Musical resources and stylistic adaptability in the kamalengoni music of Burkina Faso

Alfonso Castellanos


Since the boom in wassoulou music from south Mali in the 1990s, the kamalengoni harp lute has extended to the neighbouring country of Burkina Faso, leading the way to new
forms of cultural appropriation and adaptation of local and foreign music. In the urban center
of Bobo-Dioulasso, this phenomenon reflects the development of a proper burkinabé musical
identity, mostly inspired by the traditional songs of the dyula balafon and reveals the
continuous explorations and stakes of musicians looking to achieve their personal style. This
article seeks to analyse some of the resources that are assembled in the creative process of
burkinabé kamalengoni players, while highlighting the notions that give sense to their quest of


kamalengoni; Mande music; cultural appropriation; musical adaptation and innovation

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