Whirling Spirits

Bobo & Bwa Masks


Under the sign of traditional music

The traditional African rhythms and melodic bows of the more than 60 different ethnic groups spread throughout the country, from the Mossi around Ouagadougou to the Fulani in the north, the Bobo and Senufo in the west, or the Gurma, Dagaaba and Lobi in the south, continue to have a lasting influence on the development of the music scene in the “land of the sincere people,” as Burkina Faso can be translated. The balafon, the n’goni, a guitar-like stringed instrument, and the djembé as the dominant percussion instrument, mostly originally produced in Bobo-Dioulasso be there particularly mentioned. Groups such as Farafina and Badenya, together with individual artists such as Victor Démé or Amadou Kienou, have meanwhile made Burkina Faso’s traditional music known internationally.

Amadou Kienou is a percussionist and a master drummer. He comes from a griot family in Ouagadougou and has been familiar with the traditional music of Burkina Faso since his childhood. With the balafon, the dundun drums, the djembe, their singing and a fascinating female dancer, the band Foteban creates a firework of rhythms around the master of percussion. They played 2006 at the 18th International Africa Festival with great success.

Amadou Kienou & Foteban

Farafina´s music has a polyrhythmic structure that is both complex and at the same time clear. this music has an irrestivle driving force to dance. The rhythmic framework is built around the tama – a small drum held under the arm. Two ballafons – wooden xylophones, the bara – a bulbous calabash with goat skin and the doumdouba – a long cylindrical bass drum enforce the rhythm. As solo instruments, the djembe, a flute and a small african violin – sokou – are used. They played among others at the Jazz Festival in Montreux, the memorable Mandela Concert in London and in 1995 at the 7th International Africa Festival.

Farafina – Kara Mogo Moussou

Farafina – Kara Mogo Moussou

The singers, dancers and drmmers, all come from a family of musicians, who have made it theier own task to hand down the traditional sounds and stories of ther home country. With ther music the band places a dialogue between their African inheritance and other cultures of the world. They have already played togehter with many other diffenrent musicians including Quincy Jones, George Benson and Al Jareau.

Badenya – Africa Festival Live 2003