Zanzibara, Vol. 3: Ujamaa

Zanzibara, Vol. 3: Ujamaa

     
 
The commonly held Western stereotype of music from sub-Saharan Africa is that it's all about the beat. But that's a stereotype that tends to fall apart upon actual contact with much of the music from that huge region. While rhythm is always important, in many cases it's subtle almost to the point of being subliminal. Take, for example, this gorgeous collection of

Overview

The commonly held Western stereotype of music from sub-Saharan Africa is that it's all about the beat. But that's a stereotype that tends to fall apart upon actual contact with much of the music from that huge region. While rhythm is always important, in many cases it's subtle almost to the point of being subliminal. Take, for example, this gorgeous collection of Tanzanian dance recordings from the 1960s. It's not that it's hard to imagine people dancing to these songs -- there's plenty of rhythmic complexity going on -- but what catches your attention immediately is everything else: the tight vocal harmonies, the multi-layered guitars that sometimes cascade in close parallel lines and sometimes explode softly but brilliantly into kaleidoscopic counterpoint, the saxophone lines that could have loped sweetly across the ocean from Trinidad or the Bahamas. The beats are gentle, and often evoke Latin America more than they do the harder-edged sounds of Tanzania's neighbors Congo and Kenya (note in particular the conga-like hesitation step of the Morogoro Jazz Band's "Nimechoka"). This collection consists of 17 tracks by five Tanzanian bands, but only those who already have a pretty extensive familiarity with the music of this country and period will be able to tell them apart -- to most everyone else, all 17 tracks will run together in the sweetest and most pleasant way, lulling listeners into a happy delirium on clouds of layered guitars and gently crooned vocals. Very highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/04/2007
Label:
Buda Musique
UPC:
3341348601427
catalogNumber:
860142
Rank:
107106

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