Traditional / folk music of Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is known as "Land of Upright" and "Honorable People". The biggest ethnic group is Mossi people and it is said that they came through East Africa during 11th century. For many years they resist to convert to Islam and they kept their own culture and values. Although today about 65% of Mossi people are Muslim. Other big ethnic groups are Gurunsi, Gurma, Dagaaba and Lobi in the south. This gives the big diversity to the traditional music of Burkina Faso. But the problem was Burkina Faso suffered from long period of colonization by France and even after Burkina Faso got independent, the country suffered from the unstable political situation. So the country in music and culture stayed under the shadow of its neighborhoods like Mali. The traditional music didn't have space to grow up or get popularized so much. In addition to this the imported music from Mali, Congo or other West African countries dominated the music market.
Despite all these problems, the traditional and folk music of Burkina Faso is known for its strong drumming tradition and balafon music. Balafon is a traditional music instrument very similar to marimba. It is a wooden xylophone. It is played there for many centuries and it was used by griots. Griots were storytellers, historians and poets. They were part of oral tradition and were keeping the history and culture through their folk music and songs. This traditional music was also very popular in other West African countries like Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea,...
One of the most famous griots musicians of Burkina Faso was Sotigui Kouyaté. He was a member of the Mandinka ethnic group. He was one of the first Burkinabé actors.
Another traditional music instrument which is also common in Burkina Faso and other West African countries is Kora which is also used by griots musicians. It is a kind of lute with 21 strings, but originally it had seven strings.
Djembe drums is another traditional music instrument of Burkina Faso. It has one of the biggest role in the folk music of Burkina Faso as it is mentioned before that this folk music is based on drums and percussions.
Some other traditional instruments which can be named are bendré drum and n'goni (string instrument).
There are also many folk music instruments of Burkina Faso that can be found in the museums. They can be part of research as they are not used by modern artists yet.
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Traditional / folk songs for Burkina Faso
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