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2009 - week 29, from 18 July - artists featured at WOMAD UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:12 am
by Charlie
Artists appearing at WOMAD UK, Charlton Park, Wiltshire, 25, 26, 27

Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Alyo - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - USA - Honest Jons - HJRCD42

2 - Dub Colossus - Black Rose (Sidestepper Remix) - Return to Addis - Ethiopia/UK - Real World - RWEP13

3 - 17 Hippies - Solitaire - El Dorado - Germany - Hipster - HIP 013

4 - Radio Kijada - Manoteo en Menon - Nuevos Sonidos Afro Peruanos, Part 1 - Switzerland/Peru - Wrasse - WRASS 233

5 - Rokia Traore - Kounandi - Tchamantché - Mali - Nonesuch - 530 785 7

6 - Solomon Burke - That's How I Got to Memphis - Nashville - USA - Shout Factory - SMACD942

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Every year since it was founded in 1982, the cast of musicians at the British WOMAD Festival was put together by Artistic Director Thomas Brooman, initially in collaboration with co-founder Peter Gabriel, but increasingly in later years on his own. Early in 2009, something happened between the two, and Thomas departed the operation, leaving the selection in the hands of his former assistant, Paula Henderson. From the outside, the process and outcome this year looks and feels very similar to how it has always been. As ever, budgetary restrictions mean that WOMAD cannot afford the highest fees charged by the most successful international artists, particularly those who can command fees of more than £10,000 per appearance in their own countries. Why, they might understandably wonder, should they lower their fee in order to appear in a field in the UK?

Still, this year’s bill looks satisfyingly strong, and this week’s programme picks its way through some of the bigger names while also including a couple of newcomers.

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Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

All seven members of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are sons of the musician Phil Cohran, who was a member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra and a founder member of the Chicago-based collective The Association for the Advancement of Creative Music. That is quite a heritage, and all reports are that the band is even better live than on record. ‘Alyo’ is good enough to be getting on with.

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Dub Colossus

A Town Called Addis by Dub Colossus has turned out to be one of the albums of the year, an ingenious collaboration of Jamaican dub techniques and Ethiopian singers. While the impact of that album is still being absorbed, here comes an instant follow up, a five-track EP of remixes titled Return to Addis, on which Sidestepper’s reworking of Black Rose is addictive.

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17 Hippies

I lost count of how many times I sent pleas to Thomas Brooman to include the German group 17 Hippies on one of his bills, but he never acknowledged or reacted to such messages. This year, they have finally made it, and I am looking forward to seeing them play twice on Sunday, once on a main stage and later as the closing act during my two-hour stint on the Radio 3 Stage from 5.30 to 7.30. Incidentally, I am also hoping to host some of the musicians and singers from the Ethiopiques package and some of the Australian Aboriginal singers collectively performing as the Black Arm Band.

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RadioKijada

The two main conspirators in Radio Kijada, Christoph Mueller (of Gotan Project) and Rodolfo Muñoz, are reinforced by several more musicians and singers in their full stage presentation, and I bet they will be one of the hits of the weekend.

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Rokia Traoré

I missed Rokia Traoré’s enthusiastically-reviewed recent concert at the Barbican, and hope to catch her this time.

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Solomon Burke

I did see Solomon Burke at the Barbican about four years ago, when I began to understand why producer Jerry Wexler favoured him above all other soul singers of his generation, and am confident he will impress again at WOMAD – Solomon’s voice is even better live than on record.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:24 am
by Ian A.
Charlie - slightly curious about why, with such a big, good and varied bill at Womad, you re-playing people who you've often broadcast on your programmes rather than using the opportunity to give some oxygen to artists your listenership haven't heard before. I'm sure there's a sound philosophy behind it, but wondering what it is . . .

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:29 pm
by Charlie
Ian A. wrote:Charlie - slightly curious about why, with such a big, good and varied bill at Womad, you re-playing people who you've often broadcast on your programmes rather than using the opportunity to give some oxygen to artists your listenership haven't heard before. I'm sure there's a sound philosophy behind it, but wondering what it is . . .

Good question and probably boils down to the records I have. No philosophy at all, I'm afraid. Also, what may feel to you like well-played or even over-played artists may still be unfamiliar to most listeners who don't catch every programme. I'm usually surprised to find how rarely I actually played people who seemed to have been often featured. On checking this list, I discover that Rokia and 17 Hippies had each been played just once this year, Radiokijada and Dub Colossus three times each, Solomon Burke and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble not at all.

But I would be delighted to see an alternate list of suggestions.

Otherwise, perhaps I should consider a follow up programme of people discovered at this one.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:57 am
by Charlie
Charlie wrote:But I would be delighted to see an alternate list of suggestions.

Ian, I hope you will take me up on this invitation.

I have looked at the contenders again and cannot see any that I wish I had included instead of the people I did choose. Having selected Dub Colossus, I left out Ethiopiques, and similarly I elected not to duplicate Mali by having both Rokia and Oumou Sangare. But I'm not sure either of those alternative would have satisfied your preference for me to have made more obscure choices, which I still don't quite understand.

My experience (based on email responses) suggests that none of the artists I played would be counted as 'household names' in most of the homes where the show was broadcast, although it is true that I am on a mission to try to make some of these names feel more familiar.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:19 pm
by Ian A.
Charlie wrote:I'm not sure either of those alternative would have satisfied your preference for me to have made more obscure choices, which I still don't quite understan.


I wasn't stating a preference for the obscure - after all, this is all totally obscure to Joe Public other than Peter Gabriel to those over 40. I was just struck that the ones you played were mostly ones you've played recently. Obviously if you'd picked Oumou Sangare, Youssou NDour or Malick Pathe Sow they'd also be well known to your regular listener, and Dennis Bovell would be more dub too.

I don't have enough detailed memory of your back playlists to confirm the high probability that Etran Finatawa, Mariem Hassan, Melingo, Besh O'Drom, Ba Cissoko and Eliades Ochoa come into the past-play familiar category for your listenership (but if they don't, they'd all be worth a highlight, especially Eliades & Melingo).

But otherwise . . .

Cimarron (Grammy nominated CD in 2004) were the undisputed big hit of last year's Womex showcases.

The Unthanks' imminent new EMI album is startlingly good and a Great Leap Forward.

I'm not sure if the Channi Singh Bhangra Band have recorded (Helene Rammant would know) but it'd be a good excuse to play Alaap: and they're royalty! As the Womad programme says, "it's the equivalent of welcoming Paul McCartney or BB King to the Womad stage"

A Filetta: sensationally good Corsican a capella group (they'd be this year's Lo Cor De La Plana at Womad if their main set wasn't late Sunday night). They've made 13 CDs.

Kamel El Harrachi (son of the legendary Dahmane El Harrachi) - excellent Algerian Chaabi - recent album.

Spiro: their new Real World CD is a real grower in a rootsy Penguin Cafe Orchestra sort of way - they were very good live at the Big Session recently.

Mec Yek - Jaune Toujours' project with two Roma sisters.

And also/ too/ as well: Sarah Savoy & The Francadians - Cajun/rockabilly-ish mix from the daughter of the celebrated Ann Savoy; lots of people rate Caravan Palace; Nogabe's records are variable but he's done some really good stuff; have the Cool Crooners of Bulawayo been to the UK before? Portico Quartet were Mercury nominated last year; Mamer's album is generally very good (though rumour has it his live show less so - we'll find out next weekend!); we know you don't like Jim Moray but he did win the album of the year . . . all have worthwhile records. So lots to choose from, even allowing for differences in personal taste!

I'm probably just a little bit too keen on the "public service broadcasting" notion for my own good I suppose (speaks the man who always felt obliged to play new Fairport Convention records on his world service show even though they've left him stone cold since around 1970, knowing that his audience would like to know . . . )

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:27 am
by Charlie
Ian A. wrote:I don't have enough detailed memory of your back playlists to confirm the high probability that Etran Finatawa, Mariem Hassan, Melingo, Besh O'Drom, Ba Cissoko and Eliades Ochoa come into the past-play familiar category for your listenership (but if they don't, they'd all be worth a highlight, especially Eliades & Melingo).

OK, fair comment...

Ian A. wrote:But otherwise . . .

Cimarron (Grammy nominated CD in 2004) were the undisputed big hit of last year's Womex showcases.

never saw a copy of that

Ian A. wrote:The Unthanks' imminent new EMI album is startlingly good and a Great Leap Forward.


Their appeal remains as mysterious to me as the Fleet Foxes

Ian A. wrote:I'm not sure if the Channi Singh Bhangra Band have recorded (Helene Rammant would know) but it'd be a good excuse to play Alaap: and they're royalty!

Haven't seen a new Alaap album since about 1984 when I played them often. I realise this is an admission of laziness, but I never did pretend to be very resourceful. It could be a reasonable assumption that somebody connected with the groups might think to send a promo CD to a relevant DJ ahead of the WOMAD exposure, but that hasn't happened in my case.

Ian A. wrote:A Filetta: sensationally good Corsican a capella group (they'd be this year's Lo Cor De La Plana at Womad if their main set wasn't late Sunday night). They've made 13 CDs.

Hmm, I worked hard at trying to like something from their latest CD, but got stuck about halfway though. Sounded like undiluted folk to these tin ears.

Ian A. wrote:Kamel El Harrachi (son of the legendary Dahmane El Harrachi) - excellent Algerian Chaabi - recent album.

He invited me to be his MySpace friend but has not sent a CD

Ian A. wrote:Spiro: their new Real World CD is a real grower in a rootsy Penguin Cafe Orchestra sort of way - they were very good live at the Big Session recently.

I confess this has passed me by completely. Don't recall it at all.

Ian A. wrote:Mec Yek - Jaune Toujours' project with two Roma sisters.

I did listen, but nothing struck home.

Ian A. wrote:Sarah Savoy & The Francadians - Cajun/rockabilly-ish mix from the daughter of the celebrated Ann Savoy

Haven't seen/heard their CD, but will pick one up at the site.

Ian A. wrote:lots of people rate Caravan Palace

ditto

Ian A. wrote:Portico Quartet were Mercury nominated last year;

very nice guys, and the sound of hang is mesmeric, but their music leaves me cold.

Ian A. wrote:Mamer's album is generally very good (though rumour has it his live show less so - we'll find out next weekend!);

Like the first track (played on the WS a week or two ago) but disliked everything else. Incidentally, major visa problems have put his visit in jeopardy - see the comments in the main Forum section from Nick of Dub Colossus about the difficulties of bringing in artists from outside Europe. He wonders if this is the last WOMAD at which such a wide range of countries will be represented, given the blocks being placed by the Home Office.

Ian A. wrote:we know you don't like Jim Moray but he did win the album of the year . . . all have worthwhile records. So lots to choose from, even allowing for differences in personal taste!

All points gratefully taken

Ian A. wrote:I'm probably just a little bit too keen on the "public service broadcasting" notion for my own good I suppose (speaks the man who always felt obliged to play new Fairport Convention records on his world service show even though they've left him stone cold since around 1970, knowing that his audience would like to know . . . )

Yes, there we differ - I would never play a record I didn't like on a principal that I 'ought' to.

Ian, thank you very much for taking so much time to list all these alternatives, which will also make a very handy guide for people who go to the Festival.

All in all, I plead guilty to your original accusation, ie, that I stuck too conservatively to the same old favourites. But I do wonder if show featuring an entirely different selection would have had equal quality. My primary responsibility is to present a 26-minute programme of superlative music.

My own concern has been that week-by-week I tend to flit too quickly across the huge range of music arriving every day and don't give the audience a chance to become familiar with a selected group of particularly recommended artists and albums, which is what I was using this show for. I had actually delayed playing the new album by 17 Hippies earlier because I knew they would feature here.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:50 pm
by Charlie
Ian A. wrote:Cimarron (Grammy nominated CD in 2004) were the undisputed big hit of last year's Womex showcases.

I wasn't at WOMEX last year, but just caught this Colombian country orchestra down on the South Bank this afternoon. Terrific mixture of every Latin American style I've ever heard, with Venezuelan harps, cuatro, guitar, small stand-up bass and percussion. The singers look like they've just stepped off horses. Their name means Wild Bull. Catch them on Friday at WOMAD

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:20 am
by Ian A.
Charlie wrote:Catch them on Friday at WOMAD

And read Jan Fairley's interview with them in the latest fRoots, he plugged shamelessly! ;-)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:32 pm
by Paul Sherratt
Charlie,

I REALLY enjoyed reading that reply of yours ( Sun 19 , 10.27 )
Brought a number of smiles to my face !

taking off in the night

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:45 pm
by liz molony
Just to say I heard your programme on sun night/mon am at 3.30
It was great hearing it in the dark thru earphones.
The whole experience was like taking off in the night to another planet!
Too short......
made us a cup of tea ...we were both listening.
loved the compilation you chose.... crazy brass opening number and closing with that great soul singer and his Memphis piece; voice like a turbulent landscape!

Have a wonderful time with those LIVE musicians at WOMAD

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:30 pm
by EleanorT
Ian A. wrote: Mamer's album is generally very good (though rumour has it his live show less so - we'll find out next weekend!)


Well this is a comment that I can't resist adding to. I've given it some time since going to see him and (principally my main interest) Hanggai at the Union Chapel.

I'd gladly give Mamer another chance but not until he gets himself on stage spared of accompanying producers Robin Haller and Matteo Scumaci. The combination (I thought) was dreadful, most particularly due to the 'traditional' stance they were trying to project (I quote from a spiel about the album: "I was really struck," says Haller. "Mamer's musical ideas were the most original I'd come across. It was all string instruments and this great austere sound; he kept things as close as he could to tradition.") That may have been then but now with these two loping about in the back half of the stage, it is not the case.

Thankfully, Hanggai's set was spared of them - or almost - at the end they made a rather patronising reappearance but luckily such was the magnificent force of Hanggai's main singer that the dampener was less intrusive. But I'm still not rid of the feeling that all us purchasers of the Hanggai CD were being hood-winked - at full price it is a mere 36 minutes long. And the blurb is ALL about the producer's relationship with fellow producer, his life in Beijing, oh and there was a little about the group too.

I'll look forward to hearing your opinions from Womad!

emails

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:35 pm
by Charlie
email from:

1. Russel Bailey, Oxford, England

Charlie

I was astounded by your comment last week about listeners being
disturbed in their sleep by your programme - as I had just woken up to
hear your comment!

I deliberately fall asleep on Sunday evenings with my headphones on. It
is not uncommon to be awoken by something gently hypnotic on your show.

The next day I am listening to the playback and usually purchasing the
track.

If the music makes a connection in my sleep, it's a always a good sign.
Keep up the great work

Russel

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2. BOB CHARLIE, PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS

Can you play some Germany

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CG: I assume that means 'artists from Germany', Bob, and this is a rare show in which I have done just that. Admittedly, the 17 Hippies song is in French....

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:40 pm
by Con Murphy
EleanorT wrote:
Ian A. wrote: Mamer's album is generally very good (though rumour has it his live show less so - we'll find out next weekend!)


Well this is a comment that I can't resist adding to. I've given it some time since going to see him and (principally my main interest) Hanggai at the Union Chapel.

I'd gladly give Mamer another chance but not until he gets himself on stage spared of accompanying producers Robin Haller and Matteo Scumaci. The combination (I thought) was dreadful, most particularly due to the 'traditional' stance they were trying to project (I quote from a spiel about the album: "I was really struck," says Haller. "Mamer's musical ideas were the most original I'd come across. It was all string instruments and this great austere sound; he kept things as close as he could to tradition.") That may have been then but now with these two loping about in the back half of the stage, it is not the case.


I was at the Union Chapel too, and although I wouldn't go as far as to say they were dreadful, they certainly didn't do justice to the CD. I hadn't realised that the band comprised the production team. I assumed they were slightly under-rehearsed session musicians. I would certainly have checked Mamer out again if I was going to Womad, not least for the duelling dombra moments. Maybe the workshop will be the better setting.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:49 pm
by EleanorT
Con Murphy wrote:I was at the Union Chapel too, and although I wouldn't go as far as to say they were dreadful, they certainly didn't do justice to the CD.


Well I think you're right and my "dreadful" is unnecessarily harsh. But my annoyance is unfortunately the overriding memory, and I haven't got Mamer's CD to try him out again. My annoyance with the other CD is so great that although I like the music, I think I'll give it away. The key justification for such a short play is in the title: "Introducing Hanggai" which now looking it up I see is part of a series.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:24 pm
by Andrewq
The above listing confirms what a fantastic musical weekend is coming - can't wait