Full Moon Mix: African Field Recordings

It’s getting cold here at the Moon Lagoon, but tribes from Kenya, Ghana, Congo, Mali, Cameroon, Senegal and Burundi warm things up with a polyrythmic roundel.

All of this music was recorded by ethnomusicologists outdoors, on village squares, in backyards and in the back country. In spite of that, most of these songs sound like they were recorded in a studio. The sound quality is astonishing, and so is the music.

These sounds created by traditional African instruments like the sanza, the nyatiti, and most prominently the balafon are uninformed by pop and its relatives, but interestingly they predict genres supposedly invented in the 20th century: jazz, blues, minimal music, even techno, it’s all been there before, in the soil of the motherland.

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1. nyatiti player, Luo tribe, Kenya – title unknown
Tribal Music From East Africa Vol. 1, CMS 1964

2. balafon player, Lobi tribe, Ghana – High Life
Sounds Of West Africa – The Kora & The Xylophone, Lyricord 1976

3. balafon orchestra, Yassoua tribe, Congo – title unknown
Musique Bantou D’Afrique Equatoriale Francaise, BAM 1958

4. balafon player from Mopti, Mali – title unknown
Black Magic 2 – Beispiele Afrikanischer Musik 1&2, Perlinger-Verlag 1978

5. sanza and rattle player, Bali tribe, Cameroon – title unknown
Zanza, Gogi und Alghaita – Musik aus Dörfern in Nordwest-Kamerun, Brot für Brüder 1980

6. three Griots from Mopti, Mali – title unknown
Black Magic 2 – Beispiele Afrikanischer Musik 1&2, Perlinger-Verlag 1978

7. flute and rattle players, Wolof tribe, Senegal – Dance Acrobatique
Senegal, Ex Libris 1975

8. balafon duo and harp player from Yaoundé, Kamerun – Mesi Ng’ekudi
Kamerun, Ex Libris 1976

9. singer from Bujumbura, Burundi – Akazehe
Musique Du Burundi, Disques Ocora 1968

10. harp player from Cameroon – Mansa
Music of the Cameroons, Folkways Records 1961

11. sanza player from Bujumbura, Burundi – title unknown
Musique Du Burundi, Disques Ocora 1968

12. njung orchestra from Cameroon – Njung
Music of the Cameroons, Folkways Records 1961

13. balafon sextet from Yaoundé, Kamerun – Ngo Somo
Kamerun, Ex Libris 1976

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