Crying Bamboos: Ceremonial Flute Music from New Guinea Madang cover art

SOMA030 / Ragnar Johnson

Crying Bamboos: Ceremonial Flute Music from New Guinea Madang

  • 1. Pu-kil, Bosmun (6’55”)
  • 2. Rumbung Pulpak, Bosmun (3’51”)
  • 3. Rumung, Bak (9’20”)
  • 4. Boma, Kaean (4’51” )
  • 5. Ga-ra-ra, Bosmun (12’08”)
  • 6. Buaraning, Bak (7’42”)
  • 7. Tomung Gingong, Bosmun (5’35”)
  • 8. Wamba, Bosmun (9’16”)
  • 9. Gomkail, Bak (8’34”)
  • 10. Vilung Nyap, Bosmun (8’00”)
  • 11. Bomana Longo, Kaean (5’01”)
  • 12. Gateh, Bak (5’57”)
  • 13. Ga-neh, Bosmun (11’31”)


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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

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.