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2008 - week 17, from 27 April

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:39 am
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Cheb I Sabbah - Kinna Sohna (feat Master Saleem) - Devotion - USA/Pakistan - Six Degrees - 657036 1142-2

2 - Awadi - Sunugaal - Sunugaal - Senegal - Mr Bongo - MRBCD059

3 - Queen Ifrica - Daddy - Spring Sampler '08 - Jamaica - Greensleeves - GREWCD311

4 - Yael Naïm - Paris - Yael Naïm & David Donatien - Israel/France - Atlantic - 2564696038

5 - Karima Nayt - assez moi de toi - Karima Nayt - Algeria/Egypt/ France - deremusat - promo

6 - Melingo - Julepe en la Tierra - Maldito Tango - Argentina - Mañana - MM425009


Cheb I Sabbah

An Algerian Jewish Berber, Cheb I Sabbah is a DJ and producer based in San Francisco for many years. A series of records for Six Degrees Records, each based on the music of a different Muslim region, is comparable in some ways to the Blue Asia project of the Japanese musician, Makoto Kubota. Devotion finds Cheb I Sabbah in Pakistan, musically if not literally, celebrating the Qawali music made world famous by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. As soon as I heard ‘Kinna Sohna’, I recognised its chorus and traced it to a collaboration between Nusrat and Bally Sagoo that was a stand-out on Gerry Lyseight’s path-breaking compilation, Big Noise. Unusually, the new version is as good as its predecessor, while being very different – more contemplative and haunting.

Didier Awadi

You’d think I would have learned by now, after making so many miscalculations, not to follow up on assumptions without first checking them out. Faced with an album title Sunugaal by Awadi, a rapper from Senegal, I guessed that this might be the Wolof spelling of the country’s name. Wrong again. The word refers to the small, open boats pictured on the album’s cover, which offer a perilous and often calamitous escape from poverty for the unemployed of Senegal, as they carry passengers to the Canary Islands hundreds of miles away. Awadi’s song chides the nation’s politicians for failing to deal with the country’s many problems, but I wonder how much they can do while Europe maintains its system of self-protective agricultural grants that make it impossible for African farmers and companies to compete on fair terms.

Queen Ifrica [ photo: ]

I don’t often play reggae in these World Service shows, but do check out occasional compilations in case something seems appropriate. I had not heard of Queen Ifrica or her song ‘Daddy’, and was unprepared for its chilling message about family child abuse, so clearly and simply expressed. Investigating, I learned that the song has stirred up great controversy in Jamaica, attracting messages of gratitude from people who had suffered what the song is about, as well as protests from others complaining this subject should not be aired in public.

Yael Naïm

The new album by the Paris-based Israeli singer Yael Naïm starts out with four very strong songs before sinking into anonymity. For a while, I didn’t persevere to the finish, returning to the four I liked. But I’ve found that there are two good songs right at the end, so maybe six out of 13 is as good a score as you could hope for. ‘Paris’, sung in Hebrew, is presumably an homage to her city of choice. But there I go again, making assumptions.

Karima Nayt

Karima Nayt is also based in France, having been born in Algeria and brought up in Egypt. I was sent a CD-R by a company promoting her as a live act, and am not sure there is a physical album you can buy. But you can probably download tracks one at a time and can certainly check the samples at to confirm that she is an unclassifiable and adventurous singer.


Listening to the new album Tango Maldito Tango by Argentinean singer Melingo, I waver from fascination to irritation as he plays around with his voice and our expectations. Seeing him live did not resolve my confusion. He’s a very theatrical performer, reminiscent of a 1950s comedian who would try to entertain customers waiting to see the girls at a strip show. But regardless of my inability to come to a final conclusion about him, Melingo sometimes hits the nail on the head, as in ‘Julepe en la Tierra’, which starts with a melody played on accordion that I recognise from a tune by Chango Spasiuk, the Chamamé musician from northern Argentina.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:27 pm
by Charlie
emails from:

1. Abigail Hern, Maidstone, Kent, England

I escape from the Archers by listening to Charlie Gillett on Sunday morning.

I was struck by a track from Queen Ifrica titled 'Daddy' where she adopts the part of a little girl pleading with her father not to continue sexually abusing her.

Charlie Gillett, the artist and those at the record label Greensleeves are all brave people.

If only there were more radio stations that had the freedom the BBC has to confront the taboos that keep victims silent. That's why I am proud to pay my licence fee.


2. Karima Nayt


hope you ll remember me, I got email from my first fan from Japan, he has been listening to my song on bbc in Japan, did you play it?

i want to say thank you for that

i'm in dubai since a month playing live with a very good musicians so if you have friends here tell me i can invite them to see the concerts.

best regards




3. Name: Jane Fordham, Brighton

periodically in times of sleeplessness I hear your show and every time hear something new, magical or intriguing. I make notes of poor phoenetically spelt names in semi darkness. Today I discovered I could look up on this website everything you played. Now 'Colma Nate' whose song I enjoyed last night is available to me because I have discovered she is really 'Karima Nayt'. Thank you for good music.



4.A. Augustus ALLEN

Not such a good set this week, Charlie. Surely you could not have exhausted the world of all that smashing, and often surprising, rhythms! Still, I'm sure it's a one-off


CG reply:

Every week, Gus, I fear that somebody will call my bluff and send such a message. But surprisingly this is almost a first. Well, not quite, because somebody else posted a similar complaint after a recent Radio 3 show


4.B. Augustus ALLEN replies to CG

Personally, I'm excited by the thumping rhythms of Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Senegal but often stunned at how frequently you turn up great gems from such (cultural) backwoods as Morocco, Tunisia and Uzbekistan - Pakistan even. Unfortunately, there are thousands out there besides me with their own tastes and fancies dying to hear your weekly broadcasts, Bless you

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 6:29 am
by judith
I saw Queen Ifrica, at a local festival called Reggae On the River. I thought she was great live. Her voice, which I was taken by, is memorable. Looking up the date of that concert (2005), I discovered her father is Derrick Morgan. I must hereby add, in the interviews I read with Queen Ifrica, no mention was made that the song is about a personal experience, rather that it is to address the issue and that since the song has been released, she has been approached by young girls who have had that experience.

I really like Cheb I Sabbah (he's also performed locally and memorably), love Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. "Kihna Sohna" is very nice. I wonder if I would have recognized it had I not read Charlie's comments.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:26 am
by Charlie
judith wrote: Looking up the date of that concert (2005), I discovered her father is Derrick Morgan. I must hereby add, in the interviews I read with Queen Ifrica, no mention was made that the song is about a personal experience, rather that it is to address the issue and that since the song has been released, she has been approached by young girls who have had that experience.

I had no idea that she is Derrick's daughter. I saw an interview in the Jamaican press in which she was very clear that this was not a personal experience, but it could be awkward to be the father of the person who wrote such a song!