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World Music CD Reviews Africa

HUGH TRACEY

By DEREK BERES
Published May 2, 2006

HISTORICAL RECORDINGS OF HUGH TRACEY
SWP

The importance of field recordings cannot be understated. Today the rough, crackling audio tracks from the likes of Alan Lomax may seem nothing more than “nostalgic” to the common ear, but take into consideration that had it not been for these early pioneers, an essential history would have perished. Hugh Tracey conducted sessions similar to Lomax’s in Africa, capturing the native sounds of residents of Zambia, the northern Congo, Botswana, South Africa and surrounding areas. Knowing the difficulties of finding a label for such endeavors, Zambian-born drummer Michael Baird released this 11-CD set on his own SWP Records (www.swp-records.com). Yes, the archives are dusty and lo-fi, but the breadth of sound is exhaustive (How could you pass up a title like On The Edge of the