Rain and thunder, Boungingi, Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1994 – by Louis Sarno

“This recording of thunder and rain was made in Boungingi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1994, by musicologist Louis Sarno (born in Newark, New Jersey, 1954), who lived in Yandoumbé, a village surrounded by the rainforest of the Dzanga Ndoki National Park, more than 500km from the country’s capital of Bangui, in the southwestern Central African Republic. Sarno became a Central African Republic citizen in 2005, and worked in Yandoumbé for more than three decades as a teacher, interpreter, archivist, and writer, recording evolving soundscapes over generations living with the Bakaya people. Over the past 10 years, the Sarno collection of music and soundscapes from the Congo Basin has been digitised at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK. Sarno also recorded dozens of hours of rainforest soundscapes like this one, creating a multi-track document of the relationship between music and the wider rainforest acoustic environment. The Pitt Rivers Museum is still in the process of working through his unprecedented collection of over 1,400 hours of recordings that document the full range of music­-making and soundscapes of a single community for more than a generation.

To discover more about the Pitt Rivers Museum, click here.”