Randy Weston African Rhythms
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recorded  1980 ?  
Pointe--Pitre   Guadeloupe
LP   1980     Cora   02

| real | wm |

  liner notes

Randy Weston piano

Produced by Randy Weston

  1   The Healers  (Weston)
  2   Blues Antillais  (Weston)
  3   Blue Moses
  4   Nite in M'Bari
  5   A Prayer for Us All
  6   Nite in Medina



When an African musician touches an instrument, it becomes an African instrument


In ancient Africa, the art of healing through the spiritual knowledge played an important role in societies, and this is still going on today. We often happen to become out of tune with nature and this is when we need to harmonize ourselves with its spiritual forces that guide us. Music, the sacred art, the universal language from the beginning of time, has been a healing force that projects the beauty of life. The Healers is a healing song.

The blues with the calypso beat - My recent tour in Guadeloupe and Martinique, is what the music of this composition is attempting to reflect. The beauty of nature in those islands and the warmth of the people gave me some very special vibrations.

Blue Moses is adapted from the rhythms and melodies of a religious song Sidi Mussa (Arabic for Moses), one of the spirits evoked by an Islamic brotherhood of the Gnawa (All the North Africa rhythms patterns have a spiritual identity. Each identity has its color Sidi Mussa's color is blue). There a number of these brotherhoods in North Africa. The Gnawa originated in West Africa and most of its members are black. There are groups in Mali and among the Hausa in Northern Nigeria whose music rhythms and rituals are similar to those of the Gnawa in Morocco and Tunisia. The music of the Gnawa, which is orally passed down from generation to generation and is heard through out Morocco. The instruments used vary in different areas, but generally the Gnawa use the gembree : a musical traditional instrument which sounds somewhat like a string bass the kakobars : which sounds like cymbals, and various others kinds of drums and hand-clapping.

My musical version of my second visit to Nigeria in 1963. I had the pleasure to perform with Nigerian musicians such as Bobby Bensen and Fela A. Kuti, in Lagos. Also for the first time I played with five Nigerian drummers at Bobby Bensen's Caban Bamboo nite club. It was really fantastic. In the city of Ibadan, I performed a trio concert with Steve Rhodes, on bass and Bayo Martin on drums, at the Cultural Center named M'Bari.

In 1977, I spent one month in Lagos (Nigeria) to participate in the world famous Festac Festival 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture . Music, theatre, dance, architecture, literature, sculpture, paintings... from 60 countries in the world. Festac was a meeting of African people including 20.000 African Artists. I became so inspired by this incredible musical experience that I wrote a new African suite. The last theme of this suite is A prayer for us all , a prayer for the African people all over, to give us the spiritual strength to regain our unity and awareness of ourselves as the first civilization of our planet, to prepare ourselves spiritually for the future.

I had a tremendous success in Morocco in 1967, with my sextet consisting of Ray Copeland (trumpet and arranger), Clifford Jordan (tenor sax and flute), Vishnu Wood (bass), Ed Blackwell (drums). Chief Bay (African drummer and singer). Later I returned to Morocco and lived there. This composition was inspired by walking through the medina in Rabat, at three O'clock in the morning. Hardly any light but a full beautiful! Moon, many shadows! Apprehension, a little fear, yet a feeling of peace and mystery...

A special thank to the Gnawa of Tangier (Dar Gnawa),
whom I spent much time with and learned a great deal about music.

1980  Randy Weston


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