The Corner

Mors Janua Vitae

Hardly anything is better guaranteed to bring a smile to one’s face over

breakfast coffee than a Daily Telegraph obituary. Try this, from today’s

paper. The subject is Hukwe Zawose, an East Aftrican singer. “Almost

single-handedly, Zawose breathed new life into the ancient traditional music

of the Wagogo people. His extraordinary five-octave vocal range, which

enabled him to switch between a high feminine soprano and a deep sub-bass

throat singing, and his exquisite playing of the ilimba thumb piano or the

one-stringed izeze fiddle, mesmerised audiences around the world.”

The obituary concludes: “In Tanzania, Zawose lived a traditional life with

his four wives and 15 children.”

May he rest in peace with his ilimba thumb piano.


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