sun 22/01/2017

African music

theartsdesk in Cape Town: Summer of nostalgia

Just 22 years old, South Africa’s national “Day of Reconciliation” on 16 December has shuffled into its perplexed young adulthood. Although commemorative events abound, few people seem to know how to strike the right note for this (just) pre-...

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Sónar Barcelona 2016

A few beers down, in the middle of a crowd listening to music you love, you tend not to think of the latest news story as your highest priority. But Britain's relationship to Europe weighs heavy on the mind these days, and when the news of the...

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CD: Kel Assouf - Tikounen

When the Tuareg band Tinariwen first started to come to prominence a decade or so ago, world music purists tried to lay claim that they were purveyors of what they called "desert blues". The reason being, presumably, that the blues in their...

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Tony Allen and Jimi Tenor, Café OTO

Questions of what is authentic and what is retro get more complicated the more the information economy matures. Music from decades past that only tens or hundreds of people heard at the time it was made becomes readily available, gets sampled by new...

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CD: Senegal 70

There was a magic moment in West Africa when, shortly after independence, in countries like Mali, Guinea and Senegal, the new leaders financed and encouraged new dance bands – telling them to dig deep into their own traditions and no longer feel...

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10 Questions for Composer Ludovico Einaudi

Last month, Ludovico Einaudi's album Elements debuted at No 12 on the UK album charts, which made it the highest-charting modern classical album since Henryk Górecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs reached No 6 in 1992. It was proof of the quietly...

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CD: Songhoy Blues - Music in Exile

Songhoy Blues, a punchy guitar band with roots on the edge of the desert, take the downhome country sounds of Ali Farka Toure, Afel Bocoum and Sidi Toure and give them a high-octane dose of urban urgency. They don’t just play those mesmerising Sahel...

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Konono Nº1, Café Oto

Rarely in London do the lights rise up after a live gig to reveal eyeballs glistening with euphoria, total body sweat and a communal stitch gradually dying down among the water-guzzling herd. Indeed it’s an unusually bestial scene for Café Oto,...

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Fuse ODG, Under the Bridge

The Afrobeats scene is coming to a venue near you. Anglo-Ghanaian artist Fuse ODG, who won the best African Act MOBO last week for the second year running, launched his first album T.I.N.A. last night with a relentless, exuberant performance that...

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Sarah Jane Morris, Union Chapel

Recorded in the UK, Johannesburg, Paris and Tel Aviv, Sarah Jane Morris's latest album, Bloody Rain, is undoubtedly a labour of love. Hearing it performed live last night in the Union Chapel, in front of an adoring audience, confirmed that it is...

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10 Questions for musician Burnt Friedman - with video exclusive

Bernd “Burnt” Friedman is one of the most relentlessly questing of experimental musicians. In over 30 years of making music and 25 years of releasing it, he has specialised in researching ancient, hypermodern and as-yet-undiscovered methods of...

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Youssou N'Dour: Voice of Africa, BBC Four

You either get Youssou N’Dour, or you don’t. For millions on his home turf, the Senegalese singer is a major cultural figure: the street urchin-turned-superstar who almost became president. For large numbers of Western fellow travellers he’s the...

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