Pincez Tous vos Koras, Frappez les Balafons

"Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons" (English: "Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons"), known also as "Le Lion rouge" (English: "The Red Lion", is the national anthem of Senegal. It was adopted in 1960.

Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons
English: Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons

National anthem of  Senegal
Also known as"Le Lion rouge" (English: "The Red Lion")
LyricsLéopold Sédar Senghor, 1960
MusicHerbert Pepper, 1960
Audio sample
"Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons" (instrumental, one verse)
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The lyrics were written by Léopold Sédar Senghor, who became Senegal's first president. The music is composed by the French composer Herbert Pepper, who also composed the national anthem of the Central African Republic, "La Renaissance". The kora (a type of harp) and balafon (wooden xylophone) are Senegalese musical instruments.


On most occasions, only the first verse followed by the chorus are performed.

French lyrics English translation
Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons.
Le lion rouge a rugi.
Le dompteur de la brousse
D'un bond s'est élancé,
Dissipant les ténèbres.
Soleil sur nos terreurs, soleil sur notre espoir.
Debout, frères, voici l'Afrique rassemblée
Refrain :
Fibres de mon cœur vert.
Épaule contre épaule, mes plus que frères,
O Sénégalais, debout !
Unissons la mer et les sources, unissons la steppe et la forêt !
Salut Afrique mère.
Sénégal toi le fils de l'écume du lion,
Toi surgi de la nuit au galop des chevaux,
Rend-nous, oh ! rends-nous l'honneur de nos ancêtres,
Splendides comme ébène et forts comme le muscle
Nous disons droits – l'épée n'a pas une bavure.
Sénégal, nous faisons nôtre ton grand dessein :
Rassembler les poussins à l'abri des milans
Pour en faire, de l'est à l'ouest, du nord au sud,
Dressé, un même peuple, un peuple sans couture
Mais un peuple tourné vers tous les vents du monde.
Sénégal, comme toi, comme tous nos héros,
Nous serons durs sans haine et des deux bras ouverts.
L'épée, nous la mettrons dans la paix du fourreau,
Car le travail sera notre arme et la parole.
Le Bantou est un frère, et l'Arabe et le Blanc.
Mais que si l'ennemi incendie nos frontières
Nous serons tous dressés et les armes au poing :
Un peuple dans sa foi défiant tous les malheurs,
Les jeunes et les vieux, les hommes et les femmes.
La mort, oui ! Nous disons la mort, mais pas la honte.
Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons.
The red lion has roared.
The tamer of the savanna
Has leapt forward,
Dispelling the darkness.
Sunlight on our terrors, sunlight on our hope.
Stand up, brothers, here is Africa assembled.
Fibers of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join the sea and the springs, join the steppe and the forest!
Hail mother Africa.
Senegal, you the son of the lion's froth,
Sprung from the night to the gallop of horses,
Give us, oh! give us the honour of our ancestors,
Splendid as ebony and strong as muscle,
We say it clearly – the sword has no flaw.
Senegal, we take on your great work:
To shelter the chicks from the falcons,
To make, from east to west, north to south,
Arisen, one single people, a people without seams,
But a people turned to all the winds of the earth.
Senegal, like you, like all our heroes,
We will be hard without hatred, with two open arms.
The sword in peace-time we will store in the scabbard,
For work and words will be our weapon.
The Bantu is a brother, and so is the Arab and the White.
But if the enemy burns our borders
We will be risen with weapons in our hands:
One people defying all sorrows with its faith,
Young and old, men and women.
Death, yes! We say death, but not shame.


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