Los Angeles, CA…
Blues musicologist, Taj Mahal, has done it again.
In his search for the root origin of the blues, Taj journeyed as far away as an island in the Indian Ocean to exchanged music wisdom, love and kinship with performers of Zanzibar’s Culture Musical Club.
The meeting produced Mahal’s current album release – Mkutano: Taj Mahal Meets the Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar (Tradition & Moderne).
Zanzibar is celebrated as a cultural melting pot of Asian, Arabic, European and African music and values, it has been able to synthesise Arab instruments like the quasnun zither, nai flute and ‘oud lute with African bongos, Indian-like vocals and European violines. Together these instruments are the core of “taarab” music. The internationally acclaimed Culture Musical Club is not only the largest but also the most prolific and successful orchestras of Zanizbar as they present “taarab” Swahili style music at its best.
Muktano in Swahilli translates to “meeting” or “conference”.
Bringing with him the American banjo, a twelve string guitar and accompanied by fellow musicians Bill Rich (electric bass) and Kester Smith (drums), Taj recorded with singer Bikidude (a woman well in to her nineties and a living legend – the most famous musical ambassador from Zanzibar) and a duet with singer Makame Faki.
The album’s nine cuts celebrate an important return of African American blues music to its African roots. Muktano is the audible expression of unity of spirit, the search for the all-important moment of truthful musical communication, authenticity and cultural exchange.
Mkutano: Taj Mahal Meets the Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar (Tradition & Moderne)
presents another fascinating chapter of Taj Mahal’s ongoing musical journey to the source – nothing more and nothing less.