Pieces of Africa

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Brian Olewnick
When released, Pieces of Africa was subject to some of the same "cultural imperialist" criticism that had been more successfully leveled at performers like David Byrne and Paul Simon. The album consists of commissions from African composers working at varying distances from European conventions. But whereas Byrne and Simon arguably used the music of Brazil or South Africa as backgrounds over which to display their own egos, the Kronos Quartet's members managed to sublimate themselves in service to the compositions, never giving the listener any sense of condescension. All of which is to say that Pieces of Africa is a very beautiful recording with several superb ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Brian Olewnick
When released, Pieces of Africa was subject to some of the same "cultural imperialist" criticism that had been more successfully leveled at performers like David Byrne and Paul Simon. The album consists of commissions from African composers working at varying distances from European conventions. But whereas Byrne and Simon arguably used the music of Brazil or South Africa as backgrounds over which to display their own egos, the Kronos Quartet's members managed to sublimate themselves in service to the compositions, never giving the listener any sense of condescension. All of which is to say that Pieces of Africa is a very beautiful recording with several superb individual works. Zimbabwe's Dumisani Maraire's opening piece, "Mai Nozipo," with the composer accompanying the quartet on drums, is a rousing, triumphant anthem with a resonant melodic line that will long linger. Thematically, most of the pieces draw on African sources, very clearly in the case of the Arabic-infused songs of Hassan Hakmoun and the great Sudanese composer Hamza el Din. Unsurprisingly, South African Kevin Volan's "White Man Sleeps" comes closest to European traditions, though even this piece, which is gorgeous and inspired throughout, draws inspiration from native environmental sounds. The disc closes with another composition by Maraire, with an accompanying gospel choir making explicit the link between Africa's music and that of the American South. Pieces of Africa teems with beguiling melodies, making it one of this quartet's more accessible projects and also one of its best.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/3/1992
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597927528
  • Catalog Number: 79275
  • Sales rank: 99,810

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kronos Quartet Primary Artist, Vocals, Ensemble, String Quartet, Akete
Hamza el Din Taragat, Tar
Foday Musa Suso Kora
Obo Addy Percussion, Vocals, Akete, Brekete, Donno, Gidi, Pretia
Dumisani Maraire Percussion, Vocals, Hosho, Mbira, Ngoma, Mbiri
Hassan Hakmoun Sitar, Vocals, Sintir
Ephat Mujuru Vocals, Mbira
Hank Dutt Viola, Vocals, Akete
Said Hakmoun Vocals, Bendir, Bandero
David Harrington Violin, Vocals, Akete
Joan Jeanrenaud Cello, Vocals, Akete
Terrance Kelly Choir Master
John Sherba Violin, Vocals, Akete
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Choir, Chorus, Ensemble
Radouane Laktib Vocals, Oud
Terrence Kelly Conductor
Dan Pauli Hosho
Technical Credits
Kronos Quartet Producer, Contributor
Obo Addy Contributor
Dumisani Maraire Contributor
Chris Baum Producer
Bob Edwards Engineer
Said Hakmoun Contributor
Richard Horowitz Producer
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Judith Sherman Producer, Engineer
Itaal Shur Producer
Paul Zinman Engineer
Ken Hunt Liner Notes, Interviewer
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Contributor
Tohru Ueda Producer
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