Various New African Composers

It's always great to hear African music recorded in Africa, rather than Paris, London or North America. This is the result of three years worth of work at a studio in Dar Es Salaam set up by an American couple, Michel & Rose Tyabji, with the help of the Tanzanian Ministry of Culture. And this is a community-oriented studio, recording established musicians and up and comers of the Dar Es Salaam scene made possible by the cooperation of the government. There is a balance between clear, subtly effected production and booty shaking rhythms that only a few African artists have been able to achieve since the onslaught of synths in the ’80s. There has been a conscious decision to go with a natural sound and feel throughout these recordings, but also to create modern music using the full capabilities of multi-tracked recording. While individual parts of songs may sound a little hesitant, the grooves are never in doubt. Bands like Yekete Beat and Achigo are time-tested, rumba-spiked crowd pleasers and each of their outstanding tracks feature funky, insistent drumming. Other songs feature instrumental virtuosi — acoustic guitar ace Ndala Kasheba (who has a full-length CD of his own out on the same label) and mbira master Garikayi Tirikoti both showcase considerable talents. Tirikoti's eight-mbira orchestra is a wonder to listen to — nothing but the characteristic metallic rods producing a wide range of frequencies, harmonies and kick-ass rhythms. This is a fine sampler of artists that undoubtedly will each release solid discs of their own. Watch out for this label in the months to come! (Limitless Sky)