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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.



The Very Best Of Hugh Tracey
A sampler of the series, with six bonus tracks from a 1952 session by Jean Bosco Mwenda.



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.



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.



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.



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.



Tanzania Vocals Tanganyika, 1950
Six hundred Chagga singing on the slopes of Mt. Meru; one hundred Gogo on the plains near Dodoma. Funny songs by the Nyamwezi in Dar-es-Salaam; wigasha dance songs by the Sukuma near Lake Victoria; Masai chants.



Tanzania Instrumentals Tanganyika, 1950
Ligombo and nanga trough zithers, lamellophones, drumming, a flute requiem, Zanzibar grooves, a panpipe ensemble, a makondere horn band.



Southern Mozambique Portuguese East Africa, 1943, '49, '54, '55, '57,'63
Sena and Ndau mbiras; Shangaan singing, drumming and xylophones; Chopi reedpipes and timbila xylophone orchestras, little girls playing ocarinas; Gitonga drums and singing horns.



The Nguni Sound South Africa And Swaziland, 1955, '57, '58
Mostly unaccompanied singing; also with musical bows just knockout, some of the most beautiful music there is flutes, and guitars and concertinas.



Tswana And Sotho Voices Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, 1951, '57, '59
Singing, amongst ditlhaka reedpipes, and the lesiba mouth bow.



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.



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.



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.



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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