PRICE: $23.50
IN STOCK
Disc 1
01
Ssekinomu Wireless
03 :05
02
Ali And Party Enyi Wa Hiari
03 :01
03
J.P. Nyangira Hongo Owiti
03 :24
04
Ochieng Olieu
03 :13
05
Sumoni And Party Soya
03 :17
06
J.P. Nyangira John Geko
03 :33
07
Owombo Wa Agola Ahenda
03 :22
08
Jumbe Ali Silwezi Tabu
03 :41
09
Karanja And Party Gechande
03 :15
10
Shinda Gikombe Njane Kanini
03 :13
11
Chuba Shee Kuleta Fakira
03 :13
12
Badi And Party Wangu Mliwazi
03 :22
13 03 :25
14
Machakos Party Meselou
03 :09
15
Mbuyi James Onunga
03 :14
16
Ssekinomu Ekyalema Nakato
03 :07
17
John Killion Guara W. Apondo
03 :13
Disc 2
01
Were Omito Aoko
02 :51
02
Wasonga Muga Robert Opio
02 :51
03
Simon Ogaya Joseph Wamidha
02 :58
04
Ghatoria Macharia Choras
02 :51
05
J. Omwami Okwara
02 :49
06
Mulijo And Party Owebigere
02 :45
07
Andereya Ndombi Vatali Vano
02 :55
08
Bernard Odongu Obala Jimmy
02 :35
09
Akumu Ogara Mureg
02 :53
10
Alfons Otina Aronga Romba
02 :47
11
Oluoch Ogwel
02 :48
12
Black Label Band Sura Mbaya
02 :48
13 02 :57
14
Reuben Imbinkha Shindu
02 :39
15
Sumoni And Party Abataka
02 :59
16
H. Kekemu Na Yila Na Yela
03 :01
17
Francis Ouma Kilindini Mujimupia
02 :40
18
W.K.A. Laboso And Esta Kitagararan
02 :34
ARTIST
TITLE
Something Is Wrong: Vintage Recordings From East Africa
FORMAT
2CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
HJR 050CD HJR 050CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
12/7/2010

Thirty‐five precious, stinging selections from an HMV run of more than 400 78s -- recordings made in Uganda and Kenya from the mid‐1930s to the mid‐1950s. Three main types of performance are featured (not forgetting a lovely early Kenyan big‐band calypso, as if straight from the pen of Lord Kitchener). Most are minstrelsy, with songs ranging dazzlingly through subjects including loneliness and death, bastards and cut‐off trousers, trains of fire and no‐good rich people, a murder mystery and a drunken punch‐up at a rumba party in Kampala, and metaphorical cocks, hard pedalling and kettles which won't boil. Set to the deep grooving of an ndingidi one‐string fiddle, the very opening verses exemplify this fluency and range, within an account of the coming of the radio to the Ugandan capital. Some were angry and confused -- they could hear the talking but see no one, and would not believe that the voice came only from the loudspeakers. The singer SSekinomu weaves in asides about female creativity and the imprisonment of Prince Mawanda, the king's eldest brother, before the song ends as it began, with thanks and compliments for the new technology, to the Bazungu, the Whites. Other minstrels accompany themselves on various sorts of lyre, and guitars carrying the influences of U.S. country music and Congolese 78s, the influx of Congolese musicians, and the harmonies of Christian church music. There are also tough, raw contributions on button‐accordion: "Listening to this kind of Kikuyu song is more a feat of endurance than an aesthetic pleasure," noted the musicologist Hugh Tracey at the time. There is taarab music from the Swahili‐speaking communities of the east coast, and Arab and Indian communities in ports like Mombasa, which had imported Egyptian and Indian music since almost the start of the century. Lilting melodies are provided by violins or Indian harmoniums, sometimes also an oud, along with Indian or Arab percussion. Finally, there is the startling sound of four larger Ugandan ensembles, with songs about getting drunk and the relative merits of prostitution and motherhood, and the king's deportation by the British, deploying "the man who crunches rocks between his teeth." The style dismayed the missionary Robert Ashe, who visited the court of the Kabaka in 1884: "Our ears were deafened with the din which a motley band of musicians were making. Kettledrums and hand drums were rolling, horns braying, flutes screaming ... while blind musicians twanged away on their banjos, the whole making a most discordant harmony." Luxuriously presented, like a small hard‐cover book, with full notes, including extensive translation and haunting photographs; with the recordings brilliantly restored at Abbey Road.