10 Days, 10 Countries, 10 Songs: Day 3

Diverse Africa…

Other Side of the Mountains

As a graduate student in ethnomusicology, one of my assigned readings was Seize the Dance! by Michelle Kisliuk (1998).

Kisliuk conducted research among the BaAka people of Central African Republic from 1986-1995, documenting their song, dance, and way of life. I found Kisliuk’s ethnography to be a compelling read, and I deeply enjoyed the music that came with the book.

Frequently referred to as “pygmies” by outsiders, the BaAka have faced widespread persecution and forcible removal from their ancestral lands.

For further reading, here is an interesting article on the challenges these people face:


Today I am sharing an example of BaAka music. This polyphonic style of singing is known as “hocketing.” One singer begins a melody, then leaves a gap which other singers take up to complete the phrase.

Cover Image from Wikimedia Commons:

JMGRACIA100 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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2 thoughts on “10 Days, 10 Countries, 10 Songs: Day 3

  1. Quite appealing and literary – the rhythm, the sound pattern and structure, the beats, and the composition of the singers (elderly women). However, the setting, the composition of the singers and dancers (young ladies), the costume (leaves and long caps) used by the dancers, the seriousness of the performers, and the audience (children), denote how ritual or ceremonial the performance is.
    The sounds represent the sound of animals that live in the area. As mothers and grand mothers, the women-singers perform as custodians, keepers and guardians of the environment.
    Thanks for sharing, L.

    • Barka de Sallah. It is a treat to hear from you today. Your contribution tremendously to this website is an important element . When I receive your comments, I know it is with deep thought and time to the subject. You give the reader more to contemplate. Thank you

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