If you’ve not had a chance to listen to Santiago Vazquez’s mbira music here is an opportunity. Here is one of the songs from his album ‘Mbira y Pampa’. Find the whole collection via the link below the video. Let us know what you think too.




One Reply to “Mbira Y Pampa: Santiago Vazquez”

  1. Hi. I went to the link after reading about the album here. A few hours after having visited the link and listening to the tracks, the videos were not available any more!!! I listen to mbira music, but I am not an expert on the instrument or the music. I will say what I liked and otherwise about Santiago’s album. The thing that I liked a lot, is how the mbira is the star of the album. There is no real singing other than the occasional humming along. No, I’m not saying this is what makes it better. I am only saying that I like the focus on the mbira. On this album, he treats the mbira like a solo instrument in it’s own right.

    The track that I liked the most is called “Amarillo”. I love how it starts out as a simple theme and then slowly piles on the elements of cross rhythms and melodic/harmonic expansion. For me it is the most African sounding track on the album. When the emphasis of the rhythms changes toward the end, the music is truly soaring. Despite it’s seeming simplicity, I listened to it a few times! There are a number of other tracks that I liked too.

    Some of the things I didn’t like were, quite a bit of the music was not really “African” for me. (I could be wrong. I am talking about my experience and I say again that I am not an expert). What I love about mbira music is the amazing cross rhythms and the polyphony. Some of the music seemed quite Latin. That is not a bad thing of course, but I would love Santiago’s approach with the “authentic” music too. (Please don’t hate me. I am only expressing an opinion).

    Another thing I found a bit odd, is the way his mbira seems to sound quiter and slightly choppy in the upper notes. (I don’t know the instrument. I’m only talking about what I heard. So, if I’m wrong, please don’t take offence!).

    The album is great and I feel this is an approach that should ALSO be followed for mbira music. His emphasis on the “soloness” of the instrument and the music is really welcome and commendable.

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