Sarah Ndagire & Pedson Kasume,
Traditional Music of the Bantu Women & Folktales of the Baganda Women from Uganda, Vol. 1
(Face, 2006)

This CD is perhaps too esoteric for many listeners, since all the music and folktales are in African languages that are obscure to most Westerners. However, it has the relaxed and joyful atmosphere that is characteristic of African music.

The vocals are largely call and response, with the woman who is singing answered by a small chorus. There is also solo singing and two folktales among the 11 cuts. Sarah Ndagire provides the lead vocals and Pedson Kasume plays many of the instruments.

The folk tales are the longest cuts and the least interesting, Although the language is rather musical, it is a rare listener who will be able to understand any of it. The CD booklet, however, has an excellent explanation of each song and folktale. It also has a lengthy history and description of Ugandan history and society, and a section about the instruments used, with photos.

There is little or no musical accompaniment to each piece, consisting of percussion or handclapping, lutes, small harps, one-stringed fiddles and xylophones.

This uncomplicated music is quite listenable. A search on the Internet can find examples to listen to and are the best recommendation to anyone interested in this music.

review by
Dave Howell

23 January 2010

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