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Master of the Balafon series - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

CDs, books and DVDs
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By bubudi
#14004
the films in this series by hugo zemp are available separately ($50 USD each) or as a package ($130 for all 4). they cover the various aspects of xylophone music among the senufo of northern cote d'ivoire (ivory coast). the complete series is available here.

Funeral Festivities (80 mins plus 25 mins of extras)
Among the Senufo people of northern Côte d'Ivoire, the balafon (xylophone with calabash resonators) is an emblematic musical instrument. This film shows balafon orchestras playing in five villages during the two principal days of funeral festivities, celebrations that include the most important rites, ceremonies and rejoicings in the life of the Senufo. During dialogues with Sikaman, a young musician who acted as research assistant for this film series, the master balafonist Nahoua gives the key to understanding how this marvelous music comes into being, and what it means.

This DVD includes the extra features:
Blacksmith's Music and Masks (10 min)
"La Clé" Balafon Music (15 min)
http://www.der.org/films/funeral-festivities.html




The Joy of Youth (70 mins plus 9 mins of extras)
The music of the balafon is a source of joy while the young men are doing collective work in the fields, at age-group ceremonies, for the poro initiatory society, for the catholic mass and during young people's dance evenings. Musicians and non-musicians, young and old, talk about the different occasions for which this instrument is an indispensable presence marking the rhythms of life for this agricultural people. Traditional balafon music is far from dying out, and its extraordinary vitality and importance are evident in the activities of the younger generations.

This DVD includes the extra feature:
Friendly Hoeing Competition (9 min)
http://www.der.org/films/joy-of-youth.html

[video]www.youtube.com/watch?v=g04H5v3sp_8&[/video]


The Wood and the Calabash (47 mins)
Balafon makers are all musicians, but a balafon player isn't necessarily an instrument maker. The film shows in detail the manufacture of this musical instrument, an indispensable element in the life of the Senufo people. Each step is shown, from the initial prayer to the genies of the balafon before felling a tree, through the cutting and tuning of the keys and the resonators, to the fixing of the buzzing membranes, which give this instrument its very characteristic timbre. Nanga, the balafon maker, talks about his work and discusses different aspects with friends during a meal.
http://www.der.org/films/wood-and-the-calabash.html




Friend, Well Come! (27 mins plus 21 mins of extras)
Returning to Senufo country 40 years after his first encounter with balafon music in 1958, ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp recalls memories of this and subsequent visits in the early 60s, before participating in a musical event of startling impact. Six orchestras, playing simultaneously but independently, circle with the dancers around the deceased person, who is swathed in fabric by the men before being buried. The subjective camerawork of this first-person documentary shows us little by little the slow and irresistible build-up in the intensity of the event. An 18-minute sequence-shot allows us to live this unforgettable experience in real time without any interruption.

This DVD includes the extra features:
Senufo Balafons from Burkina Faso (4 min)
Siaka Plays the Maninka Balafon (3 min)
Xylophones Without Resonators (8 min)
Music Class in Abidjan (6 min)
http://www.der.org/films/friend-well-come.html

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