Sunday, January 7, 8300
Bantu Migration to Gabon (c. 1300) - Sacred Music
Gabon is a country in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo and the Gulf of Guinea.
From the 1300's until the present time Bantu groups immigrated into Gabon from several directions to escape enemies or to find new land. Little is known of tribal life before European contact but tribal art suggests a rich cultural heritage.
Gabon - Pacification of Spirits
Any discussion of Gabonese music must include the sacred music of the Bwiti whether attributed to the Mitsogo or the Fang or other peoples. The French ethnographer Bureau sets the stage when he states, "Gabon is to Africa what Tibet is to Asia, the spiritual center of religious initiations."
Bwiti is a West Central African religion practiced by the forest-dwelling Babongo and Mitsogo people of Gabon (where it is one of the three official religions) and the Fang people of Gabon and Cameroon. Modern Bwiti is syncretistic, incorporating animism, ancestor worship and Christianity into its belief system. Bwiti use the hallucinogenic rootbark of the Tabernanthe iboga plant, specially cultivated for the religion, to induce a spiritual enlightenment, stabilize community and family structure, meet religious requirements and to solve problems of a spiritual and/or medical nature. The root bark has been used for hundreds of years as part of a Bwiti coming of age ceremony and other initiation rites and acts of healing, producing complex visions and insights anticipated to be valuable to the initiate and the chapel. The root bark or its extract are taken in doses high enough to cause vomiting and ataxia as common side effects.
[8300 Kashmir / 8300 Gabon /8291 Philippe de Vitry]