Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|African Guitar Solo Fingerstyle Guitar Music From Uganda Congo/Zaire Malawi Namibia Central Af|
Director: Gerhard Kubik
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Better than 100 books
Muk | Azusa, CA United States | 02/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD might be the best tutorial for those interested in learning African accoustic (read: fingerpicking) guitar styles. Students of ethnomusicology/cultural anthropology will also find it useful. Sometimes the sound quality leaves much to be desired, but remember that these were field recordings from 12 to 40 years ago. Some truly legendary figures are filmed here, including Jean Bosco Mwenda, father of Congolose guitar. However, in my opinion, Malawi's Daniel Kachamba who steals the show, particularly his last song which ends in a full band treatment.
There's more than just fingerpicking here. The plectrum attack of Namibia's Erasmus Ndara's second song is seriously funky, while Zambian Mose Yotamu uses a flatpick for an electric guitar style solo and strums barre chords accoustic rock style. These's also some dreamy slide guitar from Moya Malamusi. Africa being the poor continent that it is , we see the resourcefulness of these guitarists in several aspects; (i) playing with 5 strings due to missing strings and/or tuning posts (ii) using a stick as a pick (iii) sticks and rubber bands as capos (iv) a bottle as a slides. None of this takes anything away from the top-notch musicianship of these guys."
Low budget and over-priced
Muk | 09/02/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Unless your an ethnomusicologist interested in the lives of the people behind the music, this video will be a disappointment.The recording quality is awful. I bought this because I love African guitar ala Konda Bonga Man and this was a waste of money."
Great for the ethnomusicologist, not the musician
The Delite Rancher | Phoenix, Arizona | 02/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure if it's me, the genre or the production. I'm an Afrofile. I've loved music from all over the continent for some time now. Whether it be traditional music from anywhere or Afropop like Soukous (Central Africa), Afrobeat (Nigeria), Marabi (South Africa) or Raï (Algeria), I love African Music. Despite loving American styles of finger picking (Chet Atkins, Merle Travis), the central and south/central style of finger picking guitar music never resonated with me. One reason may be that unlike most African music, this genre is not danceable and lacks groove. That written, I love Desert Blues (Mali) and Palmwine Music (Ghana) and neither is danceable. The African finger picking genre always seemed trapped between not having the authenticity of traditional music yet lacking the accessibility of popular music. In this respect, "African Guitar" meets expectations. It features vignettes of African guitar players. In most cases, these musicians play solo acoustic. Coming from Gerhard Kubik's archives, the picture quality has a "home archive feel." The earlier (1960's) material seems to have been recorded with a home film camera while the later (1980's) material may have been captured with a camcorder. Stills fill in the spaces where there was no available video. While the video may have a field recording feel, the audio tends to fare far better. Despite the occasional crow from a chicken, the sound quality is very good. The performance settings tend to be villages, train tracks and forests. The musical substance is open to debate. There's good reason why this genre is so small within the African musical kingdom: it has little continental and international appeal. The music is always interesting. That written, interesting is not the same as compelling. Compelling it is not since most performances tend to get old quickly. That written, these recordings stand as an African treasure. It seems an odd product to come from Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop -it seems like something that would be released by Smithsonian Folkways. At the end of the day, it is what it is and this DVD preserves a bygone era of African music. In this respect, "African Guitar" is unlikely to teach burgeoning musicians any licks; the value is historical. While not so valuable to the Western guitar player, "African Guitar" stands as a treasure that documents the brief age of acoustic African guitar music."