Ouotoro - Djarabi Wotoro - Bambara - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Ouotoro / Diarabi Wotoro

Last updated 30 October 2019

Dutch French

O Ouotoro (or Diarabi Wotoro / Jarabi Wotoro) is a Bambara piece of music that is about the carriage /(Ouotoro) of love (Diarabi). It is about the uneven path and is still bumpy; love is not always stable. This song is known as Ouotoro (or Wotoro) in Burkina, Mali and Ivory Coast. Youssouf called it “Fanta Diarabi” because he often played it for his wife Fanta. (But be ware; this is also the name of another rhythm, that Youssouf preseted our team in 2020.) Haruna Dembele also presented this piece in 2015, but chose a different key, one sound bar higher. This changed the melody line. In Burkina Faso, when one plays on the equi-pentatonic balafon, it doesn’t matter which bar you start on, the melody-line remains the same.

Song 1st line:
Diarabi, anga njo i njè filè, mogolou
Anga njo – i – njè – jéé (look me in the eyes)

Song 2nd line
A name is always mentioned at the beginning of the sentence. Use the low variant of the first part of the 2nd line for all, except the last name and the high variant for the last name in the second part of the 2nd line, to conclude the vocals.

[name] lo (low: OO/), Anga njo – i – njè – jéé

Additions by Haruna:

‘Djarabi, Anga njo i ya yee’

‘De – en ko denko ka guerre’
(the child is important for everyone (from the heart)

Arrangement at the start: Begin with patroon B, then play the melody, and after that add pattern A.


These carriages are still widely used in the Konsankuy region of Mali. In the village where we stayed during the 2011 and 2012 workshops.


Youssouf Keita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso January 2013, Haruna Dembele, Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands, August 2015.

update history
  • 30 October 2019: Extra pattern E4
  • 29 august: New!
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