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2008 - week 21, from Sunday May 25

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 12:11 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Stepanida Borisova - Khappytyan! - Vocal Evocations of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia (1) - Russia (Siberia) - SOAS - SOAS 1517

2 - Shukar Collective - Oh, Girl… - Rromatek - Romania - Eastblok - EDM 009

3 - Dele Ojo & His Star Brothers Band - Oja Omoba - Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds and Nigerian Blues, 197-76 - Nigeria - Sound Way - SNDWCD009

4 - Quinteto Violado - Forró de Mané Vito - The New Brazilian Music: Pernambuco - Brazil - Trama - 1059-20

5 - Natacha Atlas - La Shou El Haki - Ana Hina - UK - World Village - 450005

6 - Le Trio Joubran - Laytana - Majâz - France - Randana - RAND 002

7 - Cheb I Sabbah - Morey Pya Bassey (feat Shubha Mudgal) - Devotion - USA/Pakistan - Six Degrees - 657036 1142-2


For a live broadcast on Radio London from the X-Bloc Reunion event at the Barbican on 24 May 2003 (five years ago to the very day), I arranged for four musical performers, interspersed with a game of radio ping pong with the Siberian DJ, Misha Maltsev. Now living in London, where he was a mature student at SOAS, Misha played a wonderful variety of records and, as a surprise bonus, invited the Siberian shaman singer Stepanida to come onstage and sing live. The word ‘sing’ does not convey the sounds she made, which seemed to have come from deep inside the earth, travelling up through her body and into the foyer. The microphone was needed for the radio listeners, but not for the dumbstruck audience at the Barbican.

Image Image
X-Bloc Reunion, The Barbican, May 2003
photographs by Philip Ryalls

During the ensuing five years, Misha not only completed his thesis but has brought Stepanida over to perform and record in London, both solo and in the company of British avant garde jazz musicians. I prefer her unaccompanied, and we start this programme with an acapella track from her album produced by Misha, Vocal Evocations of Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia (1).

Shukar Collective

Shukar Collective is a Romanian collaboration of street shouters and studio experimentalists whose second album, Rromatek, is mostly disappointing after the promise showed by their debut. But the opening track felt like the perfect follow-up to Stepanida.

Dele Ojo & His Star Brothers Band
[photo from
an incredible archive of African & Caribbean albums and sleeves]

I travel to the radio studio with a cab firm which employs several Nigerian drivers. On the journey to record this programme, I invited driver Sola to listen to the Soundway label’s 2xCD collection Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds and Nigerian Blues, 1970-76. I wondered which of the tunes were well-known, and which might be obscure discoveries by compiler Miles Cleret. Deadpan, Sola sampled CD1, allowing some tracks to play for minutes but skipping others within seconds of hearing them begin. The one that he allowed to play to the finish was 'Oja Omoba' by Dele Ojo & His Star Brothers Band. He remembered it very well. On arriving at our destination, he wanted me to leave the album, sure that I could easily get another. Maybe I could, but I wanted to include the song he liked in this show.

Quinteto Violado

Whenever I research programmes on particular themes, I always collect more candidates than can fit into the allotted time, and try to find slots in later shows for those that missed out. A contender for the recent show focussing on the Amazon countries, ‘Forró de Mané Vito’ by Quinteto Violado was an instant favourite on the 2005 compilation Pernambuco, but I’ve only just noticed that the song was first made famous by the legendary Forro musician from north east Brazil, Luiz Gonzago.

Image Image

For the first time that I can recall, the same artist is featured on the front cover of the current issues of both fRoots and Songlines. In both photographs, the face of Natacha Atlas looks as if it has been redesigned. Plastic surgery is the norm for Middle East pop stars like Nancy Ajram, and evidently Natacha is following suit. Regardless of her looks, Natacha’s latest album may be her best yet, recorded with acoustic instruments that provide the air and space for her voice to soar and breathe.

Le Trio Joubran

At last, Le Trio Joubran’s ‘Laytana’ is allowed to play to the finish, demonstrating the satisfying arrangement that the Palestinian oud-players spent so many months perfecting.

Shubha Mudgal

Cheb-i-Sabbah is the public name adopted by Haim Sérge El Baaz, a Jew of Berber origin who was born in Constantine, Algeria, lived many years in Paris and is now based in San Francisco. Having become a recording artist late in his life, he is working his way around the Muslim world, making an album in a different style each time. Devotion finds him in Pakistan, musically and spiritually if not physically, featuring a different singer on each qawaali song. Shubha Mudgal is the vocalist on ‘Morey Pya Bassey’

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 3:46 am
by uiwangmike
The song by Quinteto Violado struck a chord, which after a while I tracked down to this piece of 60s social commentary by Alberto Janes.


PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 3:55 pm
by Charlie
email from:

1. Suzana Starikow, Berlin

I love this programme. It has been for some time now a constant part of my weekends, because there are always new albums from different parts of the world. You learn a lot about different cultures - which isn't the case in the unified music programmes nowadays - and this in a very amusing way.

Thank you very much!