Friday, April 24, 2009

Dub Colossus: In A Town Called Addis

As many of my nearest and dearest know, I recently had the pleasure of flying out to Uganda and engaging myself actively in the community of Kabale. You may wonder what this has to do with an album whose title makes reference to the capital of Ethiopia - Addis Ababa.

Well, on my return flight from Entebbe to Heathrow, I fancied listening to some 'world' music - the blanket term applied to anything that doesn't have English vocals it would appear. Feeling very much in an 'African' mood I saw the name of this album and thought it appropriate to accompany me in my reading of the Alexander McCall-Smith's Morality for Beautiful Girls.

The music went beyond the wallpaperiness one usually expects of hitherto unheard world music (think some Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 output of the late 1960s). The music was driven by dark, brooding basslines and rattling, echoing drums. Rimshots flying in surround like a marching band. All accompanied by the ubiquitous dub brass section piercing through the sensual massage of the looping bass and upstroking guitar playing.

Together, these components form a beautiful cradle for the various vocalists on this record. Melodically, to the untrained 'Western' ear, the lyrics have a quintessentially 'Eastern' and 'Arabic' feel - although I know not their meaning.

Fusion seems like a pejorative term to use in this instance, so, in a suitably pompous and baroque sense of mind, I will settle on the expression 'Perfect Symphony' to explain this record.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...