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Cameroon: Baka Pygmy Music

Various Artists
Cameroon: Baka Pygmy Music

The Baka people inhabit the rain forests of Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Gabon. Outcast from neighboring societies due to their short stature and nomadic lifestyle, the Baka have retained their own language and ancient forms of cultural expression.

Baka music is similar to other pygmy ethnic groups’ music around Africa, signified by polyphonic vocal choirs, with several melodies sung simultaneously, and polyrhythmic percussion. The “singing the song” is done by the women, while the men “march the song” (dance). The only musical accompaniment is percussion consisting of simple drums, rattles, and iron blades struck against each other.

This mid-1970s recording was made by Simha Arom and Phillipe Renaud. Arom, a noted expert on the music of central Africa, also co-wrote the liner notes. In addition to this album, Arom’s recordings are featured on more than a dozen other albums in the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music, including Musical Sources and Symphony of Nature.

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This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available again, including more than a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

101
Music for the Buma Dance Baka Pygmies 4:52
102
Hut Song Baka Pygmies 4:55
103
Orycterope & Pangolin Baka Pygmies 4:08
104
Song for Gathering Mushrooms Baka Pygmies 2:43
105
Song to Attract Game Baka Pygmies 2:33
106
Music for the Nganga Dance Baka Pygmies 4:49
107
Lullaby Baka Pygmies 4:53
108
The "Water Drum" Baka Pygmies 4:21
109
The Humming of the Bees Baka Pygmies 7:50
110
Music for the Buma Dance Baka Pygmies 6:23

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