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2008 - week 16, from 20 April - Award Winners

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:11 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Andra's Song - Segu Blue - Mali - Out Here - OH 007

2 - Andy Palacio - Gaganbabidá - Watina - Belize - Stonetree - CMB-CD 3

3 - Son de la Frontera - Tanguillos De La Frontera - Cal - Spain -
amended after advice from Mike Gavin in reply below: available
in Spanish-speaking world: Nuevos Medios - NM 15 890 CD;
in rest of world: World Village/Harmonia Mundi 468069

4 - Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara - Njatigi - Soul Science - UK/Gambia - Wayward - WAYWARD704

5 - Sa Ding Ding - Holy Incense (Tibet Version) - Alive - China - Universal - 60251732006

6 - Rachid Taha - Josephine - Diwan 2 - Algeria - Wrasse - WRASS 181

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There are still a few people sniping away at both the term ‘world music’ and the annual BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music. The sceptics can so easily take their positions because they aren’t involved in trying to launch or maintain an artist’s career. Winning one of these Awards can be truly transformational – just ask Portuguese Fado singer Mariza, who credits them with launching her as an international artist, or the Spanish rumba/rock group Ojos de Brujo, who suddenly found themselves being invited to take part in rock festivals that had previously kept their gates firmly shut.

So which of these winners are likely to find their lives comparably affected?

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Bassekou Kouyate

For the Malian ngoni player and band-leader Bassekou Kouyate, winning Awards for both best Album and Best African Artist was further confirmation of what had already become apparent – he is a front-line maestro to be mentioned in the same breath as his countrymen, Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté, in whose shadow he had been standing for some years. Some were surprised that Bassekou got the African Award ahead of Toumani, but for me there is no question that Bassekou’s musical arrangements are infinitely more elegant than the cumbersome constructions of Toumani’s Symmetric Orchestra.

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Andy Palacio (centre) and the Garifuna Collective,
with Paul Nabor (right)

For Andy Palacio, we will never know how winning the Award for Best American Artists might affected his career, because he died at the age of 47 before the announcements were made. With producer Ivan Duran, Andy had helped to develop an entirely new, modern version of the music of the Garifunas of Belize and Honduras, and the fruits can be heard in the companion album, Umalali: The Garifuna Women’s Project. What are the odds on Umalali scooping up the prize for next year’s Awards? I’ll lay my bet.

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Son de la Frontera [photo copyright Hiro-acustic.jp]

Of all the winners in this show, Son de la Frontera may benefit the most from winning the European category, because it will help to set them aside from all the many other Spanish groups offering a modern version of flamenco. There is not much that is obviously revolutionary or unique about their music, but the mostly instrumental tracks of this Seville-based quintet manage to sustain the interest of this non-specialist listener, who is easily distracted from paying attention to such music.

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Justin Adams, Juldeh Camara (with the Award)
with BBC Radio 3 presenter, Mary Ann Kennedy

It’s too soon to tell what effect winning the Culture Crossing Award will have for Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara but their album grows mysteriously stronger by the month, and they may find it becomes the foundation for a solid career, as festival and concert promoters invite them to play on their bills.

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Sa Ding Ding

Sa Ding Ding is so popular in China, she hardly needs our approval or plaudits, but she made a gracious acceptance speech at the event held in Dingwalls in North London to announce the winners. Amidst all the hurly burly of righteousness regarding Tibet, she maintains a discreet composure, and it is impossible to be sure what her feelings might be. But two tracks on her album are designated as the Tibet versions, so she is surely sympathetic to the cause.

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Rachid Taha

Rachid Taha is an anomaly, a French Algerian rocker whose limited vocal range gets wearing after a while. His canny selection of catchy, anthemic tunes from Algeria’s rich collection of songwriters has reached audiences unimpressed by the intricacies of more sophisticated musicians.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:26 am
by garth cartwright
Charlie, what happened on holiday? You come back all orange and supporting the Chinese dictatorship and bitching about people "sniping" then go and snipe at Rachid Taha (surely cos he's one of those who slam the term "world music"). Is there something we should know about in Med' waters? A secret Berlusconi virus?

Look mate, I know you were there at the christening of world music and now campaign for it as if it's your religion but it remains a misnomer, something the general pubic tend to think of as totally naff. And the BBC Awards only tend to emphasise this. Last year you were supporting Gogol Bordello's win - even tho u appeared not to have bothered to listen to the Gypsy Punks album they were nominated for - and now it's Sa Ding Ding, Chinese pop so bland it's offensive. I mean, what is "world music" if it can include American rock bands singing in English and Chinese pop and French supermodel singer songwriters and anything else you fancy championing? Perhaps a definition of world music would read "anything Charlie Gillett chews bar- sorry- likes". You don't like British folk so it's not included. Or gangsta rap. Tho both could very much be said to represent a community's music.

As for the awards helping the artists, i simply don't believe this. I know they did nothing for Taraf and Fanfare and Mariza was a star from day one, with or without your support and the award she would have made it. She reminds me of Roy Orbison when asked on Elvis and Sun saying "even without Sam Elvis would have made it". While that's debatable what he's saying is the guy had star power. As Mariza does. As Axl Rose and Liam Gallagher do. And Bob Marley and Tupac had. Its something you can't bottle or invent. She's got it. Maybe the Portuguese media made a big deal about the win. Fine. But it takes more than a BBC award to get a public interested. I'd suggest that if Fat Freddy's had won when nominated the reception in NZ would have been the same as Mariza's in Portugal - great but we already love them. Now if Wai had won the reception would have been "great but nobody's interested" (no one, not even Maoris, listen to Maori music in NZ thus Wai remain almost completely unknown there). Which is what the reaction to Justin & Judah will be in the UK/Gambia.

Will the award help revive TGU's career? I doubt it. Make Rachid Taha more of a draw than he already is? No. Cause much of a stir in Belize. Uh uh.

Charlie, you invest too much in this world music thing. You were such a fun DJ on BBC London, playing soul and old country hits and Tupac and all kinds of stuff alongside new African/Latin releases. Now DJing is the easiest job in the world - paid to play tunes u like - and the fun element is what makes Mark Lamarr such a success, you get the sense that he's inviting you to a party. But you seem to be going down a more severe route. I wish you'd just chill a bit, play some of that lovely swamp pop u once discovered, stop being such a preacher. I don't want to see u following Kershaw and Peel into self-destruction. Sorry for giving you a hard time but you're losing me.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:07 pm
by Charlie
garth cartwright wrote:Charlie, you invest too much in this world music thing. You were such a fun DJ on BBC London, playing soul and old country hits and Tupac and all kinds of stuff alongside new African/Latin releases. But you seem to be going down a more severe route. I wish you'd just chill a bit, play some of that lovely swamp pop u once discovered, stop being such a preacher. I don't want to see u following Kershaw and Peel into self-destruction. Sorry for giving you a hard time but you're losing me.

Thanks Garth for saying what you think, as always.

I'm a bit confused about how to reply, so there may not be much continuity in the following thoughts.

First, there's the matter of what the applicable radio stations define as my remit.

At Radio London, I was very fortunate to be handed a completely blank page and invited to do whatever I wanted. You may Know how unusual that is, in modern radio. As it happened, what I wanted to do was play a combination of world and other stuff, with the ratio varying week-by-week and partly depending on what the guest chose. The ping pong format made sure the selection didn't get stale, as I think you are implying Kershaw's and Peel's did.

I agree that Mark Lamaar's show is probably the best thing on radio at the moment. But have you noticed how long is has taken Radio2 to give him that freedom? He has been there for at least ten years, probably fifteen, being obliged to stick to two formulas, alternating a reggae series with a fifties rock 'n' roll show. Only now has he finally been let loose to do what he likes and mix it all up. He sends me MP3s of Balkan brass bands, making sure I've heard them

At the World Service, the brief for the programme called A World of Music is much tighter. It is explicitly a world music show, although the definition of what is world music is left up to me. So I have played all the people you mention, several of whom would not normally be thought of as world music (Camille, Fat Freddy's Drop, Carla Bruni, etc). I've occasionally stretched out to play oddities like The Deziruk Sisters (American country music from the 1930s), Eartha Kitt, Frank Crumit, even Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters. But in 26 minutes there isn't scope to stretch very far.

At Radio 3, there's more room to maneouvre, partly because the show is so much longer (105 minutes) and I've thrown in a few things that couldn't be construed as world music by anybody's definition - Leonard Cohen, Dylan, Lowell Fulson's 'Recondiser Baby' (which did not arouse a single comment from a listener, to my disappointment), Lil Millet's 'Rich Girl'. But I don't have anything like the unrestricted remit that Radio London gave me. For the first time in my radio career, there are producers to relate to, and a structure of executives keeping a keen ear out to make sure that every programme on the station sticks to its particular self-definition.

By nature I have a tendency to kick the walls of any box I am put in, trying to knock it out of shape, find out where its weaknesses and windows are, and I hope that the result is that each programme is distinctively 'mine'.

I can't blame anybody for the selections I've made. It is still the case that I have never played a record chosen by anybody else (apart from radio ping pong guests, of course) and there is nobody at either the World Service or Radio 3 saying, 'please can you play more like this or less like that'. So if you don't much like what I'm choosing, Garth, it can either be because you have heard so much, it's going to be much harder for me to surprise you, or because I really have lost the plot and it might be time to quit.

But I'll hang in for a bit longer, encouraged by the emails from listeners that come every week, always from somebody who never got in touch before, who is thrilled to hear stuff they never knew existed. Just flip through a few past playlists to check the emails that are reproduced there - it is to those people I am aiming, not to connoisseurs, although of course it is satisfying if some of them/you report getting some pleasure too and disappointing if it all seems old hat/the wrong stuff.

Ever since I started on the radio back in 1972, I have been responsive to feedback from listeners, both positive and negative, on the one hand following up suggestions of other artists who might fit alongside those I'm already playing, and on the other getting a sense of which artists and songs have made the biggest impact on people who had never heard them before. That's still how I'm doing it, with the major difference being that a higher proportion of records in each show are relatively recent releases (or re-releases).

But I do still dig old things off the shelves, make transfers from vinyl records that have still not released on CD, and hope to avoid anything that feels or sounds like a formulaic approach.

By choosing the the theme of this particular show, I obviously tied my hands. Sa Ding Ding was declared a winner, so I played a track, but I don't think her album is exceptional.

I can promise that the next few World Service shows will be less predictable, but not that they will be to your taste.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:41 pm
by Spartacus
All I can say is that apart from recommending the Django Reinhardt cd I bought, Garth has never introduced me to anything, whereas I owe Charlie a debt of gratitude for years of listening pleasure directly provided or by inspiring me to search out more.

I am at a loss as to what inspired Garth's diatribe? It has the nature of an iconoclast about it, yet I don't think CG has ever put himself on a pedestal, in fact I've found him rather a little too restrained usually. (Though I have noted a more active person since I came back and a good thing too).

So, I think I'm missing something here, but Garth, the way you were trying to make your points seems a little harsh, and I don't sense from your usual posts that you were intending any offence? Were you?

Charlie, once again, I say to you, that bringing my attention to the music you enjoy has been one of the greater joys of my middle aged life, thankyou.

[In fact I found a copy of an email I sent to Charlie in Oct 2002

I woke up at about 4am this morning and decided to listen to the world service with my earpiece (so as not to wake the wife). I was moved and excited about the music I was listening to in a way that I haven't experienced since I first heard Emerson Lake and Palmer as a 14 year old and when I heard Punk on John Peel's progs when I was 17/18.

Brilliant ideas, rhythms an clever productions - I've been missing out. Now I've got to get my search engine hot and start seeking this stuff out.

I guess there are plenty of samplers available, any recommendations - have you put together any?

Great show and thanks for opening my ears. I must try and wake up at 4am again next week!!!]

And here I am today, greatly enriched :-)

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:00 pm
by Gordon Neill
Yes, I think you kind of missed the point Garth. The BBC London show was pretty well unique in allowing Charlie such a free hand. The remits for both the BBC World and Radio 3 shows are clearly much more restricted. Even there, however, Charlie keeps lobbing in a few surprises. I may not be a connoisseur, just a member of the regular riff-raff, but I always find something to interest and surprise me in both shows.

I don't always share the same tastes (the attraction of Carla Bruni, apart from the obvious, still baffles me, and I'm still working hard at liking Devotchka). But there's still only one DJ whose recommendations carry any weight with me. Long may he run.

Um... and I don't think Charlie did actually 'support the Chinese dictatorship'.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:47 pm
by Hugh Weldon
I think I'd be rather restrained if I said that Garth was rather ungenerous in some of those comments, and whatever you may think of the interminable debate about 'world' music I felt it was (again restraining myself here) a little ill-mannered to personalise it so much.

Personally I've come to the conclusion that I don't care much for 'world music', in the sense that I regard it as my preferred 'category' - but I am grateful for Charlie - the latest in a long line of (mostly BBC) DJ's - for introducing me to a range of music I would never have normally encountered. I think it would be great if the Radio 3 slot allowed for more 'fun' and I'm really looking forward to the forthcoming revival of the ping-pong. But as Charlie says that's not the brief - and if I thought he was changing into another Ms Duran (who has her place) I think I'd have stopped listening by now.

emails

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:44 am
by Charlie
email from

1. Olaf, Reykjavik, Iceland


Thank you for a great show, heard it today, liked a song and could readily find all information about it [on the World Service site]

Regards

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2. Nina, Capitola,Ca. U.S.A.

Just finished listening to C.Gillett program (it's 1900 here in Cali).

My favorite radio program is on a local University (UCSC)station..KZSC.

The program, Unfiltered Camels, plays "world music".

Your choices today...awesome!

Now I have a new program to dial-up.

Also, your voice is brilliantly smooth.

muchas gracias mi amigo.

Nina

--------------------------------------------

3. Zhou youxin, chahe, China

I am a medical student, coming from China.

I want to make friends through the progrom and learn more the world .

I hope that your programme is better and better.

thank you !

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4. Leslie Hewett, Farmington, England, UK

I am looking for the name of the artist that you featured this morning on Saturday, April 19th. I could not catch his name, but he played a stringed instrument so beautifully. I believe he was from Mali and his first name was Manday, or something like that. I believe his last name started with an R. Sometimes I wish you could pronounce the artists name very clearly so if we so chose, we could find their music to purchase.

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5. Brigitte Zellnik, Vienna, Austria

I am happy to tune in every sunday to your program. Very interesting and lively.

Brigitte

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6. GUY WAKELIN, SOMERSHAM CAMBS


DEAR CHARLIE I LISTEN EVERY MONDAY IN MY TRUCK AND EVERY NOW AND THEN YOU PLAY A TRACK THAT BLOWS MY MIND AND I DISCOVER A NEW ARTIST YOU GOT ME IN TO SEA SICK STEVE

NOW I HAVE JUST RECEIVED SA DINGDING I JUST COULD NOT GET THAT SOUND OUT OF MY HEAD THE ALBUM IS FANTASTIC

THANK YOU FOR OPENING MY EYES AND EARS TO SOME INCREDIBLE MUSIC I RATE YOU UP THERE WITH THE LATE JOHN PEEL

GREAT SHOW THANKS

GUY

Re: emails

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:30 pm
by Spartacus
Charlie's friend wrote:Sometimes I wish you could pronounce the artists name very clearly so if we so chose, we could find their music to purchase.


so CG, You're Fired!

:-()

Re: emails

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:36 pm
by Des
Spartacus wrote:
Charlie's friend wrote:Sometimes I wish you could pronounce the artists name very clearly so if we so chose, we could find their music to purchase.


so CG, You're Fired!

:-()


Charlie should tell him to get a hearing aid. He's probably the type of person who writes to Radio 4 complaining about grammar innit.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:10 pm
by mike gavin
Worth pointing out that Son De La Frontera - Cal is available on World Village in the non-Spanish speaking world.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:27 pm
by Ian M
Garth, you make lots of well-argued points against both the term 'world' music and awards, with your passionately held views (and all the better for being so). But it is very unfair to make Charlie the scapegoat for those two things, as if he alone was the standard bearer and figurehead for all that happens under their banner. I doubt very much if Charlie is too bothered by whatever is meant by 'world' music, as long as he can play a wide range of great music from across the world. Which he does. It was a useful and maybe necessary term in the 80's, in order to bring the public's attention to some neglected great music and musicians, but as time goes by I think it becomes less and less necessary, as people become accustomed to listening and liking West African music, Cuban, Vietnamese, whatever. Clearly you favour it as a roots category, but it it is so elastic that it virtually means everything outside of mainstream British and US pop/rock. If that brings some great music to our attention, then I don't think it matters too much what it is called, but it can definitely include pop or modern music from anywhere as far as I'm concerned. Like the others it's only been by listening to Charlie's shows that I have discovered some great music I mightn't have heard elsewhere, and that's all that really matters. Don't know what you mean about Peel, but Charlie is up there in my estimation - you know you won't like everything that is played, but you never know what is around the corner, and you know you will make some great and unexpected discoveries. I like being exposed to stuff I may not even like, because in the context of a sequenced show it can suddenly sound different. I really like the way Charlie juxtaposes stuff like that, I think there's a real art to it.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:10 pm
by Spartacus
Ian, you make a very good point about the way Charlie, sequences the music. I remember one of the great moments on RadioLondon, was when Charlie was ping ponging with Brian Eno, and Brian said that he just put his iPod on shuffle for Charlie's compilation, which Charlie pointedly pointed out, actually ruined the sequence he'd spent hours perfecting and stressing over (not their words, but you get the point). Larf, I did.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:21 pm
by David Flower
Charlie is a master magpie. He can spot a shiny thing amidst a heap of rubble. It saves us all a massive amount of time. For example I recently pulled out Noir Desir's 2001 album for a spin. Sure enough the only outstanding track is the one Charlie picked out, Le Vent Nous Portera which is unlike anything else on a record I don't otherwise like (downside being it cost me £12 to find that out!).
The sequencing on the "In a world of my own" series is a true skill. That the latest 2007 was for me a weaker one is both my taste and not Charlie's fault. Like Keegan himself he can only play what's put in front of him.
Though I didn't realise that the World on 3 on Mondays was so rigorously fenced in
Garth , don't blame the umpire for poor tennis, or poor pingpong. Actually that doesn't work as Charlie plays pingpong. Make that bad cricket

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:24 pm
by Spartacus
Sometime ago we talked about the music youth were into and touched upon an innate racism that I had noted amongst youngsters in predominantly white Stoke-on-Trent.

I remember trying to play world music to my maths classes (whilst they were working, which may make a difference) and didn't get a very positive reaction at all.

I personally think that many of our (white) youngsters are just not open to "foreign rubbish", as they perceive any none white/anglo things as worthy of contempt, unless it's rap or RnB and I don't honestly think they see those artists as black!, more rebel or just sex.

I can't even interest any of my local circle of friends in world music either, even those who have an interest in new music.

Anyway, no worries, when China, India, et al take over the world (economically I hasten to add), the residents of Stoke will be the third world with their cute little ethnic music. (Which is probably spoons bangin on broken pots - a sort of prehistoric skiffle).

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:56 pm
by Dayna
I really love what you're doing Charlie. It's something so unique & special. I wish I had known about this all along like some here have.