Louis Sarno - Song From The Forest [Gruenrekorder - 2014]Song From The Forest is the soundtrack from Michael Obert’s fascinating documentary about the Bayaka Pygmies of the Central African rainforest, & their relationship with American Louis Sarno who has lived with the tribe for some 25 years.
Over Sarno’s time with the tribe he has recorded over 1,500 hours of recordings of the tribe’s music, their singing, and the sounds of their every day lives. This soundtrack takes in 15 selections from Sarno’s recording archive, and these move between field recording, more musically/ rhythmic numbers, onto a mix of both field/musical tracks.
As one would expect from Gruenrekorder this release is wonderfully packaged. The CD comes in a digipak which takes in pictures of the forest the Bayaka live-in. Also you get a full colour glossy inlay booklet- this 20 page affair takes in pictures of the tribe & Sarno, write-ups about the project from various parties connected to the documentary, and the background to each of the 15 tracks featured.
The album opens up with the track “Yeyi-Greeting”. This takes in a recording of tribes beautiful ‘ yodelling’ like singing as many of the villages voices join together with the back drop of the night time forest sounds of insects & birds. Track three is entitled “Tree Drum”, and takes in the earthy & building sound of several people tree drumming with the addition of subdued vocalising.
Later on we have “Bayaka Night Insect” which features the detailed, layered & enchanting sound of the forests night time insect population, with the addition of the haunting yet tuneful cuckoo bird song. And “Louis Sarno Speaks” captures Sarno talking about his journeys into the deep forests with the tribe, with the backing of the forest bird song. Really each of the 15 tracks here is wonderfully capture & captivating, and with each new piece you feel like your getting pulled deeper into the Bayaka’s surroundings & life.
All told this is a highly captivating & interesting release, which mangers to be varied & rewarding through-out. I can see this appealing beyond the normal ‘field recording’ listener, as the quality & variation from track to track, the story behind the release, and the way the whole thing is presented.Roger Batty