Kebeni - Nimaniya - Senoufo / Dioula - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Kebeni – Nimaniya

Last updated 14 October 2020

Dutch French

K Kebeni is the name of a Senoufo village near Sikasso in Mali. There are some very good balafon players from there, but the rhythm is played by all Senoufo. One of them has made a specific dance and a rhythm has been created / named that refers to the village. There are specific dance steps involved (“C’est marque de pas de danse”). It is a dance in which the feet “drum” on the floor, change feet very quickly and also make some figures. The dancers demand the attention of the audience and show that they master the corresponding dance steps. Outsiders who participate in the dance steps can count on a great applause from Senoufo dancers and audience. Boys and girls can both dance in this dance. By doing a nice dance step, dancers can “seduce” a (dance) partner to come and dance. Sometimes they sing to each other during the dance. Hunters also like to dance this dance.

Anja, Jenny tara balandon yorola, Carl – yo tara balafo yo(rola)
Anja, Jenny tara balandon yorola, Carl – yo tara balafo yorola
(the first line is shortened to continue with the second sentence)

‘Anja “and” Jenny “start to dance by the balafon when” Carl “starts to play the balafon (Names can be exchanged).

Pattern C:

• Nice to start with playing both variants within pattern C twice. Later during the song (when the tempo has also been increased) you can switch to playing each variant once. Pattern B player follows the changes of Pattern C player whether or not to play 2 for 2 or 1 for 1 of the two variants.
• Switching from melody to pattern C; last tones melody canceled.

In this song a modulation can be applied from two bars upwards. Normally, pattern A is played along with the melody and pattern B by the second balafonist. To achieve a desired vocal height, the accompaniment is modulated to A + and at the same time the singing is performed. After the singing, you immediately return to the ‘normal’ pattern A.


Song in Bambara that is played and sung to the rhythm Kebeni. Learned from Haruna Dembele; he himself comes from the Bwaba tribe. The song Nimaniya is also on his CD: Landa. Song about life; you have to believe in each other even though we are sometimes so different. Everybody is different. Each person has their own qualities. Just like the 10 fingers that are each so different from the other fingers but can also work well together; nimaniya dounounia = have faith in the world, sabarie ee = forgive

Nimanyia, dounouniya la Nimaniya (ye) diyen sabari ye (2x)
Nimaniya, aa, aaa, diyen sabari ye, Nimaniya
Nimaniya, ar die so Niamania, diyen sabari ye
Nimaniya, balafon lo Nimaniya diyen sabari ye
Nimaniya djembefola Nimaniya diyen sabari ye
Nimaniya, aa, aaa,
Nimanyia, forika la Nimaniya (ye) diyen sabari ye

anni ke ra barra be to ye, Niamniya
anni ke ra ferika to ye, Nimaniya
anni ke ra tesse ba to ye, Nimaniya
anni ke ra tou gou ni ba ye, Nimania

Nimaniya, aa, aaa, Nimaniya, dounouniya, ye diyen sabari ye
Or: Nimanyia, dounouniya ankela fenfenye, ye diyen sabari ye

Song sung by Haruna during workshop




Kebeni: Youssouf Keïta, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 2013
Nimaniya: Haruna Dembele, Fankani workshop, Frankrijk 2008
Haruna Dembele, CD Landa, Track Nimania (with rhythm Kebeni)

update history
  • 14 October 2020: New formatting PDF
  • 6 September 2020: English version
  • 30 June 2020: New!
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