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The "Tree of Music" Video


This video, produced in the UK and broadcast on the PBS-TV Nature series in the United States in 1992, includes segments featuring Sebastian Chuwa and provides background information on the conservation status and the use of mpingo in making musical instruments at the Buffet-Crampon woodwind instrument factory in France. It also profiles the use of mpingo by Makonde wood carvers. The UK title was "Mpingo: The Tree That Makes Music", while it was broadcast with the title "The Tree of Music" in the US. This video was instrumental in the forming of the ABCP as it introduced Sebastian Chuwa to an American audience, and was the catalyst for the first communication between Sebastian and James Harris, which led to their cooperative effort in establishing the ABCP.

The Television Trust for the Environment (TVE) holds the rights to the video. The Nature version of the video is now available for public viewing on YouTube. The TVE website introduces the film as follows:

"Narrated by Sir David Attenborough. At a musical instrument factory in France, skilled craftsmen work fragments of African blackwood into clarinets and flutes for the international market. But in the early 1980s, with more and more wood cracking under pressure on the lathes, investigations turn to the plains of Tanzania, and to the Mpingo tree – the source of the remarkable black heartwood.

The Mpingo takes over 70 years to reach commercial maturity. Prized by musicians around the world, it is also much sought after by Tanzania’s Makonde woodcarvers whose sculptures play an important role in cultural life. Michael Gunton’s exquisite film links the instruments of today with the forests where people first made music, and shows how sustainable management of Mpingo plantations benefits local communities and international markets alike."

 

Mpingo
The Tree That Makes Music

A GREEN UMBRELLA FILM FOR BBC/WNET 1992

52-minutes

mpingo film graphic.jpg (13532 bytes)
The ABCP is grateful to the TVE for making this informative video available to the public on YouTube, as of Nov. 21, 2016.

At a musical instrument factory in France, skilled craftsmen work fragments of African blackwood into clarinets and flutes for the international market. But in the early 1980s, with more and more wood cracking under pressure on the lathes, investigations turn to the plains of Tanzania, and to the Mpingo tree - the source of the remarkable black heartwood. The Mpingo takes over 70 years to reach commercial maturity. Prized by musicians around the world, it is also much sought after by Tanzania’s Makonde woodcarvers whose sculptures play an important role in cultural life. Michael Gunton’s exquisite film links the instruments of today with the forests where people first made music, and shows how sustainable management of Mpingo plantations benefits local communities and international markets alike. (Source: TVE website)


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Last revised  24 Sept 201 7 .