“Music of the Rain Forest Pygmies” is an album that officially introduced the music of Mbuti Pygmies living in rainforests of Africa for the first time in the world.
It contains field recordings in the Ituri Forest in the northeastern Congo (formerly called Zaire) in the central Africa, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, by British-American anthropologist Colin M. Turnbull, who is known as the author of the book about Mbuti Pygmies, “The Forest People – A Study of the Pygmies of the Congo” (1961).
The choral music of Mbuti Pygmies in this album is accompanied by percussion and handclaps. It is characterized by its call and response, collective improvisation, complex polyphony, and the use of yodels and shouts. There are also songs accompanied by the five-string harp, stick zither, and sanza (thumb piano).
Natural sounds in the forest are also recorded as they are, including the noise of thunder.
The original LP was released by the world-music label Lyrichord in 1961. Released on CD in 1992.