09 Dec Start of ‘Yiri Kan’, The Voice of the Wood
For a few years now, Youssouf Keita, my balafon teacher in Burkina Faso, has been telling me about his dream to establish a Foundation to promote balafon music in Bobo Dioulasso. He has been cautiously preparing for the establishment and realization of such a centre for a few years now. He has already reached out to many people to enthuse them about the project. For instance, support has already been found among well-known balafon players in Burkina and Mali, and people are willing to serve as ambassadors or board members of the new foundation. Youssouf has also already been busy looking out for a suitable location for such a centre. He has also used the ‘Corona time’ to build balafons from all ethnic groups in Burkina, Mali and Ivory Coast to use in the centre. He also talked to the other balafon builders in Bobo Dioulasso and found support for the new project: Abdoulay from Bolemakote, Sadama Diabaté, Da Sié, Foussini Hema, Bionoma, So now it is with joy that I report the start of Yiri Kan, the voice of wood!
Currently, the papers for the establishment of the Association ‘Yiri Kan’ are at the notary. The unrest in Burkina has somewhat delayed their completion, but the official documents are expected any day now.
Last January, Youssouf also talked to me about it. I exchanged views with him several times on important issues and choices for the association. For instance, I stressed the importance of involving the younger generation right away and also looking at musicians living abroad who could support the project. Youssouf also felt that I could possibly play a role in promoting and releasing the centre and asked me to become vice-president (vice-chairman). I am very honored by that request. I think the most important things should be arranged and decided in Burkina itself, but I would like to make my contribution to such a beautiful project as a Western balafonist. In the coming time, I will try to find enthusiasm and resources in the Netherlands and among balafonists living in other countries to support ‘Yiri Kan’; Literally: “The Voice of the Wood”