Born in New Jersey, Louis Sarno now lives in the village of Yandoumbe in the forests of West Central Africa with the Bayaka people, known to the outside world as Pygmies.
Sarno is a musicologist and when he heard snatches of Bayaka music on the radio, he was intrigued by its depth and raw power. He was determined to seek these people out and discover more about the music that so enthralled him.
When he first arrived in their midst,. he was given a small beehive-shaped house. The Bayaka were living in a settlement attached to a sawmill built by Yugoslavs. The ongoing destruction of the rain forest had forced them temporarily out of their millennia-old home.
Sarno lived at first on a diet of tadpoles and manioc flour. Despite offering money and gifts, all he heard from them was drunken yodeling. After months of this, one evening he lost his temper, lectured them, called them lazy drunks.
The next evening it seemed the usual banal entertainment was beginning but as the drums picked up their pace, the women began a subtle yodeling similar to the music he had heard on the radio. He switched on his recorder, listened in awe.