This collection of music comes from the Missoko Bwiti tradition of Gabon, a spiritual path that includes five different branches, spanning over a thousand years in equatorial Central West Africa. Central to this oral tradition is the use of root bark of the psychoactive shrub Iboga (tabernathe iboga), which is used in a variety of ceremonies. Within this tradition, it is said that Iboga taught the Bwiti how to construct the instruments they play, in addition to conveying the musically rich language utilized to awaken the connection to the spirit world. The recordings presented in this collection were made by Tenali Hrenak and Kristen Blinne in 2018 in Gabon whilst they underwent full initiations into the Missoko Bwiti tradition with 10th generation Bwiti Shaman, Moughenda Mikala.
The album includes songs from a traditional village welcome ceremony, opening songs for the women’s rites of passage ritual, Missoko Bwiti initiation songs, and a selection of songs about the forest. Featured instruments include the Mougongo (mouth bow), Ngombi (harp), Etsika (antelope horn), and various drums, shakers, and bells.
***All proceeds generated from track and/or album sales go to Moughenda Village.
released May 30, 2019
Performers include Moughenda Mikala (Vocals, Percussion), Dany Manimha (Mougongo, Vocals, Percussion), Guy Roger Boussiengui (Ngombi, Vocals, Percusion), Manzinzi (Ngombi, Vocals, Percusion), and Various People from Moughenda Village.
Kristen C. Blinne, Ph.D., is an Assistant professor of Communication at the State University of New York, College at Oneonta, specializing in ethnography, cultural sustainability, and listening studies.
Tenali Hrenak is an audio engineer, field recordist, and sound designer, working on two independent projects: Muddy Boots Radio (www.muddybootsradio.org
) and Sounds from the Rainbow (www.soundsfromtherainbow.org
Cover photo by Kristen Blinne