“We live in a world of musical circles”


We live in a world of musical circles.  There is no doubt that Jimmie Rodgers music was inspired by and build upon the influences of Black-American music, and it is only fitting that his work filtered back to Kenya.   We find this circular tale in all music we are recording – most notably the massive influence of gospel on East African music, which, in turn was created in large part by Black-American music, directly inspired by early African village music.  . . .  Our heads appropriately spin and we’re happy about that.

 – Singing Wells

The following song was recorded by the Kipsigi people of Kenya, the largest sub-group of the Kalenjin. It was inspired by a record of Jimmie Rodgers, the famous American country music singer in the 20′s and 30′s, which was left behind in their village by missionaries.

Singing Wells reflects on innovation in musical traditions:

The tribal music of East Africa is forever evolving.   It is wonderful that Jimmie Rogers inspired a new song . . .   At Singing Wells, we do not celebrate static village music – that would be to deny the very essence of music, which is to evolve organically as the musicians are inspired by new things.  We simply want to celebrate the evolution of music that innovates while building on traditional roots.

Read more at the Singing Wells project website

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