23 November 2005

Gathering Song with Louis Sarno

In the late 1980s, a man named Louis Sarno decided to spend time living in the rainforest of the CentralAfrican Republic with a community of Ba-Benjeli (or Babenzele) Pygmies - also known as the Bayaka people. So smitten was he that he spent more than a decade living with them, becoming accepted into their community and ultimately courting and marrying a Bayaka woman. He recorded their songs - really just the vocal accompaniment of their everyday lives, and released some of these recordings along with his 1993 book (now out of print) Song from the Forest: My life among the Ba-Benjelle Pygmies. This track is of a song sung by the Bayaka women as they gathered mushrooms in the forest. A world apart from those of us preparing to enjoy Thanksgiving with our families tomorrow, perhaps. But the singing conveys universal themes (though perhaps we've forgotten...): community, gratitude, and connection to tradition and place.

mp3: Bayaka women: "Mushroom Gathering Song"
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Louis Sarno is one of the most brilliant and generous people on Earth. His work will one day be viewed as a great accomplishment as he strives to preserve a part of all humanity's past. One day all will look back and say to themselves "Louis Sarno, a great forward thinking man who lived his life preserving our history."

There are people who work in animal shelters who get more support and donations to help their cause yet Louis Sarno fights and struggles every day with little to no support as he works to preserve a human culture.