A balafon is a frame xylophone played by the Maninka people. It usually has from 16 to 20 slats, with calabash resonators below each slat. The resonators have holes cut in them, over which cigarette paper is stretched so as to make a buzzing sound when the slat is struck. The balafon is believed to date from the time of Sunjata, the legendary founder of the Mali empire in the 13th century.
Important traditional balafon recordings include: