The Mama Tembo Times newsletter archive

MTTimes - December 2012 (HTML)
MTTimes - January 2012 (HTML)
MTTimes.11-07.pdf (127kB)
MTTimes.10-02.pdf (994kB)
MTTimes.09-09.pdf (950kB)
MTTimes.09-04.pdf (645kB)
MTTimes.08-09.pdf (549kB)
MTTimes.08-07.pdf (674kB)
MTTimes.08-01.pdf (391kB)
MTTimes.07-10.pdf (362kB)
MTTimes.07-05.pdf (115kB)

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MTT YouTube Productions

Embedded links pages

External links (takes you to youtube.com)
Bright Heart of Africa
Southern Circuit
Elephant Orphanage Nairobi
Yaeda Valley
June 08 Central African Rep
June 08 Ba'aka video
June 08 Congo Safari
Oct 08 Central African Rep: Makumba and harem
Oct 08 Ba'aka video
Baby elephant: Stand by me
Northern Tanzania Highlights 2008-11-20
Wildebeest is born
Hadza of Tanzania
Lions on Kill Ruaha Tanzania
Rainy Day in Dzanga Bai, Central African Republic
Lions, Hyenas, Vultures, Ruaha National Park
Zambia Canoe Safari May 2009
South and North Luangwa National Parks, Zambia, lodges and camps
South and North Luangwa National Parks, walking safaris
Rhino Trekking, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Livingstone, Zambia
South and North Luangwa National Parks, Night Safaris
Part one of Trish and Tony's safari
Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia
Katete Cultural Tourism Program with Village Dances, Eastern Zambia
Elephant Moment, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Return of The Chipolopolo Boys, Zambia's National Football Team

These are just a few of the many videos on MTT's "Laughing Hyena" YouTube channel.
For the most recent, please go to MTT's new company channel.



Exile and Beat the Border by Ugandan Geoffrey Oryema. Geoffrey was in his early twenties when his father was assassinated by Idi Amin's government and he narrowly escaped with his life across the border into Kenya.

Muhazi by Rwandan Mighty Popo. I heard the Mighty Popo for the first time at the Vancouver Folk Festival in July of this year. I thought him the star of the festival's finale.

African Voices, a collection compiled by Narada which includes Ayub Ogada.

Wonders of the African World, the soundtrack of PBS' documentary, written and presented by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Africa, the soundtrack from the National Geographic television series. It includes songs by Ogada and Oryema.

En Mana Kuoyo by Kenyan Ayub Ogada.

Shadow Man by Johnny Clegg and Savuka. South African musician who fuses white and black music. The result is irresistible and energetic.

Ghorwane by Majurugenta. Beautiful gentle sounds from a Mozambique group which traveled to England to record on Peter Gabriel's Real World label.

I picked up this wonderful double CD set in Morocco: Desert Blue, Ambiance du Sahara, a collection of ballads from Ethiopia, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia and Mali. From Network Music, Frankfurt, Germany.

While in Morocco, I was introduced to this singer from Mali, and couldn't wait to order her CD set called Oumou.

Another of my favorite CDs is Senegalese Ismael Lo's Jammu Africa. This is sure to appeal to Western tastes.

Youssou N’dour: Rokku Mi Rokka (“Give and Take”): I saw N’Dour perform in the 80s in Oakland, California where he was part of the Amnesty International Concert Tour. This is long before I knew my destiny would take me to Africa. I have followed this famous Senegalese musician ever since. This is his latest effort.

Afriki by Habib Koite and Bamada: Koite is a famous Malian musician, a premier guitarist and Bamada is his group. He speaks to Malian and African youth in his latest CD, in the hopes of convincing them to appreciate their traditions and to cherish their African roots. "Africans", he writes, "are willing to risk death trying to leave for Europe and the USA, but they are not willing to take that risk staying to develop something here in Africa. Life can be really good or really bad wherever you live. People need to understand that. Even though Mali is poor, we still have good quality of life. You can walk outside and smile and someone will smile back. I have thought about it a lot, and I don't agree that poor countries always have a worse quality of life." Koite's lyrics resonate with me the most, but his music is beautiful as well. Its gentle, laidback songs remind me of Geoffrey Oreyema’s music. This is music which is good for the soul.

Congolese Soukous compiled by the Rough Guide to World Music: What are soukous you might ask? Well, it’s Congolese rumba, guitar-driven dance music, with its roots in the 1950s Democratic Republic of Congo when Portuguese visitors introduced the guitar to local musicians who quickly traded in their thumb pianos for the new instrument. I can now vouch for the Congolese love of dancing and singing. I have only to sit outside my house after sunset and all the music venues happening around the neighborhood are carried to me through the still night.

Le Droit Chemin (The Right Road) by Fally Ipupa: This is Brazzaville's favourite music at the moment, from a musician known as Fally who hails from Kinshasa across the river. Without paper, inks and printers, advertisements in Congo are painted by hand. Many images of Fally are around town, especially to demarcate tape shops and men's hairdressers. With Congolese pop, it possible to think that all day long the same song is playing. However, I can differentiate between Fally's tracks and his voice is silky smooth. I brought copies of this tape to Tanzania for all my driver/guides. The CD is available at Amazon and for a better price than in Congo.

Music of the Ba'Aka of Dzanga-Sangha: the only way you can get a hold of this music is through Louis Sarno, the American who recorded it and who has lived with this Central African pygmie group for over 20 years. You may also see if you can find a copy of Louis' book Song from the Forest: My Life Among the Ba-Benjelle Pygmies - some of the books were released with the music - but don't tell Louis that I recommended this. He doesn't like his book, years now after he wrote it. He asked me not to look for a copy of it. (I didn't listen.) Out of respect for Louis' feelings, I won't review his book. But I will tell you this. I think it is worth a read for what you will learn about the Ba'Aka people, especially about their music which is why Louis was drawn to Central Africa in the first place. He happened to hear a pygmie song on the radio and it affected him so much that he decided to travel to their remote rainforest home. He never left. His CD of recordings was made between 1986 and 1996. It preserves eleven Ba'Aka compositions, from the yodeling the women make on their way to the forest for a day of gathering, to the ancient boyobe ceremony which is held before a traditional net hunt. Women and children summon in song the forest spirits who appear dressed in bark and leaves to bless the hunt. Some of the pygmie music is dying out, which will make Louis' CD a wonderful thing to own. If you come on a Central African safari I will introduce you to Louis. If you want a copy of this beautiful and rare Ba'Aka music please write and I will put you in touch with Louis.

Long Way Down: this is the official soundtrack to the motorcycle adventure series of the same name which appeared on BBC TV last year. The series chronicles actor Ewan McGregor's and his action buddy Charley Boorman's travels through Africa on their bikes. There are some familiar and famous African musicians in this compilation – such as Geoffrey Oryema, Ayub Ogada, and Thomas Mapfumo – but I was also pleased to be introduced to the Afro Celt Sound System (a UK group) and Somalian singer Maryam Mursal. I loved the series. (Who can't like Ewan McGregor?) I love this soundtrack even more.

by John Nevison
One of my favorite African musicians and song writers is Samite Mulond. Samite was born and raised in Uganda, where his grandfather taught him to play the traditional African flute. In 1982 he fled Uganda as a political refugee after his brother was brutally killed and his own life was threatened. He spent five years in Kenya, including six months in a refugee camp, before coming to the US. Since 1987 he has lived in Ithaca, New York.

Samite writes and performs original and traditional songs in his mother tongue of Luganda. He plays the kalimba (finger-piano), marimba (wooden xylophone), litungu (seven-stringed Kenyan instrument), and various flutes.

In 2002, Samite founded "Musicians for World Harmony" (www.musiciansforworldharmony.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling musicians throughout the world to share their music in order to promote peace, understanding, and harmony among peoples, with a special emphasis on the displaced or distressed who can benefit most from the healing power of music.

Samite writes, “I am convinced that we are all moved by the same desires, needs and emotions, regardless of the language in which those feelings are expressed. Songs are delivered to me by forest birds, or as I photograph mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Still other songs come to me through stories I hear when I visit orphanages and refugee camps”.

A popular Samite CD is "Kambu Angels". In the album's liner notes, Samite states that he was inspired by an Africa that is renewing itself. In songs such as Buli Muntu, Zenina, Sunrise, Kambu Angels, and Tokido, it is possible to hear this renewal - the laughter of village children; the insect buzz in the forest; the tinny sounds of rumba music on transistor radios; windswept plains and huge, endless skies; flocks of migratory birds in flight; and an elephant family crossing a river.

Visit www.samite.com

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Suggested Reading

Adamson, Joy:
Born Free
Pan 1966

The Peoples of Kenya
Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc 1967

Beckworth, Carol and
Fisher, Angela:
African Ceremonies
Volumes 1 and 2
Harry N. Abrams 1999

Blixen, Karen (Dinassen, Isak): Out of Africa
Penguin 1937/54

Carr, Norman:
The White Impala: The Story of a Game Ranger
Collins 1969

Chadwick, Douglas H.:
The Fate of the Elephant
Penguin 1992

Conrad, Joseph:
The Heart of Darkness
Everyman 1967

De Villiers, Marq and
Hirtle, Sheila:
Into Africa
Phoenix Giant 1997

Gallmann, Kuki:
I Dreamed of Africa
Penguin 1992

Gavron, Jeremy:
The Last Elephant:
An African Quest

Flamingo 1994

Goodall, Jane:
Through a Window
Phoenix 2000

Griffin, Scott:
My Heart is Africa:
A Flying Adventure

Thomas Allen Publishers 2006

Guest, Robert:
The Shackled Continent
Pan Macmillan 2005

Guhrs, Vic:
The Trouble with Africa: Stories from a Safari Camp
Penguin South Africa 2005

Reason for Hope
Soko Publications 1999

Hanby, Jeannette and Bygott, David:
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Kikuyu Partners 1989

Hanby, Jeannette:
Lions Share:
Story of a Serengeti Pride

Houghton Mifflin
Boston 1982

Huxley, Elspeth:
Red Strangers

Penguin 1999

James, Kelly:
Dancing with the Witchdoctor
Perennial 2002


Jeal, Tim:
Yale University Press
New Haven and London 1973

Lamb, David:
The Africans
Vintage 1987

Leakey, Richard and
Lewin, Roger:
Origins Reconsidered
Abacus 1992

Malan, Rian:
Aids in Africa:
In Search of the Truth

Rolling Stone Magazine November 22, 2001

My Traitor's Heart
London 1990

Markham, Beryl:
West with the Night
North Point Press
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
New York 1983

Maathai, Wangari:
(Nobel Peace Prize winner)
Unbowed: A Memoir
Alfred A. Knopf 2006

Matthiessen, Peter: The Tree Where Man Was Born
Penguin 1972

African Silences
Vintage 1992

Sand Rivers
The Viking Press 1981

Meredith, Martin:
The Fate of Africa
Public Affairs, Perseus Books 2005

Millais, J.G:
Life of Frederick Courtney Selous
The Gallery Publications, Zanzibar 2001
First published 1918

Monbiot, George:
No Man's Land
MacMillan 1994

Morell, Virgina:
Ancestral Passions:
The Leakey Family and the Quest for Humankind's Beginnings

Simon and Shuster 1995

Moyo, Dambisa:
Dead Aid
Fsg Adult 2009

Naipaul, Shiva:
North of South
Penguin 1978

Ondaatje, Christopher:
Journey to the Source of the Nile
Harper Collins 1998

Petringa, Maria:
Brazza, A Life For Africa
Authorhouse 2006

Peterson, Dale:
Chimpanzee Travels:
On and Off the Road in Africa

The University of Georgia Press 2003

Daniel Pinchbeck:
Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism
Broadway Books, New York 2002

Read, David:
Waters of the Sanjan
Self-published 1982

Ridgeway, Rick:
The Shadow of Kilimanjaro
Henry Holt and Co. 2000

Said-Ruete, Emily:
Memoirs of an Arabian Princess
East-West Publications 1994

Saitoti, Ole Tepilit:
The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior
University of Ca. Press 1988

Sandham, Fran:
Overlook Press 2008

Sapolsky, Robert M.:
A Primate's Memoir
Vintage 2002

Sonia Shah:
The Fever: How Malaria has ruled Mankind for 500,000 Years
Straus and Giroux 2010

Sheldrick, Daphne:
The Orphans of Tsavao
McKay 1966

Shepard, Paul:
Thinking Animals
The University of Georgia Press
Athens 1978

Some Patrice Malidoma:
Of Water and the Spirit
Penguin Compass 1994

The Healing Wisdom of Africa
Thorsons 1998

Stephenson, James:
The Language of the Land
St. Martin's 2000

Taylor, Stephen:
Livingstone's Tribe
Flamingo 2000

Theroux, Paul:
Dark Star Safari

Penguin 2003

Vassanji, M.G.:
The Book of Secrets
Picador 1994

Weisman, Alan:
A World Without Us
Harper Collins Canada 2007

Wheeler, Sara:
Too Close to the Sun:
The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton

Random House 2007

Whitman, Beth:
Wanderlust and Lipstick







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