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2007 - week 27, from 24 November

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:45 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Malouma - Chtib - Nour - Mauritania - Marabi - 46819.2

2 - Rajery - Mandehandeha - Sofera - Madagascar - Marabi - 46820.2

3 - Sizzla - Ain't Gonna Fall - VA: Serious Times - Jamaica - XL - XLCD203

4 - Madilu System - Jalousie - La Bonne Humeur - DR Congo - Sterns - STCD 1104

5 - Youssou N'Dour - Dabbax - Rokku Mi Rokka - Senegal - Nonesuch - PRO 400015


For every listener who manages to catch this programme almost very week, there must be hundreds who accidentally run across it and then forget to tune in same time next week. So this week’s show bring three songs back for those who missed them the first time, while introducing two newcomers.


The Mauritanian singer Malouma has just been nominated in the Middle East/North African category of the BBC Radio 3 awards for World Music, which is a surprise for those of us who would have placed Mauritania in West Africa and therefore in the African regional category of the Awards. It’s a Muslim country, true, but that definition would embrace Sudan, Mali and Senegal too. But I’m not complaining about any recognition for Malouma, who backs up her formidable voice with a strong personality. I have grumbled before about the electric rock guitar featured on several tracks of her latest album, Nour, but the powerful ‘Chtib’ is unspoiled by such intrusions. I wonder if there could be any chance that Justin Adams might produce her next record? To judge from his work as producer of Tinariwen, he could satisfy her determination to be part of the modern world without surrendering to its cliches.


As light and airy as ‘Chtib’ is dark and intense, ‘Mandehandeha’ by the Malagasy musician Rajery never ceases to amaze – how does a man with only one hand so effortlessly play an instrument that is a challenge for people with both hands?


Before the term world music existed, African records were often stocked in the shelves of record shops set aside for reggae. Back then (the early 1980s), it wasn’t unusual for reggae songs to be playlisted on mainstream radio stations, but as that happens much less often now, it’s time to could repay the debt and welcome reggae into the world music box. Sizzla has always sung what they call conscious songs whose topics include women’s rights and parental responsibilities, but I’ve only just caught up with his heartfelt ‘Ain’t Gonna Fall’.

Madilu System

When the news was recently announced of the death of Madilu System, I didn’t immediately realise how big a loss this was. But reading the sleeve note of his posthumous album Le Bonne Humeur, and hearing his familiar voice, I realise that he was the lead singer on several famous songs by Franco’s OK jazz, including ‘Mario’. On ‘Jalousie’, Madilu shared the lead vocals with Nyboma, probably my all-time favourite Congolese singer, at the top of his form.

Youssou N'Dour

There have been mixed reviews for Youssou N’Dour’s latest album, veering from the dismissive to the very enthusiastic. I made it album of the month on the home page of this website, but although I stand by that early reaction, I keep coming back to same exceptional track whenever I look for something to play on the radio. ‘Dabbax’ may be almost hidden away as track 9, but it stands head and shoulders above the rest for its melody, drive and heartfelt lead vocal. The Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate plays the distinctive Senegalese xalam (and not, as I wrote in the review, his usual ngoni). [One of the perils of the modern promotion system is that albums are sent out months before their release date in slip cases, without sleeve notes, musician line-ups or sometimes even the front cover. So the reviewer has to try to hold on to theA4 sheets that are sometimes sent to make-up for what's missing, but in my case those bits of paper go straight in the bin. Hard enough trying to find the albums themselves, minus their identifying spines, without devising a filing system for more paper.]

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:00 pm
by garth cartwright
Hi Charlie

as ever, great to get up and switch on the radio and realise it's 9.30 as there's some amazing sound leaping out of the World Service. Grand selection and good call with Sizzla - i recall being a guest on yr show at the Barbican and playing one of his tunes to follow yr choice of Fela Kuti. Mine came from Praise Ye Jah - one of the great unsung albums of the 90s. Produced by Xterminator who, to me at least, was the last great Jamaican producer (perhaps the Italian guy Neil has posted about will prove to be his successor).

I saw Sizzla in concert when he first started coming to the UK and he was hot but his quality control subsequently lapsed and the homophobia row has kept me at a distance - but if the tune u played is a new one then he's on form again. And of course reggae is now part of "world" - all roots musics tend to share certain cross over fan bases. As Adam could tell u - in the US West Coast reggae is the reigning roots music!


PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:26 pm
by Tonie
Aaah, I really enjoyed this set. Malouma was haunting and chilling, Rajery is always good (though I felt this track was less moving than some of his other songs, lacking the more interesting percussion and backing vocals), Sizzla was a great discovery and I hope he'll be touring the UK soon. Franco music is always great (and it was nice to learn about Madilu, even posthumously. I thought Franco himself did most of the singing), and the Youssou track was nice, though didn't make me want to run for the CD... but I find with him I need to hear the song a few times to get into them (apart from his obvious, Western-oriented hits).


PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:48 pm
by howard male
Yes, the Sizzla track was great. I remember getting a bunch of albums of his from Peckham libary about seven/eight years ago and they'd always be two or three great tracks on each one and the rest would be fairly disposable. I got the impression he was someone who just put out too much material. But this is definitely one for the Radio 3 shows - to win over those hardcore Kershaw fans!

By the way, anyone know the original album it's from? I assume the one mentioned is a various artists comp.