Joko’s Balafon is a musical instrument app that has you playing beautiful wooden tuned percussion similar to the xylophone or marimba you may already be familiar with. Choose from a sound bank of 3 instruments; the Balafon or Gyil of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Marimba, the national musical instrument of Guatemala.
Through game based challenges you can learn to play songs with fun of playing video games. Learn music that stretch across Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Ghana and over to Guatemala. Go on a musical journey across Africa and on to the Americas. The Balafon is an important instrument of the Mande Jeli, otherwise known as Griots. Through our interactive guidebook we introduce you to the descendants of a tradition of bards dating back to the ancient advanced empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay. These master artists have recorded and retold history using song for millennia.
By purchasing Joko’s Balafon, you are supporting our work with young people in impoverished communities. 5% of all the proceeds from Joko’s Balafon go directly to our international community programs.
Learn music without a teacher with the fun of playing video games
Play different balafones
Choose from a sound bank of three instruments
Play with friends
Learn alone at your own pace or play together with a group
Lifelike instrument interface prepares you for the real instrument
Enjoy different cultures
Experience the magic of African and Central American musical cultures
Balafon is the Manding name for this idiophone. Players of the balafon are often called Jeliws, and come from, musical families who use songs to tell their peoples stories.
The Gyil is similar to the Balafin, but comes from Ghana. Like the Balafon it uses different tunings and also be played aty special ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.
The Marimba is the national instrument of Guatemala. It is believed to be based on Balafon and brought there by African slaves. It is distinct in the techniques used to construct it and consequently the sound it makes.