1. - 4. Hunting
propitiating songs



Texts and photos by
Mauro Luis Devin Campagnoli


5. Arched harp

The music and the dances are among the most important and essential aspects of the Baka culture. In fact, the music is present in almost all Pygmies' life moments, from healing to initiation rituals, from traditional tales to group games, from hunting propitiating songs to entertainment moments. Not only is every basic moment in a person's life marked from birth till death by rituals where music and dance play an irreplaceable role, but daily life itself is often accompanied by musical events and attitudes.

6. Flute player

The Baka musical system is very complex and articulated. There are numerous musical forms - almost exclusively vocal and polyphonic - and they are characterized by a peculiar, elegant use of counterpoint, which is based on repetitive melodic-rhythmical formulas, with microvariations and a great deal of individual improvisation.

Jodel is the most common and typical vocal technique - it is the rapid passage from chest to head voice, often performed on syllables or sounds without meaning.

7. - 8. The making of
cylindrical drums

Many of the instruments used by the Baka Pygmies come from the exchange they had with bantu peoples living on the edge of the forest. Among these there are cylindrical drums, the arched harp, the harp-zither, lamellaphones and some models of rattles.

The musical bow, made and played exclusively by women, flutes and floor standing musical bows are instruments probably typical of the pygmean music culture.

9. Water drums

click to enlarge

10. Study of the pygmy
arched harp


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