Various Artists

Côte D'ivoire: Baule Vocal Music

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This collection of field recordings from various Ivory Coast territories shares the high quality of many other entries in this label's series of international recordings. Evocative black and white photography and bilingual liner notes fill out the package beautifully, although the decision to print the English notes totally in italics was a trifle idiotic. Ethnomusicologist Charles Duvelle concentrated on the Baoule music of the Kode people, and recorded the performances in three different villages. And, needless to say, the nature of the music and sometimes the instruments themselves changed from village to village. Some of the tracks feature large groups of villagers chanting over rhythms created by drums, one of which sounds like someone is trapped inside the listener's speakers and is gulping. The main melodic instrument besides human voices is an antelope horn. Rather than a group of unrelated vignettes, the individual tracks comprise extended excerpts from festivals and ceremonies. The vivid recorded sound and spirited goings-on should hush any cynics who want to mutter, "You had to be there."

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