Features

Full length journalistic features

KHALED – The fame and the furies

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January 10, 2011
PC 5043 No 10 ok

Khaled knows that kind of fame, not only in France, but also throughout North Africa, its diaspora and strange unlikely places like India, Brazil and Japan. After the release of his second to last album ‘Kenza’ in 2000, it seemed that fame was beginning to take its toll.
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FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT – 2001, A Saharan Odyssey

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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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FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT #2 – Hope through music

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January 10, 2011
Festival Security in 2003.  (c) Kate Morgan.

That’s why the Festivals in the Desert are so important. They give a region previously ravaged by conflict and insecurity the chance to show a peaceful face to the world. They give the chance for the Touareg to prove that far from being bandits, they are a simply another African people...
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TIKEN JAH FAKOLY – West African Soul Rebel

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January 7, 2011
Tiken Jah Cropped

Like Bob Marley or Fela Kuti, he has achieved that rare status of untouchability, where his fame is such that no politician would dare eliminate him for fear of the popular protest such a move might unleash.
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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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RACHID TAHA – The Last Punk?

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January 7, 2011
Damon Albarn and Rachid Taha, Africa Express Paris 2009

But where exactly is Rachid Taha today? With the success of ‘Voilà Voilà’, ‘Ya Rayah’, and his participation alongside fellow Khaled and Faudel in the epic ‘1-2-3 Soleil’ concert at the Bercy stadium in Paris, which yielded a million-selling live album, Rachid was definitely a big star in France in the 1990s....
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SOUAD MASSI – Algerian, Arab, Woman

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January 7, 2011
Souad Massi. (c) Carole Bellaîche

Arab. Algerian. Berber. Woman. Muslim. Poet. Musician. That’s quite a well-dosed cocktail for any fragile sensibility. But the darkly delicate beauty of those Mediterranean features and the tender fire of her music mask a vein of solid steel that underpins Souad Massi’s character. It’s...
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TINARIWEN #2 – La dolce vita, desert style

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January 6, 2011
Bush jam with Intidao.  (c) Thomas Dorn 2007

In that same moment of dream-like calm, not more than two hundred kilometres away on the road from Kidal to Tin Zaouatene, an insignificant distance in desert terms, a Malian army column was fighting for survival against the firepower of the Alliance Touareg Nord-Mali pour le Changement (ATNMC), a splinter rebel movement led by...
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TINARIWEN – Sons of the desert

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January 6, 2011
Ibrahim

When Tinariwen launch into one of their songs on one of their good nights, I’m immediately transported to the place they come from. My nostrils prick up to the smell of tea, tobacco and gasoline. The pentatonic drone of the music rolls out the endless line of the desert horizons. The...
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STAFF BENDA BILILI #2 – Reasons to be cheeful

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January 6, 2011
STAFFBB_05_Theo_hires

Africa doesn’t need our pity. Africa demands and deserves our admiration and wonder, our humility and respect. Staff Benda Bilili embody this truth with total dedication and style.
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