Wari Vo is a rhythm of the Bwa(ba), and subgroup of the ethnic Bobo from Burkina Faso and Mali. It is is an old song: “My mother is hungry, but the money has run out”; it literally means in Bwamou (the Bwa’s language): “The money has run out”. Francois Keïta, an uncle of Youssouf Keïta, based on this old song , reinterpreted its meaning and created balafons and guitar accompaniment to it. He was bandleader of the orchestra “Bwabande de Tominian”. He made words to it so that the song is now about a young man indicating to a young woman that he loves her but does not like the way she asks nice things from him. In the duet, the woman sings in reply that she wants a phone and a moped, and when they are married she wants a villa and then a car. The boy replies that he cannot afford her love.
Wari vo, Wari vo, Wari vo, lo mè, wari vo, Wari vo, Wari vo,
the money has run out, I have no money (anymore)
Mè ma o ba ja ra a, tyounou wo ma na-a bjo
the hope of money is not there, but it is not important
Wari = money, vo = run out, lo mè = me, mè ma o ba ja ra a = I don’t have any hope, tyounou wo ma na bjo = it’s not important
‘Ben Zabo’ plays the song on the album ‘Wa Nii Bwa’. In it, it sings extensively about expensive love. Phrases sung there include: ‘Girl I love you very much, but materialism is no basis for love, She says: ‘I want a phone first and then a moped, When we are married I want a villa and a car’ He replies: Your love is too expensive for me. I would like a car, a bicycle, good shoes, but I don’t have money for it, I don’t have money for your expensive wishes.