Music From Malawi
I love African music…and its impact on Western music in America, which has produced phenomena from ragtime to bluegrass, to jazz and blues, to funk and rock-and-roll.
But we often forget that Western influences also combine with African musical traditions in Africa itself, and the results have been pretty amazing over the years.
Xan Phillips Presents brings us this interview with Kenny Gilmore, a Malawian musician whose Sangalala Band has been making waves with its energetic, engaging sounds. You can listen to three tracks from the group over the course of the presentation. These guys can take relatively commonplace I-IV-V and I-vi-ii progressions and squeeze enough joy from them to fill Lake Malawi. If you’re not dancing right now (and why wouldn’t you be?) you’ll be shakin’ it soon.
It’s interesting to me that Malawi is one of the poorest nations on Earth, but produces music of this jubilant, optimistic quality. Turn on pop radio in the USA, one of the most hyperdeveloped countries on this sphere, and you get languid juvenalia of no real substance with an overall tone of “I’m sexy, a consummate badass, and the world owes me.”