Community: The Bassari in Etiolo Village

Close to the town Salémata, deep in the bush, lies the small encampment of Etiolo.

This village acts as the gateway to the Bassari country, keeping all tourists at bay to protect their endangered culture.

With strong beliefs in animism, humans in Bassari culture are considered a part of nature, rather than superior to or separate from it. Animal sacrifices are ritualised to appease the spirit world.

The musicians of the community wore traditional dress: shorts, belts, knives, shackles and long thin canes are all part of the ceremonial attire.

The Bassari are known for their colourful festivals, events that include exuberant and expressive masks.

Our recordings were of Bassari court music; the men chanted, clanking foot-bells against their ankles as they paced the circumference of the stage, slowly gravitating towards the centre.

Later in the performance they introduced two handcrafted flutes; the flautist led the march and the percussionists followed.

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