Boomkat Product Review:
"Burundi, located in the heart of central Africa, is an overcrowded, rugged, mountainous country where eking out an existence has never been easy; it is also a land steeped in tradition and courtly ritual. For centuries, Burundi was ruled by aristocrats of the legendary Watusi - more correctly, the Batutsi, or Tutsi - warriors, renowned for their graceful dancing. The vast majority of Burundi's populace, however, belong to the Hutu ethnic group, which comprises 85% of the population. In group gatherings, drinking large quantities of beer, Burundians sought to forget the harshness of their existence through singing. Most lyrics were composed extemporaneously, for the people of Burundi are natural poets. On state occasions, or when a major dignitary was being entertained, skilled Hutu drummers in flowing red togas beat out rhythms in honor of these guests. When the king or a provincial chief visited, he often would bring along his own drummers. Watusi youths known as intore reenacted famous battle and victory scenes in dance form, gracefully leaping and shaking their heads, a short spear balanced delicately between three fingers in each hand. Despite the seemingly carefree lyrics and vitality of the music heard here, Burundi's recent history has been tragic. The ethnic fighting that broke out again in 1972 and 1973 resulted in the death of more than 200,000 Burundians, and more than 80,000 Hutu have fled the country. The selections and artists represented in this recording are from northwest Burundi, an area heavily inhabited by Hutu, and many of these performers may well have been among the victims of this strife". WARREN WEINSTEIN, 1974 .