thu 21/11/2019

Africa

Ant Middleton and Liam Payne: Straight Talking, Sky 1 review - when the commando met the pop star

“What is wrong with us? What are we doing here?” Liam Payne asked the camera, as we neared the end of his jaunt round picturesque Namibia with his quizmaster Ant Middleton. The short answer would be “it’s for the publicity, you idiot,” but of course...

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Vampire Weekend, O2 Academy, Birmingham review – clean-cut Americans fail to ignite

By the time Vampire Weekend reached Birmingham on their latest UK jaunt, they had unfortunately managed to mislay their support band, the colourful Songhoy Blues. This was a great shame, as the Malians would surely have added a bit of colour to the...

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CD: Aziza Brahim - Sahari

Last month this Western Saharan singer-songwriter stood on stage at London’s Jazz Café and turned the venue into a hallowed holy space with just her voice and the rhythm she summoned from her tabal drum. Translated from the orginal Arabic, two lines...

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The British Tribe Next Door, Channel 4 review - risible culture-clash farrago

What’s the most ridiculous programme that Channel 4 has ever made? Sex Box? The Execution of Gary Glitter? Extreme Celebrity Detox? Whatever, The British Tribe Next Door is up there vying for supremacy.The Moffatt family, from Bishop Auckland, have...

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CD: Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2

Foals, the band with a trademark sound characterised by the African-style intricate interplay of rhythm rather than lead guitars, returns with what amounts to the second half of a double album. The first half was released last spring, and this new...

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Our Lady of Kibeho, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - heaven and hell in Rwandan visions

The American dramatist Katori Hall has created a work of rare accomplishment in Our Lady of Kibeho, a play that combines a beautifully established picture of a particular world – a church school in rural Rwanda, in the early 1980s – with profound...

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CD: Tinariwen - Amadjar

Tinariwen’s music has always been evocative of West African deserts with their mellow blues-like guitars and shuffling groove. Initially recording everything in Mali until it was invaded by religious fanatics who deemed playing music forbidden,...

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José Eduardo Agualusa: The Society of Reluctant Dreamers review - vivid visions towards a free Angola

Reality follows dreams in José Eduardo Agualusa’s latest experiment in quixotic political fable. The book opens with journalist Daniel Benchimol waking at the Rainbow Hotel in Angola’s capital, Luanda: “I saw long black birds fly past. I’d dreamed...

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The Lion King review - a dazzling photocopy

The cynicism of this film’s existence squeezes all the feeling from it. It approaches cherished childhood memories of the original The Lion King (1994) with a view to remonetising them. Technological advances apart, there’s no reason at all for this...

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CD: KOKOKO! - Fongola

This debut is the best collaboration between a French producer and African musicians since Yves Wernert got together with Malian ngoni player Issa Bagoyogo for a string of masterful fusion albums during the Noughties. But his time around it was the...

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CD: Santana – Africa Speaks

You hear a lot about living legends, but there aren’t actually that many around – at least not since the first half of 2016. Carlos Santana, however, definitely fits the bill. From his early days stealing the show at Woodstock alongside drummer...

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Freedom Fields review - Libya’s next freedom fighters

Set in the months and years after the Libyan revolution, Freedom Fields follows several women aiming to compete in international football. The documentary finds the players excitedly preparing for their first overseas tournament. However, it soon...

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