Yaro Le Wa Vè Fio - Bwaba - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Yaro Le Wa Ve Fio

English version on 8 April 2022


Y Yaro Le Wa Vè Fio is a rhythm of the Bwa(ba) from Burkina Faso and Mali. In the song, the (unmarried) youth is called to work. Young men are called on to work and earn some money for their marriage. Young women are called upon to work with the carité nuts to make ‘beurre de carité‘ (shea butter), pump up some water, look for wood, grind grain, etc. To earn some money for some nice fabric for your clothes (if you don’t wear nice clothes, your beauty will not be reflected). There are many (working) variations that are sung in the song. Here a few:

Yaya ho, arujipa bona lé, yaya ho, yaro le wa vè fio
Young men, come and work on the land and earn money for your marriage

Yaya ho, arujipa bona lé, yaya ho Ty a le wa san ouwo
young women, stamp the carité nuts and earn money for your marriage

Other couplets are created by naming other activities (fetching water, grinding grain, etc.). In this song it is standard that after playing the melody one time, it is subsequently switched to pattern A.
The number is widely used during work; three women who are three pounding (on one mortar) are supported with singing by a griot woman. The women always sing the answer to the griot woman’s chant during work. Yaro = young people, fio = piece of land nearby, mwa = pieces of land far away, le wa = come !, ti a = young woman, ouwo = shea butter, san = harvesting.

Youssouf Keïta plays:



Dramane Dembele with flute and thumb piano:



Youssouf Keïta, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, February 2018.

update history
  • 8 April 2022: More compact layout
  • 20 May 2020: English and French version
  • 16 March 2020: New on the website!
  • 2 March 2020 : New PDF (Dutch)
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