MUGWISA INTERNATIONAL XYLOPHONE GROUP [SANTURI'S EMBAIRE UMEME EP]
Condition record : New
This latest release from On the Corner is the first release in a series of collaborations between Santuri, Soundthread and OtC. This record features electronic constructs and remixes of the acoustic recording sessions that will appear later in 2016, accompanied by more “Umeme’ ( ‘ electric’ and the name of the main electricity company in Uganda) reworks.
The Soundthread and Santuri collaboration led to Iganga, about 4 hours drive from the Ugandan capital Kampala. Iganga is a small village found just off one of the main roads running through the country. These roads act as the main archeries of life where the power lines keep the hustle and bustle of business and social activity close to the noisy, dusty highways. Iganga is where, along with a handful of other villages, you can find the Embaire Xylophone instrument. It’s made of various sized slabs of wood, from the huge low notes to smaller high end pieces - 32 notes in all. A pit is dug into the ground that acts as a resonator, adding yet more depth and tonality to the sound. It needs up to 9 people to play, and once heard, it’s hard to forget. The first impression to the untrained outsider, the individual players seem to be working in unconnected rhythms and time signatures, a riot of noise and energy. After a while you stop trying to figure it out and feel the unique richness of the whole - a trance inducing, mesmeric noise that binds the community together around various ceremonies and gatherings. The sessions go on for hours and the acoustic pieces will be concentrated into a form suitable for vinyl release at the end of 2016.
The Embaire Recording sessions away from grid power are scenarios, which might warrant a sharp exit for the majority of wise music producers. However those willing to take on the ambiguous route of sessions of an unconventional identity find that such pursuits often give way to fruitful outcomes.
Mugwisa International Xylophone Group (M.I.X.G) is led by the village chief called Mugwisa, and or these recordings he worked closely with a producer from Kampala called Jude Mugwera. Jude and Sam Jones from SoundThread worked hard at condensing their music in to shorter assemblies of 3/4 minute tracks down from the 3/4 hour epics.
David of Santuri met Pete from On the Corner in Stone Town, Zanzibar in 2013 when Pete’s Traktor S4 made a conspicuous entrance into a workers cafe. With shared musical interests as a starting point the projects they have since founded have aligned for these releases along with Sam from Soundthread and the release has been stirred to life with the peerless, knockout artwork from Victoria Topping