The Sambla Baan


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About the film

THE SAMBLA BAAN is a documentary film on the amazing music of the Sambla people of Burkina Faso.

THE SAMBLA BAAN was filmed during a year of research by visual anthropologist Lorenzo Ferrarini, with the integration of specific researches by ethnomusicologist Nicola Scaldaferri. The filming saw the collaboration of the Konaté and Traoré families of musicians in Karankasso Sambla, who opened their musical knowledge to the filmmakers.

Many hours of music recordings were also realised, and a CD will accompany the film once released. The music of the baan will be accompanied by the other instruments of the Sambla musical tradition and by the soundscape of the village, especially the rhythmic sounds of work.
  • Lorenzo Ferrarini

    I am a visual anthropologist based in Manchester UK, where I teach ethnographic documentary at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester. Before moving to Britain I studied anthropology and ethnomusicology in Milano, Italy, where I collaborate with the LEAV – Ethnomusicology and Visual Anthropology Laboratory at the University of Milan since its establishment in 2005. My other works in Burkina Faso include the documentary Kalanda - The Knowledge of the Bush.

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    Nicola Scaldaferri

    I am Researcher and Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Milan, Italy. I also direct the LEAV – Ethnomusicology and Visual Anthropology Laboratory at the same institution. My research focuses on the music of Southeastern Europe and Southern Italy, as well as on Electroacoustic music. I started working on West Africa since 2006.

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  • The Xylophone of the Sambla of Burkina Faso

    The baan is really one of the most important identity markers among the Sambla of Burkina Faso. It is a xylophone with gourd resonators, characteristically played by three musicians at the same time. It is omnipresent in the daily soundscape of Sambla villages, playing at rituals, parties, celebrations, and even during farming. One of its most remarkable characteristic is the ability to speak, or in other words to communicate messages through melodies.

    The documentary will follow the construction of the instrument and its music in the course of a year. Leaving as much space as possible to the sounds and music of the village of Karankasso Sambla, the musicians will explain the uses and functions of the instrument. They will also tell the stories of their family group, which doesn’t marry with the rest of the villagers, who consider them inferior yet depend on them for the music-making activity.