Terry Riley’s “In C” is something of a standard in minimal and modern classical circles. The looping, ever-expanding nature of the piece lends itself to interpretation so well that it’s performed all over the world in different versions and contexts. The version heard in this video, which was published by Pitchfork back in January, is the first ever version of the song released from Africa.
It comes from Mali, specifically, which is a country with a staggeringly rich musical history that thrives to this day despite attempts by fundamentalist militants in the country to ban music entirely. I can think of no goal in the world that is more wrong-headed than that one, so it’s good to hear that beautiful, challenging music continues to come out of this unlikely West African nation. The forty-minute video brings Mali, and the very talented Africa Express, directly into your living room. It’s a delight for the senses. Check it out!