Posts Tagged ‘Nairobi’
It is important for me to take time during my concerts to talk with my audience and answer their questions. One question that I am frequently asked is where my instruments come from. I have quite a collection – many that I take with me to every concert, but some that are so fragile or old so I keep them in the studio and they sometimes find their way into a recording.
I would like to share a story about a kalimba that I had in my possession for a very short time.
One evening we found a small package on the back porch. I had no idea what to expect as I did not recognize the name on the return address. When I opened it, I found a beautiful little handmade kalimba. The top was wood and the bottom was made out of what appeared to be a sardine can. It was painted blue with stars and moons along the side.
I immediately began to play the keys and the sound was so sweet – like chimes. I played this little kalimba while my girlfriend read the letter that was enclosed. The gentleman that sent it said that he had it made especially for me to give to one of the orphans that I work with when I visit East Africa. He requested from the craftsman that it be fashioned to play lullabies.
I have to admit that my first reaction was to keep it for awhile – it sounded different from any other kalimba that I have and I wanted to record it! I did play it for hours that evening and enjoyed every minute of it.
Eventually a group of orphans that I work with in Nairobi visited Ithaca NY for Christmas and I was able to spend some time with a young boy who I believe had a natural gift for playing kalimba music and was hopeful that I would send him home with one of his own.
On Christmas day this sweet lullaby kalimba found its home.
Welcome to our new African Music Blog, a feature designed to bring you the latest news about the world of African music currently enjoying a worldwide following.
Thanks to our dear friend Samite, Soul of Africa sounds are available to a global audience. The New York Times describes Samite’s music as “serenity” that “seemed almost miraculous”. If you know about Samite’s extraordinary outlook on life, you will understand why his music is so transformative.
From his early years in Uganda where his grandfather taught Samite how to play a traditional African flute, to his escape from a political dictator to Nairobi, to the peaceful enclave of Ithaca, New York, Samite says music unites the world. He blends African traditions with challenge, fear and ultimate rebirth.
Our African music blog will provide you with some of this history and perspective and update you on Samite’s latest project, an 8th CD focusing on Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Mathai of Kenya. Samite is proud that the winner of this prestigious honor hails from his native Africa and he will strive for music that is worthy of the occasion.
Like Samite’s extraordinary life, music with African roots continues to evolve. Historically African music has been difficult to record in writing; it is passed down in an oral tradition and that makes it very different from western music and even from the music of Northern Africa which has Arabic influences.
Sub-Saharan music involves dance as an extension of the expression of music. Since African dialects involve tone languages, that is, the pitch of the delivery changes the meaning of essentially the same word, rhythm; melody and dance follow the tone of the voice to assist in the “translation” of the song.
We will provide a lot of exciting information for you to peruse, both traditional and modern. So check back frequently with our African Music Blog and learn a little something new with every click of the mouse.