Kenya & Tanzania: Witchcraft & Ritual Music

Various Artists

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Kenya & Tanzania: Witchcraft & Ritual Music Review

by Adam Greenberg

This album, an early portion of the Nonesuch Explorer Series, makes use of music from East Africa, primarily Kenya, with one track from Tanzania as well. Despite the title saying that witchcraft and ritual music is the focus here, there is little that would now be considered witchcraft-based, and for that manner, many of the pieces are of daily life and simple instrumental playing, without ritual involvement. Nonetheless, for its date, this is a relatively good recording, with a few tracks dealing with witch doctors attempting to heal patients (with accompaniment by drummers, dancers, and singers), a few wedding, funeral, and circumcision ceremonial songs, and various pieces of simple musical works -- marimba playing (but of course, in the East African style that is so similar to mbira playing), bung'o (horn) playing, harp-accompanied vocal pieces, and the like. The quality of the music is relatively good, though there are now more authentic pieces on the market, of course. Still, despite tiny bits of forgivable cultural ignorance, the album is a worthwhile soundbite into Kenyan traditional music.

blue highlight denotes track pick