Fanta Djarabi - Bambara - Balafonrhythmes - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Fanta Djarabi

Last edited on 26 October 2021

Dutch French

F Fanta Djarabi is een Djoula balafon piece played by many balafon players in Burkina Faso, Mali and Ivory Coast. Mahama Konaté with Farafina (late last century) was, among other things, an important performer.
Bolibana is the name of a district of a city that occurs in a few cities in West Africa (including Bamako, Abidjan). It means “la fin de Cours” or something like the end of the ride. Many of those districts are bordered by a river or a lagoon. In that sense, also the end of a trip that you could make. The song sings about a beautiful girl from that neighborhood called Fanta, a beautiful and popular girl that you could easily fall in love with. The singer in the song thinks others think of him doing weird things because of his “crush” on Fanta.

1st: Deni Kelen bé Bolibana, ngo Fanta Djarabi, be Bolibana

2nd : Ee Fanta a bi Bolibana, Djarabi Fanta a bi Bolibana, Bobo Fanta a bi Bolibana, F’lani Fanta a bi Bolibana, etc
(it could be a girl of the mentioned breeds, but it could also come from anywhere)

3rd Nge na tsjogo tsjogo, soungourouni nge na tsjogo tsjogo a ti tièn fo
(Unfortunately, a girl like Fanta can’t tell everyone the truth (and tell every man she loves him too))

How to play

The rhythm has two accompaniment parts (A and B), which are always played together, the second interrupted at most by a melody phrase. The balafon soloist can keep the singers waiting to sing melody 2 by continuing to play the high version (because the vocals start after the low one). After a break, the dance variation is started with patterns C1 and C2.

Fanta Djarabi as played by Farafina Lili (with Mahama Konaté)

Fanta Djarabi

There are a lot of mopeds and motorbikes around in West Africa. In recent years, also three-wheelers in all kinds of designs; taxi, goods transport, etc. We also saw these driving around.

Fanta Djarabi played by Youssouf Keita on pentatonic balafocn in C#majeur.

Bobo Dioulasso Burkina Faso, January 2020

Video-lesson in Dutch 1: Welcome!, introduction and Pattern A

Video-lesson in Dutch 2: Pattern B

Video-lesson in Dutch 3: Melody 1, 2 and 3 (and relation with Pattern B)


Youssouf Keita & Hakiri Koita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, January 2020

Update history
  • 26 October 2021: lay out compressed
  • 10 June 2020: added te connextion melody (1,2,3) to and from pattern B
  • 3 June 2020: small addition in the text about singing with melody 2 and a layout correction in the last block of melody 2.
  • 21 march: English version
  • 18 March: small correction PDF, pattern C1; the lowest cross moved one cel uphigh
  • 19 February: Added Track 5 of album ‘Miriya’ by Farafina Lili: ‘Farafina Djarabi’. In PDF added some text improvements in the block diagrams and percussion notation.
  • 12 February: 172 bpm files added and 201bpm removed.
  • 10 February: Dutch version
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