Forming his own Afro-Cuban band was the next step , and so the African Messengers were born. " All the music that we do is based firmly on African traditions," Ginger says. "So is rhythm and blues - but we try to get nearer the source, right down to the grass roots of the jungle - the sun, the heat, the insects, the abundance of life. And we overlay the whole with jazz - saxophone, guitar, brass, flute, and sometimes piano - because jazz is also derived from the old sources of Africa." Part of the compulsive beat is supplied by the 'talking drum' once used in the famous 'bush telegraph' system.
The equivalent of the bass in Ginger's band - although he also uses an electric bass guitar - is the 'bush piano' a box-like instrument of wood fitted with thin metal tongues, which when flicked with the thumb, vibrate and give off thrumming bass notes. But Ginger's favourite instruments are his elephants feet. The elephant was killed by hunters in South Africa more than 100 years ago. The feet were hollowed out and covered with skin to form drums, and Ginger has played them for many years.
They are prominent on several of his most famous songs. -Excerpts from sleeve notes by Frank Smyth, taken from the album Ginger And His African Messengers African Party. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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