SOMA030 / Crying Bamboos: Ceremonial Flute Music from New Guinea Madang Ragnar Johnson
Recorded by Ragnar Johnson
Notes by Ragnar Johnson and Jessica Mayer
Photographs by Ragnar Johnson
Tape to digital transfer and mastering by Dave Hunt atDave Hunt Audio, London
Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates and Mastering, Berlin
Crying Bamboos is a translation of the pidgin description of the sound of sacred flutes: “Mambu i cry, i cry, i cry”.
Sacred flutes are blown to make the cries of spirits by adult men in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea. Pairs of long bamboo male and female flutes are played for ceremonies in the coastal villages near the Ramu River. There are seven male initiation flute cries from Bosmun, four flute cries from Bak: Borai with occasional single garamut percussion and two flute cries from Kaean, one with vocals and hand drums. The flute players were of the last generation to have learned this skill during a complete cycle of male initiation. These previously unreleased recordings were made in 1979.