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AFROCUBISM: An old transatlantic love story

1
March 31, 2011
AfroCubism: Eliades Ochoa and Bassekou Kouyate

When the record producer Nick Gold traveled to Cuba in the early 1990s and fell in love with a cassette by the late great Ñico Saquito, the Afro Cuban story was already old, very old. Gold, who was already infatuated with Malian music, had the genius to perceive and appreciate the well-spring of...
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SMOD – Folk? Rap? Smart? African? No doubt!

2
March 16, 2011
SMOD

“Africa needs to speak out right now,” says Ousco calmly over a crackling phone line from Bamako. “Africa must stop crying.” His words are a neat little summary of what African rap is all about: No mincing words or metaphors. No ancient musical traditions that cosy up to power. No decadent ghetto fabulous fantasies....
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‘BENDA BILILI’ – “They never told us it was impossible…”

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February 3, 2011
Roger Landu from Staff Benda Bilili

What I find extraordinary about a camera, is that you can film people that seem to be so far from you, culturally speaking, and thanks to the emotion that your work expresses, you can relive certain emotions through them and make them appear extremely close. And it’s clear that you need time to do...
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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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FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT – 2001, A Saharan Odyssey

2
January 10, 2011
The truck just after the hi-jack attempt. (c) Nadia Nid El Mourid 2001

I first heard about the Festival in the Desert from Philippe Brix, the lean and indefatigable manager of the French global troubadours, Lo’Jo. Two years ago, on his return from one of Lo’Jo’s regular trips to Bamako, the capital of Mali, Philippe told me that the group had minted a solid and...
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RACHID TAHA #2 – “I dreamed about my own nightmares”

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January 7, 2011
Rachid Taha

Taha has long been recognised as a perceptive thinker and a courageous mental guerrillero, but what is really astounding is that he has always been fighting a war on two fronts. His stand against the racism and bigotry of his adoptive France, so neatly expressed in anthems like ‘Voilà Voilà’, or the...
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STAFF BENDA BILILI – No pity please!

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January 6, 2011
STAFFBB_01_hires

Long ago, Staff Benda Bilili understood that any real handicap exists only in the mind, rather than in the legs. Stricken by polio whilst still young, abandoned to their fate in one of the toughest and most dysfunctional cities in the world, forced to survive by courage and wit alone, Ricky, Coco,...
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