Friday, December 17, 2010

CD Review: Uganda's Kinobe

Awamu N'emikwano (Together With Friends)

Uganda's Kinobe is a talented vocalist, composer, and instrumentalist with an ear for world music. With the help of his friends, Kinobe assembles a group of musicians with expertise on the kora, kalimba, guitar, tama, harp, bass, balafon, calabash, and snare drum. The vocal songs are as good as the instrumental ones. A strikingly superb song, "Mu ddungu", is a desert-inspired track with Kinobe on vocals and kora. The up-tempo "Bukunja" celebrates the house as a special place of being. The vocals and percussion provides a rhythmic and danceable experience for all to enjoy. The faster rhythms are indicative of West African pop music or Central African soukous. The only English track is "Sorrow", which is about the ills afflicting human existence. An up-beat remix of "Abataka" is included as the final track. Kinobe offers a bright spot in the world of music by using instruments from long ago and infusing them into contemporary sounds. ~ Matthew Forss

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