"I'm not here to hunt rabbits" - Various Artists
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- Artist:Various Artists
- release year:2018
- catalogue numberPIR3165
OUT ON 27 APRIL 2018With all of a humanity reduced to a genome, who’d a thunk there’d be some sweet, folksy music being made in a remote corner of the world that almost no one had heard of until youtube came along?
There is! A whole community of musicians from Botswana playing guitar in a way most of us have never thought possible—unless you happened to be following a handful of viral internet videos, clicked more than a million times. In the comments of these videos the same questions arise again and again:
* “What is this force of nature’s name?”
* “Why, when she is doing everything wrong, does it sound SO right?”
* “I threw my guitar out the window after watching this . . .”
* “Where’s Ry Cooder?”
* “Fantastic, John Peel would have wet himself if he had lived to see this.”
Head of The Vital Record, David Aglow, had no idea what he was in for when, back in 2009, he received an email from a friend with a YouTube link. He thought it might be spam and almost didn’t bother to click. But he did, and discovered a treasure trove of “Botswana Music Guitar.”: played in an eccentric style and with a depth of expression rivaling any genre of music, this is folk from the dusty outskirts of the Kalahari Desert.
A community of African country blues masters with a totally original technique. For one thing; the left hand reaches up and over the neck of the guitar, instead of from behind and underneath. Furthermore, although played on six string guitars, they are only stringed with 4 – 3 treble, usually in G, E and D, and one bass. If a bass string is hard to find, it might be substituted by a brake cable. Tuning is achieved by ear – besides, tuning devices is overestimated anyway…
Where did these peculiarities originate? Why did they came about? Nobody knows. That's how the older musicians did it – that's how it always used to be done …
David Aglow was so enthralled that he searched for and found the person who recorded and posted these clips—Johannes Vollebregt—aka Bokete7. The Dutchman had arrived in Botswana with an aid organization in 1979 and lived there ever since. A music lover and guitar player already, he started a new band and began to explore the local situation. The scene was so lively and exceptional that he started to record musicians on video and post them on his YouTube channel. David Aglow proposed giving the artists a proper release – which is how the professional recordings in Gabarone / Botswana came about.
The line-up of artists which made it onto "I'm not here to hunt Rabbits" include; Ronald “Ronnie“ Moipolai, Molefe “Western“ Lekgetho, Sibongile Kgaila, Annafiki “Anna“ Ditau, Oteng Piet, Solly Sebotso, Batlaadira Radipitse, Motlogelwa “Babsi“ Barolong. With the exception of Motlogelwa “Babsi“ Barolong, who as well as a musican is a cowherd, a cabinet maker and night watchman, they all manage to make a living making music – be it on tour all over the world from all over Southern Africa to China or Sweden, playing business events or local bars.
Their stories – told eloquently, enthrallingly and vividly in a most entertaining 36 page color booklet – mirror their lyrics. Sometimes in a journalistic way, others poetically. Sometimes very serious, others pretty funny. The music is deeply heartfelt, masterfully executed, totally relaxed, self-assured and natural.
I'm Not Here To Hunt Rabbits will be released on audiophile 180g vinyl and as a digital release through Piranha Records in co-operation with The Vital Record on 27 April 2018.
It's like the old Robert Johnson story – when he sold his soul to the devil at that Rosedale crossroads. Only this time the crossroad is on the outskirts of the Kalahari desert, and there's no devil around, at least as far as we know. Just a crazy record label looking to bring these artists indoors to record.
"Nowhere in the world do they play guitar like they do in Botswana."Die Welt (April, 2018)
"Friends of the blues are very impressed by the guitar style in Botswana. […] tricky and smart riffs accompanied by moody story telling."Four-star review on Jazzthetik (July, 2018)
"A charm greatly beyond simple exoticism [...] A vernacular art not only original but also attractive."Paris Move (April 2018)
"The unusual way they play the four-string guitars - reaching their left hand up and over the guitar's neck, instead of from behind and underneath - became apparent from the viral YouTube video phenomenon that prompted the idea of recording this album."Five-star review on BBC Music Magazine (June, 2018)
"[…] magical transformation that the guitar has undergone at the hands of these folk musicians, and the odd style they have brought to bear on the instrument. "Songlines (June, 2018)
"Here's a style of guitar playing from Botswana that you've probably never seen before."Okayafrica (March, 2018)
"A brilliant introduction to a unique style […] This is one of the best guitar albums of the year so far."Noisey (April, 2018)