24 October 2005

Monday's mp3: Delicious Mauritius

I always chuckle when I hear someone say "I love African music."

Because there's no such thing.

Don't get me wrong. Africa is the source of much of the worlds music, providing the rhythmic foundations for jazz, R&B, rap, hip-hop, folk, and many other offshoots. Africa is a huge and diverse continent, bubbling with rhythm and melody.

It's just that there's no such thing as "African music." There's music from Africa, and it runs the gamut from sublime to insipid, from modern to traditional, and it spans every musical genre. Don't tell me you love "African music," tell me you love solo kora from the Jali tradition, or you love the sophistocated Afro-jazz of Cameroon, or you love soukous dance tunes from Congo, or kwaito from South Africa.

African musical diversity came to mind this week as I assembled music for a show on African islands.

Two islands dominate the offshore African music scene: Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) off the west coast, and Madagascar off the southeast coast. But many other islands surround the continent, inlcuding the Seychelles, Zanzibar, Comoros, Reunion, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe. The Oct. 21 Spin the Globe (you can hear it for the next 7 days here) highlighted music from these places, and also included an interview with Nawal of the Comoros Islands, who performs tonight at Traditions Fair Trade Cafe in Olympia (her only Western Washington appearance!).

This song is from the island of Mauritius (just pass Madagascar and keep going...). It appears on The Rough Guide to the Music of the Indian Ocean.

Kaya: "Sense"
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