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The Lois Mitchison Archive

Mitchison reelsLois Mitchison's five reel tapes of Bamum, Bom and Bayang music from Cameroon are part of a wider collection of musical instruments purchased for the Pitt Rivers Museum. In 1958 Miss Lois Mitchison (Mrs Godrey) of Woodstock Road, Oxford, bought 41 Bamum objects from Fumban in French Cameroons, a French Mandate territory in present day Cameroon. Her audio collection includes ceremonial songs, and also examples of several Bamum instruments, including a rattle and a scraper (bai-pak), a zither, and a wind instrument.

The Playlist

The playlist below includes example of men and women's songs, and several different types of instrument including a rattle and a scraper (bai-pak), a zither, and wind instrument.


Sound Galleries

Musical torchlit trails at the Pitt Rivers Museum

On Friday November 23rd 2012, the galleries of the Pitt Rivers Museum were plunged into evening darkness and bathed in Bayaka music and sound from the Central African Republic. Visitors were given torches to explore the galleries that were transformed into a rich forest soundscape with sung fables, snatches of laughter, beautiful variations on harps and flutes, and the stunning polyphonic singing of Bayaka women. Hidden surprises included mini projections from the rainforests and a visualiser designed by Nathaniel Mann, the PRM's Embedded Composer in Residence. The evening was filmed By Mike Day of Intrepid Cinema as part of the Reel to Real project, and complemented the Oxford City-wide Christmas Light Night organised by Oxford Inspires. A four hour playlist of Bayaka music from the PRM's sound collections, originally recorded by Louis Sarno, was curated on the evening by Nathaniel Mann and Dr Noel Lobley. The event was streamed online, and was watched live in the Central African Republic by Louis Sarno and some of the Bayaka community.





Copyright 2012 The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford