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2007 - week 45, from 10 November

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:56 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Le Trio Joubran - Laytana - Majâz - Palestine/Fance - Randana - RAND 002

2 - Enzo Avitabile e Bottari - Maam (feat Gigi) - Festa Farina e Forca - Italy - Il Manifesto - CD 180

3 - Lucky Dube - Slave - Africa's Reggae King - South Africa - Manteca - MANTCD026

4 - Tiken Jah Fakoly - Ma Côte D'Ivoire [feat Beta Simon] - L'Africain - Côte D'Ivoire - Wrasse - WRASS 204

5 - Telmary - Sueño Brujo [feat Ojos de Brujo] - A Diario - Cuba/Spain - DM Ahora - DM0003

6 - Najma - Apne Hathon - Qareeb - UK/India - Triple Earth - TERRACD 103

These commentaries are often written a week or two after I put these programmes together, just long enough to have forgotten what determined the shape of the collages. I listen as a stranger might, wondering what kind of mind would choose those particular songs, in that particular order.

Le Trio Joubran

If an instrumental is featured, it’s usually found the end, partly to serve as a bed for the last spoken link, partly because it’s easier to fade. But this show starts with an instrumental, ‘Laytana,’ played by a trio of Palestinians based in France, Le Trio Joubran. There’s a sense of drama to the music, setting up an expectation – what’s going to happen next?

Enzo Avitabile [photo copyright Philip Ryalls]; Gigi

What happens next is a vocal duet between the Italian musician, Enzo Avitabile, and the Ethiopian singer, Gigi. I can’t think of a current musician whose albums are as different from each other as the last three by Enzo. First there was that huge battering ram of a band on the album simply called Enzo Avitabie and Bottari, released by Wrasse. Then came a sparse acapella collection, Sacro Sud, featured here a few weeks ago. And now we have Festa Farina e Forca, with a different guest on each track. My copy of the album is a 2xCD set, the second CD being full of remixes. I’m getting increasingly impatient with the whole idea of remixes. Get it right the first time, and leave it be.

Lucky Dube

Among the most shocking news of the year has been the death of South African singer Lucky Dube, the random target of a car-jacking not far from his home in Johannesburg. Will the culprits feel any remorse, when they realize that they not only robbed the world of one of its great singers, but killed a rare spokesman who understood and explained their situation with genuine compassion? Probably not. Their desperation is beyond such reflection. Almost 20,000 people are killed every year in South Africa, in addition to the many more injured or raped, but the country’s underclass seems incapable of changing its behaviour. So many of Lucky’s songs were sympathetic representations of men who wished they could change, but didn’t know how. ‘Slave’, his first big hit in 1987, was a first person account of a man hopelessly addicted to alcohol – ‘I’m a slave, a liquor slave.’ What a voice, framed by his own unique version of reggae with that keening keyboard sound and the gospel-flavoured backing singers. It took a while, but eventually the reggae taste-makers in the Caribbean and Europe recognized that Lucky Dube belonged alongside Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and Freddie McGregor as one of the great vocalists of his generation.

Tiken Jah Fakoly

The Ivory Coast singer Tiken Jah Fakoly is currently the most popular reggae singer in Africa, following the decline of his fellow countryman Alpha Blondy and the death of Lucky Dube. But where those predecessors each developed a unique version of reggae that enabled the listener to recognise their music from the intros before their vocals were heard, Tiken’s backing tracks sound generic, anonymous. His voice and lyrics are good, but he needs to find his own unique sound. Until then, I prefer to play the one track on his album that isn’t reggae, ‘Ma Côte D'Ivoire’, featuring second vocalist Beta Simon and kora player, Toumani Diabate.


Having played Telmary’s album A Diario earlier in the year, I set it aside and never came back to it. As the Havana-based singer arrives in London to receive an award for best Cuban Artist, it’s time to make amends with ‘Sueño Brujo’ featuring Barcelona’s Ojos de Brujo.


Back in 1987, when the world music egg was first cracked and the fledgling genre stepped blinking into the sunlight, one of its leading singers was the female Indian vocalist Najma. Her first two albums were produced by Iain Scott for his label Triple Earth, using a combination of jazz and Indian musicians to provide an unusual sound that has never been improved on, either by Najma herself since she left the label or by anyone else. I’ve often wondered what might have happened, if Najma had stuck with Triple Earth and allowed the relationship to develop further.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 10:42 pm
by Gordon Neill
This was one of those programmes that I dread. Normally, there's one or two tracks that come on and ponder about searching out the album. But as each track came on, they all sounded great. I can't possibly get them all. Pick of the bunch, for me, was the one featuring Gigi. I'm not normally keen on albums littered with guest appearances, but maybe this is an exception.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:25 pm
by Charlie
emails from

1. Jeremy Bowden, Singapore

I am appalled at the (in)frequency of music programmes now on the World Service, which I have listen to for 30 years. I always look to it primarily for objective news and clear analysis.

But this programme is an exception; it is truly global, and illuminates music not promoted by music companies -which is often far better.

Charley I could hear the emotion in your voice in the last programme - your choice of music was even more exceptional than usual (10 Nov). Thank you deeply.

Is there anyway we can download this music (paid for of course), as it it is very difficult to get hold of. I am a UK citizen, resident in Singapore for ten years.

Cheers and thanks again.



2. john beamond, peterborough, uk

love your taste in music,

i am a bass player and when i get home from gigs i listen to your programme, reminds me of john peel (bless him)

keep going


3. Paula Garrett, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Hi Charlie,

Just a note to say how much I enjoy your program which I listen to on WNIJ out of Dekalb, Illinois. I often catch it when I'm driving home from doing a blues radio show!

Very nice tribute to Lucky Dube this week.


Paula Garrett


CG reply: very happy to know the show is rebroadcast on a radio station out of DeKalb, Illinois - that always seemed an exotic name for a town. I can't remember why I've even heard of it, perhaps there was a venue there on the blues circuit, or is there even a song, 'DeKalb Blues'?


3. Brendan Harding, Beragh, Northern Ireland

Love your programme. The music makes me think of beautiful exotic places and moods.You were going to tell us how you choose your music but didn't. Take care

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:57 pm
by Tonie
Agh, I just missed this show! I'm "listening again", and of course the BBC is so efficient that the new show is up already, and I really wanted some Lucky Dube, Tiken Jah, Telmary... anywhere this show can still be found?