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Kenyan Songs And Strings
1950 And 1952

SWP

From his home in South Africa, Hugh Tracey son of a Devonshire doctor travelled throughout southern, central and eastern Africa every year between 1948 and 1963, amassing his pioneering field recordings.

From his work with the Luo, Luhya, Kipsigis, Kikuyu, Nandi, Swahili, Wanga and Giriama tribes this is an awe-inspiring selection of choirs and songs with string accompaniment. Except for a couple of guitar parts, and one oud, the string instruments are all lyres chepkongo, kipukandet, litungu, and thum (with strings made of cow-tendons).

As always with this series, the remastering is excellent, and the booklet is fully informative, with translations and great photographs. And the music itself is stunning, unearthly and beautiful as a matter of routine.



At The Court Of The Mwami Rwanda, 1952
From the court of the Kingdom of Rwanda abolished nine years later when the Republic was formed: the royal drums and courtly music disappeared along with the Mwami, or 'king-shepherd', after five centuries.



Bulawayo Jazz Southern Rhodesia, 1950, '51, '52
In front, trumpet and tenor saxophone, dominated by a wailing alto sound you can trace through to Dudu Pukwana; the bottom end, trombone or tuba or double bass; banjos strumming away; military-style drumming.



Colonial Dance Bands Kenya, Tanganyika, Portuguese East Africa, Northern Rhodesia, Belgian Congo
1950 and 1952. A variety of dance-band styles, nostalgic, exotic and pioneering all at the same time: pros playing to Europeans in hotels; or enthusiasts, copying the radio, to African audiences.



Forest Music Northern Belgian Congo, 1952
Two Mangbetu communities from the rainforest, the Mayogo and the Meje: drum ensembles, mass singing, likembe. Also the xylophone and kundi harp of the Azande people; more harp songs by the Balendu.



Forgotten Guitars From Mozambique Portuguese East Africa, 1955, '56, '57
The roots of marrabenta compelling guitar-playing, and gritty songs about everyday issues, like having kids, sleeping around, snobbery and the supernatural.



Kalimba And Kalumba Songs Zambia And Northern Rhodesia, 1952 And 1957
The kalimba is part of the mbira family, a 'thumb-piano'; the kalumbu is a one-string gourd bow related to the Brazilian berimbau.



Kanyok And Luba Southern Belgian Congo, 1952 And 1957
Two-thirds from the townships of the copper mines of Katanga Province, showing the early urbanisation of traditional sounds, the guitar taking over the thumb-piano parts.



Northern And Central Malawi Nyasaland, 1950, '57, '58
The bangwe zither, the one-stringed karigo lute, the kubu bow, the kalimba, malipenga gourd-kazoo marching music, choral and polyphonic singing.



On The Edge Of The Ituri Forest Northeastern Belgian Congo, 1952
Musical as well as economic interaction between the Mbuti pygmies and the Nande, Bira, Mangbele and Budu peoples living on the edge of the Ituri rainforest in the northeastern Belgian Congo.



Origins Of Guitar Music Southern Congo And Northern Zambia, 1950-52, 57-58
From the copper mining towns of Katanga province, within the likembe tradition of the Luba peoples; and from the Zambian Copperbelt, diversely influenced by tradition or by American music from the radio.



Other Musics From Zimbabwe Southern Rhodesia, 1948, '49, '52, '57, '58, '63
Assorted mbira, mouth bows, karimba, story-songs, mulanji flutes, panpipes, drums.



Royal Court Music From Uganda 1950 And 1952
The royal music of the Ganda, Nyoro and Ankole peoples, lost when the palaces were burned down in 1966, and many of the musicians killed, and their instruments (some of them over four hundred years old) destroyed.



Secular Music From Uganda Uganda, 1950 And 1952
Likembe thumb-piano get-togethers, yodels and ekidongo harps, leg-rattles, vocal knees-ups, magwala horn groups, flutes, xylophones and drums.



The Legendary George Sibanda Southern Rhodesia, 1948, '49, '50, '52
His fine guitar-picking and upbeat, carefree songs brought George Sibanda from Bulawayo the fame throughout southern Africa and he was versioned in the US which drove him to drink and an early grave.



Southern And Central Malawi Nyasaland, 1950, '57, '58
The bangwe board zither, gourd kazoo big bands, tuned likhuba drum ensembles, virtuoso xylophone, a capella singing.



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