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BBC World Music Awards (and the absence of TGU)

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 6:43 pm
by Adam Blake
I've just been told by a very disgruntled Hami that his band, Transglobal Underground, are the only award winners NOT to have been invited to perform at the award winners concert on July 30th at the Albert Hall this year.

This seems staggeringly unfair.

Does anyone know anything about this?

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 8:33 pm
by Jamie Renton
I was the fRoots rep on the Awards Jury this year (a last minute cheep n ugly replacement for Elizabeth Kinder, who went to a festival in Ethiopia instead) & I chose to talk on the Club Global category as my specialist subject, so that I could put the case for Transglobal, who I think pretty much invented & define what the category is. I'm pleased to say that they won (inspite of some fiery rhetoric from the Balkan Beatbox Tendency). So I was really upset when I heard that they won't be playing the Awards bash.

Usually at these events, the Club Global Award winner gets to stand on stage & DJ while everyone else goes to the bar. Transglobal are an exiting live band, made up of fine musicians & I think it's a real shame that they won't be able to demonstrate this at the Awards concert.

If anyone involved in making that decision happens to read this, I ask you to reconsider.

Jamie

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 10:01 pm
by Adam Blake
Jamie Renton wrote:Usually at these events, the Club Global Award winner gets to stand on stage & DJ while everyone else goes to the bar


Yes, Hami mentioned that they were offered a DJ slot while everyone's in the bar but he thought that was a bit pointless, especially considering that they have such a dynamic live act these days with Doreen, Tuup and Krupa all fronting. I've watched TGU go in and out of favour over the years - flavour of the month one year, can't get arrested the next - and I think it's a damn shame they can't seem to get the respect they deserve at home. Too white, too English is possibly the thinking. I know that Errol couldn't get a gig at Womad for many years because he was deemed to have too many white people in his band. There's a lot of covert racism involved behind the scenes with various World events (something that Charlie is universally acknowledged to be completely guiltless of).

Thanks Jamie for sticking up for my mates in TGU!

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 10:04 pm
by Adam Blake
Sorry, I shouldn't say there's a lot of covert racism - but it is sometimes a factor when, of course, it shouldn't be.

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:13 pm
by aj
I must say that in all my years of being involved with WOMAD I have never heard of anyone not getting a gig because there were too many white people in the band. That could be a perception rather than reality.

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 2:39 pm
by Adam Blake
It may well be. I'd like to believe that it is. But amongst musicians I've spoken to and worked with, it's certainly a suspicion that's cropped up and that I've been told about.

But I'm sorry I brought it up. It's just an ugly rumour.

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 7:02 pm
by c hristian
that isn't surprising at all. i would expect it from white liberals, with unresolved issues, feelings of guilt , etc. to want to overcompensate in the other direction, without thinking that it's the process not the short term results that matter so much.

maybe you follow me, maybe not.

anyway, i'm not surprised. at all. see it all the time.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 12:13 pm
by Songlines
You can hear an excerpt from all the award winners (including Transglobal Underground) on the Songlines June issue, interactive sampler, at: http://songlines.co.uk/interactive/052 and on the podcast itpc://www.songlines.co.uk/podcast/rss.xml

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:25 pm
by Charlie
Adam Blake wrote: Too white, too English is possibly the thinking. I know that Errol couldn't get a gig at Womad for many years because he was deemed to have too many white people in his band. There's a lot of covert racism involved behind the scenes with various World events (something that Charlie is universally acknowledged to be completely guiltless of).

Thanks for excluding me from this accusation, but it's absurd in any case. There are too many examples of racially mixed groups featured at WOMAD and among the winners of the Awards for World Music for such remarks to have any grounds, and I'm very surprised that Adam should suggest it.

Nobody ever figured out how Thomas Brooman made his decisions, but there was no trace of racism involved, inverted or otherwise. Just look down the list of people he championed, it's really out of order to make such a suggestion. Little George Sueref played the Siam Tent at WOMAD three or four years ago, an all-white British blues outfit.

Whenever somebody is excluded from what they feel they are entitled to, they invariably start inventing explanations to try to rationalise the inexplicable. But it is as nuts to suggest Transglobal's non-appearance at the Awards is anything to do with inverted racism as it is to suggest Errol Linton was excluded from WOMAD for such reasons.

I think if Transglobal were to compare notes with previous winners of the Club Global category, they will find several slightly disgruntled DJs who felt they didn't get a chance to display their wares in a satisfactory way. Most of them run bands quite similar to Tranglobal, but most of them were obliged to be interval DJs. Don't take it personally, guys, the system isn't perfect and the Club Global winners may have been consistently under-played in the past.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 8:52 pm
by Ian A.
Charlie wrote:the system isn't perfect and the Club Global winners may have been consistently under-played in the past.

The Club Global winners have, in my opinion (no surprises here!) been consistently underwhelming in the past and rarely deserved more than an interval slot! But this year we get a winner - a real band - who probably brought the whole notion into being and very deserving of being celebrated. If what is rumoured is true (that they've been offered a DJ spot or a sideshow elsewhere) then it would be the second foot-in-mouth for the awards this year. I emailed around on Saturday when I heard this and had it pointed out to me that as it's a bank holiday weekend there could be no BBC response until into the week: to be fair, we ought to wait for that and maybe there are two sides to the story. But as a representative of a "partner" organisation in the Awards, I would have to distance us from such a decision if true - not been in the loop on this one at all.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 9:20 pm
by Jamie Renton
Charlie wrote: I think if Transglobal were to compare notes with previous winners of the Club Global category, they will find several slightly disgruntled DJs who felt they didn't get a chance to display their wares in a satisfactory way. Most of them run bands quite similar to Tranglobal, but most of them were obliged to be interval DJs. Don't take it personally, guys, the system isn't perfect and the Club Global winners may have been consistently under-played in the past.


I think there's a lot of truth in what you say Charlie. In the past, Club Global Winners have had to make do with either the token interval DJ slot (DJ Shantel, DJ Dolores) or been left out of the Awards concert entirely. I well remember Clotaire K rocking the Pizza Express at the Awards announcement bash a few years back, only to be noticably absent from the Awards concert itself at the Sage Gateshead a few months later. Clotaire was at the Sage & seemed mystified & upset at not being asked to perform.

But last year's winners Gotan Project got to perform a full live set at the Barbican & what a bum numbingly dull experience I recall that turned out to be (maybe they had an off night?) Transglobal in contrast are currently (as Adam pointed out in his post), a live act to be reckoned with. Most of them are based in London & it just seems a shame that a band whose live show offers up the kind of spark & energy more usually associated with rock & dance acts, won't get the chance to strut their stuff & potentially break down a few barriers in the process. Because I thought that's what these Awards concerts were all about.

Cheers

Jamie

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:24 pm
by Charlie
Email message from Hélène Rammant, BBC Radio 3 Events Co-ordinator

--------------------------------
Dear colleagues, Awards partners,

In the light of recent speculation over Transglobal Underground's absence on the Proms bill, here is a note detailing our plans to celebrate the band - winners in the Club Global Category 2008 - in the context of the Awards for World Music.

David Jones has pointed out to some of you that the format of the Proms makes it impossible to give the concert platform to every winner and that even in past Awards editions, when bands were just performing short numbers, there has hardly ever been a concert where every winner was able to appear. This means Transglobal Underground are not the only winning band not to be performing at the Proms on July 30th.

Because there were too many winners to be able to include in the Winners' Concert at the Proms, we featured some winners in the Awards Winners Announcement event in April at Dingwalls. Rachid Taha, winner of the Mid East/North Africa category being one of them. Again, as David has pointed out, TGU haven't been sidelined - if they hadn't been playing in France on April 10th, they would surely have been seen and heard at Dingwalls.

The BBC and Serious did earlier in the year discuss an alternative solution to a Proms concert performance, ie the possibility of TGU DJ-ing in the Proms intervals. We discussed this idea with the band, but they did not a favour this as a solution and neither did the Proms team pursue the idea further due to infrastructural problems with live interval performances within the Royal Albert Hall set up. With these concerns in mind, we decided to try and celebrate TGU properly and at length, within the context of WOMAD from which we will be broadcasting days prior to the Awards concert. The WOMAD coverage this year will form part of a month of world music summer celebrations on Radio3 culminating at the Awards for World Music Winners concert on July 30th at the Proms.

Given Womad's recent changes, this took a while to arrange and we regret we were not able to confirm the WOMAD dates with TGU as early as we would have liked to. However, we are pleased to say we are currently confirming the TGU performance at the Radio 3 stage at WOMAD and are trying our best to secure them the best possible slot and coverage during our WOMAD weekend.

Please could you be so kind to relay this message, should you need to? We were keen to find a solution that would give the band the most appropriate platform and I am pleased to be able to confirm that we have found one.

Many thanks,

Hélène

Hélène Rammant
Events Coordinator BBC Radio3

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 8:26 pm
by Adam Blake
I said I was sorry I brought it up. It's just an ugly rumour that I've had repeated to me by various people over the years. I'm delighted to hear it's not true.

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:09 pm
by Nigel w
Adam wrote :
I know that Errol couldn't get a gig at Womad for many years because he was deemed to have too many white people in his band.


Sorry, I've only just caught up with this thread after the Bank Hol weekend. But I do find this claim bizarre in the extreme. Surely what we need following Thomas Brooman's departure from WOMAD is a cull of the multitude of Anglo/American/Irish acts he booked for this year's festival with too many white people in the band - Little Feat, Squeeze, Devon Sproule, Show Of Hands, Hot Tuna, Damien Dempsey, Boy George, Cara Dillon, Sharon Shannon, Shane McGowan etc etc.

I like most of them and several of them (such as Sharon and Hot Tuna) v much indeed. But their presence seems to negate Peter Gabriel's original founding principle of Womad which, if I remember rightly, was to give a platform to people we probably wouldn't otherwise get an opportunity to see. Most of the above we can see fairly regularly in other UK venues and the vast majority of them would fit better on the Cambridge bill than Womad.

I don't know if all this has anything to do with Thomas Brooman's departure. But I can see why there were profund criticisms that too much of this year's programme was all a bit too close to home...

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:25 pm
by Adam Blake
Just for the record: Errol did play at WOMAD in 2003 and 2004 - following Garth's interceding on his behalf. For many years before that, I believe his phone calls were not returned.

I'm a musician and I hear other musicians gossip. I should know better than to repeat it. I've apologised twice. I won't do it again.