Fer BareLG
(Don’t Play Favorites)

This is a level 3 piece.

The Gyil (pronounced jee-lee), is the grandmother of the mallet keyboard family. It is made from fourteen wooden slats that are suspended, on a frame, over calabash gourds. Its sound is like our marimba, yet more “earthen” in character. It is the national instrument of the Lobi and Dagara people of Ghana, Burkina Faso and Côte D’Ivoire. Throughout West Africa, people believe that its “woody” sound comes from a vibration of water that physically balan-ces the water in the bodies of people and animals.

The gyil is used for everything in life; from weddings and funerals to dances and everyday recreation. Nearly every man and boy can play at least a tune or two on the instrument. Yet the gyil master (an instrument maker as well as a player) studies the instrument for much of his life before he is considered worthy to represent his community at sacred events

Like its counterpart the marimba, the gyil has a vast repertoire of solo and chamber music that has been passed from father to son through the centu-ries. The gyil tradition has set the tone for the “melody-improv-melody” form common in Jazz. Even youngsters who play the instrument are expected to remember complex pieces and improvise according to dance movements and singer’s directives.

The Mandara Music Gyil Transcription Series features some of the best-known pieces for this instrument.

About Kakraba Lobi | About Valerie Dee Naranjo | Performance Notes

View a Sample Page of the Music (coming)

U.S. Retail: $20.00
Available from Steve Weiss Music
P.O. Box 20885, Philadelphia PA 19141 USA
Phone: (215)-659-0100 Fax: (215)-659-1170