KEXP and “The Best Ambiance” were very lucky to host a performance of the veteran “taarab” orchestra from Zanzibar, the Culture Musical Club, while on their very first tour of the United States. They perform “taarab”, an intoxicating blend of Arabic and East African music, that showcases the rich musical crossroads of their native Zanzibar, an island off the east African coast of Tanzania. They have performed together since the late-50’s, and their music features a front-line of strings including three violins, the Arabic lute – the oud, a large zither (the qanun), and double bass, along with accordion and hand percussion of dumbak and bongos. They perform four songs, including an instrumental, and three songs featuring each of their three singers. This is a memorable performance, of the largest group ever to perform in the KEXP studios (thirteen musicians and singers), and most definitely unique and not to be missed!
Culture Musical Club – (MP3)
This session also includes an interview with Culture Musical Club’s producer and manager, Werner Graebner, an expert on taarab and East African music; explaining the history of the group and its music.