Sunday, 15 January 2012


by Knut Reiersrud

Sorting through the box of unclassified CDs. Where did this one come from? Most likely from Oxfam, about ten years ago. Can’t really say what caused me to buy it, for all the liner notes are in Norwegian. The only name that rang a bell at the time was that of organist Iver Kleive. I listened to this album once, then I firmly lost the track of it.

So here it is. By now I recognise the names of a few more musicians here: Paolo Vinaccia (djembe, talking drum, bolambata, bass kalimba), Juldeh Camara (the very same Camara who plays with Justin Adams), and all four of Five Blind Boys of Alabama: Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter, George Scott and Curtis Foster. As intercontinental collaborations go, this one is not as unlikely as it sounds (and I heard unlikelier ones). In fact, when you listen to the songs, they all sound very organic. My favourite song is seven-and-a-half minute Jarabe, sung by Gambian griot and kora player Alagi M’Bye. I still can’t read Norwegian, but one can get a satisfactory translation of these liner notes online:

Utgangspunktet er et muslimsk basert tradisjonelt tema som Alagi og jeg har brettet ut. Alagi har skrevet ny tekst og jeg har harmonisert i mer europeisk tradisjon. Den godeste Alagi sang med så mye trøkk at mikrofonene i den lille trekirken på Rauland fikk problemer med å fange opp noe som helst annet. Stemmingen på gitaren er stjålet fra en av mine favoritt kassegitarister — Joni Mitchell.

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