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Home > Music

Longpig Jungle Music

As the saying goes: Sting helps those who helps themselves.

3 September 2003

Last Sunday, with the backing of UNESCO and the Association for Respect for Pygmies, Pygmy band Ndima released their debut CD. Ndima use traditional instruments, made from animal horns, jungle vines, bamboo, tree trunks and so on. Their songs tell of the ups and downs of life deep deep in the jungle of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Which is where they live. So they know what they're talking about.

On the upside we’re talking about things like the raw beauty of the jungle landscape, the overwhelming sense of harmony with nature, the simple joys of hunting, and gathering. On the downside there’s the perils of angry weather, the lack of decent internet facilities and, most of all, the horrific things that other human beings do to them. Hunting them down like small game, for example, and eating them. That’s right, eating them. Often by ripping open their stomachs with their bare hands and feasting on their inner organs, which they believe will bring them magical powers. Really. So these little guys have it tougher than Mariah ever had it. they're realer than Jennifer Lopez will *ever* be. You better believe it. No play-safe Pygmies Go Pop prefabricated boyband either. And their music is no Yusuf Allah self-deluded block-it-all-out bullshit. What this is is a bunch of little fellas, getting their fucking hearts literally eaten out of their bodies. Not Ndima though, obviously. Thankfully they're off making CDs and promoting their dying culture.

The cannibals responsible are said to be members of both opposing sides in a civil war in which the Pygmies are caught in the middle. Both the MLC, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, and the government they are fighting are said to regard the country's Pygmy population as 'subhuman' and 'extremely toothsome' in equal amounts, an attitude which is set to wipe them out.

Earlier this year, Sinafasi Makelo, a spokespygmy for the Mbuti tribe, explained to the UN's Indigenous People's Forum what his people had to put up with. "Pygmies are being pursued in the forests," he said. "People have been eaten. This is nothing more, nothing less, than a crime against humanity." But fear not, the UN have found evidence to support these claims and are currently figuring out what to do about it. In the meantime, we could all do a lot worse than give our support to Ndima.

Ndima, if you're out there, keep on running.


More Serious Pygmies:

www.cwu.edu/~yaegerl/pygmypage.htm

More Silly Pygmies:

www.geocities.com/bigheadedpygmies



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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