Subjects A-Z

An A-Z of subjects other than musician’s names

JUPITER & OKWESS INTERNATIONAL – “We’re sleeping on a mattress stuffed with dollars!”

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March 12, 2014
Jupiter and Okwess International at Carlisle Railway Station, September 2012. Photo by Andy Morgan

In the early years of that epic tribal conflict known as the cold war, an Irishman wrote a funny-sad piece of theatre, a kind of excruciating fairy tale about a pair of old tramps who sat around waiting for this guy called Godot. Except that Godot wasn’t a person of course; he was an...
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SIDI TOURE – Easy to listen to and easy to love…

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March 11, 2014
SIDI TOURE – Easy to listen to and easy to love…

When he was a child, Sidi Toure was told to go and hunt for bats in the Tomb of the Askia. On a good day, he and his harum scarum comrades could bring back ten or more, which made a tidy feast for the family. The monument wasn’t far from his home in the...
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Seydou Cissé, head of the Ganda Izo: “We should have followed the MNLA from the start”

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February 19, 2014

Here’s an amazing news story: http://maliactu.net/mediation-dans-la-crise-malienne-nous-preferons-ouaga-a-alger-dixit-moussa-ag-attaher/ On February 9th last, the MNLA and the Ganda Izo held a joint press conference in Ouagadougou and issued a joint statement announcing a future collaboration between the two movements. The two groups also expressed strong support for Burkina Faso’s mediation in northern Mali and denounced any attempts...
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PHOTO ESSAY: Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita

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January 22, 2014
Catrin Finch (L) & Seckou Keita (R)

12►   In July 2013, I asked Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita if I could steal some of their time for a photo session. Both were pretty busy at that time so I was grateful to them for indulging my whim. It was one of those beautiful and blisteringly hot summer days, and the...
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FINDING THE ONE : ‘If your name is Keita, you’re still royalty’

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January 22, 2014
FINDING THE ONE - Front Cover

It was only after he’d started living in Europe and having kids of his own, that Seckou Keita started to wonder about his father. “I was in that mood,” he says, “I just wanted to find out.” He hadn’t seen him for about thirty years, but he was in touch with an uncle, his...
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FINDING THE ONE : ‘Meths, gunpowder and the revival of harp making in Wales’

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January 21, 2014
FINDING THE ONE - Front Cover

The news of Aberfan shocked him into a new awareness. What was the fire that had destroyed his workshop compared to the river of slurry and filfth that snuffed out the lives of 116 children? Not forgetting the 28 adults. Nothing. “People can loose more than I’ve lost,” he thought. Granted, his livelihood had...
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Does the Touareg question have an answer?

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January 20, 2014
Touareg boy watching Camel Race, Tin Essako, Jan 2001

A few years ago, on a beautifully calm Saharan evening, I was drinking tea with an old Touareg musician in a garden near Tessalit in the far north east of Mali, a place that has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The musician’s work was gaining popularity throughout Europe and...
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FINDING THE ONE : ‘How the kora came to mankind’

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January 6, 2014
FINDING THE ONE - Front Cover

No one is one hundred precent sure of how or when the kora came into being. Strangely, the first person to ever mention it was a Scotsman by the name of Mungo Park, who wrote about it in his Travels In the Interior Districts of Africa, published in 1799.  Park was commissioned by Sir...
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WOMEX 2013 AWARD SPEECH: What the Festival in the Desert did for one dumbfounded tourist…

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November 16, 2013

Ladies, gentlemen and fellow Womexicans… On the third of January this year, Ansar Eddine, one of the three armed Salafist groups who ruled over the northern two-thirds of Mali and imposed a brutal form of shari’a law on its people, issued what they called their ‘political platform’. In many ways it’s an extraordinary document,...
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What does Morocco want from Mali?

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September 24, 2013

The big story to emerge from the inauguration of Mali’s new president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, which took place in Bamako’s 26 Mars stadium on September 19th, was the arrival of Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, for the celebrations with a delegation of 300 dignitaries in tow. So stark and brash was the nature of...
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