This stunning collection brings together field recordings of the Central African Pygmies made during the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. Taken from tapes recorded by Colin Turnbull, Jean-Pierre Hallet, and Louis Sarno, all of whom have written extensively on Pygmy culture, the 18 performances here trace the fertile variety and sophistication of Pygmy musical culture through a variety of vocal and instrumental cuts. Most of the pieces are made up of call-and-response vocal harmonies, augmented by hand-clapping and a variety of percussion instruments. All of the recordings were made in and around the Ituri rainforest lands of Central Africa, and consist of material by both the Efé and Ba Benjellé Pygmies. The subject matter covers a wide swath of concerns, including hunting, food-gathering, rites of passage, births, weddings, and spiritual ceremonies. The handsomely designed, cloth-bound packaging contains 64 pages of photos and extensive notes by the ethnographers. A perfect introduction to African Pygmy musical culture.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook