BLESSINGS OF THE FOREST IS SUPPORTING GABONESE MUSICIANS

Gabonese artists not only lack the technical and financial means to promote their music but are also negatively impacted by the total absence of any legal framework to protect their earnings and copyright. For this reason, many great traditional Gabonese musicians and singers live in abject poverty, even though their music is listened to and shared across the whole world. This is what happens to Bwiti artists whose music has made its way around the globe through the network of various Bwiti initiates, yet they have never benefitted from this. Blessings of The Forest is well aware of this fact and has therefore decided to invest in high quality sound recording equipment in order to enable those artists who want to, to record their music. We will also be supporting these artists in their media communication and promoting them internationally. BOTF has already created a BandCamp page in order to promote the albums produced by these artists. 70% of the generated revenues go to the artist and 30% to BOTF in order to help the charity to finance the equipment and the management fees, in particular the costs of ensuring that the funds make it to Gabon, given that none of the artists have a bank account. We are also helping the musicians to create online music lessons for the various instruments that they have mastered and we are in the process of discussing the possibility of organising international gigs for them too.

Nyougni Ya Reliba

“Soul of the coast” by Etonda (Theophile Rissani)

Digital Album
Streaming + Download

Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Buy Digital Album €15 EUR or more
Send as Gift

This set of recordings was made on a personal expedition to find a very legendary master of the south-west style of Ngombi (harp), Theophile Rissani, whose kombo or initiatic name in Bwiti Tradition is “Etonda” – “Love”.

Etonda plays “Dissumba Nkomi” style of harp…which is slower, extraordinarily complex and rocking much like the sea he lives so close to on the west coast.

Etonda offers a connection to the ancient origins of blues and jazz where the pushed beats and more casual style bring a deep soul and humanity into the transmissions. Unlike blues or jazz however there is no slavery or religious persecution within the energy of it…this is the pure joy-filled root still living.

Like the finest of vintage wines Etonda’s skill is beyond question …his precision is still deft and dynamic in his 80s, but with a soulfulness and depth.

With a voice ripened by time and honed his grandfatherly love, he just plays and sings directly from his heart like an arrow.

The vast majority of the proceeds of this album will go back to Etonda and his family so he may live more comfortably than he does at the moment. Please support him and allow us to record further albums with him.

released September 6, 2018

Ngombi (Harp) – Etonda (Theophile Rissani)
Vocals – Etonda (Theophile Rissani)
Recording and Publishing – Mutombi (David Nassim)
French Translation – Missambo (Yann Guignon)
Sound engineering – Ben Capp (bencappsound.com)
license
all rights reserved

BUY NOW
Digital Album

Mugongo Na Nzambé

“Bow of Heaven” by Maviango (Ted Nguimbi)

Digital Album
Streaming + Download

Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Buy Digital Album €15 EUR or more
Send as Gift

Ted Nguimbi, better known by his kombo (initiatic Bwiti name) “Maviango”, is a young Gabonese man (from the Punu ethic group) who is amazing in many ways. His instrument the mugongo is likely the oldest stringed instrument in the world and is born of the hunting bow. The flat string is tapped with what used to be an arrow and the other hand, holding a stick, goes between an open string and a higher register by touching the stick to the string ….much like a guitar fret. The mouth creates the resonating chamber to amplify the resonance of the string as it is tapped. The mouth and two hands work in unison to create an amazing number of textural tones and qualities that have to be heard to be believed. It is understandable that this instrument is considered by the original pygmy tribes such as the Babongo to be key in providing the rhythms and energy needed for healing, and is a direct connection to birds especially as well as animals and plants of the forest.

Maviango is a master of the Mugongo meaning that he is able to use the traditional rhythms and accuracy of tone and texture through his instrument to heal the mind, body and spirit. The Mugongo is extremely difficult…much more so than it first might seem…but maviango makes it look easy.

As humble and gentle as he is powerful and solid maviango teaches us through his magic sounds vibrations to return back to nature and listen and feel the sounds around us as a way to come home to ourselves and so to humanity.

Money from all purchases will go directly back to Maviango helping him and his family to continue learning and teaching and conserving his traditional Bwiti roots.

“Maviango” is best translated as “the unpredictable” or “the movement of the antelope”…as you will hear his gifted agility and dexterity are as unpredictable and beautiful as the rain from Heaven.

The first main track on this album was recorded in 2010. Maviango was about fifteen. The four extra tracks were recorded in 2018. Both recordings were taken at the NGO Ebando, (www.ebando.org) run by Tatayo in Libreville, Gabon …Maviango’s main home and place of work for most of his life. We look forward to this being the first of several collections of recordings.

released August 10, 2018

Mugongo – Maviango (Ted Nguimbi)
Sound Recording – Mometo (Ben Taylor) and Mutombi (David Nassim)
Publishing – Mutombi (David Nassim)
Sound engineering and mastering – Ben Capp (bencappsound.com)
Photos – Missambo (Yann Guignon) and Mometo (Ben Taylor)

BUY NOW
Digital Album

Efoufoup Ebele Ening Elarmeyong

“Clarity is the foundation of community life” by Abele Ngoma (Mba Obame Thierry)

Digital Album
Streaming + Download

Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Buy Digital Album €15 EUR or more
Send as Gift

Abele Ngoma is a “Beti” – a Master of the Sacred Harp (Ngombi) within the syncretic tradition of the Fang ethnic group from Gabon which blends ancient mystic understanding of nature, with Chistianism which was forced onto the culture from the 16th century.

The Fang’s syncratic way called “Ziliang” is an example of a tradition that has managed to overcome abusive colonialism through having within it root understanding that actually finds the Sacred heart of Christ’s message of love and community that has been lost to much of the Christian world but has always remained in the heart of the forest peoples and cultures. The Fang are victorious in overcoming there oppressors through the sheer vitality of there connection to nature. The word “Bwiti” is oftern associated with the Fang traditions but it is actually “Ziliang” as “Bwiti” is more associated with other tradtions from Gabon.

Abele Ngoma is one if the greatest masters of the highly technical, rhythmic and fundamentally ecstatic harp styles of Gabon. He is also a “Nima” or master of the Mimbara & Mboumba Eyano rites and works along side Papa Elie (Master “Awom A Beni”) and the three remaining wives of the Legendary Master “Minko” (Minko Mi Nzoughe Ava Jean Pierre – Iribenga Na Ngoye) whose temple remains a… more
credits
released August 2, 2018

Ngombi (Sacred Harp) – Abele Ngoma
Lead vocals – Abele Ngoma
Backing vocals – The three wives of Minko
Recording and publishing – Mutombi (David Nassim)
Editing and Mastering – Ben Capp (bencappsound.com)
Photos – Missambo (Yann Guignon)

BUY NOW
Digital Album