LISTEN TO ANOTHER DRUM by Steen Raahauge Fonix Music, 1999 http://www.fonix.dk Fonix Musik ApS, Sender Alle 12, DK-8000 Arhus C, Denmark This percussion album is a Danish production, though its musical sounds and rhythms are meant to be African. In a way, it’s following in the footsteps of another Dane who lived in Africa and and was profoundly influenced by that land, namely Karen Blixen, author of “Out of Africa.” The album is arranged in 11 sections, which have different moods, rhythms, and tone-colors. Some of them include environmental sounds like birds, jungle creatures, people talking and singing in a village, or whales and ocean waves. In one or two, there are some “ambient” style synthesizer sounds as well. The producer has a “concept” (or gimmick) for the album: he suggests that you program your CD player to play these pieces in different suggested sequences, thus making a number of different “sets” corresponding to different themes or moods. I’ve tried this out, and some of these arrangements work better than others, but in general it’s an interesting idea. I could do without the verbal “word pictures” included in the liner with each sequence, however; the music should be allowed to do its work by itself. The drumming is on the whole catchy and competent, especially in cut 1, “Listen to Another Drum,” and cut 3, “Sea-Frame.” Raahauge has studied and journeyed and practiced and listened to lots of Native, African, and aboriginal music. But there is a kind of restraint, precision, and even stiffness to the playing, compared to an authentic, Native African drummer like the famous Olatunji, whose performances boil over with emotion and enthusiasm. Dare I say it – this Danish drummer is too….White? No matter how well he plays, there is still the matter of colonialism, which puts an unbridgeable cultural gap between a native African and a European. An album like this is, for me, always going to have this underlying conflict. Still, it’s an entertaining hour and a bit more of listening, good enough to roll you along over those rhythm-deprived, draggy moments in life. HMGS rating: 5 Hannah M.G.Shapero 12/7/99
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