Various - Kparr Dire: Balafon Music From Lobi Country LP+DVD


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Label: Edition Telemark

Kparr Dire: Balafon Music from Lobi Country is a single LP and includes a DVD with a full-length movie (125 minutes) of Balafon music by the Lobi people, recorded in and around Gauoa, Burkina Faso, on a two-week journey in June 2014, by Dirk Dresselhaus (alias Schneider TM), Julian Kamphausen and Arved Schultze. The Lobi are an ethnic group of about 180,000 people living in southern Burkina Faso and bordering regions. The primary instrument of their traditional music is the balafon, played solo or in a duet, usually accompanied by percussionists. Lobi balafon music serves as a complex language for communication with the audience but also with ancestors and spirits. Different kinds of music are used for different purposes and social atmospheres (birth, death, joy, hunting, war, etc.). At its core, this music is hundreds of years old and knowledge of its mastery is passed on from generation to generation, with different styles emerging in different regions and outside influences picked up on the way.

The first well-known recordings of Lobi balafon music were made in 1961 and published on the Ocora LP Musiques Du Pays Lobi. While the tunes heard there clearly show their ancient roots, the music on this release is not isolated from current influences and carries traces of the modern African electronic pop music and contemporary R&B that is widespread in the region. This has led to a new minimalist, poly-rhythmic, and breakbeat-laden style prominent in Gaoua, recorded here for what may be the first time. Yet the pieces are the same traditional songs, played differently from generation to generation and from day to day. Musicians on the LP are Martin Kensiè (Da Toh Alain) with ensemble and Palé Goukoun. Their fathers – Kambiré Tiaporté and Palé Tioionté, respectively – had been recorded in the 1990s for the Ocora CDs Pays Lobi, Xylophone De Funérailles (1999) and Pays Lobi, Xylophones Du Buur (2006) that served as the starting point for this journey, The record is supplemented by numerous photos and an extensive interview with Dresselhaus. DVD features a full-length movie by Schultze, documenting the trip through various localities and villages, with numerous performances also including other musicians.