Komo among Tagwa-Senufo Peoples in Southwest Burkina Faso

by Boureima T. Diamitani
West African Museums Programme

Senufo blacksmith in Sifarasso, Burkina Faso. Photo by Christopher D. Roy, 2002.

The Komo is a speaking kaceene (power spirit) that Bamana peoples introduced in the Tagwa region around the end of the 18th century. Today the Senufo are the custodians of Komo.  One of the Komo songs explains: Komo ye Bamana fin loye, Komo ye numu ya loye (the Komo is a product of the Bamana and Komo is the fact of the blacksmith).  In addition, during the performance the Komo masker speaks and sings in the Bamana language, and uses a Yelema (“translator” in Bamana ) to interpret his message to the audience.  Today, the Tagwa use Komo more often than the Bamana because the former remain faithful to their traditional religion, whereas the latter have been largely converted to Islam.