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Among the Senufo people of northern Cote d'Ivoire, the balafon (xylophone with calabash resonators) is an emblematic musical instrument. 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.

Extras of the video include

  • 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)
Running Time
50 mins
Nb videos
5 videos included