Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Good Ones lay down some warm African folk tunes

December 2, 2010

I love music from other parts of the world. Not world music, which I find to be a slightly insulting catch-all genre, but stuff that’s native to other places. The Good Ones’ Kigali Y’ Izahabu definitely falls in that category. The Good Ones are a Rwandan folk trio singing mellow folk songs with harmonies and an acoustic guitar or two. They’re all in the native tongue, which makes them impossible to understand lyrically, but the moods and sentiments behind the songs shine through.

Most of the tunes have calm tempos, finger-picked guitar work and warm melodies. These aren’t mournful songs by any stretch of the imagination. Despite all the difficulties that Rwanda has gone through and continues to go through, a cheery sound permeates the whole album. “Egidia” and “Bertilde” are especially charming.

This isn’t an album that will have you picking favorites right off the bat, as the structure and rhythm of many tracks will take some getting used to for the unacquainted ear. But those who persevere will be rewarded with a fascinating and uplifting set of raw, honest, friendly folk songs. Recommended for people who like cheery music, Africa or something different.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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