Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable mixed bag, 9 Jun. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Mississippi To Mali (Audio CD)
Companion piece to the Scorcese documentary, this is an enjoyable mixed bag of an album. If you haven't seen the film, expect: (1) some straight rootsy unplugged blues (track 2 is a funky highlight); (2) field recording collaborations with Malian musicians including Ali Farke Toure, which explore the link between Afro and Afro-American blues. I needed to wait a little longer to get in to the vibe of these tracks - but it is there; (3) a bit of Fife (Phife?) and Drum music - i.e. bass drum and a sort of pennywhistle which is a rambuctious treat; and (4) the brilliant track 13 "Charlene". This is sung in French and is acoustic guitar with occasional congas. Don't know what the musical heritage of this track is but for me for some reason it evokes balmy nights in the carribean - marvellous!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Feb 2010 10:34:51 GMT
nimzowhich? says:
Hello. Read your review; Searched the web and found this. A fife is a small, high-pitched, transverse flute that is similar to the piccolo, but louder and shriller due to its narrower bore. The fife originated in medieval Europe and is often used in military and marching bands. Someone who plays the fife is called a fifer. The word fife comes from the German Pfeife, or pipe, ultimately derived from the Latin word pipare.

Fife and drum bands have their roots firmly planted in African music. Long traditions carried over by captured slaves, brought to American soil where their new owners attempted to quell the sound, especially in the South. They kept the music alive in their memories and passed them down through the generations.
The use of fifes (and drums) also has military backgrounds in the United States. They were used by both American and British forces during the Revolutionary War to announce cadence and marching techniques. During this time in American history, most African-Americans were denied the right to serve in conflict carrying arms. But many were permitted to participate in these musical outfits. In fact, even Thomas Jefferson had put together a fife and drum band from his own slave holdings. In other parts of the country, full brass bands were developed as the nation grew older.
At the conclusion of the Civil War, former slaves continued to perform these brands of music for a period, though the fife and drum styles began to dwindle. By the turn of the 20th century, the number of performers had decreased to the point where only a handful remained, working in limited regions of the country.
Hope this will useful to you. Jayhikks
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