78 rpm records released by La Boîte à Musique and the Musée de l’Homme, CNRS-CREM, CNRS-CREM, CC BY-NC-ND
Phonographic, cinematographic and academic posterity

Phonographic editions

The sound recordings collected during the Mission resulted in several commercial and institutional phonographic editions. A small selection was released in 1947 by the Paris-based independent company La Boîte à Musique in a set containing three 78 rpm records, soon followed by a similar one released by Pathé. A much larger selection of 95 recordings was also published in 1948 by the phonographic editions of the Musée de l’Homme in a set containing 34 records.

This collection was sent mainly to other museums, libraries and archives as part of the cooperative effort of the Musée de l’Homme. These recordings were later reissued on 78 rpm and 33 rpm records by Folkways (Music of Equatorial Africa, 1950; reissued in 1954), by La Boîte à Musique (Musique Bantou d'Afrique Equatoriale Française, 1958) and by the Musée de l’Homme editions (Musique bochiman et musique pygmée, 1957, Musique Pygmée La Haute Sangha, 1959).

Documentaries and film

In addition to these recordings, three short documentary films were shot during the mission by Jacques Dupont, with the assistance of Edmond Séchan and Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau: Au pays des Pygmées, Pirogues sur l’Ogooué and Danses congolaises.

Au pays des Pygmées received an award during the first international congress of ethnographic films in 1947. Both Séchan and Gaisseau later became successful directors of Academy award-winning short films and documentaries. Séchan received an award for his short film Histoire d’un poisson rouge in 1960, and Gaisseau for his documentary Le Ciel et la Boue in 1962.

The story of the Ogooué-Congo Mission also inspired a film by the French film director Jacques Becker. His 1949 comedy Rendez-vous de juillet tells the story of a group of young people in post-war Paris dreaming of becoming explorers, and who then start planning an expedition in Africa. This film, starring French actor Daniel Gélin as Noël Ballif and jazz musicians Rex Stewart and Claude Luter as themselves, was screened in a restored version at the 2016 Cannes Festival.

Academic research

Gilbert Rouget wrote several papers on the sound recordings he collected with André Didier during this Mission, an experience that turned out to be a decisive one for his career.

In 1965, he was appointed Head of the ethnomusicology department of Musée de l’Homme after André Schaeffner retired. In a long interview conducted in 1988 by ethnomusicologist François Borel and published in the Cahiers d’Ethnomusicologie, Rouget confided: “The discovery of these yodels and these Pygmy polyphonies was a prodigious musical revelation for me”. Noël Ballif wrote the story of the Ogooué-Congo Mission in Les Danseurs de Dieu, which was released in 1954. In 1981, he defended his doctoral dissertation about Pygmy people at the Paris Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Analyse critique et synthèse des connaissances sur les Pygmées africains, followed by another book published in 1992, Les Pygmées de la grande forêt. The French historian Brice Gérard also wrote an article about the Ogooué-Congo Mission, which was published in Grahiva, the anthropology and art history journal of the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac.