How to play the Balafon: the ancient African xylophone

February 17, 2016 1 min read

How to play the Balafon: the ancient African xylophone

 

The balafon is one of the oldest instruments in the world. Anybody can play a note on the balafon, just strike the note and listen to your beautiful sound! Griot and Wula Drum artist Famoro Dioubate's demonstration shows that there is much more to this instrument with endless variations on the three octaves tuned to a major scale.

The balafon is amplified by small gourds underneath the keys, with small layers of film covering holes to create a unique buzzing sound. Some people say it sounds like an electric keyboard! One hand typically plays the lower half, and the other hand plays the upper half. With this bassline/melody effect, the sound is rich and full that the balafon is really a one-man-band.

Want to see something cool? Watch Famoro really tear it up with M'Bemba Bangoura, Laurent Camara, and other Wula Drum artists...


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