World Music

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Slim Ali and the Hodi Boys: 70s Soul!

6 Dec 2014  |  <1 min read

This interesting collection proves that sometimes the frontman is the least of it. Here it is all about the band.  In the late Sixties, Slim Hodi from Mombassa adopted the soulful style Otis Redding, Al Green and Percy Sledge and had a decent career playing in clubs and hotel lounges across the Middle East and North Africa and ended up in Kenya. There he hooked up again with... > Read more


WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

1 Dec 2014  |  5 min read

Mauro Durante of the southern Italian band of the Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino laughs about the problem the group has, but also how they rise above it. “Many of our songs are written in Salentino which is the dialect we speak in this area but some are Grecanico which is an ancient greek dialect related to the byzantine period we had in this area. And there are some songs in... > Read more

Pizzica Caddhipulina

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Lake Street Dive

24 Nov 2014  |  5 min read

Bridget Kearney, the acoustic bassist and songwriter in Boston's Lake Street Dive, says they have taken the tortoise approach to a career. “It's been a slow crawl,” she says, “but about two years ago – after eight year of casual playing together – we thought we should give it a real go. So we quit our other jobs and bands and made it our first... > Read more

Various Artists: Music of the Santal Tribe (ARC Music)

12 Nov 2014  |  1 min read

At Elsewhere we've observed as recently as earlier this year -- in a review regarding the Taranaki Womad -- how much festival-programmed "world music" has become just percussion-based dance to get people on their feet . . . with the inevitable fall-back position to a reggae rhythm. Never fails to appeal and appease, but increasingly does not impress. I've never thought... > Read more


Various Artists: The Rough Guide to African Blues (Rough Guide/Southbound)

30 Oct 2014  |  1 min read

The Rough Guide series isn't exactly repeating itself, but seven years ago they did put out a compilation under exactly this name.  Times change of course, although some of the same names appear here, a couple of them (Nuru Kane, Ali Farka Toure) now much better known than they were back then. And on that earlier comp some of the African artists were "introduced" by a... > Read more



23 Oct 2014  |  14 min read

Longtime Elsewhere readers will know that we here always keep our ears on what the rest of the planet is doing . . . hence our longstanding World Music pages where international albums are reviewed, artists are interviewed and introduced. And Womad always gets a very good showing. So here as a readers' service we present to you an introduction to the... > Read more

Various Artist: The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Cambodia (Rough Guide)

12 Oct 2014  |  1 min read

When the Khmer Rouge acted out John Lennon's Imagine ("no heaven, no possessions, no religion" etc) and undertook mass murder and driving the country back to primitive, agrarian times among the many millions killed were musicians. That their music survived at all during those purges of people and possessions is akin to a miracle. But somehow recordings of artists in the Sixties... > Read more

Jam 10 Kai Theit

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars: Libation (Cumbancha)

24 Aug 2014  |  <1 min read

The decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone (which ended in 2002) made many people refugees, among them the musicians who formed the Refugee All Stars in 2004. They had a wonderful documentary made about them in 2005 (see the clip below) and have recorded occasionally since their debut album Living Like a Refugee in 2006. This fourth album effortlessly pushes together Afro-shuffle... > Read more


Toumani Diabate and Sidiki Diabate: Toumani & Sidiki (World Circuit)

20 Aug 2014  |  1 min read

While many international music writers closer to the artists have been finding new hyperboles to acclaim the gifted young kora player Sidiki Diabate alongside his father Toumani (an accepted genius, the pre-eminent kora player of our time and a griot with about seven centuries behind him), there's a dissenting opinion which comes from a distance and just takes this CD as it finds it.... > Read more


Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Arabic Cafe (Rough Guide/Southbound)

17 Aug 2014  |  <1 min read  |  1

This catch-all compilation is thoroughly enjoyable if a little MOR but, especially for anyone who has traveled in the broad region covered, these pieces with their dramatic strings, pattering percussion, horns and soaring vocals will evoke exotically shabby backstreets and rowdy markets, and days and nights when distant music rolled across rooftops. Any such collection is a superficial... > Read more


Sousou and Maher Cissoko: Africa Moo Baalu (ARC)

16 Aug 2014  |  <1 min read

The kora player/singer Maher Cissoko is a Senegalese griot who ended up in The Gambia (after his father “threw him out of the house”, according the liner notes), then moved on to Germany and finally went on to Stockholm where he studied music.  His wife, multi-instrumentalist and singer Sousou – who grew up in unbelievable spacious southern Sweden – studied kora... > Read more


Ana Alcaide: Como la Luna y el Sol (ARC)

31 Jul 2014  |  <1 min read

Ana Alcaide from Spain certainly has an interesting story. She plays the Swedish nyckelharpa which she first encountered on a biology scholarship in Lund. She was so attracted to the instrument – it's like a very very large fretted viola – she later busked in Toledo playing it. Her previous album was the excellent La Cantiga del Fuego of 18 months ago and its... > Read more

Y Arrelumbre

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

2 Jul 2014  |  <1 min read

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... > Read more


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

25 Jun 2014  |  <1 min read

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... > Read more

Play It Again

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

24 Jun 2014  |  <1 min read

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... > Read more


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

30 May 2014  |  1 min read

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... > Read more

He Kele Monateng

Tinariwen: Emmaar (Pop Noire)

24 Mar 2014  |  1 min read

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... > Read more

Aghregh Medin

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

22 Mar 2014  |  8 min read

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... > Read more

Kelmti Horra/My Word is Free

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

22 Mar 2014  |  3 min read

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... > Read more

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

19 Mar 2014  |  2 min read

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... > Read more