Friday, April 30, 2010

Instrumentals: Release It

afro celt

Afro Celt Sound SystemRelease It


Mixing African rhythms into other musical genres wasn't new when Paul Simon did it in 1986 with Graceland. American blues (and its stepchild, rock and roll) traces its roots to western Africa. Much of modern Brazilian music, too, is a fusion of African and Portuguese sources. So when East Londoner Simon Emmerson traveled to Senegal in 1992 to produce an album for worldbeat artist Baaba Maal, he picked up the idea of blending African rhythms with Celtic melodies. The group he gathered, Afro Celt Sound System, formed in 1995 around Irish, English, and African musicians. Emmerson, a guitarist and DJ as well as a producer, didn't stop there, though: He steeped his songs in electro-dance rhythms, especially ambient, trance, and techno. The end result is not only multi-cultural, but also wholly modern.

Release It (1999) is the final song of their second album, which almost wasn't made following the sudden death of their keyboardist. This song is a tribute to their dead friend and celebrates his release from earthly hardships. Some of the more unusual instruments include the Celtic harp, uilleann pipes, kora, talking drum, balafon, bodhran, djembe, and whistle. I think I know what the whistle sounds like, and the rest I'll just have to Wiki.

I think it would be a real honor to have a tribute song like this that makes listeners want to dance.

Guest post by Geovicki. Please give her a warm welcome.

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