Before Farming

A dynamic culture

ritual and musical creation in the Baka context

Before Farming (2011), 2011, (4), 1–12.

Abstract

The Baka's ritual expressions take place within a system based on fluidity, flexibility and malleability. In spite of certain common cultural resources throughout the Baka territory, one may observe an important variability on a regional level due to different modalities of innovation. This leads to regional variants of the rituals, but also to a fragmentation of the patrimony through the creation of new local associations or the borrowing from the non-Baka neighbours. Such diversification processes of the Baka's ritual system have been described in the domain of religious anthropology (Joiris 1996, 1997-98; Tsuru 1998, 2001). Our paper will focus on the musical aspects of ritual creation and situate this type of innovation in the Baka's ritual and musical patrimony as a whole. It has been proven that all innovation processes converge on a system which is characterised by a patchwork of stable elements. In the musical field, the polyrhythmic formulæ which characterise the ritual associations are composed with a very reduced stock of basic rhythms, whereas the songs make use of general, widespread features of Baka singing.

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Author details

Fürniss, Susanne

Joiris, Daou