Baka women of Cameroon, water drumming
September 29, 2013 3:02 AM   Subscribe

Further proof that Pygmy music is some of the most awesome on earth.
posted by flapjax at midnite (20 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
This is really great. I believe K'naan used water drumming in one of his songs ('Wash It Down'). He's originally from Somalia I think. I would love to know if water drumming is something that developped separately in different areas or something that travelled from one tribe to another. Thank you for this.
posted by I have no idea at 3:40 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]

That's super-cool and totally unexpected. When I saw the term "water drumming" I was expecting something more like this, with drums partly filled with water. Drumming on the *surface* of the water is really something! They are obviously having a lot of fun, and it's highly musical, too.
posted by crazy_yeti at 4:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

The second track here is a really nice example of minimalist glitch. Which is quite a thing to pull off acoustically.
posted by titus-g at 5:36 AM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]

(or it may have been part of the first track).

There also appears to be digital albums with the money going to support them. Unfortunately none of them called 'Baka on the Road Again'. [although the youtube channel name bakabeyond does make up for that]
posted by titus-g at 5:42 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

titus-g, that clip you linked to features some typically wonderful Baka music. The vocal music (their yodeling is perhaps the most familiar and celebrated of all the Baka styles) is so fantastic, and I love the string instrument piece, too. Then the water drumming, ending with the players' laughter and cries of delight: brilliant! It's all really some of the purest, most *sophisticatedly simple* music one could hear. Utterly sublime, and truly some of my favorite music from anywhere and any time.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

The water drumming reminds me of something that is almost entirely lost in 'western' music: that rhythmic sounds do not necessarily have to be short and sharp, waning as soon as they appear. You can construct rhythm patterns with sounds that last, echo, and are extended. But this is overwhelmingly not the case in today's western music. It's impoverishing.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 6:31 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Wow, that is some fantastic use of an available instrument. From the blurry YouTube video, it seems like all three women have very different hand styles; I wonder if that's just personal preference, or if it's a formalized system of separate parts.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2013

I loved the scoop up a drink while drumming moment. No reason the river can't be multipurpose!
posted by tavella at 8:01 AM on September 29, 2013

This is amazing. Looks like such fun.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:40 AM on September 29, 2013

It is fun. I had no idea that by sitting under the bridge at the creek and playing with slop and glop and blap and kerSPLOSH I was doing something traditional.

Wicked echo under there, too.
posted by flabdablet at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Union Jack created a pretty cool track with water drumming samples. However, the beginning of this piece might have an adverse effect on some people. Let's just say - don't listen to this if you have a full bladder and are too far away from a facility to facilitate.
posted by DonnyMac at 11:18 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Water drumming in Vanuatu.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:24 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]

I think my favorite CD in my collection (yeah, I'm pretty old fashioned) is called Music of the Rain Forest Pygmies. (Amazon Link) The first track is a fantastic a cappella piece interrupted by a terrifying bolt of lightning. It just gets better.
posted by kozad at 12:36 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ooo, also on Spotify: Music of the Rain Forest Pygmies

As indeed are 9 albums from Baka Beyond

They're also apparently on tour and will be in London in Oct for anyone down that way.
posted by titus-g at 12:49 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another (spotify) from Smithsonian Folkways recordings: Mbuti Pygmies of the Ituri Rainforest
posted by titus-g at 12:53 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

That yodeling style, where you can hear the two interlocking melodies so clearly, is so incredible. It's like a Bach cello suite with an added layer of rhythmic complexity.
posted by speicus at 1:35 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

From the comments [I know I know] but this is informative and I had the same question.

"strange... the sound´╗┐ does not match..."

"I was there! This is geniune. Its just that its not immediately obvious which hits are making which sounds. The deep ones are when the arms go deep,´╗┐ but there is a delay as the water takes time to move to make the sound."
posted by vapidave at 3:34 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I never heard of this kind of 'water drumming' before! Thanks flapjax!

It does look like fun. And it sounds nice.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:50 PM on September 29, 2013

It had a good beat and was easy to dance to!

Love this, spontaneous joyful music. Not much of that around these days.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:37 PM on September 29, 2013

Thank you for the reminder. I heard this on the Mario Cassetta show maybe 20 years ago, and I loved it then, too.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:49 AM on September 30, 2013

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