Kevin Nathanial Hylton * Mbira Magical
Listen to parts of Kevin's Mbira Magical CD.
Usually when I hear a kalimba recording, my mind seems to construct a little video of how to play the song. For many kalimba songs, I can see how to play them just in my mind's eye - though there may be some parts that need some refinement later.
Kevin's music is played on the karimba (aka mbira nyunga nyunga), an instrument I am familiar with, yet when the music floats through my brain, I cannot see how it is played. To say the least, his playing is exotioc and very advanced. The fact that Kevin is playing instruments that he has made himself only deepens the experience.
Kevin's karimba music is not traditional, but it nonetheless is able to transport the listener to another place and time that feels like ancient Africa.
While Kevin's first CD was solo karimba, this CD adds shakers and percussion and flutes to the mix. Some of the flute parts are reminiscent of the communal one-note African flutes - or "One man, one note" as Hugh Tracey said - a song is built up from several players each playing their different notes at exactly the right point in the music. The extra instruments, especially the flutes, add a lot to the texture of the music, but the real magic is still based in Kevin's mbira playing.