Kenyan Songs and Strings
Kenya 1950 & 1952, recordings by Hugh Tracey
The selection of music here is comprised of a capella choirs and songs accompanied by string instruments. Except for two guitar tracks and one oud track, the string instruments are all lyres – chepkongo, kipukandet, thum, litungu. The strummed lyres sound very guitar-like, at times positively post-punk, and then the wonderful buzzing bass sound of the plucked thum, with strings made of cow tendons. And an array of beautiful traditional vocal styles. And yes, this is the original recording of the famous song 'Chemirocha' – lovingly remastered, like all the other tracks. Total time: 63'04". 24 page booklet.
Tracklist: 1. Chemirocha, by Chemutoi Ketienya & girls, 2. Kang’et Chorwet, by Bekiyebei Arap Mosonik, 3. Arap Chemonget, by Kipkemo Arap Ngasura, 4. Bengeria, by Teituk Arap Sumiyot, 5. Ho Jambo Bwana, by Kepkoske Arap Chepkwony & men, 6. Naftali Ouko, by Daudi Otuoma, 7. Chief Gidion Magak, by Daudi Otuoma, 8. Onyiego Kobara, by Nyawaga Mgele, 9. Peny Gi Polo, by Elisha Nyakango, 10. Okech Okelo, by Joshua Mzee Adhiembo, 11. Olenyo Ber Neno Nyar Oganda, by Onyito School Choir, 12. Tong Tong, by Bondo Girls Choir, 13. Gevuse, by Jediah Khivali & girls, 14. Mulima Hale, by Salome Nolega & girls, 15. Makomere, by Joshua Omwami, 16. Habana Mapenzi, by Sheik Mbaruku, 17. Wanga Syeche, by Jeremiah Mukanda & men, 18. Nenda Mundani, by Kalachi Mbaru & boys, 19. Arap Chepsiolei, by Akito Arap Yeko, 20. Chepchoni Marinda, by Akito Arap Yeko, 21. Arap Kapero, by Kipkeino Arap Rop, 22. Ruimbo Rwakwa, by Rebecca Nyanjega & girls, 23. Kiriri, by Wangari wa Gibson & girls, 24. Mucungwa, by Tabitha Wairmu & girls, 25. Kiss Cha Moto-moto, by J.P. Odera , 26. Nyon Anyona, by the Obiero Group.
Songlines 2006 (GB): "There are such riches on this album that simply listing great moments feels pointless. There’s the sense of music heard across a great gulf of time, but of a fabulous immediacy too."