Africa remains as one of the key points for our installation and research. Despite that there is a wide range of instruments around the world that were adopted from African instruments, such as the flutes, many percussion instruments such as the bongos, kalimba and the xylophone, many percussion-based instruments, beats and rhythms are still prevalent in modern music genres around the world. For this reason, we used the drum as the main instrument, since it is also an instrument widely recognised around the world.
The visual research behind the African interaction point focused on masks, the musical composition, particularly the polyrhythms. We explored the illustrations from the Bakongo Masks, diverse key ports in Ghana and the depiction of some African cultures in illustration from the 1700s. We ended up focusing on the role of the wide range of instruments which showcase the huge diversity of the wide range of cultures in Africa. We also used the Bakongo Masks, and the port to further link to the Middle Passage interaction point.
Musical bow lecture examples 1979: Tsongo/ Angola bows
The soundtrack used for Africa is a recording from David Rycrof’s South Africa Collection at the British Library. Performed by the Tsongo people of Mozambique. The track was recorded in Angola. The sound is very interesting since it uses a scraped mouth bow.
Below is a 30-second sample of the sound used in the installation. It has been cleaned and re-sampled to enhance the sound quality when played through the installation’s speakers. For more information go to the British Library record.
Here is a video of an example of a similar mouth bow.
There are mouth bows used in many genres such as country and bluegrass music in the USA, as well as other genres in Europe, Nordic Countries and Asia among many others. The video below y by Olena UUTAi at “The Music of Earth” music festival at the Opera House in St. Petersburg.