Various Artists

Anthology of World Music: Africa - The Dan

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Another volume in Rounder's reissuance of Alain Danielou's vision, the Anthology of World Music: Africa - The Dan covers the music of a tribe that occupies territory in both the Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia. For the most part, the music is highly energetic, and the selections (originally recorded by ethnomusicology legend Hugo Zemp) show the way in which music is a part of every part of life for this tribe (and indeed for most of Africa). From sowing to harvesting, from music for chieftains to music for little girls, every aspect of life is enhanced by music for the people of the Dan. The festival musics are exceptional, and the demonstration of drum rhythms (with the lead drummer actually from a different tribe) would put other drummers to shame. Luckily, there is a short example of the sanza, that African-encompassing instrument. Other highlights include the trumpet orchestra, where six trumpeters use side-blown ivory trumpets, used for speech surrogation as well as music, and the mask race music, which is fuller of excitement than most rock concerts, with more complicated rhythms and interlocking vocals than you could shake a stick at. As is the case with most of the recordings from this Rounder set, the music is good both in an ethnographic studies sense as well as in a purely musical enjoyment sense. Buy it whether you like African music or not.

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