Monday, January 19, 2009

African Music

As apart of my New Years resolution to be more aware of world food and culture, I recently did some heavy research on the culture of Kenya. Yeah—it’s great that I’ll be cooking Irio (hopefully I fix it as close to authentic as possible), but I certainly want to know more about African music. Now, I have my favorite artists (Benga being one of my favorite genres and Fela Kuti being one of my favorite Nigerian artists), but I wanted to explore more. My goal is to serve a traditional Kenyan meal with an evening of African music—in my mind, the ultimate cultural experience.

Joseph Odindo provides a short list of his favorite tunes. Odindo also discusses the distinct styles of East African music as opposed to other forms of African music. I was particularly interested in the Marimba. A Marimba is a set of wooden xylophones (played with drumsticks called “beaters”) that is accompanied with the piccolo and the baritone (both soprano and tenor).

I’ve never heard the Marimba ensemble, but I am anxious to search for African songs that contain this melodic sound. According to Joseph Odindo, Marimba’s popularity first grew in Zimbabwe, but is now popular in South Africa, North Africa, Australia, and Europe.

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