Monday, July 16, 2007

62. An African Signature?

Now, as promised, examples of hocketed wind ensembles from some other parts of the world. First, from the Ede people of Vietnam, a recording of a hocketing ensemble labeled as "flutes," though I suspect they're actually pipes or panpipes: Flute Polyphony (from Musique Du Monde -- Vietnam --Anthology Of Ede Music). Compare this with the Mikea example in the previous post. Also for comparison sake, let's listen to some vocal hocketing, also from the Ede, on the same CD: AeRei. Next, Melanesia: the Buma people, on the island of Malaita, in the Solomons: Panpipes of Buma (from Spirit of Melanesia). On the same island live the 'Are'are people, whose remarkable panpipe traditions were so thoroughly studied by Hugo Zemp. This recording of an 'Are'are panpipe ensemble is from the CD, Sounds of Bamboo, recorded by Buaoka & Sekine.

Now for my most "spectacular" leap, all the way to Central America. Compare the 'Are'are panpipes we've just heard with this hocketed "flute duet" (sounds like panpipes to me) from the Cuna Indians of Panama (Primitive Music of the World, Folkways). I haven't said much yet about the "American connection," but trust me, there is one -- there has to be. But not by the direct route, via some sort of Pacific Ocean voyage, there's no evidence for that. No, if we find pipes and other hocketed wind ensembles in the Americas -- and we most certainly do -- they must have arrived the hard way, just like everyone else, via Beringia, in the far north. There's a lot more on that in my essay, but for now I'll just let you listen to the music and scratch your heads.

Here's an even better head scratcher, another 'Are'are panpipe piece, only this one sounding surprisingly Andean, both rhythmically and melodically: Au-ripi (from The Sound of Bamboo). Note, by the way, that in this case the parts seem more layered than, strictly speaking, interlocked. While all 'Are'are ensembles involve hocketing, in the sense that some instruments supply notes not available on others, to produce a complementary effect, some types of performance are closer to rhythmic unison, others overlayed, as in this example, and still others truly interlocked, as would be more typical for African wind ensembles. The same three types of hocket can be found in South and Central American wind ensembles, with rhythmic unison most common in Andean music.

Now for some hocketing trumpets, or in this case "bark horns"; first from the Aitape, of the northern coast of New Guinea: Pig Hunting Song. Compare with these bark horns from the Piaroa Indians of the Upper Orinoco, Venezuela (from The Columbia Library of World Music, Venezuela). Here's a somewhat different sounding hocketed wind ensemble, consisting of "clarinets," from the Wayapi of Guiana: Les Toucan (recorded by Jean-Michel Beaudet).

Now for another leap, this time in the opposite direction -- since, as we now know, Europe too was first settled by African immigrants. Let's listen once again to the remarkable Russian women recorded by Olga Velitchkina, whose piping sounded, to her, like "Babenzele Pygmies." It sounds like that to me also! This piping tradition stems from a region of eastern Europe that was settled continuously throughout the last Ice Age and is in the vicinity of several archaeological sites dating from the Paleolithic. Here's another example of panpiping, from a closely related tradition in Lithuania: Tututis (from Lithuania The Country of Songs).

Now for some Lithuanian trumpets (see the photo of the trumpeters in suits near the top of this blog) from the same CD. Here's another Lithuanian trumpet ensemble, called a Ragai: Tytytitit. For comparison sake, listen again to the Banda Linda trumpets from Central Africa.

That's all I've got for today. So what do you think? Is there an "African Signature" linking all these far flung traditions via the original "Out of Africa" migration(s)? Or am I hallucinating?

1 comment:

Brodie said...

No Victor, you are not hallucinating. The similarities are striking, even to an amateur enthusiast such as myself.