This Paragon Heartwood Mali Balafon in C Pentatonic is a professional-grade bala, handcrafted by traditional artisans in Bamako. The pentatonic tuning is rare on the market and is made only at our request. The balafon (BA-la-fone), also known as a bala, or balaphone, is built and tuned to serve as a legitimate high-end, professional instrument, imported from Mali. Each instrument is built by hand using traditional tools and techniques by cultural artisans supported by non-profit AfricaHeartwoodProject.org. The accurate tuning of the blades is impressive, and the sound created with the buzzing gourds is enchanting and bright. Tuning is pentatonic with major tonality and no semi-tones in the key of C. Each bala comes with a pair of natural gum mallets, and the following features:
- 16 blades per bala covering over three octaves
- Pentatonic tuning sequence is CDEGA-CDEGA-CDEGA-C, +/- 1/4 step
- Hare or bala wood keys, hand tuned and smoked to dry and seal and prevent pitch warping
- Strong bamboo, hardwood, and sinew frame, suited for transport. Dimensions: 44in L; 19in W; 8in H.
- Accurately sized gourds with cellophane-covered holes for the buzzing effect
- Pair of natural gum mallets, perfect for bringing out optimal sound quality
- Actual bala will vary slightly from photos above, but will match written description