Ragnar Johnson Crying Bamboos: Ceremonial Flute Music from New Guinea: Madang
Published May 04, 2018Stephen O'Malley kicked off his Editions Mego offshoot label Ideologic Organ in 2011 with an album of Tibetan ritual music played by a deeply schooled collective of Russian musicians. Since that initial release, the carefully curated imprint has been one to watch, unleashing an endless stream of masterfully produced albums from some of the most introspective and interesting musicians of the past and present.
Crying Bamboos is Ideologic Organ's second dalliance with ceremonial flute music from New Guinea, collecting field recordings made by anthropologist Ragnar Johnson from 1979, which had been unreleased until now. The raw recordings of male initiation ritual flute cries are for the most part unaccompanied, save for the occasional drum and the soothing sounds of the surrounding fauna.
Complete with detailed liner notes scribed by Johnson alongside Jessica Mayer, who participated in the recording sessions featured on the 2016 reissue Sacred Flute Music From New Guinea: Madang / Windim Mabu, these recordings are a rare glimpse of a significant ceremonial rite. That the flute players featured were of the last generation to have learned this skill during a complete cycle of male initiation is of particular significance, as these recordings may be all that is left of such an important component of the history and culture of New Guinea. (Ideologic Organ)