THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF THE BAKA FOREST PEOPLE - WORKSHOPS

The Baka live deep in the rainforest in Africa, relying on the forest for survival. Theirs is an original and unspoilt culture where co-operation and sharing is vital and music is central to their lives. With the Baka there is no distinction between "musician" and "audience"; everyone is able to listen and participate with confidence. We aim to inspire our workshops with these qualities.

Workshops are lead by Su Hart, a teacher and musician, who spent the winters of 1992, 1994 & 1998 living with the Baka in the forests of S.E.Cameroon. For schools the program is built around national curriculum guidelines and study booklets are available.

  • Workshop length : 1 day (half day or weekend sessions by special arrangement. )
  • Group size : up to 300
  • Cost : £250 per day plus travel (concessions available)

Timetable for 1 day workshop
Slide show :

  • Includes a talk of first-hand experience of Baka life.
  • Explores the context: the hunter gatherer economy, relation to cultivators and the state, the causes and effects of deforestation; how the Baka cope with a changing environment.
  • Baka myths, stories, religion, rituals,family life, fun and games.

Practical session
Music:

  • We explore and memorise Baka rhythm in hand clapping and using percussion, maintaining parts independently of other groups. Call and respond songs and chants. "Likano" songs (Baka myths) Children's songs with group percussion and harmony. Hand clapping action songs.
  • Movement : Baka "Bwamba dance", a forest spirit dance to help the hunt, millipede dance, Baka circle dances.
  • Co-operative games : Musical games of the Baka.
  • Performance of days discoveries if required.
  • Making simple Baka musical instruments is possible in the summer.

You will be asked to provide an extension cable, a tape recorder and a room which can be blacked out for slides.


Study aids :

Music of the Baka : study booklet by Martin Cradick and Su Hart (£3)
Heart of the forest : field recordings of the Baka's music.

Royalties are collected for the Baka by One Heart (charity no. 1057668) and used for projects in the forest

Further information:
Su Hart, March Hare Music, PO Box 2260, BATH, BA1 5XA, UK.
tel/fax 01225 331636
e-mail : su@baka.co.uk

Teachers' recommendations :
"Su recently visited St. Nicholas primary School in Abingdon, Oxfordshire to run her workshop and talk with children and staff about her work in the rainforest in South East Cameroon. She spent the day with us and had children and staff enthraled. She knows how to engage children at all ages and levels of ability. Her work was meticulously planned and the resources were fascinating. The children not only learned a great deal but thoroughly enjoyed the process of sharing Su's experiences with them. I can thoroughly recommend her to schools and she is excellent value for money."

R.E.Fell, Headteacher (01235 520456)

"The children were captivated and have been singing Baka songs ever since. Seeing the excellent slides and hearing first hand stories brought both the Baka and rainforest issues vividly into our midst and has stimulated follow-on work of very high interest and quality."

N.Bunce, deputy head of St Mary's infants school, Parton, nr Swindon (01973 876891)

Further recommendations available from:
Mr M.Tislet, county music advisor for Wiltshire. (01225 713000)
Dr Helene de la Rue, head of musicology and education at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. (01865 274721)