Balafonmeeting December 2019 - Paul Nas
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Balafoonmeeting December 2019

Balafonmeeting December 2019

On Saturday, December 7, 2019, I again held a balafon meeting for students and other interested parties. We were guests in the beautiful ‘Plaza’ of Hooghe Veer on Bredaseweg in Tilburg. Fine acoustics and good service.

Woro Ma Bwe

I gave two workshops there. The first was with Woro Ma Bwe, a Bwa balafon piece that I learned in Konsankuy in Mali in 2011 from Youssouf and Kassim Keita. (Shakara) Woro Ma Bwe is a rhythm of the Bwa or Bwaba, a subspecies of the Bobo from Burkina Faso / Mali. “Moment of happiness” because it’s raining. It is a rhythm that fits the harvest festival. The song is old, but the balafon accompaniment is from the end of the 20th century (Zouratié and Daga Coulibali).
The song is an interpretation of a song from the Nigerian Fela Kuti (Shakara). The song sings that it is a good evening (“mi ma domè”) because the rain is (has been) good for the harvest. The second line tells you that the way the “shakara” dance is danced is that the bellies are well filled (otherwise it would not be possible to dance so exuberantly / nicely). In the third line, a woman says: “Hey, you young guy, you’re looking at me, do you want me? The group learned the melody, the basic accompaniment pattern and made a start with a solo accompaniment pattern and singing. Here a small impression.

Bo Yaro: solo phrases

After lunch I worked on Bo Yaro, a number where I already worked with all the lesson groups as a result of the Balafoon meeting in 2017. Bo Yaro is a Bobo balafoon piece that is the work of the farmer (in Mali and Burkina Faso called “Danveillaro” ) supported on land. So it is played while working on the field. Bo Yaro = the young Bobo (man). We went through a few solo phrases.


Finally, those groups that wanted to show something of what they are doing in class. It was nice to show each other what we are struggling with or where we have come up with something nice for an arrangement. Small performances with balafones and vocals, and sometimes use of other instruments such as N’Goni, and accompaniment with Baras, Djembe, douns, shakers and grater. We have done aftermatches at my house; several people had brought something to eat and in the meantime some more was being played on the N’Goni. It was a nice day;

Thank you all for your commitment and contribution!

Op weg naar de Balafoonmeeting

Paul Nas
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