The video clip below shows Louis Sarno talking about Bayaka mbyo (flute) music, and is part of a series of video interviews with Louis that were recorded in April 2012.

The mbyo (or mobio) is a beautiful four-note end-blown Bayaka flute that is usually played solo, although very rarely can be heard as duets. The melodic lines are very closely related to the beautiful yeyi, or yodelling, singing of the women. The mbyo resonates under the forest canopy in a very distinctive way such that, at a distance, one player can sound like the singing voices of two women perfectly interlocking. The mbyo is often played at night in the forest when the camp is asleep and it is said that the music is supposed to enter your dreams.

This playlist contains examples of the beautiful sound of the mbyo, including the sounds resonating under the canopies of the rainforests. Heard here are some of the Bayaka master players of the mbyo – Momboli (or 'Contreboeuf'), Mobila, Ngongé and Mindumi.

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