music clip of the day


Category: mbira

Thursday, April 3rd

sounds of Chicago

Chicago Underground Duo (Rob Mazurek, cornet, electronics, voice; Chad Taylor, drums, mbira, electronics), live (music begins at 4:30), Italy (Venice), 2013

(This clip, alas, has some glitches: at 56:15 both the sound and the picture drop out, returning, with just one of two audio channels, at 58:46.)

Wednesday, 7/11/12

sounds of the Congo

Kasai Allstars, “Kabuangoyi,” Congotronics 2: Buzz ’n’ Rumble in the Urb n’ Jungle, filmed in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 2000

Monday, 4/9/12

Shabazz Palaces, live (studio performance, KEXP-FM), 2011

These guys—their mix of drums, mbira, electronics—call to mind the AACM’s* tagline: ancient to the future.

*Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Fred Anderson, Leroy Jenkinset al.).

Thursday, 1/12/12

I don’t know what these folks call this stuff, but one thing I’m sure of: it ain’t “world music.”

Sobanza Mimanisa (“Orchestra of Light”), “Kiwembo,” live
Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), c. 2005



reading table

The 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers

Have you noticed that power lists, which have been spreading like the clap lately, from the Time 100 to the Forbes 500, tell you things you already know about the rich and famous and give publicity to people who already have more of it than they know what to do with? For the rest of us, here’s a power list to get 2012 going in the right direction. They’re in no particular order. (Like it really matters.)

1. Weed-delivery guys

The reason so many marijuana arrests are of black and Hispanic people is not because they smoke weed more. White New Yorkers, by the NYPD’s own numbers, have a higher per-capita rate of contraband when they’re arrested. However, white people stay safe in their apartments while colored folks deliver drugs to them. Delivering drugs puts you on the bottom of a pyramid scheme where you usually earn less than minimum wage, making you vulnerable to homicide and giving you about as much of a chance of becoming a rich kingpin as being a production assistant or a media intern gives you of becoming a celebrity. . . .

—Steven Thrasher, Village Voice, 1/11/12

Tuesday, 3/29/11


The music is as sweet as the news is bleak.

Zimbabwe College of Music Mbira Ensemble (with Thanda Richardson, vocals), live, Harare (Mannenberg Jazz Club), 2/17/08

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Mbira Dzenharira, “Saramugomo,” 2001

Vodpod videos no longer available.


SMG Young Stars, Kenge Art, Mutubambile Orphan Choir with Oliver Mtukudzi, Magariro Edu Marimba Band

Vodpod videos no longer available.



reading table

. . . [Robert Mugabe’s] regime . . . has lost all its moral bearings, a gang of thieves and murderers bent on holding power at any cost. The book draws to a close with the testimony of Emmanuel Chiroto, a Harare opposition leader whose campaign for mayor has brought down the wrath of Mugabe’s goons. Even as he is celebrating his victory, members of the youth militia set his house on fire and abduct his wife, Abigail, and 4-year-old son. The boy is released, but Abigail’s swollen and battered corpse is found in the morgue. “This is my lovely wife,” Chiroto tells Godwin, holding up a cellphone image of Abigail in her wedding dress. “And they killed her.” Three years after his defeat at the polls, Mugabe still clings to power in his ruined nation. But Godwin’s intrepid reportage has at least given voice to some of his victims.

—Joshua Hammer, New York Times Book Review, 3/27/11 (review of The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by Peter Godwin)


sight seen

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, sitting on a brick sidewalk in Harvard Square, a panhandler with a large sign:

Seeking Human Kindness

Wednesday, 9/8/10

Sunday, South Africa; Monday, Morocco; today let’s head to the center—the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire).

Konono No. 1, “Lufuala Ndonga”

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