Simon has been keeping himself busy repairing balafons!
Some of these instruments have been damaged through general use while others are poorly tuned. He has replaced broken gourds and frames, sanded keys, oiled timber, re-attached loose pieces… it takes lots of time.
Few people have the patience and musical skills to restore these instruments to top-quality condition.
Would you like to own your own balafon?
Simon has a number of brand new Guinean balafons for sale.
Contact him for more info 0425 753 553
The balafon (bala, balafo) is a xylophone coming from the Maninka people of West Africa.
The balafon is a Jeli instrument with close associations with the Numu (blacksmiths).
The wooden keys are mounted on a bamboo frame that is bound together using animal hide. Small gourds (calabash) are strung beneath the keys as resonators. The keys are most often made from Rosewood that has been dried in an oven for several weeks or more.
The wooden mallets are wrapped with rubber strips made from the dried liquid that is tapped from a tree.
Some balafon are heptonic (seven note scale) : Susu, Guinea Conakry Some are pentatonic (5 note scale) : Bobo, Burkina Faso.
The wooden keys are tuned by shaving wood from the middle or the end in order to sharpen or flatten the note.