Fer Bare Kona Jeno
(Don’t Play Favorites)
for solo marimba
Fer Bare Kona Jeno is from the Lobi/Brifo nation of Northern Ghana, arranged for solo gyil by the late Kakraba Lobi, the founding gyil virtuoso of the Ghana Dance Ensemble (The National Dance Company of Ghana.) This piece, in the style “Darkpo” (men’s music) gives an important message to its listeners: “Don’t play favorites among the members of your family.” This is wise, as most farming families in rural Ghana are large, and equality and equity among members are essential. This was one of the Kakraba’s signature tunes, as he performed around the world. It has been arranged for solo marimba by Valerie Naranjo, for two mallets, and for gyil or marimba and Orchestra and Wind Ensemble by Andrew Beall. Fer Barre Kona Jeno is for an advanced player. Fer Barre was recently recorded by SUNY Fredonia’s Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Paula Holcombe, and was performed by Valerie Naranjo and the National Symphony of Ghana during the summers of 2018 and 2019.
-Transcribed for 4.5 Octave Marimba
The Mandara Music Gyil Transcription Series features some of the best-known pieces for this instrument.