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The balafon, an ancient African instrument

Paukum Bassi, a Cameroonian balafon musician.   -  
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Cleared / Anadolu


Paukum Bassi is a Cameroonian balafon musician.

He plays an instrument that is a type of struck idiophone. Known as balafon, the sort of xylophone can be constructed of animal hors, skins and wood.

It is believed to have been crafted in 12th century in the Sosso Kingdom, located in present-day Mali.

"Balafon is really not constrained within particular borders", Bassi says. "People in Africa, Asia and South America have this balafon culture."

This percussion instrument, played with two drumsticks, gives the desired note and timbre thanks to resonators made of gourds on the underside.

It is composed of keys of varying lengths.

"The balafon has multiple uses within the community. You'll see it in church, in bars, there, cabarets play nothing but balafon. You'll find balafon orchestras at wedding parties, christenings and even burials."

The instrument generally contains 16 to 27 notes. Its use is widespread in ceremonies and festivities across central Africa and west Africa.

Balafon is probably made of the Mandinka name Bala with the Greek root phono.

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