New African Composers

New African Composers

Volume 1

Limitless Sky

Africa is a continent of over fifty independent nations, with thousands of languages and immeasurable cultural traditions, thus precluding any systematic or comprehensive codification of its people’s cultural expressions. New African Composers, however, proffers an exceptional overview of some the continent’s variegated musical traditions, without trying to be all-inclusive or overly ambitious, as it draws only from the sounds of Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

The styles on this album are diverse, ranging from the pulsating drum patterns of Yekete Beat Band’s “Madoya” to the calypso feel of Achigo Band’s “WaTanzania Watu wa Amani” to the mesmerizing a cappella of Delphin Mununga’s “Kilimanjaro.” Like Delphin Mununga, Garikayi Tirikoti proves that the voice is as powerful as the reverberation of the bass drum. While it is not likely that the listener will understand the lyrics that flow from the speakers, the language of polyrhythm and syncopation transcend the impositions of any systematized lexicon. It is music that exudes a profound spirituality, a resistance to colonialism’s lasting grip and a remembrance of one’s ancestors, all set to a contagious and intricate rhythmic beat.

New African Composers is an essential listen for anyone interested in the origins of so much of this world’s music, from ska and jazz to salsa and merengue. It is simultaneously a history lesson and a glance into the future evolution of what has become generically known as “world” music. It is certainly a must for those who appreciate the syncopated beats of hip-hop, or the free-verse improvisation of jazz.

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