Pa Oui Bobo de Fangassou - Bobo - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Pa Oui Bobo

Last updated 21 May 2023

Dutch French

PPa Ou Bobo is a rhythm of the Bwaba from Mali / Burkina Faso. The Bwaba are one of the four distinguished Bobo ethnic subgroups. It is about a messenger from the village chief of the village “Pa Oui”(in Bwamou) or “Fangasso” (in Bambara). In both languages it means ‘the strong village’ (Fanga and Pa = the force), So and Oiu = village/neighbourhood).The village chief’s messenger was called Bobo and the story was set during the French colonial occupation. One day, Bobo returns from the big city with a disturbing message; but he exaggerates it a little to make the commotion bigger. There is an uprising and it becomes a success and central authority falls. Bobo has exaggerated it for good measure and so is actually also a bit of a liar. But he has shaken up the outrage that led to an uprising and is thus a hero. The song is therefore currently (2023) seen as a revolution song.

Pa Oui Bobo, bo boni hani
(hani = messenger)

other texts that are sung (but don’t really seem to add to the story; perhaps a larger story is behind?)

me we te sana, sa abba bwa e, lei me te sana, a-o-ve ba sa wa

(Working well is the culture of the Bwa, if you don’t want to work you better go to the Bambara!, wa = us, me = you)

Listen file: to get an impression of how the piece of music works.


Pa Oui Bobo

Kassim and Youssouf Keita, left, and some villagers who came to take a look at the workshop in Konsankuy, Mali.


Youssouf & Kassim Keita, Konsankuy, Mali 2011. Youssouf Keita, Uithoorn, Netherlands, May 2023.

Update history
  • 21 May 2023: New pattern E and text adjusted after new information.
  • 25 November 2021: New compact PDF and Audiofiles 128bpm added
  • 5 November 2019: Improved audiofiles, small layout correction in PDF
  • 25 Augustus 2019: New!
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