short stories

The contents of this page relate to short stories.

Kevin Clark: Zahara (KCM)

Kevin Clark: Zahara (KCM)

Wellington pianist/composer/arranger Clark won best jazz album of the year in 2003 with Once Upon Song I Flew, and again two years later with The Sandbar Sessions. Clark is something of a rarity in New Zealand jazz, he has an internationalism about his music and thinnks nothing of incoprorating what we might call "global elements"...

Oliver Mtukudzi: Wonai (Elite)

Oliver Mtukudzi: Wonai (Elite)

Known as "Tuku" after the style of music he created, singer-guitarist Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe battles the usual problem that musicians from Africa face: if Peter Gabriel isn't behind you or you don't have a Womad slot then basically nobody gives a shit. Ah well, here he is for a discerning Elsewhere audience. Mtukudzi has...

Ry Cooder: My Name is Buddy (Warners)

Ry Cooder: My Name is Buddy (Warners)

Albums under Ry Cooder's name once only sold in the hundreds. But these days -- through high profile soundtracks such as Paris, Texas, The Long Riders and Trespass, internationally acclaimed work with the Buena Vista Social Club, and superb albums with the likes of fellow guitarist Manuel Galban (Mambo Sinuendo) and the late Ali Farka Toure from...

Carolina Moon: East of the Sun (Global Routes)

Carolina Moon: East of the Sun (Global Routes)

Even more New Zealand jazz. And different again. Moon began her career in London more than a decade ago, moved to Australia (where as Caroline Lynn she won considerable media praise) and then came to New Zealand. She is now married to saxophonist Roger Manins who appears here, along with pianist Kevin Field, guitarist-for-all-seasons Nigel...

Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In the Western world the offspring of famous musicians often have a hard time if they choose to follow in the footsteps of their parents: witness the case of Julian and Sean Lennon. But in other cultures, notably in India and parts of the African continent, there is not only an acceptance but an expectation that children will take up the same...

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Red Earth, A Malian Journey (Universal)

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Red Earth, A Malian Journey (Universal)

Just last week I was saying to a friend that Mali was starting to feel like the new Jamaica. Consider the number of artists whose names are becoming familiar: the late Ali Farka Toure and now his gifted son Vieux Farka Toure; Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare . . . And now there is the wave of sub-Sahara blues bands like Etran...

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Various: The Rough Guide to Africa Blues (Elite)

Many decades ago now Paul Oliver wrote his then-definitive and still useful The Story of the Blues (Penguin, 1969). My recollection was that at the time there was also a tie-in double album which he compiled, and which I taped from a friend's copy. The startling opening track -- startling to me anyway -- was by the Fra Fra tribesmen from...

Thione Seck; Orientissime (Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Thione Seck; Orientissime (Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

There are some who think that "world music" is corrupted by outside influences, and that the folk musicians of various parts of the globe should be time-locked so as to retain some degree of authenticity. Such paternalistic purists bang on about how tragic it is that musicians from the Sahara use synthesizers, or that sitar players...

Orchestra Baobab: Made in Dakar (World Circuit/Elite)

Orchestra Baobab: Made in Dakar (World Circuit/Elite)

The reissue six years ago of this Senegalese band's 1982 sessions Pirate's Choice thrust this exceptional outfit into the world music spotlight where it remains to shine and gleam. They released the equally good Specialists in All Styles five years ago and have played to wide accclaim for their rocking rhumba and laidback late-night styles...

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba: Segu Blue (Out Here/Elite)

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba: Segu Blue (Out Here/Elite)

The death in March 2006 of the great Mali musician Ali Farka Toure -- who reached a global audience in the mid 90s with the Talking Timbuktu album recorded with Ry Cooder -- lead to many tributes but also the question, who could possibly take his place? Well, his son Vieux Farka Toure's album -- which appeared in the Best of Elsewhere 2007...

Habib Koite and Bamada: Afriki (Cumbancha/Elite)

Habib Koite and Bamada: Afriki (Cumbancha/Elite)

Music from Mali doesn't come much more mesmerising or mellow than this consistently laidback series of songs by one of that country's most inventive and musically curious griots. For this album, recorded on three continents, Koite typically drew on Mali's regional styles -- although most listeners (self included) won't be attuned to these...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Toumani Diabate: The Mande Variations (World Circuit/Elite)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Toumani Diabate: The Mande Variations (World Circuit/Elite)

Here's one of the best world music albums of the year: a rare solo outing by the Malian kora master Toumani Diabate who learned from the late guitarist Ali Farka Toure also from his homeland (there is a track here dedicated to Farka Toure with whom he performed on the wonderful In the Heart of the Moon album). Like his mentor, Diabate has...

The Rail Band: Soundiata (Southbound)

The Rail Band: Soundiata (Southbound)

The Rail Band is one of the cornerstone groups out of Mali and launched the careers of Mory Kante and Salif Keita. I first heard them maybe 20 years ago when a salty old journo read something I had written about some African band and guessed my interest. He'd lived somewhere in the region and had old vinyl which he transferred to tape for me,...

El Hadj N'Diaye: Geej (Marabi)

El Hadj N'Diaye: Geej (Marabi)

This Senegalese singer-guitarist (here recorded in Paris) has one of those mesmerisingly soulful voices which, even though you probably don't understand a word, pulls you in. His lyrics address social issues (if translating avec mon rudimentary Francaise est bien) -- but you get that from the emotion he pours into the words. French...

ALAN BROADBENT INTERVIEWED: The art of time, and timing

ALAN BROADBENT INTERVIEWED: The art of time, and timing

To my horror recently, I realised it had been almost a quarter of a century since I first interviewed the LA-based expat jazz pianist Alan Broadbent. It was 1984 and he was briefly back in Auckland to play a show and record an album with New Zealand’s in-house rhythm section of drummer Frank Gibson and bassist Andy Brown. At the time I...

Charles Lloyd: Lift Every Voice (2002)

Charles Lloyd: Lift Every Voice (2002)

It's a fair bet the average jazz musician earns considerably less than Lenny Kravitz, and probably works a darn sight harder.  Sales of jazz albums are modest – in the US 10,000 was considered a good seller – and not too many jazz musicians find their music used in Tom Cruise or J. Lo movies, let alone lucrative...

CHARLIE HADEN, JAZZ BASSIST AND COMPOSER: Like dreamers do . . .

CHARLIE HADEN, JAZZ BASSIST AND COMPOSER: Like dreamers do . . .

By rights, 71year old bassist/composer Charlie Haden shouldn’t be around in jazz today. Like so many of his generation he had a heroin addiction in the early 60s and often wouldn’t show up on the bandstand until midnight, and even then only be half there. But there’s also another reason. Haden was born in Shenandoah, Idaho...

The Power of Speech: a short story

The Power of Speech: a short story

I recently spent a rather distressing luncheon engagement with a moderately well-known author. Aside from hearing much invaluable gossip about better known writers than my friend, I was also treated to a complex deconstruction of language and literary theories that I did not think interesting or even appropriate over a long lunch. For our...

Life in a leaky building: a survivor's tale

Life in a leaky building: a survivor's tale

Just before Christmas 2005, we fell victim to the pandemic sweeping across Auckland. You know how it is: you always think it’ll affect someone else and you’ll be okay. So we were ill-prepared. We had just carried on as if nothing would ever happen to us. And anyway, we are people who like to think of ourselves as survivors....

Shadow in the Glass: A short story

Shadow in the Glass: A short story

Campbellhad a directness that Dennis had once mistaken for the dourness of the Scots. “You’ll be wanting home, then?” “Yes, just for a fortnight . . . perhaps three weeks . . . I can pass on the Peebles brochure to Meg and the old Strathaven history could go on hold until I get back . . . Iain has still got...

Snapshots of strangeness: a collection of odd anecdotes

Snapshots of strangeness: a collection of odd anecdotes

Walt Disney Regrets Last week I spent a morning in the company of a woman who has a curious obsession: she collects soundtracks to those Walt Disney nature programmes which occasionally still appear on television. Or more correctly, she collects correspondence about those soundtracks. I shall call her Sybil because that is what she calls...

A Small Fire: a short story

A Small Fire: a short story

The coincidences that brought Frank and I together again were like something out of a bad 19th century novel, and perhaps that’s why I have thought about it so often since. Maybe it was what went down between us all those months ago too. Either way, I’ve been thinking a lot about just how our lives can go. Lani had gone away...

Djelimady Tounkara: Solon Kono (Harmonia Mundi)

Djelimady Tounkara: Solon Kono (Harmonia Mundi)

Guitarist Tounkara sometimes spins off notes like an avant-garde guitarist (he is admired by New York's Bill Frisell who has performed with him) but for this album he gets back onto acoustic guitar to work within the tradition of his homeland Mali on a set of songs which invite in the family and longtime friends. There are a couple of songs...

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

The late Toure was one of the greatest singer-songwriters to emerge out of the musically fertile region around Mali in the last century. The area -- from which numerous slaves were taken to the United States -- was the crucible for music which, after the Middle Passage, became the blues. Much of Toure's music invited comparisons with John...

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Copies of this uplifting album by Diabate from Mali come with an intelligent and interesting DVD-doco which shines a light on the culture of the griot -- a caste of hereditary musicians-cum-storytellers and counsellors to the influential -- and also explains that unusual band name: Diabate wanted to bring together the traditions of the griot...

Tcheka: Nu Monda (Harmonia)

Tcheka: Nu Monda (Harmonia)

One of the chief delights of being in Elsewhere is that music usually comes with no promotional blasts or advance reviews, so you make the discovery for yourself. It often comes from people you've never heard of before either. Like this guy from Cape Verde Island who plays driving and melodic acoustic guitar, and possesses a voice which...

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