Pieces of Africa – Kronos Quartet released in 1992 on Elektra Nonesuchlabel. It is a very beautiful recording with several superb individual works. Pieces of Africa teems with beguiling melodies, making it one of the best projects of Kronos Quartet.
Certainly the most meaty piece here is Kevin Volans’ White Man Sleeps. It is a set of 5 movements, with the overall effect of a set of baroque dances, borrowing heavily from African rhythms, motifs and styles.
Zimbabwe’s Dumisani Maraire’s opening piece, “Mai Nozipo,” with the composer accompanying the quartet on drums, is a rousing, triumphant anthem with a resonant melodic line that will long linger.
The disc closes with another composition by Maraire, with an accompanying gospel choir making explicit the link between Africa’s music and that of the American South.
The Kronos quartet are a group of musicians based in San Francisco who have made it their mission performing and popularising modern string quartet music. They hit the jackpot with Pieces of Africa, which quickly become a bestseller, not only on classical charts, but also on popular lists. It introduced many people to the Kronos quartet and to classical music in general.
So “Tickets, please!”, sit back and enjoy the ride on a musical journey through a continent of rhythms, stories and emotions that is Pieces of Africa.

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