Yi Be We - Bwaba - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
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Pentatonic balafon

Yi Be We

Last updated on 3 June 2023

Dutch French

(Mi Hwo) Yi Be We is a rhythm of the Bwaba from Burkina Faso and Mali. In the song everyone is called on to do something for humanity. The song was written by Youssouf’s uncle, Francois Keïta. The song is still sung a lot in the villages by the young women’s groups. The song mentions the equality of man and woman. If a man can do something (work, or for humanity), then a woman can do it too. Successively the man, the woman, the young man, the young woman and the children.

Mi Hwo = Stand up!, Yi Be We = do something for humanity, Bwaru = public, Vo Wa = calls, Wuré = everyone, Bara = adults, Hana = women, Yira = young people, Ti ara = young women, Hayira = children. Mwètè = shortages (on earth), diminga = the world.

The song has four melody lines:
1st: Wa ni yo mi, hwo, yi be we, mi mè ma, ho mwètè ou ne
”                  ”                 ”                   ”            , ho demigna le

2nd Mi yi mana, mi yi mana, mi hwo yi be we mi mè ma ho mwètè ou ne
Mi yi bo, ”           ”             ”              ”              ”     ho deminga le
(when you have come, do it to give something)

3rd Mi bara mi , hwo yi be we mi mè ma ho mwètè ou ne
Mi hara mi , ”             ”            ”             ”   ho demigna le
Mi yira mi, ”             ”            ”             ”   ho mwètè ou ne
(Mi) ti ara mi, ”             ”            ”             ”  ho demigna le

4rth Hayira, mi hwo yi bee we,…. mi mè ma ho mwètè ou ne


Hakiri Koeta, Youssouf Keita,
Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, januari 2019.

update history
  • 3 June 2023: Added a variation in Pattern A
  • 20 June 2022: Changed name on suggestion Youssouf to ‘Yi Be We’
  • 2 September 2021: Layout adjusted; fewer pages.
  • 21 September 2020: New on the website, with some minor changes and layout corrections and improved percussion accompaniment
  • 24 September 2019: New version
  • 11 February 2019: First concept PDF
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