Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

World Music

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Various Artists: Rangarang; Pre-revolutionary Iranian Pop (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

Various Artists: Rangarang; Pre-revolutionary Iranian Pop (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

In Elvis Presley's trophy room at Graceland in Memphis -- more a trophy annex, with gold discs, costumes, awards, police badges and posters -- there is, framed on the wall, a dramatic headline from a Nashville newspaper and a story sourced from Tehran. The headline reads "Rock'n'Roll Banned, Hate Elvis Drive Launched by Iran to Save Its Youth". The article is dated August 12,... more >>

Hamid Shabkhiz

7 Feb 2012

Sambasunda Quintet: Java (World Music Network)

Sambasunda Quintet: Java (World Music Network)

This group from West Java make a very different kind of music from that of the familiar gamelan orchestras on nearby Bali. This music is based around the zither-like kacapi which was originally used in court music but became a popular instrument over the centuries. With pitched drums, violins and the airy voice of singer Neng Dini Andriati, the quintet here offer a delightful and gentle... more >>

Bulan Sapasi

1 Feb 2012

LO'JO INTERVIEWED (2012): The maison where worlds collude

LO'JO INTERVIEWED (2012): The maison where worlds collude

For a medium-sized town in France, Angers – pronounced An-jey, population about 240,000 – boasts a fascinating ancient and recent history. It was once a Roman town, numerous kings and queens had their courts here, and the main castle dates from the early 13th century. A cultural hub, Angers in the Loire valley has also played host in much more recent times to numerous... more >>

Sur l'ocean

31 Jan 2012

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues (Brownswood/Southbound)

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues (Brownswood/Southbound)

Although UK DJ Peterson has tripped lightly around the globe to unearth lost classics in bargain bins or to work with local musicians, he has developed an abiding love for Cuban musicians and this double disc follows his mostly excellent Havana Cultura collecton (see here) of 2010. This time out, things were rather more planned in the initial stages. In January 2011 he and Mala (of the... more >>

No Me Da Mi Gana Americana

24 Jan 2012

Various Artists; So Frenchy So Chic 2012 (Cartell/Border)

Various Artists; So Frenchy So Chic 2012 (Cartell/Border)

The annual double discs under the banner So Frenchy So Chic -- "the unofficial soundtrack" to the Alliance Francaise French Film Festivals in Australia -- allow the casual listener to tune in to the state of French pop (as opposed to rock and hip-hop) and are something of a mixed assortment. Some in previous years have seemed very lightweight, as if being a pop singer in France... more >>

Cascadeur

9 Jan 2012

La Chiva Gantiva: Pelao (Crammed Discs)

La Chiva Gantiva: Pelao (Crammed Discs)

With horns and electric guitars, this outfit which was formed in Brussels by expat Colombian percussion players bring as much funk and Fela Afrobeat as they do rocked-up South American sounds which must physically threaten any fragile Womad stage. And with other members from Vietnam, France and Belgium they certainly embody the Womad spirit. But as with most such vigorous albums you... more >>

Cosmeticos

2 Dec 2011

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

DJs like nothing more than unearthing obscurities – makes them hipper than thou – but UK archivist/platter-spinner and all round good guy Frank Goesser does us a favour with this collection of a dozen late Sixties/early Seventies sides by Afro-soul singer Theophile Do Rego (aka El Rego) from Benin. In the brief but excellent liner notes, El Rego tells his fascinating story:... more >>

Achuta

23 Nov 2011

Bombino: Agadez (Cumbancha)

Bombino: Agadez (Cumbancha)

The biggest growth industry in world music in the past decade seems to have come out of the sub-Sahara where electric and electrifying bands have emerged, many of them with rather remarkable backstories of nomadic lifestyles, and of being being freedom fighters and boy soldiers.  As more and more albums of Sahara blues emerge from great bands like Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa and the... more >>

Adounia/Life

17 Nov 2011

Te Vaka: Havili (Spirit of Play/Triton)

Te Vaka: Havili (Spirit of Play/Triton)

Te Vaka have refined and defined a particular kind of pan-Pacific pop with its roots in tradition but driven by ringing folk-rock guitars as much as percussion, and on this melody-stacked album writer-singer Opetaia Foa'i and band seem to have hit a new peak. It is almost as if their relocation from New Zealand to Australia has pulled them back to what they did best, but also that they have... more >>

Taku uo pele

7 Nov 2011

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

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

Perhaps because I flatter mysef and the smarts of Elsewhere visitors, I'd like to believe the title of this 30-track download-only album (available here) through the Rough Guide imprint is just a little misleading. Scanning the names here (if not the specific tracks from important albums) I see the likes of longtime favourites Etran Finatawa, Bob Brozman (interviewed in depth here), Nuru... more >>

Sa Preferee

25 Oct 2011    1

Michi Sarmiento: Los Bravos!/The Best of Michi Sarmiento (Sound Way)

Michi Sarmiento: Los Bravos!/The Best of Michi Sarmiento (Sound Way)

Time to push back the furniture and clear some dance space, or at least hit the Google search for the background to this Colombian band leader. Apparently the young Sarmiento pulled together local styles with Nuyorican boogaloo and kicked things up a few levels when playing in the red light district of the coastal town of Cartagena. This sweat-inducing 16 track collection of... more >>

La Vaca Nueva

29 Sep 2011

Hossam Ramzy: Rock the Tabla (Arc Music)

Hossam Ramzy: Rock the Tabla (Arc Music)

With the kind of diverse guests only this acclaimed Egyptian percussion player could call on -- jazz drummers Billy Cobham and Manu Katche, A.R. Rahman (aka "the Mozart of Madras", of Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack fame), guitarist Phil Thornton, taiko drummer Joji Hirota, Indian and Egyptian ensembles -- the great Ramzy once again redfines the meaning of world music... more >>

Cairo to India

22 Aug 2011

Various Artists: High Life Time 2 (Vampi Soul)

Various Artists: High Life Time 2 (Vampi Soul)

The enjoyable reissues of West African music by the Strut, Sound Way and Vampi Soul labels (Funky Lagos, Ghana Special, High Life and others) have brought back music from the Sixties and Seventies on well annotated double-discs. This Vampi Soul sequel wraps up more legendary artists/bands from Ghana and Nigeria (E.T. Mensah and the Tempos, The Ramblers Dance Band etc) alongside lesser... more >>

Okwukwe Na Nichekwub (1974)

11 Aug 2011

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (World Music Network/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (World Music Network/Southbound)

When a musical genre loses its figurehead -- as reggae did with the passing of Bob Marley and Sufi music did with the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, both of whom had taken their music to a global audience -- it can have two results. At one level the music's profile can drop for a more general audience (as happened post-Marley), but that it can also allow other artists to come through... more >>

Hai Rabba

1 Aug 2011

Seun Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80: From Africa with Fury; Rise (Border)

Seun Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80: From Africa with Fury; Rise (Border)

The musical offspring of the great founder of Afrobeat Fela Anikulapo Kuti have an unenviable career path to follow, especially Seun and Femi who choose Afrobeat as their chosen vehicle. Femi has embraced remixes and on his recent Africa for Africa outing edged more towards a pop version of the boiling and urgent style, and Seun delivered an exciting, if instantly familiar, debut Many... more >>

Mr Big Thief

27 Jul 2011

Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)

Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)

Just as John Mayall's bands spawned others when players left the ranks, so it seems the desert blues out of the sub-Sahara is an ever-flowering plant: this group -- which formed in 2001 -- contains two former members of Tinariwen and inevitably work in a not dissimilar musical territory. This is their third album so they are dogging very close to the quite prolific Tinariwen and Etran... more >>

Wer Essinen

11 Jul 2011

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

As the son of kora player N'fa Diabate who was a founder of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali and with the great Toumani Diabate as a cousin, Mamadou was born to play the kora. For this, his fifth album -- it follows his previous Douga Mansa which won the '09 Grammy for Best Traditional World Music album and his second album Behmanka which was Grammy-nominated in '05 -- he again delivers... more >>

Mamadou Diabate: Macky

24 May 2011

Le Trio Joubran: AsFar (World Village/Ode)

Le Trio Joubran: AsFar (World Village/Ode)

A previous album Majaz by these oud-playing Palestinian brothers was a Best of Elsewhere 2008 selection, so this one seems long overdue -- although I have just learned there was a live album in '09 which was aimed at the local market. They are the fourth generation in their family of players and oud makers but, to these ears at least, do not sound so steeped in tradition as to be unable to... more >>

Le Trio Joubran: Zawaj el Yamam

23 May 2011

Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar: Band of Gypsies 2 (Crammed Discs)

Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar: Band of Gypsies 2 (Crammed Discs)

The rather mouthful of an album title tells you that this is forced marriage of two Romany groups teaming up to celebrate the Taraf's 20th anniversary. This album comes a decade on from the first Taraf Band of Gypsies album (which had the Orkestar playing on three pieces) and with both bands by sharing a Belgian musical director Stephane Karo they are here on equal footing and share... more >>

Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar: Talk to Me, Duso

8 May 2011

Dub Colossus: Addis Through the Looking Glass (Real World)

Dub Colossus: Addis Through the Looking Glass (Real World)

With recent interest in the music of Ethiopia (the Ethiopiques compilations, albums by Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics), the ground has been well prepared for this by Nick Page (aka Dubulah who was behind London's innovative TransGlobal Underground and Temple of Sound). Dubulah has already been in the region for A Town Called Addis (and off on a tangent with his Syriana project... more >>

Dub Colossus: Yigermel

26 Apr 2011