Updates

Meet Kezia Jones

Monday, 4 June 2018

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On Friday 1st June, BBC 4 opened its new three-part series, Africa : A Journey into Music with a visit to Nigeria. Tracing the evolution of that country's popular music, Ghanaian born presenter, Rita Ray, met key players including Kezia Jones whose rhythm based Blufunk style she defined as the bridge between Fela Kuti's revolutionary Afrobeat and the globally successful Afrobeats of today's superstars…

World Music in the Mainstream

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

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Born in 1973 in Mozambique, the land of her mother, Mariza came to Lisbon, the home of her Portuguese father when she was three years old. The family owned a restaurant in the suburb of Mouraria where, it is said, Fado was born. Mariza's contemporary Fado blends African rhythms and Portuguese melody and verse. Her deeply emotive voice is matched by the plangent tones of the steel-string Spanish guitar…

Remembering Habib Faye

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

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Habib Faye (1965–2018) ace bass guitarist, keyboard player, arranger and composer, collaborated with Youssou N'Dour on many albums. In the late 1980s, the pair shared a house in Dakar's residential district, Cité Biagui, and together they created a company called Youbib. Habib marked Youssou N’Dour’s repertoire with notable contributions on numerous tracks including Bekoor, Sabar, Set, Lii. When,…

Appreciation for 'Notes From Africa'

Monday, 23 April 2018

Notes from africa

Wally Badarou, sound painter, synthesizer specialist,  collaborator with Fela Kuti, Level 42, Grace Jones, Mick Jagger and many other leading musicians, describes my book as,

“A well documented personal journey, an excellent read, which will serve as a reference for many.” 

Jazz Mbalax

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Herve samb album cover

How about this for a talented young man! Read about Herve Samb and many like him in 'Notes From Africa'.  A fully illustrated online copy will cost you just £10 or 14 dollars/11 euros. Pledge early and often!

Spreading the World

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Notes from africa

This ad for my book appears in the current edition of the World Music magazine 'Songlines'. We are making very good progress in funding its publication but we still need support to get it over the line. As well as being a personal memoir, 'Notes From Africa' is the fruit of detailed research with unique access to the continent's top musicians and should be of interest not only to musicologists and…

Songs for Freedom

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

In March 1987, the London Palladium was the venue for the 3rd Secret Policeman’s Ball, an event organised by Amnesty International to raise awareness of human rights issues. The star-studded line-up of comedians and musicians was filmed for television and recorded for release by Virgin records. Jackson Browne and Paul Brady (one of my favourite Irish musicians) performed Browne’s ‘El Salvador’ while…

A Note About Cheikh Lo

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

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Born in Burkina Faso of Senegalese parents, Cheikh Lo is one of the many talented artists profiled in 'Notes From Africa'. I was Cheikh's manager during the period when his album 'Ne La Thiass' was licensed by World Circuit records in London. Journalist Rose Skelton described it then as, "Pure acoustic bliss with the rawness of reggae and the slinkiness of jazz mixed up with Cheikh Lo's cool voice…

A mesmerising concert by Youssou N'Dour

Friday, 9 March 2018

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When Youssou N'Dour and his band, the Super Etoile de Dakar, made their first London appearance at the Venue in Victoria in 1984, Peter Gabriel was in the audience. He was immediately smitten by the 'liquid velvet' voice, the percussive mbalax beat, the alluring sounds of the Sahel right there in the heart of the city. Peter travelled to Dakar to meet Youssou and thus began a collaboration that…

Salif Keita

Thursday, 1 March 2018

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In the spring of 1988, I travelled to Paris with TV journalist Robin Denselow and director James Marsh (Man on Wire, The Theory of Everything and Mercy) to make a short film about the growing popularity of African music in the capital.  One of the musicians we met was Salif Keita whose album 'Soro' had just been released and which Robin Denselow described as, "a mix of synthesizers, subtle rhythms…

African Women

Monday, 26 February 2018

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In 'Notes From Africa' you will meet some impressive African women. You will read about Tartit, an all-female group from Mali, who occasionally perform for the comfort and encouragement of recent divorcees. Three times Grammy award winner Angelique Kidjo tells how she met the challenge of performing in a man's world by emulating Miriam Makeba.  Tunisian born Amina Annabi, who represented France and…

A new World Jazz Fusion

Thursday, 22 February 2018

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One of my favourite musicians is the bass player, singer and composer Richard Bona who is invigorating the international jazz scene with percussive rhythms and vibrant tonal colours. Born in 1967 in the remote village of Minta in Cameroon, Bona's journey from there to Paris and New York where he now owns the jazz club Bonafide and from where he tours the world, is remarkable. He tells us,“As a kid…

Baaba Maal's contribution to soundtrack of Black Panther

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Baaba maal at realworld studios

It was thrilling to hear the distinctive voice of Baaba Maal echoing over the Wakanda hilltops in the much publicised blockbuster movie, ‘Black Panther’.  It seems that Swedish composer Ludwig Goransson spent one month in Senegal familiarising himself with African music and making recordings for the film soundtrack.  His principal contributor was Baaba Maal whose soaring vocals remind me very much…

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