Bolon (musical instrument)

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The bolon is a traditional harp played in Mali, as well as Guinea.[1] It was notably played in hunting ceremonies or before a battle, to rouse warriors' valor.[2] It was also used by the Jola in Gambia for accompaniment for men's choruses.[3] Among other string instruments played in Guinea, the bolon is the oldest.[2]

The bolon is a three-stringed instrument, constructed from a large calabash covered by unshaven goat skin, and a bow-shaped neck.[2] When playing, it is placed between the legs with the strings facing the musician. In addition to plucking the strings, the musician also hits the calabash as if playing a drum.[1]


  1. ^ Mande Music: Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka Page 77 Eric Charry - 2000 "Bolon . The bolon is played by several peoples in West Africa, including Maninka, Fulbe, Senufo. Susu, and Kissi (map 3, plate 4). Nowadays it is a rare instrument in its traditional setting, but it is often played in national ballets and in a variety of
  2. ^ a b c "Alpha Rhythm Roots - Bolon". Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  3. ^ Stone, Ruth M., ed. "West Africa: An Introduction." Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Volume 1: Africa. New York: Routledge, Array. 458-86. Music Online: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.