Definition of balafon in English:



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

    ‘In Malinke traditional music, men drum and play balafons (xylo-phones made from wood and gourds).’
    • ‘One composition may highlight the possibilities of the balafon whilst another concentrates on the ngoni or Kora.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Camara also combines the sounds of the balafon (tube xylophone) with Chad MacQuarrie's electric jazz guitar and Darren Parris' bass guitar.’
    • ‘The erhu, accordion, balafon, flute, marimba, and numerous other cultural instruments, are blended together.’
    • ‘The vibraphone goes to school with the balafon and enriches it.’
    • ‘I've done a lot of research into traditional African instruments, the kora, the balafon, the gembe, the flute.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chadians also excel at making five-stringed harps and balafons, which are similar to xylophones.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was some work to find a way to get the n'goni players discovering the balafon of region.’
    • ‘There's plenty of instrumental colour, jolly balafon playing, flute and vocal chorus.’
    • ‘Then her band walked out - a balafon player, two ngoni players, a percussionist, and two backup singers - wearing more predictable traditional Marian garb.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was already established as a kora and balafon player in Africa.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’



/ˈbaləˌfän/ /ˈbæləˌfɑn/


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