Burkina Faso Arts and Literature

By | August 12, 2020


Burkina Faso is a land of masks. Most of the larger groups of people use masks, except gurma and lobi. Marka’s masks in wood and leaves produce forest sand (do) and are worn in the dance during purification ceremonies and burials. In his art, Kurumba confines itself to a few forms, primarily an antelope head (adone) with abstract decorations. Bwa uses a large number of masks, all of which are manifestations of Do or Bwo, representative of the Creator God on earth. Particularly paraphrased are Bobo’s abstract plank masks (nwantantay), with which one dances at funerals as well as harvest and market celebrations. Mossi is a people with many subgroups, which is reflected in the regional sculpture styles that are based on the old Mossi kingdoms. Their masks depict human and animal heads. Mossi, like the bwa, also sculpt statues, statuettes and ornamented sticks, used in fertility rites and divination.

Burkina Faso Population Pyramid

  • Countryaah: Population and demographics of Burkina Faso, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.


Burkina Faso today occupies a central place in the African film, partly through its film productions and partly because Ouagadougou has become something of a headquarters for African filmmakers, where the Pan-African Film Festival FESPACO (Festival of the Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou) every two years since 1969. The high film culture in the country is considered a consequence of the nationalization of the film industry and the abolition of the Franco-American distribution monopoly in the early 1970’s.

Among the country’s most internationally renowned filmmakers are Boubacar Diallo (born 1963), Gaston Kaboré (born 1951), S. Pierre Yameogo (1955–2019), Idrissa Ouedraogo (1954–2018), Dani Kouyate (born 1961) and Régina Fanta Nacro (born 1962). Several of them also direct for TV, and a series that has won audiences far outside the country is “Bobodjiouf”.


Burkina Faso can be divided into three areas with regard to its music cultures: the voltaic with groups such as mossi, kurumba and lobi; man with bobo, dyula and mark; and Sahel with e.g. fulani. In the first, different forms of collective singing are emphasized, while solo singing dominates in the second. In both regions there is a large arsenal of musical instruments: many different drums, but also eg. xylophones, flutes and harpsichords. In the Sahel area, drums are rare. Single-stringed lutes and violets are the most important instruments. Islamic influence is especially noticeable in the song.

Among the people of Burkina Faso, the musicians often form professional slopes, specializing in certain instruments or singing traditions that tell of empires, chieftains and noted families’ histories.

Few Burkina Faso musicians have received attention abroad, while Burkinis who successfully act in exile may be virtually unknown in their home country. Those with an international career include the groups Farafina and Badenya Les Frères Coulibaly as well as singer Gabin Dabiré. International reputation has also included percussionist (djembe) Adama Dramé (born 1954) reached.

Among a later generation of artists who manage the domestic music are Bil Aka Kora (really Bilgho Akaramata Kora; born 1971), which mixes traditional rhythms with, among other things. jazz, reggae and blues. Mention can also be made of Tim Winsé (born 1973), who plays traditional instruments such as chorus and musical arch, while his musicians usually use modern instruments.

However, the most important popular music genre is nowadays hip hop; in Ouagadougou, a festival is held annually that gathers an international artist’s show. Among the most popular artists is Faso Kombat.

Burkina Faso Arts and Literature