wed 23/04/2014

world music

CD: Karol Conka – Batukfreak

It’s strange that probably most of the best-known Brazilian artists here are over 60 and from one state, Bahia - those being Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethania and Tom Zé. Brazil is the size of Europe, though, and of course there are...

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CD: Tinariwen - Emmaar

On seeing that new Tinariwen album, Emmaar, had been recorded at Joshua Tree (due to ongoing security problems in their native Mali) with a number of American guest musicians, my heart sank. I imagined some special guest-heavy yet artistically...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: William Onyeabor, Tears For Fears

 William Onyeabor: World Psychedelic Classics 5 – Who is William Onyeabor?A primitive drum machine rattles out a Latin rhythm. Keyboards begin. The gaps between the repetitive spirals of notes are plugged by blobs of fat synth. A disembodied...

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Gwlad y Gân/Land of Song, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

When the term “world music” became a category in record stores, it’s doubtful that triple harps, cerdd dant and canu plygain would have been thought to belong under the umbrella. And yet here they were on display at WOMEX. The annual world music...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: National Wake, Drugstore

 National Wake: A Walk in Africa 1979–81South Africa’s National Wake would be noteworthy enough even if their music wasn’t. The mixed-race group emerged in 1978 in a country where the establishment and institutions were directly opposed to what...

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theartsdesk in Russia: WOMAD Pyatigorsk

“Some say that I come from Russia / Some think that I come from Africa / But I'm so exotic, I'm so erotic / 'Cos I come from the Planet Paprika...”  So sang Shantel at the close of the first WOMAD festival in Russia. The location was almost as...

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Darbar Festival: The ancient art of Dhrupad

This is a key weekend for lovers of Indian classical music or the merely sonically adventurous – the Darbar Festival in the Southbank has some of the most extraordinary practioners of the art from both the Carnatic (South Indian) and Hindustani (...

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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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Prom 54: World Routes

Why are the Malians always punching way above their weight in music? There may be some historical reasons. The French always were more welcoming to the culture of their empire than the Brits (and more used to foreign-language music), while Paris...

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WOMAD 2013, Charlton Park - Days Three and Four

Arriving early on Saturday, the first music I was exposed to in the tranquil arboretum area of the Radio 3 Stage was the mesmeric and gorgeous sounds of Leicester sitarist Roopa Panesar floating from the stage, with dreamy oboe-like shenhai adding...

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WOMAD 2013, Charlton Park - Day Two

If there’s a patron saint of WOMAD it must be Bob Marley. His visage, serious but gentle, peers out from more T-shirts than I care to count. And all the festival-goers who don’t have WOMAD-standard long, white, straggly hair sport dreadlocks. The...

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WOMAD 2013, Charlton Park - Day One

I am a WOMAD virgin. “Princey will be here later, he usually frequents this bar,” a man with straggly white hair tells me as I wander aimlessly about. I think he means Prince Rogers Nelson, the diminutive rock star who sang “Purple Rain”, and I grow...

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