Review - Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda

Artist: Abayudaya

Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda

For a non-evangelical religion, Judaism sure does crop up in unexpected corners of the world. Personally, running across "Jewtown" in Cochin, India was proof enough to me that the Tribe is indeed well-scattered. That the two dozen recordings on this disc represent only a fraction of the Jewish culture present in eastern Africa is truly eye-opening. Although they don't claim Jewish lineage, the Abayudaya are resolute in their faith and their indigenous culture. Their music is a truly unique Afro-Jewish concoction, relying on traditional African instrumentation and arranging to express their deeply held faith: songs like "Twagala Torah" ("We love the Torah") are sonically indistinguishable from much other Ugandan music. But it also goes without saying that -- given that the Abayudaya are a group of only about 600 -- lyrics like those of "Kiddush and Motzi" are unlikely to be heard blaring out of car radios in Kampala.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.