Music and dance

Mama and Dyuka beat the drums while the women and children are seated in front of one of the huts with a big bamboo trunk that is split lengthwise. They use the bamboo to beat their own rhythm, while singing. The first young mask dancer of the night appears. Nadine and Christopher are taking photos and filming.
This session is the first out of nine parts of the dance ceremony at Ngolo village that takes place the entire night in the village of Ngolo.
The first young dancer finishes his dance and the women take a short break from singing. The mask dancer disappears. The women then start making the rhythm again on the bamboo trunk and singing to "call" the mask dancer. While the mask dancer is away, Mangome dances. Then the next mask dancer, older than the first one, appears. Mama and Dyuka beat the drums, Christopher is filming and Nadine is giving some extra LED light. The mask dancer is joined by a Bulu man from Nko'olong who did not want to be named. A third dancer replaces the second. His costume is improvised. Instead of a leavy headgear, he puts a tshirt over his head in order not to be recognized.
This session was filmed at night in the village of Ngolo. It includes part of a traditional dance ceremony.
The small and the older mask dancers still dance together, joined by the Bulu man. Mangome sets out a plastic bowl for tips for the dancers and musicians which is used for buying more alcohol over the course of the night.
This session is the third out of nine parts of the dance ceremony at Ngolo village that takes place the entire night in the village of Ngolo.
As the night progresses, the young dancer and the musicians become visibly more tired. In order to keep themselves awake, the adults smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. The women's singing and clapping becomes a bit quieter. The young mask dancer's costume is starting to fall apart with leaves on the ground and his movements become less dramatic. As he takes a rest, Dyuka brings in the tiniest mask dancer, a boy of about 2-3 years. As the toddler starts dancing, the women regain some strength and become louder again. They motivate the little boy with words and smiles. Also the other children become more involved by clapping; Angéline and the Bulu man join in the dance. At the end of the dance, Dyuka carries the boy away to his house and returns with him without the mask. As the small children become more tired, some of them lay down by their mothers' feet and doze off.
This is the fourth out of nine parts of the "Bapeya" dance ceremony in Ngolo village, taking place the entire night.
The next mask dancer appears on the dance floor with more elaborate footgear, having stacked three rattling baskets on top of each other. Mimbe is dancing on the side while Nze and the other men who are not involved in music making sit on a bench eating sandwiches. The new mask dancer gives new energy to the musicians. He does not, however, start dancing right away, but takes his time adjusting his costume and talking to people. When he starts dancing, his movements are obviously even more skillful than those of the previous dancers. At the end of each song, the mask dancer disappears into the dark night and only comes back when the music of the next song calls him. As it is between 3-4am by now, most of the children have gone into their huts and are alseep. Also Nadine and the Finnish visitors are taking a nap in the cars.
This is the fifth of nine parts documenting the "Bapeya" dance ceremony in Ngolo village.
The singing and dancing has temporarily quieted down a bit as the villagers become tired. Fewer people are involved in the dancing and music and more stand by the side, talking, or are taking a rest in their huts. Still the most skillful mask dancer is dancing, and occasionally joined by the Bulu man.
This is the sixth out of nine parts of the "Bapeya" dance ceremony in the village of Ngolo. At this point, the dance has already lasted for about 5 hours.
The villagers take a break from the "Bapeya" dance type with mask dancers and switch to the "Bala" dance, a dance that involved men and women standing in a circle while one of them dances in the middle showing off their skills. When they are done, they choose the next person to enter the circle by touching them on their hands, shoulders, arms, or hips. This change attracts villagers, including the children, and visitors who had been resting in the huts or cars. Mangome, as a woman, has taken over one of the big drums, which is usually an instrument by men. At this stage, most villagers are so drunk that nobody seems to care.
This is the seventh out of nine parts of the "Bapeya" dance ceremony at the village of Ngolo.
The "Bala" dance continues (as described in Bapeya dance 7), but in a more unorderly fashion as people are pretty drunk and tired. The circle gets dissolved at times and there are lots of discussions between participants about who gets to dance in the middle. Some people wait their turn to be chosen to dance in the middle while others choose to just enter the middle, disregarding the rules. After the dance, there are discussions amongst the men and amongst the women about what is still left to share in terms of cigarettes and alcohol (although the Bagyeli live in a very egalitarian society in terms of many daily activities and shared chores, sharing possessions such as received gifts, alcohol, cigarettes, and money, is done along gender lines). As the morning approaches, the animals (dogs and chicken) wake up and join the humans. Also, the women return to their bamboo trunk to continue with the "Bapeya" dance. Some children have collected empty wine tetrapacks using them as shoes.
This is the eights of nine parts documenting a night-long "Bapeya" dance ceremony in the village of Ngolo.
The Bagyeli dance until dawn. When the daylight comes out, they move their musical instruments and everybody away from the village center which served as the dance floor and walk over to a palm tree. They gather around the palm tree, singing and beating the rhythm on drums. The most skilful mask dancer now climbs on top of the oil palm tree. He has wrapped his bare feet into clothes in order to protect his feet from the thorns. Dancing around in the tree crown, he then kicks down one branch after the other. When all branches are kicked down, he descends, marking the end of the dance night.
This is the final part of the "Bapeya" dance ceremony, the highlight that everyone has waited for.
Some men are sitting in the village center. Ntemba plays the thumb piano and Bepa uses pots and buckets as drums. Mangome dances a bit and Tata encourages some children to dance by guiding them onto the "dance floor". Attracted by the music, more villagers arrive and join in, either dancing themselves or as spectators on the benches.
This session captures how some Bagyeli in Ngolo leisurely hang out in the village center, making music, while some children are dancing.
Some men are still making music on drums, pots, and buckets. As this spontaneous dance party continues, more people are drawn to the village center and the music becomes more lively. The songs are first traditional Gyeli songs that are sung during "Bapeya" dance ceremonies, but then the men switch to popular Cameroonian (or central African) songs that they know from the radio in the Bulu villages (at this point in time, there is no electricity in Ngolo and nobody in Ngolo owns a battery-powered radio).
This session shows a spontaneous dance party in the middle of the day as Ngolo villagers are spending leisure time together, having fun with their dancing children.
The men continue to make music and some children are dancing. The women who sit on the side in the benches comment on the children's dancing and give advice on the techniques. Eventually, the dance party quiets down until it stops and people disperse in the village again, doing their daily chores.
This is the third part of the children's dance party that goes on as the adults leisurely spend time together in the village center of Ngolo.
While the women work elsewhere in the village or sit on the benches next to the musicians, most men are involved in making music this morning as a leisure pass-time.
This session is basically the background noise to "Ngolo village life" in the procedural/observational collection with mostly men making music, singing, and dancing.
After the young men made a new drum, the are testing it right away. As the rain has stopped, they carry the new little drum outside the hut under the Indian almond tree in the village center, next to the big drum that is already there. Kunda and Ade are playing the drums, Segyua the thumb piano and Ntemba watches them. Minse also joins in beating another drum and Mambi uses some metal buckets for more percussions. Délégué dances and later Mangome. The music lures more and more villagers out of their huts on this rainy day.
This is a musical session where the Bagyeli spontaneously sing and beat their drums at the occasion of just having finished a new drum.


Christopher Lorenz and Nadine Grimm (née Borchardt) (2012). Item "Music and dance" in collection "Bagyeli/Bakola". The Language Archive. (Accessed 2024-05-20)

Note: This citation was extracted automatically from the available metadata and may contain inaccuracies. In case of multiple authors, the ordering is arbitrary. Please contact the archive staff in case you need help on how to cite this resource.