It's political - you don't have to be told these people are living on the edge. Khanyile makes his own bows, and his strings are all worn out, but he plays in this incredibly vibrant way. He has some wild electric effects, lots of reverb which give the violin space, and he uses a sawing effect to get the tune out, like in traditional American and English folk fiddle playing. Africans use the same intervals as we do in Europe, thirds and fourths, but they also use a lot of fifths, like in jazz. And rhythmically, we have an idea of the on-beat and the off-beat, but in Africa the two are interchangeable.
All the instruments come in at some time, over the massive bass drum beat. It's only a half-tempo song, unlike a lot of the fast Zairean music, but it snowballs till they're all playing at once, and after eight minutes, it falls apart. There's no climax, the groove is too important. This is true folk rock.
'Grooving Jive Number 1' is on 'The Art of Noise' (ORB CD045). Full Womad details below
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