TTyowa Bayo (Choa Bayou) is the name of a song and rhythm of the Bwaba, also known as the Bwa. They are a subgroup of the ethnic group Bobo, from Burkina Faso and Mali. Bayo is the name of a man that lived long ago in a Bwaba village. He was known for his special way of clearing the dance area when it had become to crowded. During festivities all the people (in their enthusiasm or being drunk) were all pressing each other in the centre of the dance area. Bayo was called by the balafonists, with this song. Then Bayo, wherever he was, or even if he was sleeping, he came instantly. With large steps and also dancing squatted and with lots of large waving he always succeeded in his ‘work’. He come wearing lots of bells around his ankles. The people could hear him coming and started clearing the floor already, even before he was there! When free, Bayo got the chance to do his own dance in the middle of the dance floor. The squat steps were in a way that he jumped squat-like and spread and closed the legs. It was really a miracle, the way he cleared the floor! The people called it the secret (Tyowa) of Bayo. Nowadays the song is also played when some more space in the dance area is required. All balafon pieces used to be played on a equi-pentatonic balafon. Therefore the melody-line can change.
I ri yo, i ri yo, bwè, bwè re e Tyowa Bayo (2x)
bè-i dan, bè-i dan, bè bè-i dan, wawèh soung ba o, bè-i dan wahwèh jeriba
Hurray, hurray, Tyowa Bayo is here and he’s in shape!
he youngsters, make way, or you shall be pushed away
he old people, make way, or you shall be lifted (to the side)