Ragnar Johnson

Crying Bamboos: Ceremonial Flute Music from New Guinea Madang

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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.

Recorded by Ragnar Johnson
Notes by Ragnar Johnson and Jessica Mayer
Photographs by Ragnar Johnson
Tape to digital transfer and mastering by Dave Hunt at Dave Hunt Audio, London
Cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates and Mastering, Berlin

Ragnar Johnson: Crying Bamboos: Ceremonial Flute Music from New Guinea Madang

Pu-kil, Bosmun Ragnar Johnson 6' 59''
Rumbung Pulpak, Bosmun Ragnar Johnson 3' 51''
Rumung, Bak Ragnar Johnson 9' 23''
Boma, Kaean Ragnar Johnson 4' 54''
Ga-Ra-Ra, Bosmun Ragnar Johnson 12' 09''
Buaraning, Bak Ragnar Johnson 7' 44''
Tomung Gingong, Bosmun Ragnar Johnson 5' 36''
Wamba, Bosmun Ragnar Johnson 9' 18''
Gomkail, Bak Ragnar Johnson 8' 37''
Vilung Nyap, Bosmun Ragnar Johnson 8' 02''
Bomana Longo, Kaean Ragnar Johnson 5' 05''
Gateh, Bak Ragnar Johnson 6' 00''
Ga-neh, Bosmun Ragnar Johnson 11' 32''

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