Singing For Life: Songs Of Hope Healing / Various

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aec.sfw40537.2 2/20/07 New
$13.99

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    Singing For Life: Songs Of Hope Healing / Various Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
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Review

Review Text Of the 38 million people infected with HIV worldwide, an astounding 67-percent live in sub-Saharan Africa. It's a grim and overwhelming statistic, but there is a bright spot. Uganda. A land-locked East African country with some 18 distinct ethnic groups, Uganda has shown a constant decline in HIV infection rates in the past decade, the only African country that can make such a claim, making it a model of hope in the face of a terrifying pandemic. And how has Uganda made these strides? The country has developed an innovative combination of medical science and art to alert and inform its people of the crisis. Ugandan singers, musicians, dancers, artists and storytellers have used traditional folk forms to get the message about HIV and AIDS across in both rural and urban centers, finding ways to promote discussion in public about what can be a difficult subject to discuss on an individual level, and the process has worked beyond all initial expectations. Ethnomusicologist Greg Barz chronicled this medical and musical phenomenon in his book Singing for Life, published in 2006, and has now assembled under the same title an album of traditional folk pieces that Ugandan musicians, singers and dancers have re-imagined and put to use in battling the AIDS pandemic. Although the lyrics and subject matter are often extremely grim in these songs, the overall feel and tone is actually hopeful and even joyous at times, while the audience participation in the dancing and presentation of these pieces gives them a unifying power that is one of the first steps in the process of social healing. Singing for Life is far from a bleak document, although the song titles may appear to belie it. "Olumbe Lubiibi (Death Is Bad)" opens with the sound of cicadas, which is subtly reassuring, while "Abange Ab'Eno? (Is Someone There?)" moves on the back of powerful drums that seem strong enough to never cease, a rhythmic trait echoed in the pulsing "Silimu Okutumala! (AIDS Finished Us!)" by a Bukoma women's group. One of the most haunting and striking tracks here is Mzee Mata's akadongo-accompanied "Enagombe Newaife (The Graveyard Is Our Home)," which is as direct, sparse and ultimately transcendent as any old Mississippi Delta blues song. As a document of how medical science and the traditional arts can work together in the face of overwhelming odds, Singing for Life is an astounding achievement. Music has always been about more than making performers and record labels wealthy. First and foremost, music is about finding, lifting and taking the human spirit places it could never imagine on its own. There is tremendous joy in that, even in the grimmest of circumstances, and what music and medicine have accomplished together in Uganda is nothing short of a 21st century miracle. ~ Steve Leggett

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Olumbe Lubiibi - 7:48
  2. 2. Guno Gwe Mulembe Gwe Tulimu Kat - 2:35
  3. 3. Abange Ab'Eno? - 4:25
  4. 4. Emagombe Newaife - 4:02
  5. 5. Silimu Yaheeza Abantu - 4:31
  6. 6. Bannange Twajjirwa - 7:56
  7. 7. Gampisi - 3:58
  8. 8. Silimu Okutumala! - 4:05
  9. 9. Fight the Epidemic/Abange Mikwano Gyange Muvawa? [Friends, Where Do You - 5:24
  10. 10. Olumbe Lwamala Abantu - 8:51
  11. 11. Abalugana - 5:54
  12. 12. Zino Endwadde Ezitakyaluma Kusasira - 5:30
  13. 13. Eitu Lilimuki? - 8:23
  14. 14. Struggle Against AIDS - 2:42

Product Details

Release Date
2/20/07 

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