21 November 2010


My friend V spent several months with the pygmy people in central Africa. He told us how his long legs would stick out of the hut he slept in, how he would crouch down to as low as he could during meetings and meal times. How his lanky body - almost 2 m tall - set off laughter and merriment and occasionally awe deep in the rainforest.
He told us about the humming. The pygmy people have general meetings to discuss matters. They sit in a circle and it's not so different from any other business meeting. Only when things get a bit out of hand, when voices are raised, when the atmosphere gets cloudy and heated, someone will start humming, a low humming and slowly slowly the others join in until everybody just hums and the sound moves like a wave gently around and through the group and swells and some harmonies develop and then it slows down, dies down and the talking once again continues. Just like that. The air is cleared.

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