Thursday, November 13, 2003

Review - Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda

Artist: Abayudaya

Posted on Thu, Nov 13, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda

For a non-evangelical religion, Judaism sure does crop up in unexpected corners of the world. Personally, running across "Jewtown" in Cochin, India was proof enough to me that the Tribe is indeed well-scattered. That the two dozen recordings on this disc represent only a fraction of the Jewish culture present in eastern Africa is truly eye-opening. Although they don't claim Jewish lineage, the Abayudaya are resolute in their faith and their indigenous culture. Their music is a truly unique Afro-Jewish concoction, relying on traditional African instrumentation and arranging to express their deeply held faith: songs like "Twagala Torah" ("We love the Torah") are sonically indistinguishable from much other Ugandan music. But it also goes without saying that -- given that the Abayudaya are a group of only about 600 -- lyrics like those of "Kiddush and Motzi" are unlikely to be heard blaring out of car radios in Kampala.

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