Djembe & Mande Music Page/Review Section


This mini-review is intended for anyone who, through drumming, has become interested in African music and who is interested in having a broader view on the subject. I highly recommend "Africa Never Stand Still" which is a 3 CD compilation of songs by 39 different artists from nearly as many countries from North to South Africa. It is a collection that illustrates the amazing diversity of Africa Music, a diversity which makes it more appropriate to speak of African Musics.

As the title suggests, this compilation stresses the capacity of this music for continual development, building on the past to create music for the present and the future, using Western instruments at  times, but playing them in uniquely African ways. I bought this compilation when I first began drumming and I was disappointed that there wasn't more traditional drumming. But as the months passed, I became, little by little, enthralled by individual tracks and after six months there were a dozen or so tracks that rocked my world. (Now that number is up to 30). At that point I began to buy CDs by individual artists (Abdel Gadir Salim, Le Zagazougou, Farafina, Oumou Sangare, Baaba Maal) and 50+ CDs later, I realize that I have only scratched the surface of the gold mine represented by the musics of Africa.

Although there is little traditional drumming on these 3 discs, there are grooves galore. From the guitar-driven music of Papa Wemba, Pepe Kalle and Nyboma, Thomas Mapfumo and Addul Tee-Jay to the desert seduction of Gadir Salim's "Bassama"; to the intoxicating brew of African, Arabic and Indian influences represented by Zuhura Swaleh's Taraab music to the township jive of the Soul Brothers, there are enough irresistible grooves to kept the revelers at your next all-night party movin' til dawn. And there are too many great voices to mention them all, but if you haven't heard Baaba Maal or Oumou Sangare, you are missing out on some beautiful music. This is an excellent place to begin your exploration of the musics of Africa.

Tom Daddesio