30 Mar Ghanaian Gyll for the Wereldpodium
For a few years now I have been in contact with Berna Haverkort, a player of the Ghanaian xylophone, a balafon, also known locally in Ghana as ‘Gyll’. I worked with her to get the Ghanaian music piece Ganda Yina on paper and on this website. She had personally learned this from SK Karakra Lobi in Ghana. I also visited her home and could admire the Ghanaian instruments she had there. One of them was an enormous balafon/gyllophone/xylophone that she had had sent from Ghana after her stay there. A beautiful instrument, but a bit on the large side….
Recently, she asked me if I might know of a good destination for the instrument because she wanted to make more room in her living room for other things.
I knew the Wereldpoddium in Steyl and knew that for some time they had – besides a South American pavilion – also a Ghanaian workshop. For a while, my friend Jan Wilms collaborated intensively on presentations in the Wereldpaviljoen with a playable canvas from which African sounds and instrument sounds seemed to come. We also performed with the band ‘Dalaba’, in which I played for a while, for the Wereldpodium. It seemed like a great destination!
Berna made contact and they were happy with her offer of a Ghanaian Gyll for the Wereldpodium Steyl!
Wereldpaviljoen enriched with authentic Ghanaian xylophone
STEYL – The African instruments of the cultural attraction the World Pavilion in Steyl have recently been enriched with an authentic xylophone from Northern Ghana. The two-metre-long instrument was donated by the Haverkort-van der Plaats family from Rheden. Husband and wife both studied at the Agricultural University in Wageningen and were sent to Ghana. There the couple worked and lived for several years in Navronge (Upper East Ghana). In 1991 they bought the xylophone from the maker and player of this instrument. This xylophone was used in Ghana as an accompaniment to church songs. In addition, the xylophone was prominently used at funerals. “We bought it at the time because of its sound and because it is such a beautiful work of art,” says Berna Haverkort-van der Plaats, who can play the instrument well herself. “We were looking for a good destination for this beautiful instrument and got the tip from xylophone teacher Paul Nas from Tilburg to donate it to the Ghana ineefatelier of the World Pavilion”. On Monday the instrument arrived in Steyl together with a number of Ghanaian drums and djembe, two authentic chairs and various clothes and cloths. “We are very happy with these gifts that enrich our inleefatelier Ghana”, said chairman René Poels who accepted the gifts with pleasure.