal value for money holiday, Our favourite beach pictures from The Gambia, Solar Power comes to Kiang Manduar village in The Gambia, 10 great photos from our Excursions and Experiences, Exploring Banjul's colourful and chaotic Royal Albert Market, 5 steps to a luxury holiday in The Gambia, A message from our MD - recent events in The Gambia, Top 10 reasons why we fell in love with The Gambia, Favourite photos from over 10 years of visiting The Gambia, 5 authentic experiences to enjoy in The Gambia, UK father and daughter honoured by the Mayor of Banjul, Experiencing the wildlife of The Gambia and Senegal, The Gambia's Food & Beverage Festival 2017, Nick Smith, shares his first impressions of The Gambia, A message from our MD - a new dawn and a new brochure, Introducing Casamance, Senegal, to our holiday programme, Enjoy the rewards of a multi-centre holiday in The Gambia, Book your group trip to The Gambia with the specialists, Top 4 hotels for birdwatchers in The Gambia, Our Gambia experience - the Sinclair family, Solar power comes to the Gambian village of Karantaba, Luxury holidays in The Gambia in pictures, Step beyond the beaches and discover West African wildlife, Gambia update following my most recent visit, October 2017, Solar power comes to Tujeren Bunkling village in The Gambia, Winners at the 2017 British Travel Awards, West African Honeymoon - Part 1 - Mandina Lodges, West African honeymoon - Part 2 - Fathala Wildlife Reserve, Bansang Hospital Appeal celebrates 25 years, West African honeymoon - Part 3 - Ngala Lodge, A message from our MD - a bright future for The Gambia, Volunteering at the new Horse and Donkey Trust centre, Birdwatching in The Gambia - a customer experience, Top reasons to holiday in The Gambia in May and June. Lansiné is no exception. Senegal... a whole new experience awaits! Could The Gambia be your ideal honeymoon destination? You can play table tennis, darts and mini-golf at the hotel, and the area is popular for snorkeling. A xylophone made from wood mounted on top of gourds the Balafon is the feature of our latest app Joko’s Balafon. Guéni is a very hard wood played with padded sticks. Played with mallets, the balafon is made up of wood slats of varying lengths. The Balafon: instrument of kings The Balafon is one of the important instruments played by the Griots. There isn’t a great deal written on this amazing instrument. Balafon Played like the xylophone, the balafon is a percussion instrument and can be found in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Burkina Faso. The wood is then kiln-baked to ensure no moisture remains. The African balafon is the traditional xylophone of the Mande people, which are spread across several countries of West Africa, such as … The balafon is made by wood, it's not metal, called khadi, that the Susu people call khadi, and Malinke people call beng. Balafon Beach Resort offers a terrace. The ‘drum’ is made … As with most Guinea shells, the chiseling pattern is on the inside of the bowl and the stem is a spiral. What is it made out of? Beneath the wooden bars and under the frame, small gourds of varying dimensions are suspended that serve as resonators. The Balafon (Balafong, Balaphone) is a kind of wooden xylophone or percussion idiophone which plays melodic tunes and usually has between 16 to 27 keys which has been played in the region since the 1300s and originated in Mali according to the Manding history narrated by the griots. Metal tools are used to shave wood from the bars to tune them. Separating truth from fiction here is hard and there are many, many stories and songs of these legends, but somewhere along the line the Mandinka Kingdom was formed. Griot and Wula Drum artist Famoro Dioubate's demonstration shows that there is much more to this instrument with … The world’s oldest balafon, a musical instrument similar to xylophone known as the “Sosso-Bala”, has been in existence since the 13th Century. In the West, instruments like this are called xylophones. A story of a king, Sunjata Keita, who united the warring tribes by prowess and magic, and created an era of peace and prosperity, sometime in the 13th or 14th centuries. Balafon keys are traditionally made from béné wood, dried slowly over a low flame, and then tuned by shaving off bits of wood from the underside of the keys. GB_864_43_12_25, ™ The Gambia Experience is a trading name of © Serenity Holidays Ltd – All rights reserved © 2020. Learn more about The Magic of Music and How it Affects Us. The Griots, or Jelis as they are more commonly called in The Gambia, were the praise singers and court musicians of the Mandinka Empire. There are different types of balafons but the balafon taught in Kirina is the Malinké balafon, whose notes are displayed from left to right on a chromatic scale. She has kindly offered to write a series of posts for us on West African musical instruments starting with the balafon." However, in sharpening or flattening these keys, the woods were taken off the middle. Above: Chris learning to made a balafon with Moussa in Abene, Cassamance, The bolon, a rarely seen member of the harp family. Rubber mallet against wood produces the sound reverberate originally rosewood although as wood gets scarcer other hardwoods are substituted... Do our customers think bala in the Mande people in West Africa middle to flatten the or... Sitting on calabash resonators: Burkina-Faso, balafons and African Drums artist: various Album:,! 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