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Playing: Soirees musicales (after Rossini) (Op.9) (1938) by Benjamin Britten
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Balanta men

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Saturday 26 April 2003

The first of a two-part feature from Guinea-Bissau. A small forgotten and isolated country in West Africa, Guinea-Bissau has only recently emerged from years of political instability and civil war.

Until now its music, combining local traditions with a unique creole culture, has rarely been heard outside the country.

Lucy Duran visits Guinea-Bissau, and encounters the exuberant musical parties of the Balanta men, who ornament their bodies in white clay and bicycle chains, and cross-dress.

Music and featured items

20 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Lucy Duran starts her visit.

    Lucy Duran starts her visit to one of West Africa’s smallest countries, Guinea-Bissau.

  • Music Played

    • Image for Tio de Broxa

      Tio de Broxa Song of remembrance to those who died in the war.

  • Lucy with the Balanta people.

    Lucy with the Balanta people. She interviews Domingo, the leader of the Balanta group.

  • Tio de Broxa.

    The Balanta group Tio de Broxa perform a love song for World Routes.

  • Music Played

    • Image for Tio de Broxa

      Tio de Broxa Love song

  • Percussionist Djanuno Dabo.

    We hear the traditional log drum played by famous percussionist Djanuno Dabo.

  • Music Played

  • The Bijagos islands.

    Djanuno Dabo tells Lucy about the beauty of the Bijagos islands.

  • Music Played

  • The sound of the Balafon.

    We hear the beautiful sound of the Balafon, a 27-key xylophone resonated by gourds.

  • Music Played

    • Image for Abdou Jata and Anthony Jata (Balafon)

      Abdou Jata and Anthony Jata (Balafon) Norreron Jai

    • Image for Abdou Jata and Anthony Jata (Balafon)

      Abdou Jata and Anthony Jata (Balafon) Biya

  • A Balanta party in Nhacra.

    Lucy at another Balanta party in Nhacra, a small village of mud-houses.

  • The Kora.

    The Kora (the west African harp-lute) originated in Guinea- Bissau.

  • Music Played

    • Image for Malan Sissoko (Kora)

      Malan Sissoko (Kora) Kuruntu Kelefa (Following Kelefa)

  • History of the Kora.

    Malan Sissoko tells Lucy about the connection of the Kora to the history of Guinea-Bissau.

  • Music Played

    • Image for Malan Sissoko (Kora)

      Malan Sissoko (Kora) Cheddo

  • An isolated island called Bubaque

    Lucy ends the first part of the programme at the Bijagos islands.

  • Music Played

    • Image for Bubaque island party

      Bubaque island party a song about love at first sight.

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