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Baka Forest People play the river like a drum

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With cupped hands, girls and women of the Baka Forest People of southeast Cameroon play the river like a drum, each taking on a different rhythmic pattern that complements the others.

The video above appears to be by Orchéstre Baka Gbiné from the album Voice of the Rainforest. From their site:

In a rain forest you are surrounded by the natural world. Sound becomes your primary means of navigation and your strongest sense.

The Baka, hunter-gatherer Pygmy people, live in the forests of the Congo basin. In their world of dense green they have always been dependent on listening for survival and are renowned throughout Africa for their music and spiritual dance – “The Dancers of the Gods” as the Pharaohs called them.

They are now using their skill at music and dance to make a living in today’s world.

In spite of living in a remote forest the Baka have always been interested in the outside world, and especially its music. In 1992 when Baka Beyond’s Martin Cradick and Su Hart first visited a family near the Cameroon – Congo border they found Baka musicians already mixing the Makossa and Soukous they had heard on the radio with their traditional rhythms.

Here’s another water drumming performance by the trio of women, uploaded by bakabeyond on YouTube:


Watch this next: The polyphonic singing traditions of the Baka Forest People.

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