Reprinted with permission from the April/May 1997 issue of World Rhythm (contact: (617) 497-0745)
MIT is Home... by Kyle Russell
...James Makubuya is rehearsing MITCAN, MIT's African Performance Ensemble. The musicians learn techniques and repertoire on a variety of instruments from Makubuya's native Uganda -- as well as traditional songs and dances. With the sweet sounds and compelling rhythms of the Adungu (9-stringed bow harp), the Madinda (12-key log xylophone) and a variety of other stringed and melodic percussion, MITCAN's members create a mesmerizing sonic tapestry. Rehearsals aren't just about the music, though. "Feeling must be a part of it," explains Makubuya; while teaching them their instrumental parts, he helps put the student musicians in the mood, explaining the pieces' cultural context and emotional flavor. For example, he says, "one of the tunes is religious, so they have to be respectful as if they're in a worshipping situation and play their instruments in that way." Furthermore, the members of MITCAN learn traditional Ugandan songs and dances, developing an even deeper appreciation for the profundity of African performing arts.
To return to the MITCAN homepage, click here.