A large xylophone having hollow gourds as resonators, used in West African music.
- In Malinke traditional music, men drum and play balafons (xylo-phones made from wood and gourds).
- One composition may highlight the possibilities of the balafon whilst another concentrates on the ngoni or Kora.
- And the tinkle of kora and the woody tones of the balafon xylophone are skillfully combined with the sounds of an Egyptian orchestra.
Late 18th century: via French from Manding bala 'xylophone' + fo 'to play'.
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