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Middle Africa > Cameroon > The Baka Pygmies

The Baka Pygmies


The Baka Pygmies, also known as Aka or Bayaka, are one of the most fascinating peoples in Africa. In Middle-Africa we always try to encounter our Baka friends and share one or two nights with them in one of their gathering and hunting camps in the middle of the jungle. Speding the night among them means experiencing their amazing music. The Baka Pygmies are particularly known for their usually vocal music, usually characterized by dense contrapuntal communal improvisation. Ethnomusicologist Simha Arom says that the level of polyphonic complexity of Pygmy music was reached in Europe in the 14th century, yet Pygmy culture is unwritten and ancient, some Pygmy groups being the first known cultures in some areas of Africa
Music permeates daily life and there are songs for entertainment as well as specific events and activities. Baka music styles include liquindi, or water drumming, and instruments like the bow harp (ieta), ngombi (harp zither) and limbindi (a string bow).