John Ondolo / HYPNOTIC GUITAR OF JOHN ONDOLO
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Droning, open-tune guitar masterpieces from an unsung hero of East African music.
John Ondolo spent his life traveling between Tanzania, where he was born, and Kenya, where he recorded a string of singles for independent labels in the late 1950s and early 60s. Unlike most guitarists from the region, Ondolo used open tuning (a favorite of American blues guitarists), creating a hypnotic drone over which he laid down endless rhythmic variations on his main themes. Inspired by the exploding pop music scene in Nairobi, the newest rock and roll imports from the US, and the Abakuria tribal music of his youth, Ondolo transposed traditional instruments and rhythms to his guitar, playing it more like a traditional harp at times, and inventing a sound totally unique in the recorded history of African guitar.
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