(redirected from Balaphon)


or bal·a·phone  (bäl′ə-fōn′)
A large, usually pentatonic xylophone of West African origin, consisting of resonating gourds of graduated sizes under wooden bars which are struck with mallets.

[French balafon, from Maninka bala fɔ, to play the balafon (from bala, balafon + , to say, speak, play an instrument) or from a kindred source in another Mande language.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
You had to imagine not only griots, marabouts, soothsayers, and fetishists beating on tam-tams and plinking on balaphons, but also an Adolf Hitler who didn't know enough magic to turn himself into an echo or a vulture, and so was smoked and grilled in the bowels of his palace with his wife and dog.
Of an evening, his slaves served roast meat and carp fried in palm oil to almost a thousand admirers while his griots delighted the ear with music from koras and balaphons. On this particular evening nobody was in a mood to listen to them.