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More than musicians 34 World Music and singers took part in the project, which took 6 months to prepare and 3 months to record. Ethnomusicological recording with the usual high standards of Ocora. It was the smallest of the West African nations in the Mandinka Empire and the most popular West African tourist destination at the turn of the new millennium. Its music and economy are dominated by Senegal.
Gambia was colonized by the British, gaining independence in Gambian music is performed by Fula, Suso, and Wolof griots who are the keepers of the oral history. Its neighbors dominate its musical culture. Kora master. Sotuma Sere , Traditional Crossroads. Susso's solo outing is a beautiful recording, showing his stark playing with subtle vocal undertones.
Popular Beatles-influenced band from the early s that has become more traditional since their Western pop beginnings. Saraba , Senegambian Sensation Retro Afrique, GHANA Ghana is arguably the most stable and economically successful country in Africa midway through the first decade of twenty-first century.
It boasts a constitutional government with separation of Africa 35 powers i. Prior to the fifteenth century, oral history refers to migrations from the ancient kingdoms of Western Sudan, Mauritania, and Mali. The first white colonists were Portuguese, who arrived in the region circa The Europeans named the region the Gold Coast because of its rich mineral reserves.
By the English, Danes, Dutch, and Germans had followed, setting up trading forts along the coast and in Togo. By the British had taken control of all the trading and in the Fanti chiefs signed an agreement that led to the formation of colonial states. From , the inland Ashanti people fought prolonged battles with the British, who thereafter consolidated the Ashanti territory with Togoland. In , the Gold Coast became the first Sub-Saharan nation to achieve independence under Kwame Nkrumah, with Togoland being absorbed as part of the newly named Ghana the name came from an ancient African kingdom, whose people supposedly emigrated to the area from the south.
Nkrumah formed modern, semi-industrial Ghana as a unitary socialist state. He was one of the great Pan African activists who used music as a tool to affirm the culture of his people, regularly supporting artists and musicians in their careers, and establishing an undying allegiance from the people as a result.
By , a constitution was adopted and separa- tion of powers in place. Despite periods of military rule, especially under Flight Lt. Rawlings in the s, Ghana has emerged to be the unquestioned leader of the region in the twenty-first century.
When fortresses were set up along the Gold Coast, they included military bands that featured flugelhorns, bugles, guitars, accordions, banjos, saxophones, and the like. Soon local bars, cafes, and clubs began presenting musical groups who incorporated the new instru- ments into their repertoire, eventually developing into a style known 36 World Music as High Life, a fusion of American jazz rhythms with the local osib music, a percussion-based dance music of the Akan people whose existence was inextricably linked to the gold trade.
Ghana is where the first Afropop music was born. High life developed its name because the music — originally played by big bands with large horn sections — was performed in swank dance clubs along the coast. Those who could afford to get in were said to be living the "high life" by everyone else who congregated outside the clubs to catch the sounds.
The outsiders were the ones who dubbed the music High Life. The music of Ghana is inextricably tied to the vision and genius of one man, E. Mensah , who is widely recognized as the King of High Life and a founding father of African popular music. Along with the soldiers came musicians who introduced jazz, swing, and Caribbean sounds to the local rhythms and music. Mensah absorbed everything, eventually teaming up with renowned drummer Guy Warren b.
Kofi Ghanaba in the famous Tempos band, which toured Europe in , playing mostly Afro-Cuban rhythms. It had always been there, entrenched in West African Culture. What I did was give it world acceptance. He was responsible for elevating the level of professionalism of African dance music and was the first to truly popularize it throughout the rest of West Africa.
The Roots of Highlife Sterns, Top studio guitarist formerly with Osibisa performs modern High Life with his band Boombaya. Ghana Gone jazz The hot name in High Life in the s with his band Sweet Talks, Crentsil is active in the recording studio scene in Accra.
One Man Thousand Akuboat, is his nickname, and also the name of his best, most available recording. One of the first African bands to achieve worldwide recog- nition. After independence in , a new nation led by popular President Luis Cabral enjoyed a cultural revolution and a period of freedom and rejoicing.
Kriolu, the local language, is a combination of Portuguese and Creole tongues, as well as the name of the music identified with liberation in Guinea-Bissau. The music played a mobilizing and unifying part in the struggle for independ- ence. Ze Carlos died in a "mysterious" plane crash in Sadly, after a decade of relative tranquility, war has ravaged the country since the mids and the people have experienced virtually nothing but civil strife and economic hardship.
The one upbeat note has been Guinea-Bissau's gumbe music, a genre related to the Brazilian samba, the morna of Cape Verde, and 38 World Music the semba of Angola. Gumbe borrows from many local folk styles and contains unique West African polyrhythms, non-Portuguese forms that date back to the s.
Although the future of this small country is currently in doubt as of this writing, several remarkable artists continue to record and make important music. The leading light of gumbe music. The Best of Kaba Mane Melodie. A national figure after independence, Ze's composi- tion Tustumunhol di Aonti "yesterday's testimony" became a National anthem. Colonial powers — Portugal, England, and France — traded with local chiefs, obtaining cheap, hard labor workers.
The boundaries of the country were established under French rule in when the country became known as French Guinea. When confronted with the choice of autonomy or independence, he chose the latter, mistakenly thinking he would be supported by Cote dTvoire and Senegal. Independence came in , but it was the beginning of economic and political decline.
Tour turned to the Soviet Union for help and promptly started a communist regime, which in the long run caused the fall of the country and its ruin. In , a Chinese-style Cultural Revolution was implemented, which led to an exodus of around 2 Africa 39 million Guineans, including most of the educated population, and further impoverished the country. As recently as Guinea was considered the poorest country in the world, despite vast natural resources of gold, diamonds, iron, and other minerals.
A great kora and balafon tradition and caste system of griots exists in Guinea much as in Mali. Once the official band of the government, Bembeya have been in business since the late s and are back on the scene with Bembeya Jazz World Village, They play big- band style Congolese music with trademark four guitars, touches of Cuban son, Islamic gnawa influences, and swing like crazy.
Tula Flute Blue Monster, cooks with more than a smidgen of Roland Kirk, an intense, trance-like recording. The Legendary Kora master. Anthologie du Balafon Mandingue Buda, Kante is a griot who at the age of 7 was sent to Mali to learn to play the kora. He permanently relocated in Bamako a decade later and joined the famous Rail Band. He stayed with the band for 7 years, eventually developing a rivalry with Salif Keita.
In he recorded Courougnegne, the beginning of crossover proj- ects incorporating Mandinkan music, which brought him fame in Africa and Europe. Former member of the Ambassadeurs, Manfila is one of Africa's great guitarists. Kankan Blues World Circuit, Moors and the nomadic Tuareg and Sahel people populate the north, with the Manding culture inhabiting the south. Mali is a poor country whose Islamic influence remains pervasive in the twenty-first century. It once was a cliche in the West to refer to Timbuktu as the quintessential, mythical far away place.
Today, despite Mali's traditional lifestyle and customs, Timbuktu is no longer an unknown location, in great part due to Mali's rich musical tradition, perhaps the greatest in all of West Africa. Bamako is the country's musical and cultural center, and Mali is quite simply a major world music powerhouse. Only these jelis griots in other regions of West Africaj, or female jelimusolus, are allowed to become professional musicians or singers.
Salif Keita, Mali's greatest singer and musician, is an exception to the ancient caste system. He was born into a regal family, allegedly descended from the ancient Malian warrior-king Sunjata Keita, who united many small kingdoms and who remains an important figure in modern Mali.
Salif's regal background forbade him from becoming a musician, but he broke the mold and tradition by becoming a performer as a non-jeli and in the process helped bring Malian music to the world stage. Ancient tradition is revered by the Mande people and the culture of the old kingdoms continues to be part of modern society, a polyg- amous one that has been slow to address the rights of women and modern technology due both to its poor economic state and reli- gious orthodoxy.
The rigid structure of Mande society is such that virtually every surname has a specific connotation relating to class, Africa 41 occupation, or profession. The limited number of names — Kouyate, Keita, Diabate, Sissiko, Toure, and Traore approximately twelve in total with spelling variations — are familiar to world-music fans, but create considerable confusion for the uninitiated.
The Wassoulou culture south of Bamako does not adhere to the class restrictions of the Northern Mande people, and permits anyone to be a musician. This region possesses a strong musical heritage that came into world prominence in the early s and dates back only to the late s as a distinct form. Many current West African stars come from this area, including the incomparable diva Oumou Sangare see profile. The kora is a cross between a harp and a lute, usually constructed with strings and played sitting down with the instrument in a vertical position, much as the classical western harp.
It is the melodic center of Malian music, widely heard throughout West Africa. The balafon, a wooden xylophone and its rich percussive sound is the other signature voice of Malian music. The ngoni, a long, lute-like instrument, is not as prevalent as the kora or balafon, but is an integral part of most Malian recordings. A wide range of drums are also part of the tradition especially the djembe pronounced '"jem-bay" , which is played throughout the world in a multitude of musical settings and genres because of its adaptability, mellifluous sound, and wide sonic range.
The styles that emerged at the time ostensibly combined Cuban and Latin rhythms with traditional Malian forms. Many of these Latin rhythms had of course been brought from West Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas centuries ago. Leading musicians from Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, and Ghana, upon achieving economic success and therefore freedom, have expatriated from their native lands mostly former French colonies and moved to Paris where opportunity to be heard on the world stage far exceeds that available at home.
Afropop, while undeniably popular music, has become a calling card from the region, popular for sure, but always maintaining its unique cultural identity. Although not "traditional" in the purest sense of the word, Afropop has evolved into a legitimately indige- nous music of many countries of West Africa having shed the initial Latin influence in favor of a more contemporary focus.
It has also evolved into West Africa's most significant cultural export. Sangare's release Moussolou Women , a gorgeous acoustic set, catapulted her to fame in the region even though her outspoken views against polygamy and arranged marriage were expressed clearly on the recording.
This did not endear her to the older male population in Mali, who cling to the culture's history of oppressing women. The women of Mali and West Africa heard her call, though, and immediately related to her message, as did the younger generation of men. Moussolou sold over , copies in West Africa, an incredible number for any world music recording, but an unheard of number for the continent where retail shops barely exist and disposable income is a foreign concept to most.
The subsequent World Circuit Label release of the recording elevated Sangare to major diva status. She has continued to prosper and get her message out, with a series of great recordings, songs for interna- tional film soundtracks, and a demanding touring schedule. Toumani is a leading instrumentalist in Malian music.
Kaira Hannibal, is the first solo kora recording Africa 43 released in the west; Djelika Hannibal, with balafon wiz Keletigui Diabate is a more realized work; Songhai Hannibal, is early fusion with Flamenco group Katema hetama. The new Malian Diva Dibi Cobatt, Salif is a master of praise music and Mali's greatest musical ambassador. Soro Mango, is a breathtaking master- piece, the standard against which all Afropop is judged; Folon Mango, ; Moffu World Circuit, is Salif 's best since Soro, a mature work by a true genius.
Baro Putumayo, is a gem; Maya Putumayo, The most powerful and revered female jelis- musolu singer in Mali. She is Arethaesque. Kity Kan Mango, , Biriko Mango, Praise singer with a Mandinkan griot voice that rivals Salif Keita. Kela Tradition Sterns, See profile. Moussolou Women World Circuit, is a gorgeous acoustic set that catapulted her to fame. Worotan World Circuit, is popish. Soleil du Minuit Tinder, The Rail Band began in Bamako at the Hotel de la Gare train station circa as part of a government-sponsored program promoting traditional music.
Salif Keita, Mory Kante, and many other stars served their apprenticeships in the band under the tutelage of visionary guitarist and leader Djelimady Tounkara. Mans, Mango, Espace Real World, is a gentle, soulful outing. Malian Tuareg group born in refuge camps in Libya are in the forefront of Sub-Saharan rock; Jimi Hendrix in the desert 44 World Music with robes, a lot of attitude, eclectic and haunting. Tounkara released his first solo recording in — Sigui Indigo, , which highlights his Western influenced folk guitar style in an "unplugged" set.
Toure is a major world music star, an African counterpart to Son House, John Lee Hooker, and the acoustic guitar tradition of Afro-American blues from the mid-twentieth century. His roots are from the Songhai and Tuareg cultures near Timbuktu. Kar Kar is the dean of the folk branch of Malian music. Rokia has discarded the conceptual confines of chauvinistic Malian society for stardom in the real world.
Bowmboi Label Bleu, is a breakout recording by an exciting artist. Wanita Label Bleu, A five-year Tuareg insurgency in the north ended in and true civilian rule took hold in Musically overshadowed by its neighbors in West Africa, Niger has a close historical and cultural affinity with Mali and Senegal.
Niger is essentially a desert land that is still reeling from the devastating drought in the Sahel region in the s, a country where it doesn't rain for 9 months of the year! It is home to the nomadic Tuareg tribes who are of Berber descent and live in the north and central west.
Unlike virtually every other culture in West Africa and in Africa as a whole , women in Tuareg society hold positions of power and have property rights. They are also singers and musi- cians whose role in nomadic culture is highly regarded. Dendi Music Ocora, This is a stark recording from the ever-reliable Ocora label. The Goge is the tradi- tional single stringed spiked fiddle of Niger. A group with a true vision that combines old and new, Niger's most adventuresome band performs with flute, bass, molo and komsa two-and three-stringed lutes , calabash, chorus, kalangou hand drum , and guitar.
Alatoumi World Village, Traditional Tuareg Music of Niger Ocora, By the thirteenth century, much of Kanem was Islamic, as were the kingdoms of Kano and Katsina, whose wealth came from control of the trans-Saharan trade route from West Africa to the Mediterranean.
These northern Islamic states remained untouched by Europeans until well into the nineteenth century. The southern states were dominated in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by Yoruba empires with traditional kings Obas who culti- vated European contact through the Portuguese spice trade and retained power through the nineteenth century.
By the end of the eighteenth century, Fulani religious zealots in the north, resenting the dominance of the region by the Hausa states, created the largest unified caliphate in Africa, centered in Sokoto under the jihad of Usman dan Fodio. The original conflict between the Islamic government in the north and the Yoruba tribes in the south has never truly subsided.
Over the years intertribal fighting and civil wars have repeatedly exacer- bated old wounds. After the spice trade lost its force, the Portuguese and then the British began to deal in slavery. By , when slavery was banned, 46 World Music the British took control of the Jos mines, destroying the livelihood of independent tin producers. The reliance on the mining trade was achieved at the expense of Nigeria's food crops, which led to the first-ever food shortage. In the British annexed Lagos and seized control of the rest of the region by In the region became the Protectorate of Nigeria.
In Nigeria declared independence and became a member of the United Nations, organized into a loose federation of states with the daunting task of unifying ethnic and linguistic groups. However, by , after a series of massacres, hostilities, and a mili- tary coup, the dream of a unified Nigeria was floundering. The Ibo seceded from the federation and declared the independent republic of Biafra, which started a full civil war.
One million were left dead and the name "Biafra" has since come to be synonymous with mass destruction and famine. A reversal of fortunes occurred in the s due to the increase in oil prices, providing oil rich Nigeria with a chance to go on a spending spree of reckless proportions. Corruption became de rigueur, crime increased, and chaos became the rule of the day.
The world recession of the s sent oil prices plummeting and Nigeria sunk into massive debt, with inflation and unemployment rampant. In , Nigeria succumbed to the rule of dictator General Abacha, who promised a United States type of democracy, but who ruled as a despot showed his despotic nature by executing well-known play- wright Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others for expressing their antigovernment views. Abacha died in , replaced by Major General Abubakar, who brought modest civilian rule to the country.
Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler and political prisoner, was elected in It seemed for a moment that Nigeria would be free of military rule, but things reverted to disharmony soon, as rival religious and tribal groups, no longer threatened by army intervention, entered into a protracted conflict.
Despite its unstable political history, Nigeria remains the super- power of West Africa, a position enhanced by its military interventions in civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. As the twenty-first century proceeds, Nigeria must be a major player in determining the plight of West Africa if stability in the region is to be achieved.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti was the father of Afro Beat, a powerful singer and saxophonist and Nigeria's most famous musician, whose music is best described as Yoruban jazz. His career went from controversy to dilemma due to his immense talent, larger ego, and his attcks on the oppressive Nigerian government. Fela was truly a militant activist who chose song over the gun, embraced the Black Power movement in the United States in the 's and transported the attitude to West Africa.
He was an arrogant egotist, an obsessive marijuana user, a notorious womanizer, and an international figure who lived by the proverbial sword and died of AIDS in His absence has left a void that cannot be filled. His live performances command several hundred thousand dollars each and his records sell in the millions. If Fela was the brash outspoken Mingus type, a foil and thorn in the side of the government because of his vocal opposition to the military juntas and his advocacy of human rights including his right to have wives and for marijuana to be legalized , King Sunny has reamained above the fray.
Born to a wealthy family, and himself a business tycoon oil wells and night clubs , Sunny is not exactly in concert with the powers that be, but simply above reproach in the manner of Duke Ellington — a regal being as his moniker suggests. JUJU Juju is one of Africa's great musical genres, a derivative of palm wine music from Sierra Leone, with beginnings in the early s.
Dairo, known as the "Father of Juju Music," introduced the talking drum, accordion, and steel guitar to the music and pioneered the short refrain that characterizes the vocal style and format of juju. His Morning Star Orchestra, later called the Blue Spots, was the most popular band in Nigeria just before and after independ- ence in Following the successful recordings of Ebenezer Obey in the s, juju became the prime popular music of the Yoruban people, with King Sunny presiding as its Chairman of the Board from the late s to the present.
Despite its popularity, juju 48 World Music retains a distinctive roots quality. It is laconic dance music, which draws on itsYoruban roots. Yoruban culture has sustained its strength and primacy, spreading throughout South America and the Caribbean, surviving the slave trade, especially in Cuba and in the Brazilian province of Bahia.
Even before the death of Fela in , Nigeria had begun to lose its musical identity. Dairo in popular lyrics, an ignorant attitude akin to making fun of Louis Armstrong. More Fuji Garbage Globestyle, Reggae star and Rasta figure. Spirit of Love Interscope, is a great reggae recording.
Kuti released more than 50 CDs of varying quality. Aki Special Rounder, contains Sweet Mother, which sold 13 million copies. Early juju star, fore- runner and competitor of King Sunny Ade. Pop star from the s, switched to gospel in the 's. Liberation Shanachie, The late percussion legend was one of the first international stars from Africa, a peer of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, and an influence on John Coltrane.
Drums of Passion Sony reissue, The vibrant music scene in Dakar, Senegal's largest city, is arguably the most important on the continent, and along with the legendary Abidjan studio scene in neighboring Cote d'lvoire, Senegal is the center of Afropop in the twenty-first century. Senegal shares Mali's musical caste system of griots, hereditary musicians born to sing and play praise music in the Wolof dialect. However, Senegal is a far more progressive and sophisticated nation than Mali, leading the region in literature, cinema, and the visual arts.
Many Senegalese think of themselves as French and in fact have dual citizenship dating back to the time they achieved inde- pendence in Senegal in many ways is a paradox, a nation that is 95 percent Muslim, but with a modern view toward the world that reveres music. After successive democratic elections, the government is quite stable and the future is bright.
At home, followers of the charismatic Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba and the Mouride sect of Muslims that follow him control virtually all of the music business. Bamba is a revered religious icon who brought 50 World Music modern Islam to Senegal, a more contemporary and tolerant brand than that found in Mali, North Africa, and the Middle East.
M BALAX Senegal's most important musical import is mbalax em-bah-lakh , an infectious, syncopated dance music that originated in the early s. It is played by a series of drums known as the sabar, which include the mbung mbung lead drum , jembe, tama talking drum , ngorum, bougarabu, tungune, ndende, nder, tiol, and talmbeut, collectively called "tarn tarns," each with a slightly different pitch and role in the rhythm. As with much West African music, mbalax has roots in Cuban music.
Beginning with his tenure in the group Etoile de Dakar in the late s, Youssou N'dour has been the artist most responsible for popularizing the music. He was the first to combine traditional music with sabar drums, saxophones, and elec- tric guitars. N'dour and members of Etoile de Dakar contributed the mbalax beat on "Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes," from Paul Simon's Graceland album, the first truly global exposure for the music and the rhythm. Since its explosion on the world music scene in the early 's, the music has continued to evolve, incor- porating global sounds and hip-hop.
The blind vocalists have been performing since the late s and now incorporate American blues, Cuban son, Indian rhythms, and French folk songs into their music. Leader and guitar virtuoso Thione Seek recycled Afro-Cuban sounds back to the motherland and estab- lished the orchestra as the most popular West African Group of the s and ''s.
Singer, composer, dancer, and world music giant Baaba Maal is one of the most exciting performers in the world. Exciting Paris based hip-hop group. Boomerang Wrasse, features a guest spot by Malian diva Rokia Traore. The biggest star from Senegal, if not all of Africa, N'Dour virtually created mbalax. Most of his recordings do not accurately display his true genius.
Set, from , is perhaps the most traditional; Nothing's in Vain World Circuit, ; Egypt Nonesuch, a reflective turn to Islam and his most realized recording. Former lead singer from seminal group Super Diamano is a great stylist and a major star. Ne la Thiass World Circuit, is superb. Blind guitarist, griot, and mentor of Baaba Maal. Nider Fouta Toro Vol. The seminal mbalax group, there before Youssou N'Dour, broke up in after 20 years as the political 52 World Music conscience of the otherwise conservative Senegalese praise music scene.
Old sides hard to find; grab anything pre Toure Kunda Celluloid. The Senegalese Wolof percussionist supreme, the "Jimi Hendrix of the skins" who plays the sabar drum, native to Senegal. Djabote Real World, In the late eighteenth century, it was established as a colony for freed slaves who wanted to safely return to their home continent, and when the British abolitionists colonized Sierra Leone their intent was to create a free state for slaves throughout the New World.
Freetown was the site of this plan in , evolving as an economic center and home to the Krio people, a new culture. In the early part of the twentieth century, diamond and gold mining supported the economy handsomely. Despite periods of prosperity in the s, in Liberia's Charles Taylor brought his civil war to Sierra Leone and chaos has ruled ever since.
Taylor's resignation coupled with interim support from Nigeria and the United States in temporarily quelled atrocities, but the jury is still out on whether or not peace and stability will come any time soon. Palm wine music is characterized by a light, easy, lilting song style that hints at calypso. Its origins are in the Krio culture, the seagoing, guitar-playing people of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Few artists in the world are as closely associated with a genre as Sooliman Ernest Rogie is with plum wine music.
Rogie used Western pop, folk music, American country star Jimmie Rodgers' records, and High Life to create his unique sound. Palm wine music expresses the everyday trials and tribulations of life; as Rogie has said, "Emotions are the same all over the world. Leader of dance band Rkoto and heir to S. The Sixties Sounds of S.
Freetown NubaNegra, The influence of Islam is especially profound in the Sudan, Somalia, and Tanzania. Kenya's alliance with the West, especially its trading relationship with Israel, made it a target for Islamic terrorism. The music of East Africa is the least known, internationally, of all the music from the continent. However, there are some incredibly unique sounds from the region, including a booming scene in Ethiopia that has reemerged since the end of the war with Eritrea; the vibrant musical cauldron of Madagascar; and the unique sounds of Maloya from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
Burundi gained inde- pendence from Belgium in It is a landlocked country with few natural resources. Poverty is endemic. At the time of this writing, Burundi had not recovered from the horrific "ethnic" violence sustained during the widespread war in the region from , which spilled over to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
The stability of Burundi is extremely fragile. The problems of the region in general have been greatly exacerbated by the AIDS epidemic, which continues to plague Central and South Africa despite promises from the United States to give financial aid to combat the crisis. While there is little recorded music available from Burundi, Khadja Nin is a major vocalist, one of Africa's most popular and talented singers.
Khadja, who is based in Europe, fled Burundi in the early s when she lost her husband and other relatives to the wars. She continues to record her brand of acoustic Afropop that speaks of the tragedy of her homeland, the politics and poverty, always with an optimistic attitude that communicates her love of life. Miriam Makeba has been her idol since childhood. Her first eponymous recording, Khadja Nin , preceded the world music boom.
Sombolera, is beautifully produced and put her on the map, selling more than , copies worldwide. Eritrea is the youngest country in Africa, with a long border on the Red Sea, a land full of hope and spirit. The music coming out of Eritrea is also promising, especially female vocalist Faytinga who is a burgeoning world music diva.
She is the daughter of a well-known soldier and as a teenager was a combatant during the struggle for independence. Her music features ballads, love songs, and composi- tions praising the soldiers and mourning those who died in the war. The music has a decidedly oriental feeling, evidencing Eritrea's prox- imity to the Arab world and Asia. It is one of the most unique and fascinating cultures on the planet. It was a Christian nation long before Islam swept through North Africa and even today retains a minority Afro-Jewish community, although many of Ethiopia's Jews moved to Israel in the latter part of the twentieth century.
Ethiopia's history in the twentieth century is inextricably tied to the Emperor Haile Selassie. He came to power in and modernized the country before losing the confidence of his people after almost 40 years as a mostly revered ruler. Selassie also played an indirect role in the development of reggae.
The Emperor became a quasi-deity in the eyes of Jamaican Rastafarians in the s, who revere Ethiopia as the promised land and Selassie as a divine Rasta. Following Selassie's demise in the early s, the repressive, Marxist Mengistu regime capitalized on the Emperor's failures, sending the country into isolation from the west until Mengistu's inhumane policies led to the horrific famine that gained international attention and spawned the "We are the World" benefit recording.
Due to the lack of sophisticated farming technique, peri- odic horrific droughts and a deterioration of Ethiopia's infrastructure, at the time of this writing the country was facing yet another cata- strophic famine that threatened to be as severe and devastating as , when more than a million Ethiopians starved to death. Amharic musicians have recited their oral history through song for centuries, usually accompanied by the krar, a 6- stringd lyre that dates back 4, years and is said to be one of the ancestors of the banjo, the masenqo, a one string fiddle, and washint, an end-blown flute.
In the s, a young Haile Selassie brought Armenian refugees from Jerusalem to Ethiopia to form a military brass band, and the style served as the backdrop for the country's early recording artists including Tilahoun Gessesse, the Hindi-styled Neway Debebe, and Ethiopia's most famous musical artist, Mahmoud Ahmed. These stars sang both traditional and popular repertoires playing the large halls of Addis where the iskista dance was performed, replete with shaking shoulders, heaving chests, and heads snapping back.
The music is characterized by a fast triplet beat with quivering voices and a call-and-response exchange between brass and reeds that brings the music to a rock and roll volume level. The unique character of Ethiopian music comes from the use of the five-note, pentatonic scale and a penchant for large intervals between the notes that creates an eerily incomplete, lingering, unresolved feeling.
The music is also asymmetrical and has an uncanny similarity to American soul music. Eskeusta, or ecstasy, is the term used to describe the shaking motion that is produced by the very best singers, an orgasmic state that is communicated to the listener during performance, analogous to the concept of duende in flamenco, although there is no musical relationship between these two styles.
The history of the suffering that is part of life in Ethiopia finds its way into the traditional music as achinoy, a melancholy and treasured quality in Ethiopian music, somewhat analogous to the Brazilian saudade. Since the lifting of the infamous curfews that were prevalent during the Mengistu regime, the established stars of Ethiopia can now travel to many isolated communities long out of touch with their favorite artists.
Addis has become a hotbed for new stars, who incorporate Kenyan pop, American hip-hop, and reggae into their sound. The long dominant Amharic music currently has competition from the neo-traditional styles from regions such as Tigray Gonder, Africa and Oromo, led by Kiross Alemayehu who spent 4 years in Mengistu's jails for his songs about freedom and democracy. Tender vocals from rural Ethiopia accompanied by beganna, an Ethiopian harp.
His best material is froml including his masterpiece Ere Mela Mela Hannibal, , also known as Ethiopiques Vol. Ethiopia's most famous singer lives in Washington, D. From the golden age of Ethiopian music in the s, a husky voiced microtonal rock and roll crooner. Master of the kirar, Demessae is a poet, dancer, singer, composer, teacher, and ethnomusicologist. Songs from Ethiopia Wergo, Eshete is credited with disseminating Ethiopian music abroad; he started his own record label in Ethiopiques Vol.
Legendary actress, dancer, singer, and krar player. KENYA The very mention of Kenya conjures images of fantastic wildlife, savannas, Lake Victoria, safaris, incredible landscapes, and total domination in the field of marathon running and long distance 58 World Music track and field. The name itself comes from the Kikuyu people who live near present day Mt. As is the case with much of East Africa, Kenya's past is inextricably asso- ciated with the Arab slave trade; Zanzibar was used as the shipping point for sending slaves to India and China.
The ubiquitous Vasco da Gama and Portugal were the first white invaders to reach Kenya circa Late in the nineteenth century, the Portuguese and British reasserted their interest in Kenya by instituting apartheid-type controls and land regulation. Britain ruled Kenya as a protectorate for more than 70 years and modern Kenya still shows the influence of colonial rule. Following Britain's brutal repression of the Mau Mau in the mids, the country gained independence in , initially ruled by pro- western Jomo Kenyatta, who instituted harsh yet sound economic policies, which have served Kenya well to the present.
Kenyan political leader Daniel Arap Moi's dream of a nonethnic democ- racy hasn't quite happened, but Kenya remains the most stable country in the region, neutral on political issues and a force for peace. The embassy bombings in in Nairobi marked the city as a target for fundamentalist Islamic militarism and exploitation because of its stature as the largest and most important city in East Africa. Benga is the genre most associated with Kenya, originating in the lake region near Lake Victoria in the s and combining local rhythms with Cuban rumba and Congolese styles.
Daniel O. Misiani was the leading proponent of this style, who sang in his native Luo he is still active , and the term itself is commonly used to refer to any kind of Kenyan popular music. Much of Kenya's music is derivative of other Afropop forms, most obviously Congolese, but the singing, high-pitched guitar work, use of the national instrument the nyatiti a seven-stringed harp , and bottle percussion give it a unique, identifiable sound.
Ogada is a wonderful folksinger and songwriter who also plays the Nyatiti. His gentle voice and warm persona have made him an international star, leading to roles in the films Out of Africa with Robert Redford and in The Color Purple. En Mana Kouyo Real World, Born in the Congo, Sam Mapangala is a long-time Kenyan resident, one of the most popular musicians in the country. Rootsganza Converge, High-pitched guitar Dance music; Congolese time to the third power. The Victoria Kings Globestyle, Kenyafrica PlayaSound.
Love songs in the Kikuyu style. Benga pioneer. The first colonizers were French who brought Malagasy slaves to the island to establish the spice trade. Eventually sugarcane became the main industry and more slaves were brought from Mozambique and India. Slavery theoreti- cally ended in , but indentured labor took its place, although the people were allowed to practice their religion and keep their names and culture.
In , the island became part of the Departement of France, at which time many ruling class administrators arrived accounting for the white population still present on the island. The music consists predominantly 60 World Music of vocals, sung in Creole backed only by percussion, a music that dates back to the chants of the slaves who sang on the sugar cane plantations.
As recently as the s, the French authorities in Reunion banned the music because of its strong identification with Creole culture and to the descendants of slaves brought to Reunion. Maloya has an affinity to West African folk, the Malagasy of south- eastern Africa, and most obviously the blues, but is truly a unique Creole genre combining the music of many varied cultures.
The racial mix of La Reunion is a true melting pot with Creole terms that identify not classify the denizens as yaf black , malbar Indian , yah white , zoreille French , and zarab Indian Muslims. The leading modern proponent of maloya is Danyel Waro, known as the "Black Soul of Reunion," even though he is yab.
He is reknowned for his commitment to maintaining the purity of the music and the Creole culture and staunchly resists the integration of electronics and nontraditional instruments. Waro has performed throughout West Africa and Europe. He differs from other Reunion artists in that he writes original compositions, using his poetry to relate the daily trials and tribulations of Reunion life to his audi- ence. He is a gifted singer and charismatic performer. Ware's mentor is Firmin Viry widely credited as having saved maloya from extinction.
Viry plays the kayamb, a shaker that is a wooden box filled with seeds. Traditional maloya is usually accompanied by berimbau-type bowed instruments, triangles, chants, and a panoply of primitive wooden percussion vessels. Ti Marie Indigo, France. Lele's music has strong connections to West Africa. His rough voice is soulful and communicates quite clearly even without understanding the lyrics.
Namouniman Indigo, Label Bleu, Sega La Pente is a collaboration with fellow Reunionite Francoise Guimbert; Fouton Fonnker won prestigious French music awards in ; Bwarouz Indigo, is his best with his working group performing traditional maloya, as Africa 6l bluesy a recording as anything Ali Farka Toure or John Lee Hooker ever did. It is widely thought that settlers first arrived there by traveling in canoes from Indonesia around CE. Arabic, African, and European influences were eventually mixed into this Southeast Asian base, giving the island its unique and culturally complex composition.
Formerly known as the Malagasy Republic, Madagascar is the fourth largest island on the planet considerably larger than California with its own peculiar flora and fauna, variegated terrain, and distinctive culture. Virtually everything on the island has evolved in isolation. The cities and villages reflect the cultures of these regions as well as parts of Europe. While Madagascar's music clearly has an island sensibility and its own unique style, the African influence predominates, with European and Arabic tinges due to settlers from Comoros in the background.
There is no one genre that can rightfully be called Madagascaran. Women's choirs, minstrels, and haiku-like poetry thrived throughout the nineteenth century. With the French conquest in came Christianity. The art forms of the three kingdoms eventually melted into a variety of folk traditions and styles, spreading and dispersing across the island.
The music of the 62 World Music Merina and Antaimoro has been influenced by Europe and is based on diatonic modes. The valiha, a string tubed zither that sounds like a Western harp, is the main voice of Merina and Antaimoro, the instrument most associated with the music of Madagascar. The harmonic structure from these regions is based on parallel thirds with an independent bass line and complex rhythms.
The melodies are long and beautiful, with other instruments such as the accordion, clarinet, flute, and trumpet incorporated from European settlers. Arabic music arrived with the Comorian settlers and Islam. Double reed oboes, tambourine, viol, ud, and drums found in Madagascar are similar to those used in traditional Arabic music. Reggae-influenced singer. Madagascar Banja Malalaka Playasound, Son of a Bara shepherd from the southwest, he has transcended the music of his homeland to join a small coterie of guitarists who enjoy an avid worldwide following.
Miandraza Cobalt, Ravo Cobalt, Saleg and rock vocalist who has helped internationalize the music. Fanamby Indigo, Master of the indigenous sodina flute. Flute Master of Madagascar Globestyle, Guitar legend who combines Madagascaran folk with French Chanteuse and appears on many of the CDs listed in this section.
The first Malagasy star to go international in the early s, accordionist, composer, producer, and proponent of the raunchy streetcorner style, soava. Formed by Samoela in , Sammy, as they are now called, is the leading Malagasy band. The number-one valiha master has recorded exten- sively in many contexts. He has several recordings with many Galician artists, most notably with Basque trikitrixa virtuoso Kepa Junkera on the classic Bilbao Resistancia, The country exists with no central government and is a veritable hotbed for mercenary activity.
Due to its strategic value as a coastal stop on the Horn of Africa near Arab strongholds in the Middle East, Somalia has become a political football in the war on Militant Islam. In , following joint efforts with the United Nations UN called "Operation Restore Hope" designed to aid Somalia in fighting the dual horrors of starvation and AIDS, the United States pulled its troops out and the country has been a free zone ever since, with various Saudi-backed Islamic groups the dominant force for chaos.
With this backdrop of virtual anarchy, it is remarkable that a music scene has survived in Somalia. The instruments prevalent in Somali music include West Indian lutes and frame drums from Egypt that predate Islam. After 64 World Music the arrival of Islam in the Horn of Africa during the fourteenth century, the oud and Egyptian-style orchestras began to permeate Somali music.
Pentatonic and Arabic microtonal scales can be heard in Somali song. Somalia's most famous and revered artist is Maryam Mursal, who fled the country during the civil war in the early s by walking for 6 months with her five children, eventu- ally reaching Djibouti where she was airlifted by the UN to Denmark where she now makes her home. She is a soulful singer who has clearly listened to Ray Charles, and her recordings are virtually the only ones from Somalia available in the West.
The Journey Real World The ethereal quality of the oud and the rhythm of African percussion combine here for a unique blend of Arabo- African sound. New Dawn Real World, Since , censorship and oppression have become state policy under the Islamic Fundamentalist Arabs who live in the north and control the country.
They have systematically persecuted and enslaved the Black Christian and Animist population in the south, banned virtu- ally all music, and forced the majority of Sudanese artists and musicians into exile. Despite the oppressive rule, Sudan has experi- enced economic growth since the mid 's due to increased oil exports, which has unfortunately enhanced the fundamentalist's ability to rule with an iron fist.
Needless to say, the despots have all but shut down the music business. Despite the current dearth of artistic expression in the Sudan, the mix of Arabic, Nubian, and Black African cultures has a rich musical past based on a convergence of cultures unlike any other on the continent.
The Sufis brought the whirling dervishes, the Africa 65 Arab influence is strong, and the Nubian tradition has survived the tyranny, albeit outside of the country. Expatriated Sudanese artists living in Egypt and Europe continue to contribute to the world music library. The indigenous Nubian population continues to combat Arab fundamentalists, keeping tradition alive in the south.
The Nubian culture is not Arabic and shares a plight and struggle similar to the Berbers in Algeria and the Tuareg people in Mali and Libya. He is one of the first world musicians recognized as such, having established an interna- tional career in the s.
He spent 15 years in Japan and China studying the biwan Japanese lute , and the pipa Chinese lute , lived in Rome and Vienna, and has made Oakland, California, his home for more than 20 years. Bandleaders Abdel Aziz el Mubarak and Abdel Gadir Salim have kept their careers going, despite censorship due the innocuous content of the lyrics in their music.
Similarly, Sudan's traditional folk music haqibah a harmonic, essentially a cappella music based on the pentatonic scale has survived because it is derived from Islamic gospel. Sudan's music tends to be melancholy and introspective and not as rhythmically vibrant as other African music. His most famous recording is Escalay-Waterwheel Nonesuch, from , which contains three Zen-like improvi- sations, including a song by Egyptian composer Mohamed Abdel Wahab originally written for Umm Kulthum.
Muwashshah the veil before the voice is a tribute piece to the legendary African slave musician from Baghdad, Ziryab, with Hamza's Japanese students using synthesizer to mimic an Egyptian string orchestra. The Sudan's most popular musi- cian.
Straight from the Heart World Circuit, is replete with accordions, saxophones, and a ten-piece band — live, Afro-Arab pop. The Sudan's most renowned female vocalist and an interna- tional star, Rasha is an expatriate living in Spain who has collaborated with Galicia's Uxia. Sudaniyat NubaNegra, Political activist, poet, and singer who fled to Egypt in Live in Addis Ababa Rags, A Sultanate was established in Zanzibar by The first Europeans to try to colonize the region were Germans, who slaughtered countless numbers of people, but they were eventually repelled, unable to establish a foothold in the region.
Colonial rule helped establish a working infrastructure in the country, which continues to function today. Tanzania was the first East African Nation to achieve independence in the s under its visionary prime minister, Julius Nyerere. While hardly thriving today, Tanzania is a true democracy, remarkably free of corruption with credible institutions. It is a stable nation in a region despite having experienced war, poverty, and the worst of the AIDS epidemic since the early s.
Popular Tanzanian music is a hybrid of other African musical forms. Cuban rumba led the way, followed by the Congo influence. During Africa 67 Nyerere's administration, he wisely used the state radio to dissemi- nate music and keep a cohesive feeling in the country.
Taarab is Tanzania's most famous musical genre, originally simply wedding music sung in Swahili. It is a blend of African, Indian,and Arabic sonorities based primarily on the island of Zanzibar. Female vocalist Siti Bint Saad was the most famous singer, recording as early as Bi Kidude is the doyen of Taarab.
The music at times sounds Egyptian with its classical orchestral style, but also has a clear affinity to Indian film music. Taarab is above all based on poetry, most often performed by female singers in the high register. Bands always include at least three percussionists, ouds, zithers, banjos, guitar, and bass. Oud master and vocalist. The Swahili Songbook Dizim, Thumb piano specialist, vocalist, and popular Zanzibar artist sings in Swahili.
UGANDA The land Winston Churchill dubbed "The Pearl of Africa" has expe- rienced a period of relative peace and prosperity in the new millennium and is one of the fastest growing economies on the continent. Recent good times have come at a price however; for the past 50 years Uganda has endured a series of despotic rulers and some of the most horrific regimes anywhere in Africa.
Prior to , Uganda was inhabited primarily by bushmen and had no central governing body or unified kingdom. When European explorers arrived in the early s, the largest groups were the Bantus from the West followed by the Nilotics from the North.
A search for the source of the Nile brought the first European explorers, 68 World Music and the opening of the Suez Canal in opened trade. After a period where Egypt governed the region then known as Equatoria , the British took control, opening the door for the ubiquitous Protestant and Catholic missionaries in the late s.
The clash between Islam and Christianity began a pattern of murder that was to terrify Ugandans for a century. Ekahalat - Naked Funk Rotation [Original 12" Mix] - Herb Alpert Adam In Chains Remembering Satie Sentimientos Beriba Ain't Feel Nothing Crying Angels Come Seductor Original Mix Afro Stambul Manvantara Africa Mystic Desire Lero Summertime Sinnerman Everytime Alone In The Dark Forbidden Planet Silence Fade's Sanctuary Mix Orgasmus Encore Une Fois Mix Waiting Afro Deep Remix Mana De Carnaval Trip Story Momo's Exotic Mix Move Jannit Adan La Soledad - Pink Martini King in my Empire King Version Sentimientos - Andres Linetzky Y Ernesto Crying Angels - Said M'rad La Vie en Rose Indien - Pascal Of Bolloywood Weather Storm - Craig Armstrong A Man and a Woman - Claudine Longuet Straight to Wake up my Love - Claude Challe Taal Zaman - Transglobal Underground Voyager - Karmix Shaft Version Orientale - Malik Adouane Showroom Dummies - Senor Coconut Felicidade - Suba How Insensitive Original Mix - Suntrust Soledad - Da Silva Everytime - Nikos Diamantopoulos Jungle Fever - Louie Vega Cajesukarije Cocec - Goran Bregovic Demasiado Corazon - Willy De Ville Logozo - Sidestepper Inshalla - Angel Tears Batwannis Beek - The R.
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