Definition of balafon in English:



  • A large xylophone with hollow gourds as resonators, used in West African music.

    • ‘Then her band walked out - a balafon player, two ngoni players, a percussionist, and two backup singers - wearing more predictable traditional Marian garb.’
    • ‘He was already established as a kora and balafon player in Africa.’
    • ‘The vibraphone goes to school with the balafon and enriches it.’
    • ‘In Malinke traditional music, men drum and play balafons (xylo-phones made from wood and gourds).’
    • ‘The erhu, accordion, balafon, flute, marimba, and numerous other cultural instruments, are blended together.’
    • ‘In an experiment in ‘moving to something more authentic’, Keita and Manfila recorded this acoustic set with help from pianist Kemo Kouyate, a trumpet player from Les Ambassadeurs, and a selection of kora and balafon players and singers.’
    • ‘One composition may highlight the possibilities of the balafon whilst another concentrates on the ngoni or Kora.’
    • ‘There was some work to find a way to get the n'goni players discovering the balafon of region.’
    • ‘Then you hear their bikutsi sound, a super-charged shake-up of African rhythms and rock energy where balafons duel with electric guitars, pierced by Ahanda's superb trumpet playing, and you're sold.’
    • ‘There's plenty of instrumental colour, jolly balafon playing, flute and vocal chorus.’
    • ‘I've done a lot of research into traditional African instruments, the kora, the balafon, the gembe, the flute.’
    • ‘Camara also combines the sounds of the balafon (tube xylophone) with Chad MacQuarrie's electric jazz guitar and Darren Parris' bass guitar.’
    • ‘They were suspicious because I didn't have any musical training, that I was mixing n'gonis and balafons, and there was no male arranger for the songs.’
    • ‘The rhythmic, all-acoustic backing is provided by kora, balafon, and Djelimady's guitar, and against this the singers swap their declamatory stories and praise songs.’
    • ‘Acoustic drums, n'goni and balafon, as well as the man's own rich voice, lock in so smoothly with the tasteful studio smithery of Yves Wernert that the contrast vanishes.’
    • ‘And the tinkle of kora and the woody tones of the balafon xylophone are skillfully combined with the sounds of an Egyptian orchestra.’
    • ‘Banjo, rattle, gong, xylophone and balafon, drum, flute, and over fifty-five others are described technically, musically, physically, culturally, and often historically.’
    • ‘Chadians also excel at making five-stringed harps and balafons, which are similar to xylophones.’
    • ‘Later, he played balafon (an indigenous wooden xylophone), but guitar was a rare instrument and in high demand, so he continued to be drawn to it.’
    • ‘In the depiction of two seated balafon players, features of twinning and androgyny (breasts and beards) historically have been seen to be important Dogon genesis motifs.’


Via French from Manding bala ‘xylophone’ + fo ‘to play’.