Yira Lé Yo - Bobo - Balafonrhythms - Paul Nas
portfolio_page-template-default,single,single-portfolio_page,postid-38693,bridge-core-3.1.0,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-29.9,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,qode-wpml-enabled,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.0,vc_responsive
Pentatonic balafon

Yira Lé Yo

Last edited on 1 March 2023

Dutch French

YYira Lé Yo is a balafon piece by the Bobo from Burkina Faso and Mali. It calls on the youngsters to come and dance. Yira = youngsters, = come, yo = dance. We have not yet learnt the song but apart from the young men (yira), the young women (t’ièra) are urged to come and dance.

Dramane Dembele has the song ‘Yira Leyo‘ on his album ‘Nalouh‘. It does not seem that this track is related to the one we learnt. But it is a nice rendition! Lyrics as listened to from the song as brought to you by Dramane Dembele:

Yira Le Yo, Yira Le Yo-ho
Pe rè li bo lè, ….. a le yo danséz, danséz
Ba dou o yi bo lo….. a le yo danséz, danséz
Dou fou a I bo,….. a le yo danséz, danséz

to koro ba yé demisen lo ba yé, bi té….. a le ama zo tè
so koro ba yé soungourou lou ee bi té….. a le ama zo tè

lu o yo na…..a ni fo lo….
ti íra o hiera woure …………a se be lo
Pays bas sa ni re…… …………a se be lo
Pay Bas o sou a …………a se be lo
Franci se ra a ha …………a se be lo
Haira a ni ne wa danse …. wè me lo a gna ngani
T’iera a ni ne wa danse …. wè me lo a gna ngani
wè me lo a gna ngani , lo wè me lo a gna ngani

The start of the solo accompaniment patterns is usually shortly after the completion of the melody, or of the accompanying vocals. In this song, you can actually end the melody in two places. That is why I have also indicated starting points for the solo accompaniment patterns in two places.

Yira Le Yo

In 2015, Anja, Carl and myself were the three workshop participants in Bobo Dioulasso. During our stay, Super Zama Za had a gig in the Bwa village of Borokuy. Getting there became quite an adventure. Despite arriving there late around 11 pm, the performance started around 01 am and lasted till morning. On the second day, the performance was also in daylight and villagers came to the square in large numbers to dance. Besides balafons, the orchestra included singers (including Mama Keita) a drum kit and bara’s. Three of these were occupied almost continuously. Here Sena (centre) and Farabé (left) at work. ‘Hey youngsters, come dance,’ they seem to be singing!


Youssouf Keita, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, January 2013.
Yira Leyo – track on album Nalouh, by Dramane Dembélé

Update history
  • 1 March 2023: English and French versions added
  • 1 March 2023: Layout and some improvements
  • 23 February: New
No Comments

Post A Comment