Adam Solomon | Matatu Blues

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Matatu Blues

by Adam Solomon

THE BLUES IS THE MUSIC OF OUR MOTHERS: MATATU BLUES It felt right—it felt like time--to introduce and honour the unique sounds of the traditional blues of the Kenyan coast.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Shikari
4:45 $0.99
2. Missionaries
4:40 $0.99
3. Mali
5:30 $0.99
4. Kina Mama
3:49 $0.99
5. Umazi
3:28 $0.99
6. Preketche
3:08 $0.99
7. Kasonzo
3:06 $0.99
8. Welcome Party
3:01 $0.99
9. Tumaini
4:00 $0.99
10. Baba Kionjo
4:30 $0.99
11. Education - Elimu
3:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A “matatu” is a form of public transit, usually a converted minibus, popular in Kenya, East Africa, carrying people here and there. As matatus carry people, so does the music, transporting us away in our minds; we travel with it as we listen. Meanwhile our thoughts are busy solving mysteries in our minds! This eleven-track CD contains traditional acoustic blues, featuring the artistic tactics of blues guitar picking, in complex but easy- flowing melodies that will soothe your heart—direct from the original Mijikenda Blues Rhythms! Each time I compose new melodies, I am inspired by my childhood, when I went to different village celebrations, by day or night. These celebrations were a key part of the Mijikenda culture and community—we, the Nine Tribes of the Kenyan coast.

1. Shikari 4:45 “Shikari” is about corrupt police forces harassing people because of their consumption of home-brewed coconut wine. A message is sent to the villagers to warn those who harvest coconuts and create wine from them to be alert, especially on Sundays. Police will be out, rounding up and arresting intoxicated people. It’s off to jail or you pay a cash bribe, known as “chai” (actually the word for tea), to the policeman in order to be released. No chai? You could end up in a cell and even beaten. On the other hand, the coconut wine is regarded as a traditional sacred drink for all occasions, such as libation ceremonies, marriages, funerals, special traditional gatherings, and just relaxing after digging in the farm or garden. The villagers won’t easily give up their traditions!
2. Missionaries – Amisheni 4:40 This piece is about the missionaries that came to bring their religion to us. They also came with their different ways of dressing, eating, how they lived in their homes, and many other changes. The missionaries converted many people to their beliefs, and the traditional people asked: Why are the missionaries no longer doing the normal traditional practices? They don’t like to farm or work, they are lazy…they don’t even know how to harvest palm wine and coconut wine. Talk about Culture Change!
3. Mali 5:30 This song addresses mistrust and wealth. My brothers, my sisters, and my friends, what’s up? I’m not rich--only my smile is pleasant! I remember our journey to Kiganjo. We refused to be divided over a company, so we left for home because the deal was a bad one. Meanwhile in Karatina, Mr. Kimani took all the proceeds like as if it was his own! That was a very bad experience over those nine months, but in the end we gained more experience. And Saidou lost the all proceeds from the Kisii festivities. Salim cried out, “It should not have not happened!”
4. Kina Mama 3:49 Kina Mama (Ladies and Gentlemen). Ulingo is a dance. In the night time in Africa, all the children from the village will come out and play and sing together when the moon is shining. I call out to them: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys! Hello, distinguished guests! Let's dance Ulingo, twist your waist, wind your waist while you roll down, down, down, roll all the way to the waters of the ocean (Bingiri, bingiri, bingiri, bingiri mpaka pwani)!
5. Umazi 3:28 My friend you’re growing up, don’t be a trouble maker, please cool it down. Live peaceful, in the world, and keep peace. Enjoy little things in life, and be happy!
6. Preketche 3:08 This is the day we’ll celebrate, with food, and drink, we will give thanks with the music. Let’s begin the music, and celebrate with our friends together.
7. Kasonzo 3:06 Kasonzo is an estate in Mombasa town, near the ghettos. Back in the day, it was paradise and hell at the same time. People took crazy chances with their lives, either with the police or thugs in the night in that area of the town. This part of the ghetto is known as the "Red Zone", a place where people drink, buy and take drugs, and thievery and prostitution is common. During the day, it's fairly safe—a "Green Zone". Only the folks, like jackals, survive after dark. There's a chance of being harassed, arrested and even beaten by corrupt police if you don't give up your money. Police will pack you in tracks, you’ll be charged and take to jail, especially those who have been drinking the traditional spirit, a homemade liquor, a cheaply-made toxic brew. It's an easy, fast high and it makes people happy and share stories, but beware of sudden, deep silences. Know that something might be up, so be alert ("kasonzo"), even if you're just passing by or visiting a friend.

8. Welcome Party 3:01. Attention, attention everybody, our visitors have arrived just now! Papa, mom, sister, and the kids, it’s a celebration. Let’s celebrate, let’s feed them with the fattest chicken! Tonight, good things will happen. Papa, mom, and the cute girl came back home from the city, let’s celebrate with a feast!

9. Tumaini (4:01) Tumaini means hope. I have hope. When you have hope, good things happen, so keep up the optimism, and be positive about good things happening through good hope. This includes traveling, jobs, career, school studies, politics, and our daily life as a whole. We hope for good things to happen, even in relationships. I wish you the best, and peace where you’re going, and that things should be good, and pleasing. I’m doing my best, in life we must keep on working!

10. Baba Kionjo (4:30) Baba Kionjo, your beautiful daughter and I are in love. I’ll be sending my parents to meet you, and to arrange for us to be married. Then they’ll come back to bring the dowry and you’ll arrange for the marriage date. Shower us with your blessings and love, bless our wedding day. No medicine can cure me except her love! She is the love of my life.
11. Education – Elimu 3:58. I’ve got thoughts banging around my head, like an endless dream, like a quiz. Tell me that the things that are meant to be, will be. You, who are now teenagers, this is how it is, today's life is different. We have to work hard, and if you have children, you must send them to school so they can learn, and become people of honour. Mothers and fathers, old and young, education has no limits! Education is the foundation of life!

Golden Goose Productions T.O, Canada. (SOCAN) MPL



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