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Mganga! The Primitive Sounds of Tak Shindo

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Album Review

It's more than a bit ironic that Tak Shindo's most "exotic" album, the superb Mganga!, boasts no connection to his own Japanese heritage, instead focusing on the primal rhythms and tribal chants of Africa. Rooted largely in the arranger's experience on the Latin jazz circuit, its Afro-Cuban rhythms, sampled animal sounds, and chants capture an African musical culture based far more in fantasy than reality, much as rival exotica maestros like Martin Denny and Les Baxter conjured interpretations of the Far East driven by suppositions and daydreams. Shindo documents an Africa informed by libraries and dancehalls, not first-hand experience. That said, Mganga! is vibrant and intoxicating, with a rhythmic intensity quite uncommon for its era. For an artificial experience, it packs a genuine wallop.


Genre: Pop

Years Active:

Tak Shindo, a Japanese-American soundtrack composer, studied under Miklos Rozsa. Academically trained as a musicologist, he also spent time studying traditional Asian music at the University of Tokyo. Shindo employed this background in the Hollywood sound studios of the 1950s. Between soundtrack assignments for Hollywood orientalia, such as Sayonara and Stopover Tokyo, he recorded a series of albums under his own name. Its Shindo's recordings as arranging bandleader that have the most significance...
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Mganga! The Primitive Sounds of Tak Shindo, Tak Shindo
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