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ID number:  BIRRC-D0257(1-2)
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  The Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  (1) Xylophone (balangi) (2) Two sticks
Object type:  Musical instrument
Place made:  Sierra Leone
Culture:  Mende
Materials:  (1) Wood, gourd and cloth (2) Wood and leather
Measurements:  (1) 82 x 31 cm (2) 24 cm
BIRRC-D0257.jpg

A xylophone with accompanying sticks, the xylophone carved in wood with gourd resonators and a cloth carrying sling. The two sticks have round padded ends. This particular tyoe of xylophone is called a 'balangi' and is typically constructed as a series of wooden keys fastened to a frame of gourd resonators. This item was collected in 1967-1968 by John Danford.

John Danford spent the majority of his professional life working for the British Council in West Africa. He spent 11 years as the representative in Ibadan, Nigeria, his arts education providing him with the insight to encourage and develop the arts in Nigeria. For his achievements in this area he was awarded an OBE in 1953. He occupied three further posts in Trinidad, Manchester and Sierra Leone before illness forced him into retirement. In 1964 a large portion of his West African arts collection was loaned to the University of Birmingham before being purchased in 1975, forming the nucleus of the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts.

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