In recent decades, satellite television, cell phone networks (much easier to set up than landline phone systems), and the internet have been connecting more and more people in Africa to the outside world. However, there are still impoverished regions where people live in relative isolation. It was while visiting a village in such an area that Paige Victoria Park encountered a group of children who’d never seen (or heard) a fiddle before.
There’s no shortage of music and musical instruments in Africa — music is universal. And indeed, the continent has an astonishing variety of musical styles, both traditional and contemporary. These vary quite a lot from region to region, country to country, and within countries. Broadly speaking, traditional African music often has complex rhythmic patterns which can be played against each other. Harmony need not be created like in western music, since each instrument may be representing some aspect of life. Percussion instruments usually hold pride of place, but can be joined by various stringed instruments, horns, and flutes and pipes of all descriptions. Some noteworthy examples: the 21 string kora (capable of incredible sounds), the goblet shaped djembe drum, the maraca-esque shakere, xlyophone-like instruments, and of course the famous thumb piano.
Paige Victoria is part of an entire family of Bluegrass musicians from Oklahoma, so it was only natural that she had a fiddle with her, even when traveling a long way from home. She was more than happy to introduce a group of two dozen curious youngsters to her favorite instrument. She gave it a few initial scrapes and that drew some giggles from her audience. But then she started playing for real. Instantly, the kids started dancing frantically, doing their best to keep up with the fast Bluegrass beat. Strange though the music was, they were all smiles.
Check out the video and let us know what you thought of this ambassador of Bluegrass in the comments section below. Be sure to like and share, too!