Patouma Nje Nje - Bobo / Bwaba - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Patouma Nje Nje

Last edited on 1 September 2023

Dutch French

P Patouma was the name of an old (Bobo) woman who could still dance beautifully. To challenge her to dance again, people would shout “Patouma Nje Nje“. (also – for example – Batouma and Fatouma are names you could easily use in the song).
At Bwaba parties, this song is often played in a triptych with ‘Wa Ere’ and the ‘Gne Ni’ rhythm (with another song added). The accompaniment with different percussion is the same for all songs. Gne Ni focuses on misfortune, bad luck, poverty, all that is bad in the world, corruption, jealousy, etc. Wa Ere then calls for living and celebrating life, and Patouma Nje is a party song with dance and fun. Through the triptych, people are taken from the ‘unlucky position’, lifted up to make a party of it together. It is mainly danced by the adults, not so much the youth. As the triptych,  there is a modulation to Patouma Nje Nje, or a transformation must take place (in Patouma Nje‘s notation) to ▲ / O instead of ✱ / ▲. In the transition from one piece to another, the melody of the current piece is played together once more, and then together the melody of the following piece.

Patouma Nje Nje Nje, (2x)
Patouma a wa ba rou zama Patouma Nje Nje Nje ( the audience calls),

Batouma a ba hana ba bara Batouma Nje Nje Nje ( all men and women call),

Fatouma a ‘NAME’ lo (=‘NAME’ calls), Fatouma Nje Nje Nje

Patouma Nje Nje

IDON!, the band in which I played for 10 years, made a journey from The Gambia to Guinea and back in 2005. The drummers and dancers all went with me. Driving cars ourselves through the red sand of West Africa! It was a trip with lots of setbacks with cars en roads. At the end we had to return to Gambia before we even got to Conakry! After a day of driving we were sometimes all covered in red sand. Here a picture of almost all the women in our group. Five dancers! A full story of the journey you can find here


Youssouf & Kassoum Keita, Konsankuy, Mali 2012, Youssouf Keita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 2017.

Update history
  • 1 September 2023: Made more compact, dropped some ‘intermediate patterns’, minor improvement in text22 December 2022: Variation on Pattern B added (with more harmony changes)
  • 12 March 2022: English and French version, minor adjustments in PDF
  • 29 July Pattern C3 added
  • 30 March 2021: New on the website
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