The Rukinzo Legacy

Sacred Drums

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AllMusic Review by

The members of the group that traveled around the world as "the Drummers of Burundi" varied from trip to trip. Just before their recording session in Japan, the 13 musicians on this album (under the direction of Leonce Ngabo) chose the name Rukinzo Legacy to distinguish themselves from similar groups. However, the listener should be aware that this music is less the provenance of certain individuals than an expression of Burundian culture that has been passed down over the years. The disc consists of a single piece, "Ingoma Z-Uburundi," lasting almost an hour and filled with wonderful rhythms and incantations. The drums are divided into higher- and lower-range instruments, but it is the thick, rich sound of that nether-region percussion that predominates. The rhythms are not as light and intricate as those found, say, in West African (Ghanaian) music. Rather, they are muscular, heavy without becoming leaden, and immensely powerful. They churn and roll along as though pitching on a rough sea in a bewildering series of patterns, always augmented by the shouts and songs of the drummers. If there is a transcultural analogy, it might be to the Korean traditional drum squads such as SamulNori; this music has a similar power and breadth. The same general "tone" is maintained throughout the performance. While some Western listeners may find this lack of overt variety tiresome, others will surely revel in the ongoing rush of percussion as though immersed in a cascading stream. Highly recommended for all fans of traditional African music.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Traditional
57:19
blue highlight denotes track pick