Days Full Of Sound - Life In The Rainforest


The Mbenzélé and Aka Pygmy Populations: "The territory inhabited by the Mbenzélé and Aka Pygmies is situated in the extreme North of the Democratic Republic of Congo, over the Equator, in the northeastern (Mbenzélé) and north western (Aka) rain forests of Ouésso in the Shanga region, near the borders with the Central African Republic and Cameroon. The Pygmies still live according to their hunters-gatherers traditions, even though the ever-increasing amount of contact they have with other Congolese ethnic groups and European visitors (like myself) are increasingly threatening their culture and survival. The welcoming I received in these two communities, both made up of approximately a hundred individuals between adults and children (many children), always touched and moved me. I stayed with them for seven days, and the recordings were carried out over five days: on the 18th and 19th February (Mbenzélé) and 23rd, 24th and 25th of February 2014 (Aka). For these people, music is an extraordinary, joyful and everyday experience that they share collectively. It is achieved through very simple instruments (vocals, hand clapping and a few other percussions), and through collective improvisation they manage to create a rhythmic and harmonic complexity which can truly amaze..." --Roberto Monari (Vignola, January 26th, 2021).

Birth & Nature: "When Roberto entrusted me with these recordings I thought back to approximately 40 years earlier, when we first met, like something that comes back. With him, a fundamental door onto the music realm opened, he passed on to me so much varied music. His home was like a little paradise (of listening) for a very young boy like me who was searching for and researching new worlds, both musical and artistic, and like a medicine music responded and nourished. Together we listened to music of all kinds and provenance: all the music forms we could find (we traveled to buy records and attend concerts), or that just presented themselves, and that had a certain peculiarity and originality provided an excuse for discovery, and ethnic music and Pygmies were also part of these worlds. The list would be longer than 40 years of life, and of listening . . . These field recordings that he offered me arrived like a present, a reflection of my youth, but I think also of his, and our shared growth and it seems like centuries ago but it feels like now, and while listening and experiencing the Pygmies this becomes even clearer. After listening and re-listening (and working) so much (on) these recordings it was like being there with them and listening to these sounds, dialogues and music was like continually witnessing the birth of something..." --Massimo Simonini (Vignola, February/April 2021).