Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Columbia World Library of Folk and Primitive Music

Harratin women
11" x 8.5"
watercolor on paper
Besides being able to add two volumes from the 18 part The Columbia World Library of Folk and Primitive Music series released in the 1950s under supervision of Alan Lomax, to my record collection, I indulged this past year in all of the releases in the series through the blog site The World's Jukebox on WordPress. The Top 100 of 2012 then naturally reflects this preoccupation with a fifth of all music coming from this series. Volume 2 is dedicated to French West Africa and a subsection of that collection to the Berbers in the Sahara desert. Four examples of nomadic Berber tribes are featured on the album, two by the Tuareg (music for camel tournaments), one of the Orfela tribe, and a song by Harratin women from In Salah. The latter being in the Top 100 and illustrated here. The song was recorded by the Henry Lhote expedition of 1948. The liner notes to the song read: "These Harratin women, with their strong Negro blood, come from In Salah, where Sudanese influence is pronounced. Nevertheless they sing in Arabic, to the accompaniment of a large frame-drum of North African type, and in two almost parallel parts, a form of part-singing possibly of Negro origin."

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