Disaster Amnesiac is currently enjoying reading Richard Miles' wonderful Carthage Must Be Destroyed, a book that gives a detailed and involving description of the long battle for regional supremacy between the nascent Roman Empire and the mercantile city state of Carthage.
One of the subtle dynamics that Miles postulates is that of the battle between the supposed heirs of High Culture (divine in origin) and those of more syncretic nature (profane, based in real time interactions). The Romans are portrayed as being somewhat obsessed, at least at the governing level, with showing at all times their singular, divinely sanctioned right to their imperial designs; their focus on the "purity" of their origin left no room for the kind of messiness inherent within hybrid cultures such as that of Carthage. Miles brilliantly uses archeological examples of temples, comparing the highly-focused messages of the Roman with the more ambiguous (in terms of pantheon/origin) of the Carthaginians.
Put another way, it was in many ways a battle between the Institution and the street.
One may ask, "what, Disaster Amnesiac, does this have to do with a cassette tape release by Gianni Giublena Rosacroce?"
Giublena's La Mia Africa, willfully or not, extrapolates upon this divide. I find it instructive that a tape produced by an Italian musician would go so far to honor music and culture rooted in Africa. As such, it's most definitely not Institutional music. Giublena, who plays clarinet, marimba, drums, and percussion, cooks up a nice stew of tunes, all of which mix the African with Mediterranean. The tape's sounds give the feeling of the hot breezes blowing up from the Sahara and into the Iberian and Italian peninsulas. La Mia Africa, as opposed the the idealized, wanna-be High Culture vibes that characterize so much of the product from the World Music sphere, exudes a funky, warts and all sound. It seems to me to be a lot better example of the (at times) messy and "unsophisticated" realities that emerge within less high-minded, more honestly syncretic occurrences.
Much like the Carthaginian culture described by Miles, Giublena's supporting cast appears to be a mixture of people from far flung parts of the Levant. They sound as if their cultures' contributions to these tunes are honored as having worth in an of themselves. This, too, flies in the face of a more "Roman" mono-culture gloss. The tunes' mixtures, while not having the gloss of "perfection", have a more enjoyable quality of "reality".
Wrapped in a lovely, hand screened wrapper, sand and adobe colored, La Mia Africa continues the dynamic of a world mixing in real time, blooming sound flowers from this churn.
All roads may indeed lead to Rome, but the Empire's hinterlands offer pleasurable detours, made up of delightful mixtures, and well away from the mobs and their circus.