Hènèyamou - Bobo - Balafonrhythmes - Paul Nas, de balafon my passion
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Pentatonic balafon

Hènèyamou

Last edited on 5 June 2021

H Hènèyamou is a Bobo piece of music from Burkina Faso / Mali. Hènèyamou means: health. Good health is paramount! A person cannot work if he or she is sick! If you are healthy, you can do anything!

Hènèyamou Tyohébwé Hèra Hènèyamou wé wé Bé Wuré (2x)
Uéé Bèn Hènya, Taa O Sè Sa Ma Vanù Mù Wé Yilé ? (2x)

ohh health, your happiness, and it’s your health that’s everything too (2x)
You are sick ! How can you work and have everything? (2x).

Salif Dembele (‘Big Desal’)  is actually a reggae musician. But his album ‘Toutes est compliqué’ also contains the song Hènèya:

 

(This text is my own representation of what I hear)

Di miya, di miya, wa ere di miya a sa me o me
me sa ra di miya
Ta we ma heniya, ta hi ra za teya ma heniya
Ta we ma heniya, ba ha ai arè taya ma heniya
Ta we ma heniya, ba ha ia za taya ma heniya
Hènèyamou, djougou bwe here hènèya ma we we bou were
lou bere hènèya, o se sa ma ba lou we e
Ma woro we be za wa aa
wo tjoro i me wa e me za wa o wi be
yira le yo, wa dou yira leyo wa de
yira le nasse, wa dou ha ra leyo wa de

In addition to the accompaniment pattern A, there is another pattern that could be used as an accompanist: B. Or is it a solo accompaniment pattern that is played high on the balafon? Pattern C is fine to first mastering the motoric skills and after that the ‘colouring’.

When this piece was given during our workshop in 2015, I was sick myself. In my bed, I could listen to the repeated patterns and melody. What a fitting song! Anja wrote down as much as possible and Carl made numerous recordings so that I could study the song at home later.

Abdoulaye, Youssouf’s son, was diagnosed with appendicitis in early 2021. Fortunately, they were quick and he could be operated successfully. He is slowly recovering. Hènèyamou!

Farabè ‘Yaya’ Dembele, with Ahmed and Abdoulaye Keita (2019)

Sources:

Youssouf Keïta; Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, January 2015, 2017

update history
  • Presented at the balafoon meeting on Saturday 5 June 2021
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