A surprisingly meditative West African number by Mariyama Suso, alias Elfi Bohl

'Balafaa' was written by WEC musician and songwriter Elfi Bohl and performed on Gambian instruments and a guitar. Elfi has become known in the Gambia as a Christian jali - a musician caste of troubadours who sing the stories and praises of the heroes of their people. In Elfi's case, she recites the stories and praises of the God of the Bible. She has produced two albums of Mandinka scripture music.

Elfi explains, "Part of the song Balafaa existed already and has been sung in the churches in the Gambia. I adapted it so that it fitted being accompanied with the kora. I then added John 3:16 to it and it became a completely new song. 'Balafaa' is part of the CD 'Barakoo' ("Blessing") which contains Bible verses set to song in the music style and language of the Mandinka people of West Africa.".

In this recording Elfi plays a wooden xylophone called the balafon, and the 21-string harp-lute called the kora. The kora is the Mandinka people's main stringed instrument and has a long tradition. It is said that, if a message is accompanied by the kora, there is always an important truth in it for the listener to pay attention to.

Style: World Music / African Ethno music
Language: Mandinka
Composer: Mariyama Suso, alias Elfi Bohl, The Gambia, 2000
Arranger: Elfi Bohl
Recorded: 2004
Producer: Artline, Switzerland
Vocals: Elfi Bohl
Instruments: Elfi Bohl
Contact for track: Elfi Bohl
Full title: Balafaa ("Mercy")
Local title: Balafaa
Copyright: ©2004 Elfi Bohl
Translation: English text: Ian Collinge
Youtube: Resonance band (2012 version)
Other info: PDFs of balafon and bass parts available on request.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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