Soungouroni Tché Ni - Bambara / Djoula - Balafonrhythms
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Pentatonic balafon

Soungourouni Tché Ni

Last updated on 26 March 2023

Dutch French

S Soungouroni Tché Ni is a balafon piece by the Bambara / Doula from Mali & Burkina Faso. It is about the most beautiful woman (Soungourouni).
It is something to sing or say to your lover, because every loving man sees his wife or partner as the most beautiful one!
According to Youssouf, every balafon player makes something special out of a song. So Youssouf looked for and found some patterns during the prelude at the end of the workshop (which I took from the video as D to H).
(kolo’n da = near the water, dji ta la is fetching/pumping up water)

Soungouroni Tché ni (-i), jè kou ma fo njè (-è), fo kân sâ, a ti bon kono
Soungourouni Tché nou ma njè ko kè na, fo kân sâ, a ti bon kono
Soungourouni Tché djougou jè kou ma fo njè (-è), fo kân sâ, a ti bon kono
Soungourouni Tché ni, jè ko kè na, fo kân sâ, a ti bon kono
A nou gou lé, f’let kolo ‘n dala
A thè ni f’let dji ta la
A magamani, f’let loggo ni nji na

the most beautiful woman has whispered something in my ear
which I will cherish all my life
the most beautiful woman has done something to me
that I will cherish until my death
Look how well formed she is, standing there by the well
Look how well formed she is, as she picks up the water
With her soft skin, as she gathers wood.

During the workshop at the ZION hotel, the attention of children walking past the hotel on their way home from school was drawn. Almost every day, at least a few would stop by the hotel’s yard to listen to the magical balafon music being played.

Soungourouni Tche Ni


Youssouf Keita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, January 2022.

Update history
  • 26 March 2023: Melody line and Pattern C and F improved and some minor layout changes
  • 20 January 2023: Added percussion accompaniment and some minor adjustments to melody and accents.
  • 10 March 2022: New
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