listen to africa

an audio adventure through africa


Sounds: soundscapes

Recordings of rural and urban soundscapes made during our 24,000 kilometre bicycle expedition across the continent. Browse the soundscapes below, or listen to:

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Geotag Icon Soundscape: Chain ferry to Guinea

audio, soundscapes posted by on Dec 15th, 2009

The ferry to Guinea

We reached the river that demarcates the Guinea-Bissau / Guinea border between Pitche and Foula Mouri early, while wisps of mist still hung over the river. The chain ferry tilted in the water at the near bank, attached to a chain stretching between the two banks. In this recording, you can hear the clunking of chains and the chatter as passengers hauled the ferry across the river. As our equipment was buried deep in the Land Rover (we took a lift across Guinea for security reasons), this was recorded on Atlantic Rising‘s kit, while they were doing real work (thanks folks!). You can read more about this journey in the blog.

Date and time recorded: 09:23 local time, 15th November 2009
Location: Between Pitche and Foula Mouri on the Guinea-Bissau / Guinea border (view on map)
Equipment: Atlantic Rising‘s equipment (details to follow)
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon A walk on Orango (flip-flops vs sandals)

audio, soundscapes posted by on Dec 15th, 2009

In place of the sounds of the salt-water hippos we hoped to record on Guinea-Bissau’s Orango Island (but couldn’t afford to), here are some flip flops and sandals, recorded during a walk through some of the island’s mangrove forests. Huw was wearing the (stylish, velcro) cycling sandals, and Will “short leg, strong foot” Lorimer of Atlantic Rising was wearing the flip-flops (brand unknown).

Date and time recorded: 10:24 local time, 11th November 2009
Location: Orango Island, Guinea-Bissau (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Soundscape: Morning at Tendaba

audio, soundscapes posted by on Dec 14th, 2009

We recorded this shortly before recording Life in the mangroves – and standing just a few metres away, in the wilderness near Tendaba by the River Gambia. Any help on identifying the species here would be very appreciated! Best listened to in stereo.

Date and time recorded: 07:52 local time, 16th October 2009
Location: Tendaba, The Gambia (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Hoop and stick

audio, soundscapes posted by on Dec 14th, 2009

We were walking back from a bird watching tour with a local guide and another pair of touring cyclists near Tendaba in The Gambia. Night fell as we arrived in Tendaba village and, hearing frogs that sounded like cowbells, we decided to stop and record for a while. Just after we’d packed up, two young boys ran up the track towards us, rolling their metal hoop – an old bicycle rim, as far as we could make out in the darkness. Here’s a snippet we managed to record, in mono (we only had our shotgun mic with us at the time).

Date and time recorded: 19:22 local time, 16th October 2009
Location: Tendaba Village, The Gambia (view on map)
Equipment: Audio-Technica AT897 via FEL MicBooster MB-1 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Soundscape: Island waves

audio, soundscapes posted by on Nov 13th, 2009

Recording the wavesWe recorded this at low tide on Orango island – a stunning and sparsely populated island of deserted beaches and mangrove forests in Guinea-Bissau’s Bijagos archipelago. The sea was remarkably calm during our stay on the island, and the sounds of the lapping waves at an ebbing low tide struck us as especially gentle.

Date and time recorded: 17:43 local time, 11th November 2009
Location: Orango, Bijagos archipelago, Guinea-Bissau (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Soundscape: The pirogue to Orango

audio, soundscapes posted by on Nov 13th, 2009

Loading the pirogueLast week, we left our bikes in Bissau and set off by boat to a couple of islands in the Bijagos archipelago – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – with Lynn, Tim and Will of Atlantic Rising. The weekly boat between Bubaque and the sparsely populated island of Orango was a wooden pirogue, which we shared with around 50 people, a dozen or so chickens, several pigs, a few goats and – on the return journey – six cows. We made this recording while the boat was still being loaded, before the bottles of palm wine and sugar cane alcohol had been cracked open for the five hour ride.

Date and time recorded: 12:30 local time, 7th November 2009
Location: Bubaque, Bijagos archipelago, Guinea-Bissau (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Soundscape: Life in the mangroves

audio, soundscapes posted by on Nov 12th, 2009

We recorded this just after dawn in the mangrove forest on the banks of The River Gambia, placing the microphones on a tripod among the mangrove roots to try and capture the astonishing pops, clicks and drips coming from them. We think the pops and clicks are created by crustaceans but if anyone knows for certain, we’d love to find out so please let us know in the comments! Best listened to in stereo.

Date and time recorded: 08:05 local time, 16th October 2009
Location: Tendaba, The Gambia (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Soundscape: A thunderstorm in Bissau

audio, soundscapes posted by on Nov 2nd, 2009
Thunderstorm in Bissau. © Listen to Africa

Thunderstorm in Bissau. © Listen to Africa

A thunderstorm in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau’s slightly surreal capital city. The thunderstorm started quite suddenly but went on for two hours – and the rain has only just stopped, seven hours after it started. We left the sound recorder running under an awning in the courtyard of our hotel while we sheltered in our room drinking tea and coffee (it’s a hard life, this sound recording). Best listened to in stereo.

Date and time recorded: 15:17 local time, 2nd November 2009
Location: Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Soundscape: The River Gambia

audio, soundscapes posted by on Nov 1st, 2009

The River GambiaWe spent several evenings sitting on the jetty at Tendaba Camp on the south bank of the River Gambia, listening to the sounds of the river at dusk. In this soundscape, waves are slapping against the jetty while, in the background, a tree-full of weaver birds sing their hearts out before nightfall. Best listened to in stereo.

Date and time recorded: 18:36 local time, 15th October 2009
Location: Tendaba Camp, The Gambia (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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Geotag Icon Soundscape: Dawn at Bessi

audio, soundscapes posted by on Oct 22nd, 2009

This soundscape was recorded at dawn in a derelict old camp near Bessi, not too far from the southern bank of The Gambia River in The Gambia. A lot of the former hotels and camps we came across on the south side of the river have been reclaimed by nature since the southern road disintegrated into a bumpy track – bad news for the Gambian tourist industry but good news for The Gambia’s 576 bird species. This was recorded using our new mics and, to celebrate, we’re keeping it long (10 minutes). It’s best listened to in stereo.

Date and time recorded: 06:44 local time, 12th October 2009
Location: Near Bessi, The Gambia (view on map)
Equipment: Sennheiser MKH30/40 to Fostex FR2LE
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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