Latest updates

My Book Review in the world music magazine 'Songlines'

Friday, 11 October 2019

Delighted to send you this 4 star review by Nigel Williamson in the November edition of the world music magazine 'Songlines' as well as some pictures from the launch of 'Notes From Africa' at the Fermanagh Live festival in Enniskillen

Book Launch at Fermanagh Live Festival

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

 Dear Supporters and friends,

I shall be delighted to see you at the launch of 'Notes From Africa' on 5th October at 2pm in the Buttermarket, Enniskillen as part of the Fermanagh Live Arts festival. It will be an opportunity for me to personally thank all of you who so generously supported the publication of my book and I will gladly sign your copy if you bring it along. Please encourage your…

On the same bill at Van Morrison!

Monday, 5 August 2019

I had the great pleasure, thanks to my host, the wonderfully creative and energetic and inspired Sarah McGuinness, to present 'Notes From Africa' at Halyfest in Greencastle, County Donegal on 3rd August. The mystery festival headliner turned out to be none other than the legendary Van Morrison!  He is in fact mentioned on page 30 of my book. As Youssou and I watched a video of Van's blistering performance…

Not long now

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Unbound have done a wonderful job in preparing my book for publication 

This is the cool cover and there are 108 images inside 

On track for the printers at the end of June so not long now until copies are available!

Sign up before 27th May

Friday, 10 May 2019

Unbound are closing subscriptions for my book on 27th May so that all those who have already bought a copy will have their name printed at the back of the book. So don't miss this final opportunity to join that list and have your book delivered in AUGUST.

Meantime here's a little treat - a track from Youssou N'Dour's new album 'History' released last month. 

Good News

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Good news! Thanks to your generosity and support 'Notes From Africa' is almost fully funded - just a few more pledges needed and then Unbound can prepare my book for publication. Happy Xmas!

In Conversation with Carlo Gebler

Sunday, 28 October 2018

At the recent Fermanagh Live Festival I had the opportunity to talk about 'Notes From Africa' with the eminent writer Carlo Gebler. The event, which took place in Enniskillen's Buttermarket, a warm and welcoming venue, was well attended and well received. You may like to listen to the attached recording by Niall Bogue. Photo credit Euan Gebler. 

Hope to see you there

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

I am looking forward to discussing my book 'Notes From Africa' with eminent writer Carlo Gebler on Thursday 4th October at 7 p.m. as part of the Fermanagh Live festival. Carlo describes the book as "An amazing compendium, a musicologist's bible." For me it has been a vivid and exciting personal journey that began when I met Youssou N'Dour in Dakar back in 1984 and continued through memorable meetings…

New Pledge options for 'Notes From Africa'

Monday, 6 August 2018

Unbound have added two new Pledge options to my book page. 

A Pledge for £50 includes a Super Patron paperback, an online copy of 'Notes From Africa' and the CD 'Xalima', a precious record of the beguiling music of Seydina Insa Wade (1948 – 2012). Often referred to as the Father of Senegalese Folk Music, Seydina's texts and melodies influenced all of his country’s major artists not least Youssou…

A date for your diary

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

On 4th October, during the Fermanagh Live Festival, I shall be chatting with the writer Carlo Gebler about my book, 'Notes From Africa'.  I find myself on the same bill as my favourite Irish artist Paul Brady whom I met when he attended Youssou N'Dour's 'Egypt' concert at Vicar Street, Dublin in 2007. I have been a fan of Paul's music since 1977 when he released his debut album, 'Welcome Here Kind…

Morocco On My Mind

Monday, 2 July 2018

Malika Zarra is an artist I befriended during the marvellous FESMAN festival in Dakar in 2010. Moroccan born Malika has lived in Paris and New York where she was signed to the label Motema (along with Gregory Porter among others). Her music is inspired by the rhythms of her native land but her collaborations have taken her in new and exciting directions.

I am looking forward to a visit here in…

Youssou N'Dour's UK concerts August 2018

Monday, 25 June 2018

Good news for all Youssou N'Dour fans! With his band, the Super Etoile de Dakar he will play three dates in the UK this summer:  Indigo, O2, London on 25th August;   Symphony Hall, Birmingham on 30th August and The Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London on 31st August. 

May I gently persuade you, dear reader, to subscribe for a copy of my new book, 'Notes From Africa'. In it you will discover how Youssou…

Meet Kezia Jones

Sunday, 3 June 2018

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

Monday, 14 May 2018

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

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

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

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

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

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

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

Monday, 2 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

Thursday, 22 March 2018

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

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

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

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

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

Friday, 23 February 2018

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

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

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

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…

Publication date: August 2019
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