One of the best compilations of African popular music I've come across in a long time, Kenya Special _ Selected East African Recordings From The 1970s & 1980s (Soundway, UK, 2013), found its way on to the World Beat desk recently. The 3-LP vinyl set is part of Soundway's African Special series which has so far produced gems on Ghanaian and Nigerian music.
"Looking beyond the mainstream," writes Doug Paterson in the liner notes, "Kenya Special brings new life and recognition to some little known gems and forgotten classics of Kenya's past."
Kenya has one of the most diverse musical cultures in Africa, yet it is one of the least known outside the region. Each tribal group, and there are many, has its own musical rituals. One of them, the Luo, are well known as the originators of benga, and players of one of Kenya's most distinctive instruments, the nyatiti, a doubled-headed eight-stringed lyre.
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