Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Monday, November 23, 2009

Languid Charm: Swahili Music from Kenya and Tanzania

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What a fluid and melodic title for such mesmerizing and expressive music: Poetry and Languid Charm. This recording, a tantalizing masterpiece, is a compilation of taarab (poetry chanted over African and Arabic music), which was recorded in Tanzania and Kenya from the 1920s through the '50s.

Although I don't know the meanings of the words these singers are singing, somehow I DO know, if that makes any sense. You hear joy, fun, saddness, boldness, sensuality and so many other things in these songs. Some numbers use only one instrument and you don't realize it until after the song is over.

There's a song with children singing that makes you want to sing, dance, and cry for joy all at the same time. I can't wait to purchase this CD. I've borrowed it from the public library a couple of times already. I've probably paid more overdue fines on this one than I should have.

The titles of the tracks alone conjure up provocative and lively images. You can see the pictures that the songs create before you even hear the music.

1. Yearning Keeps Increasing In My Heart
2. There Isn't One Who Wouldn't Desire You If You Clean Yourself Up
3. You Are a Cat
4. Don't Be Greedy
5. Sheikh Salim's Song
6. Taksim (Improvisation) On the Nahawand Maqam -- Song For Two Instruments (This my favorite!)
7. Oh Lord Of Heaven
8. I Am Ill My Fellow
9. Cassava Of Jang'ombe
10. Like a Wooden Boat With Outrigger
11. Ee Baba Pakistani
12. Nahawand No.2
13. There Is No End
14. I Am Done With Being Questioned
15. I Desire a Flower (Love)
16. Where Is the Message?

Click here and listen to number 6.