English - Francais - UNESCO

The Gbofe of Afounkaha : the Music of the Transverse Trumpets of the Tagbana Community

Côte d’Ivoire

The Gbofe of Afounkaha are side-blown trumpets used in rituals and traditional ceremonies.  The term "gbofe" may refer to the instruments, the players, the music of the trumpets or the entire performance. Gbofes are used in rituals and traditional ceremonies which are deeply rooted in the tradition of the Tagbana people.

The making of the instruments is also a ritual occasion, whereby a ceremony is held when the roots of a tree from which they are made is cut. The trumpets are used in groups of six with the fifth trumpet playing the leading part and accompanied by traditional drums and costumed male dancers performing ritual dances. As Tagbana dialect is a tonal language, certain "words" can be played on the trumpets which are  "translated" by a choir of costumed women. Themes of these songs include love, mourning, education and daily life.

Threats: Industrialization and rural exodus are jeopardizing the continued creation of Gbofe trumpets. Young people are less interested in the traditions of the Gbofe.

Action plan: The Gbofe will be reinforced by inclusion in school curricula, through research, promotional activities, and through the organizing of festivals in the Tagbana community. It is envisaged that scholarships be given to train young musicians.