Ganda Yina - Dagara and Lobi - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Ganda Yina

First translation on 20 March 2020

Dutch French

GGanda Yina (Ganda-Yina, Gandayina) is a rhythm played by tribes of northwestern Ghana such as the Lobi and Dagara. Here the balafon is called a Gyll (pronounced gji-lie) and has the characteristic number of 14 sound bars. The song is mainly played at funeral and memorial rituals.

The strong man is out

“Ganda Yina (the breadwinner has died, the stronger man is gone). Lobi and Dagaare funerals are all about chaos, truth, crying, wailing, facing our shadow, falling, going down to the bottom. The songs are played to bring harsh truths to the mourners: “You did not take care of your husband, now the main breadwinner has died and you will suffer”. Your only response is to dance, wail, be seen for all your mistakes. At that moment you realize, hangover and tired, that you are smiling, rebuilding and surviving. “(Said Bex Burck on CD Vula fell – Good is Good)

Lobi & Dagara

The Gyil, like the balafon, is a grandparent of the mallet keyboard family. It is the national instrument of the Lobi and Dagara people of Ghana, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. The gyil is used for everything in life; from weddings and funerals to dancing and daily recreation. The gyil master (both an instrument maker and a player) studies the instrument for much of his life before being considered worthy to represent his community at sacred events

Ganda Yina!

Kakraba Lobi; Xylofonplayer from Ghana

Ganda Yina by Aaron Bebe, March, 2006 at the University of Ghana

Edmund Dorwana Tijan plays gyle, Meddie, Ghana. Aug. 2010


Berna Haverkort (from SK Kakraba Lobi), recordings of Kakrakra Lobi and SK Karakra Lobi. Arrangement byn SK Kakraba, original transcript by Brian Hogan converted for pentatonic balafon notation by Paul Nas. Website of Valerie Naranjo

Update history
  • 20 March 2020: English translation
  • 18 February 2020: Dutch version
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