Accordion gangs terrorise Lesotho

Gang warfare in Lesotho is sharpened by rivalry between accordion stars, turning one of Africa's smallest countries into its murder capital. (To be clear, it is not the accordions with which the terrorising is accomplished)

Famo has the gentlest of origins. It developed when traditional "wayfarers' hymns" – a form of spontaneous oral poetry, or rap, composed by herders or travellers to while away long hours guarding cattle or journeying on foot through Lesotho's mountains – began to be accompanied first on the concertina, and later the accordion.

But in 2004, after one Famo musician allegedly shot another, a cycle of revenge developed, fuelled by poisonous lyrics in songs. And over the last two decades scores of Famo artists and hundreds of other people connected with the music – producers, fans, DJs, musicians' family members – have been gunned down.

Embedded below, a Famo mix on YouTube.