Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Sosso-Bala

  • Project budget:
    • US$ 122,546
  • Source:
    • Japan Funds-in-Trust
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 01/07/2002 - 01/06/2008

Benefitting country(ies): Guinea


A sacred symbol of freedom and identity of the Manding community, the Sosso-bala is a wooden xylophone or balafon played on occasions such as the Muslim New Year and burials. The master players, holding an important position in Manding society, teach children as young as seven.

The project includes the study and documentation of customary methods of conservation and transmission of oral expressions and traditional music relating to the Sosso-Bala. The project also calls for training the bearers of this musical tradition, equipping them with the skills to make audio-visual recordings. Furthermore, the project promotes the Sosso-Bala through publications, photography, films and CDs as well as performances, exhibitions and festivals.

A project steering committee composed of specialists and representatives of relevant ministries has been set up and has taken initiatives to safeguard this traditional music. Intensive workshops for local practitioners are ready to be implemented.

01/01/2003 - 01/07/2008 – National inventory revival of the traditional ceramics01/12/2004 - 01/06/2008 – Action Plan for the Safeguarding of the Woodcrafting Knowledge of the Zafimaniry