recess radio program

12/23/05
African Music for Children
    by John Cech

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You can find this and other exciting performances on the new CD called African Music for Children from the people who do the Rough Guide series of travel books. The compilation of songs here were made by young people in England, from five to eleven years of age. It's a revelation to hear the kids' selections, which range from Kenya's traditional benga music, to Tanzania's hip-hop artists, X Plastaz, whose songs focus on the struggles of young people in that country today.

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The multi-generational group, Mabulu, from Mozambique is famous for its "marrabenta" music. "Marrabenta" translates, roughly, as "to burst," as in "with joy" as you dance to rhythms like this:

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And then there is Ladysmith Black Mambazo -- whose harmonies came to the singer Joseph Shabala in his dreams. Their sound was developed in the camps of the mine workers during the apartheid years in South Africa. The singers called themselves "the tip-toe guys," because they learned to sing quietly so as not to disturb the camp security guards. Their music became the voice of the soul of their country. And the perfect ending for a Kwanza evening.

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Copyright 2005 John Cech

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Thursday, 01-Dec-2005 14:46:34 EST


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."