Learning from Uganda's Music Masters!

November 26, 2008

Senior math major Kyle Prifogle traveled to Kampala, Uganda with Professor of Music James Makubuya
to take lessons on the madinda (log xylophone) from the same masters of that instrument who launched Makubuya into his career as an international performer of East African music. An excerpt from Kyle’s weblog:

Friday, May 23—For breakfast today we had fried lumonde (sweet potatoes) and fried muwogo (cassava).

Then we went to Kyambogo and learned again from the ingenious Mr. Ssebuwufu, the happiest and nicest man I have ever met. You would never think that this was one of the true masters of the madinda, or that he had performed around the world in every venue imaginable!

We practiced the songs we had learned yesterday, and then we did something amazing. We played enyana ekutudde on the giant 22-key kadinda! The style is very different, and for me considerably more difficult.

It was incredible—the way that the rhythms interlock is mind-boggling. As a mathematician and a musician, I was in heaven. The kadinda itself is an amazing instrument. I learned later that it was brought out especially for our visit.


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