Thursday, January 26, 2012


Ilunga Patrice (?) from CD 
Jacket Origins of Guitar Music
20" x 16", oil on canvas, 2012
The recordings of Hugh Tracey are the largest source of music in this year's top 100. Between 1920 and 1970 Tracey recorded in South and Central Africa, material that he published on more than 250 LPs. He founded The International Library of African Music (ILAM) that houses his 40.000 or so recordings. My introduction to Hugh Tracey was a CD called Royal Court Music from Uganda that I heard some ten years ago. I've been seeking his recordings out ever since. A few year ago I found in a second hand record store one of the original Music of Africa series 10" LPs. It is the one piece of vinyl I cherish most. On the ILAM website you can browse through this immense body of work. Another site called SAMAP (South African Music Archive Project) has 30 second soundbites available of 11,720 recordings by Hugh Tracey as well as random one at a time full length versions of the music. Last week I promised to discuss the music of the Congolese guitarist Ilunga Patrice. His painting (I'm not sure if the guitar player on the cover of the CD Origins of Guitar Music in in fact Ilunga Patrice) is now done too but there's not much to tell about him. All that's known is that Hugh Tracey recorded him together with Misomba Victor on a date in July of 1957. At least five songs were recorded, probably more but there are four listed on the SAMAP site and two appear on Origins of Guitar Music: Southern Congo, Northern Zambia, one song– the one in my 100–Mama Josephina overlaps.

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