Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

World Music

Music and musicians from around the global village; interviews, overviews and profiles.

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Karim Baggili with Le Trio Joubran: Kali City (homerecords)

Karim Baggili with Le Trio Joubran: Kali City (homerecords)

This is very much a game of two halves for the self-taught guitarist Karim Baggili who is Belgian-born and of Jordanian background. And ironically it is the material with the superb Trio Joubran which comes up short as Baggili explores the oud music which has always been a part of his life. The five pieces with the oud-playing Trio Joubran are politely impressionistic... more >>

Kalimaat

2 Jul 2014

KAL: Romology; Rock'n'Roma (Arc Music)

KAL: Romology; Rock'n'Roma (Arc Music)

Although this group from Belgrade led by singer-songwriter Dragan Ristic have been a very popular and energetic live act, and previous albums have topped world music charts, to casual listeners who had numerous skirmishes with this very popular style of gypsy dance music driven along by vigorous violin, busy accordion and punching horns, this album too often seems as obvious as its... more >>

Play It Again

25 Jun 2014

Sakina: Roye Mi; Songs from Kurdistan (Arc Music)

Sakina: Roye Mi; Songs from Kurdistan (Arc Music)

As a people who have suffered appallingly at the hands of despots, repressive regimes and a wider world largely indifferent to their plight, the Kurds have plenty of raw material for songs of hardship and oppression. Singer-composer and former journalist Sakina – who currently resides between Vienna and Dusseldorf – experienced some of this when she belonged to various... more >>

Bejne

24 Jun 2014

Various Artists The Rough Guide to the Best African Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists The Rough Guide to the Best African Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Smart people don't believe the hype . . . or album titles which overpromise. But surprisingly this one -- which attempts both -- actually delivers quite a number of lower-totem pole African names, but very few are in the also-ran category. These musicians were part of a World Music Network Battle of the Bands (Gee, do they still have those things?) and a small, select few went on to record... more >>

He Kele Monateng

30 May 2014

Tinariwen: Emmaar (Pop Noire)

Tinariwen: Emmaar (Pop Noire)

The Sahara blues caravan rolls on, and now with this seminal Tuareg group from Mali it is relocated to another desert. Because of troubles from Islamic extremists in their homeland, Tinariwen recorded this in Joshua Tree, California which must have made them feel pretty much at home (except for the absence of camels, their food etc). Here with a little outside assistance -- notably guitarist... more >>

Aghregh Medin

24 Mar 2014

EMEL MATHLOUTHI INTERVIEWED (2014): You say you want a revolution

EMEL MATHLOUTHI INTERVIEWED (2014): You say you want a revolution

On December 17, 2010 a 26-year old street trader Mohammed Bouazizi, sick of police harassment and confiscation of his wares, set himself alight in the street outside the police station in Sidi Bouzid near the Tunisian capital of Tunis. His sacrifice touched a raw nerve in Tunisia, a country riven by corruption, and riots ensued. The revolution to overthrow the government had... more >>

Kelmti Horra/My Word is Free

22 Mar 2014

ASIF ALI KHAN INTERVIEWED, SORT OF (2014): The gang's all here

ASIF ALI KHAN INTERVIEWED, SORT OF (2014): The gang's all here

Interviewing Sufi qawwali singer Asif Ali Khan at the recent Womad Taranaki was an experience. Not only does he arrive in the small porta-cabin at the side of one of the stages but so does the whole eight-man ensemble and their voluble French manager, the wonderfully named Wowkonowicz Snafu. We crammed into the tiny space and as I tried to speak with Asif – all the while... more >>

22 Mar 2014

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED AT WOMAD (2014): A voice in the wilderness

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED AT WOMAD (2014): A voice in the wilderness

Elsewhere has already published an in-depth interview with Femi Kuti but we also caught up with him at a press conference at the recent Womad where he performed. Politics was, understandably, higher on the agenda than music, and pleasingly he spoke out about the anti-gay culture in Africa (“religion has capitalised on this aspect”) but admitted his open-minded... more >>

19 Mar 2014

WOMAD TARANAKI 2014 REVIEWED: Three days of love, peace and percussion

WOMAD TARANAKI 2014 REVIEWED: Three days of love, peace and percussion

The glee-cum-concern with which weather forecasters last week announced the impending tropical cyclone doubtless accounted for “calm before the storm” being heard as often on Friday, Womad's opening night, as frontman Ryo Nakata of Japan's enjoyably bizarre soul-funk band Osaka Monaurail shouting, “Are you ready?” The large crowd had been ready since the... more >>

Kashmir

18 Mar 2014    4

Nistha Raj: Exit 1 (nistharaj.com)

Nistha Raj: Exit 1 (nistharaj.com)

Those fresh from Womad will attest that some of the most interesting music is made at the interface of cultures, and this album is further evidence. Texas-raised Nistha Raj (now living in Washington DC) graduated with honours in her classical violin studies but was drawn back to the music of India and spent three years there exploring and learning the modes of Hindustani classical music.... more >>

Ajde Jano

17 Mar 2014

WOMAD TARANAKI 2014: Under starter's orders

WOMAD TARANAKI 2014: Under starter's orders

Given what “world music” is – music from all over the world, duh! – you'd think it had been with us always. Not so. “World music” as we know it today only made itself known by that description after June 29, 1987, the day when some British record importers, promoters and like-minded people working with artists from all over the world got... more >>

12 Mar 2014

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

Further proof -- if any more were needed -- that "world music" is a very slippery and loose term. These Womad visitors deliver a heady brew of Afro-Colombian grooves, soul-funk, hip-hop and some nods to roiling Afrobeat. They, of course, come from Belgium. Recording in their own studio and getting this mixed in New York just compounds the "world music" issue and in... more >>

Me Voy de mi Cabeza

5 Mar 2014

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED (2014): The exciting sound of dissent

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED (2014): The exciting sound of dissent

The call to Femi Kuti in Lagos – down a line which on rare occasions reaches something approaching functional – finds his country is in turmoil. Thee ministers in the Nigerian cabinet had just resigned, various factions and parties were in disarray and president Goodluck Jonathan was asking Nigerians to pray for peace. To outsiders this might seem chaotic,... more >>

Sorry Sorry

28 Feb 2014

Womad Artist 2014: James Lindsay of Braebach

Womad Artist 2014: James Lindsay of Braebach

Double bassist James Lindsay of Scotland's Breabach says what they will be delivering at the forthcoming Womad in Taranaki is quite simple: “Expect a varied and exciting showcase of Scottish music, song and dance. We have double pipes, Gaelic and English song, heavy grooves and traditional step dance. “We love to play for up-for-it crowds, so come along ready to have... more >>

Mogaisean

27 Feb 2014

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Disco (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Disco (Rough Guide/Southbound)

There is no sane or relevant reason for posting anything about this oddball digital-only compilation other than that it is silly fun, has some terrific (if borrowed) disco-dance groove which come with thick lacquer of Bollywood madness, that it sometimes sounds like absurd Bond soundtracks and . . . Jeeez, isn't that enough? As with the excellent and equally bizarre Rough Guide to... more >>

Sansien Bekhi

27 Feb 2014

Various Artists: Australia and New Zealand Womad 2014 Compilation (Cartell)

Various Artists: Australia and New Zealand Womad 2014 Compilation (Cartell)

And here, over 16 diverse tracks, is your useful backgrounder to just some of the artists appearing at the forthcoming Womad festivals across Ausralia and New Zealand. Needless to say, like the festivals themselves, this is an eclectic mix: it kicks off the driving Cuban piano of Roberto Fonesca (which comes with brittle electric guitars, swooping bass, horns and more), moves on to the... more >>

Ya Tounes Ya Meskina/Poor Tunis

17 Feb 2014

WOMAD ARTIST 2014: Ryo Nakata of Osaka Monaurail

WOMAD ARTIST 2014: Ryo Nakata of Osaka Monaurail

Keyboard player and singer Ryo Nakata lives in the Tokyo suburb of Yokohama but grew up in Osaka. He has visited New Zealand previously when the band played a festival in Queenstown in 2012, but this year will be their first Womad in this country. At 41 and fluent in Japanese and English, you might find him at Conch record shop on Auckland's Ponsonby Rd where stopped by last time and... more >>

8 Feb 2014

Shanren: Left Foot Dance of the Yi (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Shanren: Left Foot Dance of the Yi (Rough Guide/Southbound)

I've always wanted to say this -- because it sound so archaically "Times of London" or like New Zealand Herald editorials in the Sixties -- so here goes . . . "As regular readers of this column will no doubt know . . ." And yes, such regular readers of Elsewhere as there are would know I recently spent some time in China's almost-remote Yunnan province (available by... more >>

Song of the Wa

2 Feb 2014

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Voodoo (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Voodoo (Rough Guide/Southbound)

No one would deny Dr John being on this voodoo collection (more correctly “vodou” in Haiti, the country it is most associated with), but the Night Tripper is here with his sophisticated salute to the famous Nawlins voodoo priestess Marie Laveau rather than one of his more elementally voodoo Gris-Gris songs . . . and that seems the least of the problems with this collection.... more >>

Canto de Xango

13 Jan 2014

Buika: A La Noche Mas Larga (Warners)

Buika: A La Noche Mas Larga (Warners)

In the first announcement of next year's Womad acts a fortnight ago, this Mallorca-born singer stood out against Kiwi pop princess Kimbra and Americana retro-roots musician Pokey LaFarge as the most recognisably “world music”. But hold hard, because although she currently works a dramatic flamenco-fusion or sultry soul style, the Miami-based singer (who also has a flat in... more >>

Throw It Away

4 Nov 2013