This night was recorded in the middle of the montane tropical forest, inside the “Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta” in north Colombia
The recording begins in the late afternoon, on a background of cicadas, some amphibians, then a “crested oropendula”, a beautiful bird with yellow tail, already met in Guatemala, who falls backwards to release his very particular sound. Parakeets in flight. Cracking branches announce the arrival of howler monkeys for a series of powerful vocalisations.
The night settles and the cicadas sound louder and louder, then calm down. Birds occupy the space of the night with strange calls.
In the morning with the monkeys in the distance, the cicadas wake up, as well as the birds. Then after this brief chorus, the cicadas become silent and leave space for toucans and squirrels.
The “explosive” surprise of the trip : Guatemala. First country on the list of Central America, this country had instant immersive power, without transition. And to set the tone, it is on the Mayan site of Uaxactún that we spend our first night. Isolated by an unpaved road and eclipsed by its great rival : Tikal, only a few kilometers below, the site is deserted by tourists. Yet, the place is of mystical beauty, lost in a devouring jungle and in an ocean of sounds
Here is a recording, which we made, leaving a “sound trap” all night, near to our camp:
But beyond the magic of the site, we have woven links with 4 girls from the village, a particular and unexpected moment that stretched over 2 days. We opened our truck and cooked together, had lunch, sung, listened to the sounds and talked about the spirit of the forest. Then, at an improvised ceremony, they surrounded us by lianas and remarried forever. At the time of the goodbyes, our truck was dotted with floral arrangements, each small creation made with method and taste. We left the heart heavy, with the feeling that Guatemala will offer us something big.
The suite was exponential, in color, tradition and warmth. Adventures that we had the chance to share with family.
Here are some small audio snippets of Guatemalan markets:
This vibrant experience ended with an experience we will not forget, sleeping close to the Fuego, a very active volcano. We were going to miss out in our crazy race, we can never thank enough Gwendoline and Jérémy, met on the roads of Guatemala, to have put the idea in our heads.
The day before, we choose all four to spend the evening at the home of our guide, Catalino, in his family. Instant pub for Asoava, two times cheaper than the agencies in Antigua. To see the phenomenon, you have to walk on the dusty slopes of the nearby volcano, the Acatanango, to the base camp at 3500 m. Tents, duvets and meals will be worn by our guides, but the 4 liters of water per person, multiple layers for the night close to zero and the sound gear was for us. According to Catalino, the volcano is very active in this moment, so we will take all the recording equipment : recorder, Double M/S, Ambeo ambisonic microphone, telinga parabola, 3 microphone stand, battery for 2 days of recording.
I could describe the ascent, but I only have the memory of being attracted like a magnet to the top, guided by the sounds : stronger and stronger. End despite the steep and stony slope, altitude and dust, the march was only a detail compare to the Fuego.
Arrived at the end of the afternoon, it is at sunset that we observe it. Every 10 minutes, a thick smoke explosion occurs. Then 8 seconds later, the sound reaches our ears and makes them vibrate.
Here is a recording of the explosion of the Fuego :
Once night falls, the smoke gives way to a glowing lava, in intense explosions. Beyond the beauty of the show, breathtaking, the sound is unique. Sometimes deep roar come from the bowels of the earth or dry detonation, the expulsion of the volcano produces an intense vibration into the body, a low frequency harsh frequency. Adrenaline at its peak, it was a sleepless night at the top.
The climb of the last 500m started at night to reach the summit of Acatanango before dawn. Under the stars, with the moon and the still glowing volcano of its night, the fantastic power of the moment exceeds us but still resonates in our bodies.