Oct
26
Filed Under (Ethnomusicology, General) by Rob on 26-10-2006

My trip up north was to record three hours worth of choir music and readings of Philippians and James in the vernacular (Nawdm).

Here is Philippians 1:12 in Nawdm. Have a listen/read:

“Teelba-n, maÌ€ bo na n’ miig na bii b’ daan maÌ€ jugun bii hel n tÉ”r na GohÉ”mt san n nÉ”ngan.”

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(click on arrow to play, click on link to download)

In English, the verse says:

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”

and I believe this to be true regarding this recording visit. Please pray for the Nawdm, that the Bible and song recordings will indeed advance the gospel.
Click here for Nawdm info on ethnologue.com

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Wednesday (18/10)

Once I arrived in Kara, I had about 45 mins to unpack before setting off to Baga, a small village about half an hour’s drive north of Kara, near Niamtougou. We arrived there at 3:30pm and had a look round. There were three possible venues for recording: the ‘main church’, which had a 2 second echo (not a chance!) and the ‘small church’ which was, nevertheless, a little too resonant for recording purposes. Finally, there’s the paillotte or apotam (circular ‘gazebo’ with straw roof – but this one has a tin roof!) Because it is partly open, this is a much more suitable location for recording. So I set up to record by 4:00pm.

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The choir arrived mostly on time, which is not always the case! I decide to put the percussionists on benches just outside the paillotte, so that their sound does not ‘bleed’ onto the choir’s. By around 4:30pm, we had started recording, and by 8:00pm (including a break for supper) we had recorded the music for the first 90 minute cassette! Wow! That was fast! We also had to stop at one point due to heavy rain, but – thankfully – this did not persist.
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Head back to the SIL centre, where I upload and edit the recordings before hitting the sack (the reason for staying this far from the recording venue is its constant supply of electricity, which I need for editing).

Thursday (19/10)

Depart SIL centre 8:30am, to head to the Nawdm team office, where we record a reading of Philippians and then James, with 4 of the translation team. Due to inevitable human error, we have to do numerous retakes, which I will then digitally ‘splice’ together later. This saves time during the recording, but takes me a while longer in the editing process!

Time for a short nap before heading back to the Baga church to continue recording. We work from 6:00pm and, due to the choir’s professionalism (they rehearsed every day for two weeks prior to this), we have 45 minutes of music ‘in the can’ by 7:40pm! We are due to finish at 8:00pm, but give the choir the option of carrrying on later to finish the last 45 mins, which they agree to. By 9:45pm, we are all done. Increadible! This is undoubtedly the most professional, together and polished choir I have worked with so far. Here’s what they sound like:

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(click on arrow to play, click on link to download)

As is characteristic of music in this part of the world, all the songs are ‘call and response’, with one soloist singing and the choir echoing. You’ll also hear a healthy percussion section going some! As well as singing, there is also ululation from one of the female choir members, which is always interesting to encounter. Finally, they had a recorder (played up the octave) and a two-note ram’s horn, which it was fun to try out afterwards! Listen carefully and you should hear all of these in this extract:

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(click on arrow to play, click on link to download)

Friday (20/10)

All morning spent editing the Bible readings, then after lunch I head to Codhani, a fab place in Niamtougou, where handicapped people make really nice clothes. Their website is excellent – click here to have a look. I find another loud shirt for my collection (actually, reasonably moderate!), a skirt of Lois and some t-shirts for the kids.

Dinner in Kara, then back to SIL. I edit the song recordings until quite late and pack my bags.

Saturday (21/10)

Depart Kara 7:30am. Make it back to Dassa for lunch, then in Cotonou by 5:00pm.

Thanks for reading. Leave us a comment!

Cheers!



Comments:
2 Comments posted on "A most successful recording session…"
Julie on October 27th, 2006 at 2:54 pm #

Hi! Just checking wot you’re up to and have decided you must be the fastest editor in town! It’s not easy to download your clips, only getting snippets, but perhaps delicious will help me hear them better – will try again later. I’ve just finished recording 13 AIDs books with about 5 songs interspersed n each book, and that lot took 2 full-time VMS guys and myself 1 week of recording and another of solid editing!!!


anne on October 29th, 2006 at 4:39 pm #

very tiring, you must be exhausted. hope the final tapes are very good, and just what is needed. love to you all,