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2007 - week 36, from 8 Sept

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:20 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Chiwoniso - The Circle - The Voice of Conscience - Make Me a Channel of Your Peace - Zimbabwe - KKV - FXCD 249

2 - Manu Chao - Otro Mondo - La Radiolina - France/Spain - Because - promo

3 - Fajdiga - Micika Mlada/Hudič Trobovlje Trese/Indiijski Maharadža - Za fuk pa Å¡pila gramofon… - Slovenia - Nika - PLA-NIK001

4 - DuOud & Abdulatif Yagoub - Sakat - Sakat - Tunis/Yemen - Indigo - LBLC 2598

5 - Rhett Brewer - Millenia - Hotel de Ville - USA - Ex-Directory - EC-CD001

6 - Swati Natekar - Maikhana-e-hasti - The Rainbow - India/UK - Harmony Creations - HCCD001


[photo courtesy]

The Zimbabwean singer Chiwoniso is among the few African singers who is equally convincing whether singing in English or her own language – in her case, Shona. Surely it is only the desperate state of her country’s economy and policies that has prevented her from achieving international recognition. This song, written by Kris Kristofferson, always sparked emails when I played it at the time of its release a few years ago. Hopefully the admirable Norwegian label, KVV, will receive another batch of enquiries.

Manu Chao
[photo courtesy]

Still working my way through the many good songs on Manu Chao’s new album, scheduled for European and UK release next week (Sept 17th).


Fadjiga was a street singer in Slovenia during the 1970s. An album released in vinyl back then has now been issued on CD for the first time.

DuOud: Smadj and Mehdi Haddab
[photo courtesy]

Yemeni music is hard to find outside the country, so this is the first time I’ve ever played a Yemeni singer, thanks to the enterprise of the French label Indigo, who commissioned a collaboration between Abdulatif Yagoub and the Paris-based duo of oud players and programmers, Smadj (originally from Tunis) and Mehdi Haddab (from Algeria). The title track of their album Sakat gets better every time I hear it.

Rhett Brewer
[photo courtsey]

Some years ago, I played songs from a haunting album sung in Latin by Rhett Brewer, who then operated under the name of Ronan Quays. I never met him, but we communicated by email a few times. Now he has resurfaced with a second album but a new project name, Hotel de Ville. I’m ashamed to admit that this has been sitting on my floor for over a year before I got around to listening, having not realised it was by Rhett. I think he’s American, and he may now live in France. Check his website

Swati Naketar
[photo courtesy]

Finally, a new discovery through MySpace, Swati Natekar, an Indian singer based in the UK, who asked if she could be a friend on my site ( ). I liked the music on her profile, asked for an album, and here’s another song that gets better with each play.

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:06 pm
by Gordon Neill
Well, Chiwoniso's song 'The Voice of Conscience', has prompted another message in response. I hated it. The voice, the instrumentation were all fine, good even. It was just the lyrics. I know Cuban music has had a big influence in Western Africa. I just hope that Country doesn't take off in Zimbabwe.

But I loved the rest of the show, particularly the efforts from DuOud & Abdulatif Yagoub and Swati Natekar. Well worth gritting my teeth for the first few minutes...

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:02 pm
by Des
Gordon Neill wrote: I hated it.

Yeah I really wanted to like it just so I could be all contrary but it was awful.

The rest was mighty fine though and Charlie sounds on great form.


PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:46 pm
by Gordon Neill
Des said:

Yeah I really wanted to like it just so I could be all contrary but it was awful

Well, I don't mind pretending to like it. Then you could come in and say it was awful. It's all the same to me.

Re: helpful

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:57 pm
by Des
Gordon Neill wrote:

I don't like it.

I loved it.

Chiwoniso coincidence

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:37 am
by Charlie
Not sure about you guys - are you telling me that you don't like Help Me Make it Through the Night or Me and Bobby McGhee?

Anyway, I got this email from Jacob Edgar, head of Cumbancha Records (the label that has brought us Andy Palacio's album) and guess what, he's made an album with Chiwonoso


Hi Charlie:

I’m in the dressing room of the Kola Note in Montreal (Dobet Gnahore is playing here tonight) and thanks to the wonders of wi-fi I can actually send out some emails during sound check.

I just wanted to you know I really enjoyed your Sound of the World collection. I always hear things I wasn’t familiar with, and sometimes I even relisten to stuff I have with a fresh ear and discover I actually did like that track after all!

I also wanted to make sure you had gotten a copy of Habib Koite’s new album and find out what you thought of it. He’s one of the top tier African artists here in the US, but for some reason has never gotten much attention in the UK, a situation I’d like to change this time around.

Ivan (Duran) is putting the finishing touches on the Umalali project (from Belize) so we can have the album in time for Womex.

Also, I just finished recording a new album with the Zimbabwean mbira player/singer Chiwoniso for release sometime next year.

All the best,

Jacob Edgar

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:19 am
by Des
I do like Kris K, Charlie but I thought this song was one of his weaker efforts.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:17 pm
by howard male
Gordon wrote -

Well, Chiwoniso's song 'The Voice of Conscience', has prompted another message in response. I hated it. The voice, the instrumentation were all fine, good even. It was just the lyrics.

Yes, the English sung vocals made me think of Marianne Faithful, but not in a good way.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:50 pm
by Des
howard male wrote:
Yes, the English sung vocals made me think of Marianne Faithful, but not in a good way.

I could murder a Mars bar.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:32 am
by judith
In retrospect, when I made this original post, I realize I may have mixed information with my own impressions which is not okay as I would be misrepresenting a venerable man. Instead of editing it, I'm just going to delete the whole thing.

My apologies,

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:18 am
by Des
Kuku is a great rhythm I learned in the Gambia from a Guinean teacher.

There was a lot of coming and going between Congo and Cuba of course in the 50s and 60s among Congolese musicians.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:42 pm
by Gordon Neill
Judith commented:

Gordon, you've brought up a convoluted subject - the musical history of the Afro-Cuban connection.

Oops! I was just trying to be facile as usual. But, actually, now you mention it, how did Cuban music happen to get re-exported back to West Africa? I've never quite understood how or why that happened. Were there significant commercial links? I could understand USA jazz or Imperial music hall being taken up. But Cuban?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:33 pm
by Des
As I understand it, Cuban music was the dominant style in West Africa throughout the 1940s and 50s - played on the radio all the time (and from the 1930s in Leopoldville and Brazzaville in the Congo where Cuban records were imported in huge numbers) so I guess it is easy to see how bands like Orchestra Baobab and Bembeya Jazz were influenced by it. It is interesting how political pressures in both west and Central Africa resulted in the suppression of Cuban influences and the encouragement of a more 'local' and 'traditional' musical expression in the interests of 'authenticite' in Guinea and 'Africanisation' in Congo/Zaire.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:07 pm
by Andrewq
Swati Naketar
Beautiful voice and mesmerising track. How is the rest of the album?
According to her web site she is playing at QEH on Oct.18th - gutted I won^t be around. Hopefully we can hear her again.