I recorded this album in Maasailand, Kenya in 2007. It is available at jonathanbest.bandcamp.com. Friday, June 16, 2020, 100% of Bandcamp’s share goes to the NAACP legal defense fund. As always, 100% of my share goes to Maasai communities. This music epitomizes the message of comMUSIKey, the non-profit I founded where Music is the Key to Community. After that first trip in 2007 I continued to go back throughout the same period I was studying how to facilitate music groups back home with Music for People.
When you listen to this album, you are listening to the sound of a village welcoming a group of people from another land with customs very different from theirs. You hear the voices of me and the college students I was with. You hear them mention my name, Enjolis, which means hedgehog, given to me for mistaking a hedgehog for a sheep. You hear my attempts at singing along and their invitation to me to take the lead. You hear the laughter of college students and Prescott College professor Mary Poole.
This is true folk music. Sony Music would never know how to market this. It goes back centuries, constantly evolving, as the stories of warriors, of mothers, and of oppression, change. This music provides a listening experience nothing like a pop recording or even a live classical or jazz performance. The laughter and conversation of the village is interwoven with the music. One of the biggest honors of my life was to be welcomed into this community and to have the opportunity to create this album that has forever changed my life.
So far, close to a thousand CDs have been sold on behalf of Maasai communities. This new online version is available for a minimum donation of $7. The hard copies are $20. You can always add more to the donation. This in particular is a time when Maasai communities can really use your help.
It’s also a time when we can use their help. As a society, we are in so much trouble that we don’t even know it. Every time we let an indigenous community die, we lose another part of our collective soul. The music of this album reminds me that there was a time when music was interwoven into every facet of human life.
All profits from the sale of this CD will go to the Maasai Education Research and Conservation Institute and the Village of Ngong’u Narok.
If you want to see some videos showing some of what I saw go to my Maasai Youtube playlist.
This one showing young boys in a Maasai run middle school is one of my favorites. Siana School Osingolio.