Cultural practices and expressions linked to the ‘M’Bolon’, a traditional musical percussion instrument

  • Financial assistance:
    • US$ 9,900 granted in 2019
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 21/10/2019 - 31/03/2020
  • Documents:

Benefitting country(ies): Mali


The M’bolon is a traditional percussion musical instrument that is mainly found in the administrative regions of Sikasso (Kolondieba and Koutiala Circles) and Koulikoro in the Mandinka cultural area in Mali. It consists of a calabash covered with calf skin, with a wooden handle on which are attached skin strings.
The M’bolon was traditionally played to encourage farmers before agricultural labour but also to invigorate warriors, to push them to surpass themselves before they went to war. Today, the M’bolon is played at popular events, such as weddings, baptisms, initiation rites, funerals, or during celebrations or prayers. The M’Bolon is a social link and a guarantee of peace between peoples. Every year, a festival dedicated to the M’Bolon is organised in order to preserve the practice of this instrument threatened by the low interest of the young generation and the banishment of certain practices related to the M’Bolon among certain religions.
The National Directorate of Cultural Heritage of Mali will be preparing the nomination file with close collaboration with local communities to collect information and public consultations. These activities are supported by the Malian Ministry of Culture.

01/10/2019 - 31/03/2020 – Tais, traditional textile17/02/2017 - 12/02/2020 – Safeguarding of Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community