S Sènèkè Daba is a balafon piece of the Tiéfo, a people from the South-West of Burkina Faso (a number of villages south of Bobo Dioulasso, regions of Tiéfora and Sideradougouin).
The rhythm supports the manual plowing (“laborer“) that is carried out on the field with the Daba (a kind of hoe). They work synchronously with the music supporting the rhythm. There is singing during the work, but sometimes the workers lose attention to the music and the musicians move on. The Djeli (griot) adds sentences with exhortations or cynicism, ridicule or other humour related to the individual (qualities of the) workers. There is not always time for a break, but you can of course try to take it a bit easier. When seen by the Djeli, there is an exhortation or slight mockery in the song. Sometimes the Djeli also gives points for the qualities of the work or the disadvantages of a person’s work. Then small “bonuses” or “sanctions” can follow. The song is also played / sung when harvesting the fonio. Daba = hoe, Sènèkè = work in the field. Sènèkè Daba = the work in the field with the hoe. There is enough “space” in the melody to vary around the theme. The song is about who works best. It’s not Youssouf’s language, so the song is his interpretation of what he heard:
Wobo tchey, kan sambla tchey ye, boe ko, fo ka, ta na lo
“The Tiéfo came from Kong and settled in Kassandé in the department of Sidéradougou, province of Comoé. They gradually occupied the villages around. Including those of Piakorofesso, Taparga, Tanga, Sidéradougou, Déguédégué, Larma, Daramadougou, Dandougou, Gouédougou … ”
(source: Souleymane Ouattara at tribal-wisdom.org on tribal-wisdom.org)