I wrote this piece as a contributor to Mixbliss , a Los Angeles based music and events promoter focusing on Africa and beyond. Check out the sites events calendar and even feel free contribute!
Here’s what I blogged today:
‘Everything has a Beginning’
It’s possible that the West African Ngoni or Xalam,
a three stringed gut stretched instrument, influenced the blues as we know it around the world today, more than anything. Why? The Ngoni is the father of the banjo, an adapted gut stretched version born out of the south during slavery.
The metamorphosis of music through the migration of people.
Like Senegalese Rap or Tassou, Sister Coumbis she’s doing it, and pioneers DaaraJ, the ‘blues’ left Africa for the Americas, then turned around and went back. Building, growing, changing. You might recognize it in the Desert Blues of Mali, Niger and Algeria from nomad Tuareg bands like Tinariwen and Tidawt
or from the more sub Saharan people of Mandinke lineage like the ‘sublime and incomparable guitarist and songwriter’ Djelimady Tounkara click here: http://youtu.be/GtnrDKI3xQw or Fulani/Peul origins like Hampate Blues. http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xkw4qg
Hampate et le Sahel Blues -Poulho by ice-up
In his fantastic documentary Throw Down Your Heart banjo icon, Bela Fleck does the reverse double back and takes the banjo back to Africa. I enjoy the looks on their faces; the hint of skepticism, and the glow of delight when Bela starts to play.
The migration and blending of music is fascinating to me. It’s a bitter sweet thing that African rhythms and their melodies left Africa on their own journey. And how after some time, it’s children came back to influence her. It is the magic of music, it’s essence if you will. It’s what happens when sharing & collaborating ensue; up lifting our souls and bringing us together. It makes us friends. It makes us healed. It makes us one.
It’s like the night in Dakar when I ended up at a club where Pape & Chiekh were playing. They were two guys on guitar with some all stars backing them up; and there it was, the baseline of southern rock circa 1978, woven through ancient African Sahel riffs. I was like ‘what the hell? this is incredible. They are playing my peoples music’.