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AFRICAN MUSIC.                         267
" Thus it sinks into a very dirge such as might be chanted at the grave, and be interpreted as representative of a leaden and a frowning sky, when all at once, without note of warning, there bursts forth the whole fury of the negro throats; shrill and thrilling is the outcry, and the contrast is as vivid as sunshine in the midst of rain."
" Often as I was present at these festivities I never could prevent my ideas from associating Bongo music with the instinct of imitation which belongs to men universally. The orgies always gave me the impression of having no other object than to surpass in violence the fury of the elements: adequately to represent the rage of a hurricane in the tropics, any single instrument must of course be weak, poor, and powerless, consequently they hammer at numbers of then gigantic drums with powerful blows of their heavy clubs. If they would rival the bursting of a storm, the roaring of the wind, or the plashing of the rain, they summon a chorus of their stoutest lungs; whilst to depict the bellowing of terrified wild beasts, they resort to their longest horns; and to imitate the songs of birds, they bring together all their flutes and fifes.
Most characteristic of all, perchance is the deep and rolling bass of the huge " manyinyee" as descriptive of the rumbling thunder. The pene­trating shower may drive rattling and crackling among the twigs and amid the parched foliage of the woods; and this is imitated by the united energies of women and children, as they rattle the

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III