Skip to main content

Central African Republic: Banda Polyphony

Various Artists
Central African Republic: Banda Polyphony

The Banda people form the largest ethnic group in the Central African Republic. They are divided into over fifty subgroups, each with its own speech, customs, and art forms. Two neighboring groups among the Banda, the Linda and the Dakpa, share many musical traditions, yet retain a distinctive musical expression.

The orchestration of Banda music compiles polyphonic layers of wind instruments made from tree roots, bamboo, antelope horns, and other natural resources. Their ensembles are composed of a variety of flutes, horns, whistles, drums, and voices playing independent melodies that weave together. The ensembles are usually accompanied by a pair of jingles that are either struck together or worn by dancers. This album, recorded and annotated by noted African ethnomusicologist Simha Aron, presents seven examples of the music of the Linda and four examples of the music of the Dakpa.

Please enjoy a free download of the song “Eci ameya”

Eci ameyaMP3 FLAC

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

Ongo ensemble: Ndraje balendro, initiation song Ongo ensemble 4:22
Ongo ensemble: Eci ameya Ongo ensemble 1:50
Ongo ensemble: Eci ameya Ongo ensemble 1:59
Ongo ensemble: Ebena ka cemato, lament Ongo ensemble 4:06
Ongo ensemble: Music for dancing, gboyo Ongo ensemble 2:47
Mvrele ensemble: Flutes Mvrele Ensemble 2:21
Mvrele ensemble: Voices Mvrele Ensemble 4:25
Little suite for ongo-ngala Ongo-ngala ensemble 7:04
Dance of initiates: "Brother, I am suffering" Ongo-ngala ensemble 5:07
Suite for the mbaya ensemble Mbaya ensemble 5:52
Damba lekpa, music for the mbaya ensemble Mbaya ensemble 1:23