A Ba’Aka Party (click “play” to hear a recording!)
On the last full moon, we went to Yandoumbe—Louis Sarno’s village—for the dance they were having in honor of several deaths that had occurred. It made me realize how it’s a rare privilege to experience such a “cultural event” (for lack of a better term) that would have happened irrespective of our presence, in its natural state. We were still a bunch of awkward foreigners standing to the side as they danced and sang, but we were guests and they didn’t seem to care about our attendance.
I didn’t want to disturb them, so I didn’t take any photos with flash (and ok, because I forgot to bring my flash). In the middle you can make out a figure that looks vaguely like Cousin It: that is the forest spirit, or Jengi, who comes out on special occasions in the form of man wearing a costume made of straw.
In the photo below, I took a long exposure of the clearing but it was too long to capture any of the people. The audio should be enough to give you an idea of how energetic and lively it was! I highly recommend that you get your hands on some of Louis Sarno’s recordings of their music. I can bring some back to you, but you’d have wait a year or so.