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2009 week 36, from 5 September

PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:21 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa featuring Ezra Koenig - Warm Heart Of Africa - Malawi/UK - Moshi Moshi Records - Promo

2 - Les Triaboliques - Gulaguajira (I, The Dissolute Prisoner) - rivermudtwilight - UK - World Village - 468088

3 - Juana Molina - Un Dia - Un Dia - Argentina - Domino - WIGCD227

4 - Sam Baker - Cotton - Cotto - USA - Music Road - MRRCD104

5 - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Torin Torin ft Harouna Samake - I Speak Fula - Mali - Out Here - OH 013

6 - 17 Hippies - Adieu - El Dorado - Germany - Hipster - HIP 013


If there is a category called Most Intriguing Album of the Year, Warm Heart of Africa wins hands down. I listened several times without coming to grips with it, uncertain of its genre or regional origins and at first not even sure whether I liked it. But after finally letting it run to the end without having to define it, I surrender and like it a lot.

The Very Best (but who is who?)

It seems that when East London resident Malawian Esau Mwamwaya advertised his bike in a local newsagent, a response came from a member of the Radioclit production team. Realising that fate had decreed they should work together, tracks were recorded and sent out to tastemakers on what is confusingly referred to as a mixtape. Not being considered a relevant recipient of that mixtape (in reality, a CD-R compilation), the first I knew of the project was an enigmatically titled pre-release CD immodestly titled The Very Best.

Part of the confusion comes from the sense of a vocal group, but most of the voices are Esau’s, double- and triple-tracked. And the lack of a regional genre is explained by the fact that the music is made by a Swedish-French production partnership. But what matters is the infectiousness of the music itself, which will easily fit alongside just about any music a DJ chooses to pair it with, whether pop, hard core dance or world. And it does not hurt to have a couple of high profile names as featured vocalist, MIA on one track and Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend on this one. He sings well, that Ezra boy, although I don’t understand what he is singing about. The PLO?

Lu Edmonds of Les Triaboliques

Les Triaboloques are also inscrutable in ‘Gulaguajira’ on which Lu Edmonds sings a Russian prisoner’s lament, in Russian. I had been looking forward to this album, but am disappointed that their version of ‘Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood’ is so restrained, not nearly as intense as the version they performed during their session on World on 3 earlier this year. Pity they did not apply to use that version instead. There’s probably some explanation that mistakes were made, but only musicians notice or care about mistakes. The rest of us simply react (or don’t react, as the case may be).

Juana Molina
[photo courtesy The Australian Daily Telegraph]

I have only just tracked down the most recent release from Argentinean singer, Juana Molina, and so am late in reporting that it may be her best yet, maintaining her singular approach of multi-tracked voices and circular instrumental loops.

Sam Baker

Sam Baker is a new name to me, an American who experienced a devastating accident in Peru some years ago, from which he has only recently recovered sufficiently to be able to make records. Cotton is the third album in a trilogy, whose title track is particularly compelling. More at

The programme ends with my two favourite live artists of the year.

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba are so good live, it seemed impossible that their second album could do justice to the power and variety of their music. I’m still not sure whether it does, all the way though, but track 4, Torin Torin, showcases everything that is great about the band, with an additional attraction in the kamel ngoni of Harouna Samake.

17 Hippies

17 Hippies made me a happy man by playing five songs as the finale to my two-hour stint on the Radio 3 stage at WOMAD, Charlton Park, in July. We finish with a song from their last album, El Dorado.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:06 am
by Chris P
Thanks for a great programme. 'The Very Best' track with Ezra on vocals is awesome, same with 'Gulaguajira' by Triaboliques. Both are hit singles, even if not in so-called reality (yet). I fell asleep during Juana Molina, but no criticism of the music which sounded as good as usual (it was late), briefly resurfaced from sleep to hear what I identified as the wondrous sounds of Bassekou's massed ngonis before crashing out again.
So on the basis of how brilliant what I actually heard was, I'm looking 4ward to hearing the rest

Oh, & the Juana & Lu photos above are sublime !

Great new sounds

PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:25 pm
by JayDev
More thanks for another standout show with a great mix of sounds and styles. And two more big thumbs up for The Very Best, Les Triaboliques, and Bassekou Kouyate. That's Victor Uwaifo's 'Guitar Boy' riff on Warm Heart of Africa, a sample I think (it got me to listen back to the original, which was a blast too!) -- nice tribute in any case. Cheers!

PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:30 pm
by Alan

Re: Great new sounds

PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:50 pm
by Charlie
JayDev wrote: That's Victor Uwaifo's 'Guitar Boy' riff on Warm Heart of Africa, a sample I think (it got me to listen back to the original, which was a blast too!) -- nice tribute in any case.

well spotted, Jay. I'm ashamed I missed the connection, despite having immersed myself in Guitar Boy when I interviewed Victor for this programme a few months ago.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:07 am
by Charlie
emails from:

1. John Chase, Saint Paul, MN United States

Thank you so much for playing Juana Molina. I had not heard her music before. Very cool. I will be investigating her discography.

John Chase


2. Martin Berry, Kent, UK

Hi Charlie, just a quick note to say how much I enjoy your program. I usually catch it in the early hours of a Monday morning and am blown away by some of the music you come up with - how on earth do you find this stuff! I particularly enjoyed triaboliques on your recent program.

Keep up the good work!



3. Ian Kelly, Poole UK & Munich Germany

About 4 weeks ago, I changed my commuting arrangements, so that I now leave home very early on a Monday morning to catch a flight to Germany.

Tuning into your programme was a real find! I've never really listened to much 'World Music' before, but the stuff you play just lifts my spirits.

Thanks Charlie - keep up the good work!


PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:50 pm
by liz molony
Staring out over moonlit fields of stubbled corn below the dark Sussex Downs would have been perfect, but for a disappointing silence. Double glazed windows cut out all those mysterious night sounds...

But when I plugged into earphones and picked up your late night show Charlie .. WELL ..THERE was all the intrigue of sound I could ask for....
Juana Molina, then wonderful Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba and finally enchantment in the female vocalist of 17 Hippies wafting like something afloat over the pulsating flow of the instrumentalists.
Mmmm Thank you!

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:44 pm
by howard male
CG wrote -

I have only just tracked down the most recent release from Argentinean singer, Juana Molina

Yes, what a great track - more powerful somehow than previous things I've heard.

Anyway, I was prompted to immediately see if I could get hold of a copy. I googled Domino, her American label, and they put me in touch with Hermana PR, which I had no idea was three minutes walk from my front door.

The good news is that I popped round and was immediately furnished with her 2004 effort 'Segundo' and a burn of a soon-to-be-released EP 'Que Difficile' The bad news is they didn't have 'Un Dia'which was in fact released last year.

So while you may have only just tracked her new album down, Charlie, you'd better start preparing yourself for an even newer one, as this EP is a sampler of that.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:47 pm
by CantSleepClownsWillGetMe
Sam Baker is a new name to me, an American who experienced a devastating accident in Peru some years ago, from which he has only recently recovered

I love Sam Baker, and also have another of his albums 'Mercy'. But his songs are all the more remarkable because he was actually injured when a terrorist bomb (in a backpack on the rack above the woman sitting directly opposite him) exploded on the train he was riding in Peru -

Quote: "The long-term physical consequences for
Baker were complete deafness in one ear
and only 70% hearing in the other, and
when he got back to playing the guitar, he
had to adapt to playing left-handed."

... as his left hand was so badly injured in the blast he could no longer pick out chords with it.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:18 pm
by Dominic
howard male wrote:... Domino, her American label ...

I was going to quibble that Domino is first & foremost a British label, but come to think of it, I think that Juana Molina was first signed by Domino US.

I was invited to an early Juana Molina show, supporting Jose Gonzales at La Linea '05, by Gary Walker of Domino - I knew him from his days at Wiiija, Cornershop's original home. I think he was wondering how to market her & wanted some feedback from a world music perspective.

Six months later Domino signed Arctic Monkeys & I guess they (and Franz Ferdinand) help the label keep Molina on their books.

I've loved the label since the mid-nineties when they were releasing the likes of Third Eye Foundation, Tele:Funken & Pram. Their Geographic imprint has put out fantastic stuff by Future Pilot AKA & Bill Wells. They recently reissued most of Robert Wyatt's back catalogue & are reissuing six Townes Van Zandt albums next week. Long may they prosper!