Kamalen Koni (Lute-Harp)

Kamalen n'gòni (in the Bamanan language)

Ethnic group: Peul (from Wasulun)



The kamalen kòni is a curved lute-harp with two rows of strings. Six strings are distributed equally between the right and left-hand sides. It is mainly used by young people in Wasulun, to perform music at evening gatherings. I come from a family of witchdoctors in which I started to play the kora. I tried the kamalen kòni out of curiosity and liked it.

Instrument made by Diélimadi Sissoko
National Museum of Mali, Mali
c. 1998
Wood, gourd, nylon thread, iron
Height: 154 cm, Diam: 31,5 cm
© National Museum of Mali, Mali


The kòni is a famous instrument. It is used for two musical genres: the kamalenkòni, a secular music style for young people (boys and girls) and women, and the donzon kòni, a style of music dedicated to hunting. These two musical genres are completely different in terms of rhythm, repertoire and the occasions on which it is played.

The popular kamalenkòni style is played by young people on several types of occasion such as weddings or just for pleasure. The donzon kòni style, for its part, is characterized by its concentration on the depiction of aspects of hunting: hunting techniques, hidden powers of the hunter and his prey, hunting arms and mascots, etc. The kòni plays an important part in contemporary Malian music, notably in Wasulun, its place of origin.

The kòni is a famous instrument. It is used for two musical genres: the kamalenkòni, a secular music style for young people (boys and girls) and women, and the donzon kòni, a style of music dedicated to hunting. These two musical genres are completely different in terms of rhythm, repertoire and the occasions on which it is played.

The popular kamalenkòni style is played by young people on several types of occasion such as weddings or just for pleasure. The donzon kòni style, for its part, is characterized by its concentration on the depiction of aspects of hunting: hunting techniques, hidden powers of the hunter and his prey, hunting arms and mascots, etc. The kòni plays an important part in contemporary Malian music, notably in Wasulun, its place of origin.


© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Kamalen Koni: Audio

Kamalen Koni: Audio

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Centre des recherches et études andalouses, Centre des musiques arabes et méditerranéennes Ennejma Ezzahra, Musée de la musique, Laboratoire de recherche des musiques du monde, Musée acadien de l'Université de Moncton, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Musée d'art et d'archéologie de l'Université d'Antananarivo, Musée ethnographique Alexandre Sènou Adande, Musée national du Mali, St. Boniface Museum, Lycée de langues étrangères Alexandre Dumas, Museum of the Romanian Peasant

© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Understand that music is an expression in all cultures
  • Understand that the relationship between personal feelings and music transcends borders and cultures
  • Develop respect for music from a variety of cultural contexts
  • Examine traditional music practices in selected Francophone countries
  • Demonstrate geographical awareness by identifying Francophone countries
  • Be aware of the musical contributions of various cultural groups in their own community
  • Understand that all world music can be organized within a standard classification system

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