Archive for January, 2011

SOCKLO – The genius guitar maker of Kinshasa

1
January 30, 2011
Socklo - genuis guitar maker of Kinshasa

Once a guitarist himself, Socklo now makes about 2 to 3 instruments per week, with the help of a couple assistants, in a clapboard shed in the Lembas district of this enormous teeming city. Tools are rudimentary; no workbench, no electric jigsaws, drills or shape cutters, just a heap of hammers, chisels,...
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Rhissa Ag Ogham RIP

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January 28, 2011
Rhissa Ag Ogham

I just learned that Rhissa Ag Ogham, one time guitarist  and singer with the Touareg group Terakaft, died in a car accident a week ago.   Apparently he was driving back to Tamanrasset from Libya with his father, who also died in the accident.  Rhissa toured Europe with Terakaft back in 2007 and 2008, and...
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The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara

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January 27, 2011
Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara

In terms of music and culture, the Sahara is like an inland sea, where the sounds, tastes and colours of peripheral ‘port’ cities like Marrakesh, Sijilmassa, Timbuktu, Agadez, Ghardaia, In Salah, Ghat, Ghadames, Tunis, Tripoli, Siwa, Cairo, Walata, Chinguetti, Djenné and Kano have mingled for centuries.
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OUMOU SANGARE – Tougher than tough

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January 27, 2011
Oumou Sangare - Malian Songbird

As the most famous Malian woman alive, Oumou Sangare embodies this alluring dichotomy like no one else. She’s the epitome of tough femininity; beautiful, elegant, determined, independent, talented…and, well, hard.
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CHEIKH LO – Senegalese soul of many colours

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January 24, 2011
Cheikh Lo - The soul man of Senegalese Baye Fall

It’s this gentle yet luminous spirituality that makes Cheikh Lo’s music so unique, injecting its boundary-busting mix of Cuban, Congolese, Senegalese mbalax and international pop flavours with a tender fire that banishes sentimentality or the empty pop formula. Lo is now 50 years old and philosophical about the time it’s taken him to...
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CHEIKHA REMITTI #2 – Ethnomusicology is not my predilection!

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January 23, 2011
Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 20.21.43

Rimitti sang, as she has always done, in the plain spicy slang of Oranie, the huge province that spreads south, east and west from the port city of Oran in Western Algeria. She didn’t mince her language or play too many high-minded metaphorical games.
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CHEIKHA REMITTI – Grand Dame of Algeria’s school of hard knocks!

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January 23, 2011
Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 19.45.13

Remitti is most emphatically still here, well past her eightieth birthday, sharp, defiant, halogenically lucid, still giving her audiences the proverbial cru-cut with her freight-train baritone holler and still raising the temperature with her shimmying shoulders and pulsating midriff. Moreover Remitti really does seem to have overtaken and outlived much of the younger...
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Translating Touareg Poetry

4
January 20, 2011
Ousmane Tamikrest

I’ve been busy translating the lyrics for the forthcoming album by Tamikrest, the band from north eastern Mali lead by the talented Ousmane Ag Moussa. If you don’t know them already check out their existing album ‘Adagh’. One thing I always suspected but now know for sure is that Ousmane is a really excellent...
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TAMIKREST – The coalition, the knot, the future

1
January 20, 2011
Tamekrist - New Touareg guitar music

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s Tinariwen who created the path,” declares Ousmane Ag Mossa, frizzy-locked leader of Tamikrest, in a pre-emptive strike against a thousand inevitable questions. “But the way I see it, if younger bands don’t come through, then Touareg music will eventually die. They created the path and now it’s...
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TOUMANI DIABATE – 71 generations behind him but still looking ahead

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January 18, 2011
Toumani Diabate (Youri Lenquette) with Alexander McQueen suit mid shot thumbnail

Son of the great Sidiki Diabate, the father of the modern kora, Toumani is 71st in a direct line of griots that stretches back to the reign of the great medieval Emperor Sudjata Keita.
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