DER Documentary

Friend, Well Come!

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From the Masters of the Balafon series
by Hugo Zemp
color, 27 min (plus 21 min of extras), 2002

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Among the Senufo people of northern Côte d'Ivoire, the balafon (xylophone with calabash resonators) is an emblematic musical instrument. Returning to Senufo country 40 years after his first encounter with balafon music in 1958, ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp recalls memories of this and subsequent visits in the early 60s, before participating in a musical event of startling impact. Six orchestras, playing simultaneously but independently, circle with the dancers around the deceased person, who is swathed in fabric by the men before being buried. The subjective camerawork of this first-person documentary shows us little by little the slow and irresistible build-up in the intensity of the event. An 18-minute sequence-shot allows us to live this unforgettable experience in real time without any interruption.

This DVD includes the extra features:
Senufo Balafons from Burkina Faso (4 min)
Siaka Plays the Maninka Balafon (3 min)
Xylophones Without Resonators (8 min)
Music Class in Abidjan (6 min)

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
International Prize,, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2002
Mention, 22nd Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris, 2003

Related Resources
Anthropology Review Database's review of the film by Jack David Eller

Other Films in the Masters of the Balafon series
Funeral Festivities
The Joy of Youth
The Wood and the Calabash

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