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Music of the Nile - Field Recordings by David Fanshawe

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Album Review

Music of the Nile: The Original African Sanctus J is the set of companion recordings to the classic African Sanctus album. In large part, these are the tracks that went into the making of African Sanctus, mostly short bits of various ceremonial dances and the like, along with the stray environmental recording. A few of the recordings weren't used on African Sanctus itself, but were recorded on the same journeys through Africa, up and down the Nile through Egypt, Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya, in 1969 and 1975. The pieces here are all performed by the various native musicians, and were recorded by David Fanshawe as he traveled from village to village. With the inclusion of the environmental tracks and the exclusion of studio recordings, this becomes an ethnomusicologist's delight, as it paints Steven Feld's concept of a "sound environment" quite well. The ceremonial music is present, as is the everyday music, as is the non-musical sound of everyday life. The recording quality is outstanding, especially considering it was done with what was essentially a lump of electronics carried around the continent in backpacks and on steamboats. For an armchair ethnomusicologist, this album would be highly worthwhile. For the average listener looking for some dance music, it wouldn't be bad, but there are certainly albums more focused on that aspect. Regardless of your status as an ethnic music listener, this album goes well with the African Sanctus album, and anyone listening to one should most likely give the other a listen as well.


Born: 19 April 1942 in Devon, England

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The symphonic works of British composer David Fanshawe were infused by a global range of ethnic and traditional influences. Fanshawe's ethnomusicological visits to Africa, Arabia, Alaska, and the Pacific Islands provided a foundation for his compositions. Fanshawe's most successful piece, "African Sanctus," was the subject of an award-winning BBC documentary. A 13-movement composition, it blends elements of the Latin Mass and Anglican liturgy with traditional African music based on recordings that...
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Music of the Nile - Field Recordings by David Fanshawe, David Fanshawe
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