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The first of a two-part feature from this small, forgotten and isolated country in West Africa. Its music combines local traditions with a unique creole culture.

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.

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1 hour

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Music and featured items

  • Lucy Duran starts her visit.

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

    Duration: 06:50

  • Music Played

    • 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.

    Duration: 05:26

  • Tio de Broxa.

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

    Duration: 03:40

  • Music Played

    • Tio de Broxa

      Love song

  • Percussionist Djanuno Dabo.

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

    Duration: 09:02

  • Music Played

    • Djanuno Dabo

      Log drum

    • Djanuno Dabo

      Sirene song

  • The Bijagos islands.

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

    Duration: 03:56

  • Music Played

    • Djanuno Dabo

      Water-drum playing

  • The sound of the Balafon.

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

    Duration: 09:06

  • Music Played

    • Abdou Jata and Anthony Jata (Balafon)

      Norreron Jai

    • 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.

    Duration: 03:18

  • The Kora.

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

    Duration: 05:30

  • Music Played

    • 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.

    Duration: 05:28

  • Music Played

    • Malan Sissoko (Kora)

      Cheddo

  • An isolated island called Bubaque

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

    Duration: 02:30

  • Music Played

    • Bubaque island party

      a song about love at first sight.

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