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2009 - week 52, from 26 Dec - 17 Hippies at WOMAD

PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:14 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country

1 - 17 Hippies - Kaukapol - Live at Womad - Germany

2 - 17 Hippies - Son Mystere - Live at Womad - Germany

3 - 17 Hippies - Wann war Das? - Live at Womad - Germany

4 - 17 Hippies - Atchafalaya - Live at Womad - Germany

5 - 17 Hippies - Uz - Live at Womad - Germany


There are literally hundreds of CD albums released every week which could be classified as ‘world music’ and the UK has almost one hundred professional and semi-professional journalists and broadcasters who make it their job to sift through the releases and reveal what they consider to be the best.

The result could be a bewildering kaleidoscope in which no two people agree as they pursue their particular preferences among African, Latin, Middle Eastern, Far Eastern or Nordic genres. On the contrary, there is a surprising extent of common ground as the same albums are picked out for special praise in the ‘quality’ newspapers and specialist magazines.

Most of the time, I confess to being part of the throng, drawn by the same thrilling voices and instrumental virtuosos as everybody else. But every now and then, I have picked out an artist that virtually nobody else seems to like as much as I do and, for the past ten years, at the top of my alternate hit parade has been the Berlin group, 17 Hippies.

For several years, the band did not play live in the UK and all I had to go on was the remarkable range of styles they had mastered on their albums – from Louisiana Cajun to Balkan Gypsy to Berlin Cabaret. Finally, in 2005 I think it was, the band did come to London for just one gig, at the Spitz in East London. It was on a Saturday night and duties at Radio London meant I could not go, but during the next week, several members of the audience left messages in this site’s forum to describe what each of them experienced as the best gig of their lifetime. Unfortunately that entire posting was wiped from the forum, never to be retrieved. But in the meantime I managed to copy and send sections of the reports to Thomas Brooman, WOMAD’s artistic director, encouraging him to book 17 Hippies for the Festival, in the hope that I could invite them to be part of my annual broadcast from the site. Thomas was notoriously difficult to influence and I knew better than to push any harder. Nothing happened until last year when Thomas left his post, to be replaced by his former assistant Paula Henderson. In 2009, 17 Hippies were finally invited to WOMAD, and on a Sunday too, the day I was due to present a two hour show from the Radio 3 stage. Did Paula see my note to Thomas, or was this all a marvellous coincidence? I have no idea, but was delighted to able to host the group’s five song performance.

photos by Andy Pitt

Despite their name, there are very rarely exactly 17 Hippies on tour, and on this day there were 13 Hippies. Of these, only eight musicians could fit on the small Radio 3 stage, which limited the repertoire they could perform. They agreed to my request for three songs, including the magical ballad, ‘Son Mystère’, and then allowed themselves to being bullied into doing two more, for which they were entirely unprepared. I was one very happy DJ that day.

Re: 2009 - week 52, from 26 Dec - 17 Hippies at WOMAD

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:18 pm
by liz molony
‘Christmas...mmmm... feels like we’re a bit ... well all over the world this year Mum’, say the family, with 17 Hippies, Best of Ethiopiques , and Charlie’s own ‘OTRO MUNDO’ just unwrapped and filling the room.

And now Saturday’s show - 17 Hippies ...Fantastic! ...with Womad excitement very much in evidence Charlie, Thank you!!!

27 December 2009 12:24