Sanata - Balafonrhythms - Burkina Faso - Paul Nas
portfolio_page-template-default,single,single-portfolio_page,postid-19978,bridge-core-2.2.3,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-21.0,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.9.0,vc_responsive
Pentatonic balafon


Last updated 29 June 2022


SSanata is a balafon rhythm with Bambara song from Mali. Sanata is the name of a young woman. The story is about her wedding. Among the Bambara people, it is customary that the bride does not eat during the wedding. However, a dish is prepared for her for when the time comes for her to eat. But Sanata is hungry and, using the excuse of having to go to the toilet, she slips into the kitchen. She sees the bowl that is meant for her already, grabs a chicken leg and starts to eat it. However, she is caught by a balafon player from the band playing at the wedding. The griot (musician-troubadour) always has to tell about what he sees doing and tells about it during a song. But when the “wise men” in the family hear this, they are indignant; “Sanata must be punished!”. But the musicians stand up for her. They say it is not a good part of the culture and should disappear. Moreover, they say if Sanata were to be punished, they would stop playing.

Manna manna koema mi bao da
am ben na do Sanata tho na
A- ah -ah Sanata yè landa ti’njè
Ou Ko, Sanata yè landa ti’njè
A- ah – ah ni koni kadi

Everything you say, the words that come out of your mouth (from the griots)

Ah- ah a Sanata does not respect the customs

but we the griots stand up for Sanata, for her idea

They said that Sanata does not respect the customs
but it is good


This is a recording of the song played on the equi-pentatonische balafon. The text of the lyrics is clear to hear also. Also in the video below of Aboubacar Konaté, another interpretation of Sanata on the equi-pentatonic balafon. In this instrument the octave devided in five equal parts. So there are several keys that don’t match any of our usual tones.


Haruna Dembele, France, 2008, Gert Kilian, Toulouse, 2010, Fatumata Keita (song), Mali 2011, Youssouf Keita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 2016, 2020, Tilburg 2022.

update history
  • 29 June 2022: Complete makeover of the meaning of the song after a long talk with Youssouf Keita (with my appologies for my former explanation)
  • 5 December 2021: PDF layout compressed
  • 9 Februari 2020: Changed text: Sanata is the name of a girl!
  • 8 December 2019: Added variation in Echauffement (E2)
  • 31 October 2018: Patterns build up in difficulty
  • May 2018: New!
No Comments

Post A Comment