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Watch the Bambara online guitar lesson by Zoumana Diarra from West African Guidebook

The Bambara is the original blues music. This example is a minor pentatonic guitar style from Segou in Mali. Major pentatonic blues originated in Sikasso, Mali.

The first guitars in West Africa had one string, and the music played on this guitar was strictly pentatonic: they always played in the same key. Later, the Bambara was played on the ngoni. This is a six-string guitar for hunters with five strings tuned pentatonic. A Bambara does not have chords, only melodies.