The Mandinka Balafon, also called the bala or the balphone, is a kind of idiophone (an instrument which creates sound by vibrating). In the West, instruments like this are called xylophones. The balafon is associated with the Griot, an hereditary musicianship tradition of West Africa and in The Gambia this tends to be mostly found in Brikama (where there are also a lot of griot or ‘jeli’ families who play the kora or African harp).