Various Artists

African Rhythms [Manteca]

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African Rhythms [Manteca] Review

by Steve Leggett

This is a wonderfully atmospheric collection of African recordings dating from the 1950s forward, drawn from work done in the field by various musicologists and engineers, including Charles Duvelle, Hugh Tracey, Pierre Nivan, Gerard Kremer, and Jacques Charreaux. The sound is surprisingly bright and intimate, and the sequencing makes the whole album unfold in an endlessly evolving soundscape of organum singing, bells, mbira, djembe drums and group chants. Although undoubtedly of more interest to historians and collectors, the constantly shifting tones and patterns here are a good deal more listenable than what passes for new age these days.

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