African Harmonies – Siyabonga (We Thank You) (ARC Music EUCD 2697, 2015)
Sub-Saharan African vocal harmony records are like cats; it’s hard to find an ugly one. Basically, a well-rounded music collection is going to include some recordings from this genre. They’re rich, pretty, intricate and deep, and they’re in languages we don’t speak, so how does one choose one? The cat analogy comes to mind again. How does one choose one from a shelter?
That’s an individual choice … color, name, first impression, resemblance to others experienced in the past … This CD has a thematic strength. It brings out what is, to the singers, loved and respected about Africa and what is desired and needed for that arguably most tragic of continents. There are gentle pleas to children to be and do better than their predecessors and those of all other regions to make the potential of Africa a reality.
This is a short review because the record is about a very few though very large ideas, not because it does not deserve long attention. Please look for it.
Author: Arthur Shuey
Arthur has been reviewing music for publications since 1976 and began focusing almost exclusively on world music in 2012.
His musical background includes past presidencies of the Cape Fear Musicians Association and Blues Society of the Lower Cape Fear, founding membership in nine other blues societies, service on 17 music festival planning committees, two decades of teaching harmonica to individuals and groups, operating a small recording studio and performing solo and in combos for 30 years.
Arthur has written professionally since 1975, pieces ranging from short fiction to travel articles, humor to poetry, mainly for local and regional entertainment media. His blog,” Shuey’s World,” is featured at www.accesswilmington.com.