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World Music CD Reviews Africa

African Dreams: Lullabies And Cradle Songs From The Motherland

By Tom Orr
Published August 1, 2005

Ellipsis Arts

Africa remains a troubled continent, but no doubt these charming and soothing songs are helping some of its denizens sleep peacefully. The warm nocturnal journey begins with a slow take on the familiar "The Lion Sleeps" from South Africa. Along the way are an intricate, multi-voiced song by Gino Stitson (a Cameroonian vocal artist often compared to Bobby McFerrin), delicate dreamtime offerings from Bham Ntabeni, palmwine king S.E. Rogie, Tany Lavatra (accompanied by keyboards emulating the valiha lute of her native Madagascar) and Soulange. The beloved Prince Nico composition "Sweet Mother" is naturally included?Iin a suitably hushed rendition?Ias are a couple of instrumentals on the kora, the celestial tones of which fit the mood as well as the Ethiopian kraar (harp) that frames the lovely voice of Tigist Shibabaw (sister of Gigi). The Cape Verdean track by Celina Pereira is of course a melancholy morna, one of the more readily recognizable styles here but only part of the depth and range of this low-key (though quite engaging) goodnight kiss.