Senalé Malin - Bwa / Bwaba - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Senalé Malin / Mapouka

Last updated on 16 June 2019

S/M Senalé Malin is a Bwaba (Bobo) rhythm from Mali / Burkina Faso. A boy is singing about his girl. That smart girl! He loves her, but she is far away. If she doesn’t come back, he will have to take another girl. In the second sentence of the song, a call is immediately made (to a possible candidate) to take a “walk” together. In the song the choir singing can always consist of “Hanzounou” with alternating high and low singing. In the second melody the word “Hanzounou” is omitted several times. You can choose from three sentences for repeated use or to place all three behind each other in a sentence. Nowadays the song is also called “Mapouka”, la Danse de Fez (the dance of the butt’s). Jenny Huijnen made a variation on Pattern A.

Sénalé Malin Hanzounou 4x

Sénalé Malin, Sénalé Malin, Sénalé Malin Hanzounou
Bwe wa le na ngwa, Bwe wa le na ngwa, Bwe wa le na ngwa Hanzounou
Bwe wa le fe we, Bwe wa le fe we, Bwe wa le fe we Hanzounou
We zou bjo wa we ve, We zou bjo wa we ve , We zou bjo wa we ve Hanzounou
Sénalé Malin, Bwe wa le fe we, We zou bjo wa we ve Hanzounou

sénalé = far away / malin = smart / hanzounou = young woman, if you, as a female balafonist, just want to turn the text around, instead of just singing ‘Hanzounou’ (= young woman) you just sing Bo ‘Yaro’ (= young (Bobo) man)!


Weaving cotton fabrics


Youssouf & Kassoum Keita, Konsankuy, Mali 2011,
Youssouf Keita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 2017

update history
  • 16 June 2019: Patterns builduing up in difficulty
  • January 2018: New!
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