I got a lot done at work this week and I credit ALL AROUND THIS WORLD: AFRICA. There's nothing that gets your blood racing and your spirits soaring then tribal drum beats, catchy rhythms, and clapping hands.
I've never been a big proponent of world music. My attitude is it's there, I know it's there, and I'm fine with it being there. Just don't put it right in my face. But due to a series of escalated work deadlines, I looked past my own musical limitations and played the 32 tracks (on two CDs) all the way through, then started again. Then I brought it home for the kids, who were being pokey at dinner, and played it for them. And they zipped through the rest of the meal.
The music travels in all directions (Africa is a big continent), from Cape Verde to Madagascar, including Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, the Congo and South Africa. Going beyond the music, there's a new "Explore Everywhere" curriculum that weaves the songs with videos, maps, cultural information, and activity ideas that can be utilized for classrooms. The program runs through June 21 – incidentally the release date for the CDs to consumers.
The project was co-produced by Brooklyn's own Amon Drum, whose Hook Studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, describes itself as, “Purveyors of fine sound from Brooklyn to Bamako and Beyond.” How appropriate that such a collection required a steadying hand from half a world away.
ALL AROUND THIS WORLD: AFRICA is available through their web site on June 21.