This week on WKCR we had an exciting live performance from the Arun Ramamurthy Quartet who combine traditional Carnatic (South Indian) music with some Western instruments like the drum kit and the double bass.
Thomas Mapfumo, of Zimbabwe, is a revolutionary musician in every sense of the word. Musically, his band was one of the first to experiment with combining the mbira (thumb piano) and electric guitars and he was the first to put his own lyrics to traditional Shona melodies. Politically, these songs became the anthems of the freedom fighters during White minority rule.
When the revolution succeeded and Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, he continued to be a gadfly. He questioned the integrity of Robert Mugabe and the current government. He now lives in exile and while immensely popular his music is banned in the country where he is most beloved.
A couple recordings I made with a mini-disc recorder in Independent Samoa in 2002 0r 2003. Every Samoan can sing, if you started to sing a song on a public bus everyone would join you. The houses have thatched roofs and walls of woven leaves that are folded up during the daytime so the breeze sweeps through. Here are some pics: the father and son are from the Falonga Bay village in Upolo, where I recorded the outstanding youth chours.