The Association for the Promotion of Culture and Tourism in the Southwest (APCTSO) proceeded this Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at the public primary school of Gbomblora (about 20 km from Gaoua), to the launch of a training in benefit of schoolchildren on the practice of the balafon. The launch ceremony was chaired by the provincial director in charge of Poni culture, Albert Hema.
Safeguarding and perpetuating cultural values, these are among other reasons for this activity, according to the organizers. For the president of the APCTSO, Sié Dolokité Hien, “at the end of the training, we expect these children to be able to play a few notes on the balafon in front of their classmates who could not take part in this training. They will not be able to play like adults initiated to the balafon, but it is a question of showing them some rudiments. If the trainers detect talents among these children, it is an opportunity to deepen their knowledge to gradually take over”.
- The provincial director of culture of Poni, Albert Hema giving the start of the training
For five months, 30 children from three schools in the Gbomblora educational district (Gbomblora, Sanwara and Pélinka) will be supervised by qualified balafonists. The training will end with a competition between the participating schoolchildren. The balafon occupies a primordial place in the Lobi culture, recalls Maman Dahité Kambou, balafonist, trainer, director of the public primary school of Gbomblora. “It’s a means of communication, to express joy or unhappiness. But from the current observation, balafonists are becoming increasingly rare. And seeing an association take an interest in this instrument, especially in favor of children, is comforting to us because the path to ensuring succession is underway”.
- Balafongist, trainer, director of the Gbomblora public primary school, Maman Dahité Kambou
Learning the balafon depends on the personality of each individual, says Maman Dahité Kambou. “Some people learn easily, others have an innate talent and learn quickly. If they are in a good learning position, we will ensure the success of this initiation training”.
The enthusiasm could be read on the faces of the little ones who will benefit from the training, like Sié Raoul Kambou. “I’m happy to have been selected, when I see the greats playing and people dancing I like it. I too am going to learn to make my classmates dance.
- The President of APCTSO, Sié Dolokité Hien
The South-West region is full of talent in the practice of the balafon, the most famous of which is Nani Palé, recalls the provincial director of Poni culture, Albert Hema, who adds: “for those who know the value of the balafon in the region, such an initiative is to be welcomed and we (technical services) encourage them to persevere despite the difficulties that will come their way”.
This training session was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Cultural and Tourism Development Fund. The APCTSO has been officially recognized since 2020 and plans to organize in the coming months, the night of the balafon in Gaoua.