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The Topoke People of the Congo

Various Artists
The Topoke People of the Congo

Released in 1959, this recording features the music of the Topoke, who live in the equatorial forest in the Tshopo District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Topoke remained relatively isolated until the 1930s, and music and dance play an important role in their culture. Many of their instruments are made out of local raw materials, including the lukembi and bamboo drums. Among the varied functions of their music is announcing a death in the village, signaling, and accompanying forms of work, dance, and children’s play. The liner notes include background information about the Topoke and information about each song, with photos of the different instruments played.

Track Listing

101
Bwale Music Singing heard when the mother of a newly-born child comes out of isolation 4:44
102
Lukembi Tune Man traveling 1:59
103
Men's Work Song Men clearing the forest fro planting 2:45
104
Play Song Women and children 2:09
105
Girl's Dance Young girls 1:57
106
Girl's Dance Drums Drummers 4:10
107
Palm Fruit Cutter's Song Man cutting palm fruits as he climbs the palm tree 1:43
201
Hunting Calls Topoke children 1:49
202
Drums Announcing Death Drummers 1:08
203
Mourning Women mourning 1:16
204
Signalling: Slit Log Drum / Signalling: Voice Signalling / Signalling: Horn Signalling / Signalling: Mouth Signalling in Imitation of Trumpet / Signalling: Mouth Signalling in Imitation of Flute (medley) Log drum player 5:17
205
Gourd Percussion Girls playing lilo gourds 1:33
206
Musical Bow Two male performers 1:54
207
Zither, with Voice Musicians 2:01

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