01 June 2009

Monday's mp3: Raw Rhythm

If you love African music -- particularly rhythm -- you've undoubtedly heard the group Amampondo. They've been around since 1979, and a brand new album titled African Classics has just been released. I haven't got that yet, but today's track is included on the new disc, so consider it a preview. This track is actually taken, from a hard-to-find raw acoustic release called Raw and Undiluted, which as far as I can tell is widely available only as a download.

During the politically turbulent 1980's, the group went from being Cape Town buskers and cultural activists to being an internationally acclaimed percussion ensemble. To this achievement, may be added the fact that not only are they accomplished musicians, but educators in their own right.

Amampondo means, literally, people from Mpondo – Pondo land, in the Eastern Cape between Umtata and Port St Johns. They took this name to reflect their desire to preserve the Xhosa musical traditions and instruments. And they're still going strong 30 years on.

This song is, yes - you guessed it, a tribute to the founder of Afrobeat.

[mp3] Amampondo: Song for Fela
from the album Raw and Undiluted
also found on the new release African Classics

Here's a video from the group; I'm told the song is about the importance of milk!


Miriam Makeba does a song called "Amampondo," by the way. You can catch the video here.

More Amampondo:
band bio
more sound samples
youtube
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