Maria Njou Lo - Bwaba / Bobo - Balafonrhythms
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Pentatonic balafoon

Maria Njou Lo

New on the website on 13 March 2022


M Maria Njou Lo is a  Bwaba (Bobo) rhythm from Burkina Faso played at Christmas. All those present sing along. It is a song that is actually sung in honour of all women, but in the text it is addressed to Mary.

The melody contains seven bars. The accompanying patterns (A, B and C) are played in the order 3 times the first harmony, 3 times the second and then once again the first. In other words, the first harmony is played 4 times (with the melody starting at the second time) and the second harmony 3 times. The song is in Bwamou, the language of the Bwa(ba)

The melody can be played on its own, preferably with two hands playing with an octave difference so that a double melody can be heard. Advanced players may play an accompaniment pattern to the melody (right).

Maria njou lo, mi leewa lee sin ‘lo wa-a (2x)
Wa na senou Maria njou lo (2x)
Mi leewa lee sin ‘lo wa-a

Mary appears, all welcome her
our beloved mother appears



Maria Njou Lo

As a child, Youssouf Keita often played in the cathedral of San in Mali.  The mass was enlivened by balafon playing (accompanying the singing of the choir). All songs from the balafon culture of the Bwaba were played, so not only ‘religious’ songs. When the balaphones joined in, it always became a party, according to Youssouf. On the right is a picture of the cathedral in Ouagadougou, de hoofdstad van  Burkina Faso. Behind the cathedral, near the car park, is an altar dedicated to Mary, Ave Maria, with a statue of the Virgin in a carved stone arch.


Youssouf Keita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, January 2014.

Update history
  • 13 March 2022: New
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