Zambian Roadside
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Various Artists
Zambia Roadside
Sharp Wood Productions, Netherlands

cd cover Zambia Roadside is truly what the title promises, a recording made by Sharp Wood's Michael Baird along a highway in the south of Zambia during two trips in 1996 and 2002.
It starts off with a few tracks of absolutely addictive, acoustic guitar music based on the traditional kalindula rhythms of the country, the mostly home-made and unusual guitars driven by home-made percussion like pop bottles, plastic containers and metal canisters as well as more conventional local, traditional drums, topped by lively call and response singing that often belies the subject matter; disease, heart ache and hard work are as common a theme as love and dancing. These songs, by a number of ensembles, are followed by glorious music of a slightly more formal nature: women's choirs, sometimes accompanied by silimba (xylophone) and kankowlea (mbira).

Then there's more guitars (some marvelous duets are of special note) and on to more vocal music, again the large women's ensemble, this time accompanied by drums and flutes in a what almost seems a hybrid of South African kwela and choral traditions. The entire CD is programmed in a beautiful mix of styles and sounds, shifting smartly from one thing to the next in a logical and musical fashion. - CF

CD available from cdRoots

Audio (p)(c)2003 Sharp Wood Productions

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