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2008 - week 51, from 21 December - Albums of the Year

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:25 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Buika - no habra nadie en el mundo - niña el fuego - Spain - Atlantic - 256 469 5477

2 - Rokia Traore - Zen - Tchamantché - Mali - Nonesuch - 465 532-2

3 - Issa Bagayogo - Poye - Mali Koura - Mali - Six Degrees - 657036 1151 2

4 - Chiwoniso - Matsotsi - Rebel Woman - Zimbabwe - Cumbancha - CMB-CD8

5 - Umalali - Merua - Garifuna Women's Project 2 Belize Cumbancha CMB-CD-6

6 - Driss El Maloumi, Ballake Sissoko, Rajery - Toufoula - 3MA - Morocco, Mali, Madagascar - Contre Jour - CJ020

7 - Sjahin During - Otra Mundo [feat Arto Tuncboyaciyan] - Afro Anatolian Tales - Netherlands/ Turkey/ Armenia - Rein Music - RMP 8057


This programme was planned and recorded ahead of the announcement of albums of the year by fRoots Magazine (polled from over 300 critics, musicians and other professionals) and Songlines (nominated by the editor), but there are several overlaps, with the albums by Rokia Traore, Issa Bagayogo and Umalali also appearing in the fRoots list, and Buika’s Niña el Fuego in the Songlines list.


One of the surprises of the year was the line-up of Buika’s live presentation at the QEH in November, with just grand piano and a kit drummer for accompaniment. Impressively, the tiny Buika demonstrated her versatility by moving far from the guitar led arrangements of her album, devised by producer Javier Limón. I can’t recall such a difference between a singer’s live sound from that of her recent record.

Rokia Traoré

I missed Rokia Traoré’s gig at the Jazz Café the previous night, but all the reports were unanimous – Rokia not only managed to match the delicacy of her recent album but revealed a new, energetic onstage persona the captivated the audience. Hopefully she will come back soon to play a more compatible venue.

Issa Bagayogo

There are rumours that Issa Bagayogo may come to play live in the UK in 2009. Until now, his career has suffered from inconsistent presentation, with isolated albums unsupported by regular live appearances. But he did impress at WOMAD a few years ago (I would have guessed 2005, but on checking the search engine above can see that it was as far back as 2002). Issa plays the kamal ngoni, which despite its similar name is not the same instrument as the ngoni played by Bassekou Kouyate.


Chiwoniso’s album has not met with much critical approval in the UK, but I believe she will emerge as the first African singer to challenge the West African hegemony in current world music circles. Among her many virtues, Chiwo sings very well in English too and is an effervescent interview companion.


When Umalali’s album came out early in the year, it instantly felt like to be a landmark release. So it has proved, despite the disappointment of no reinforcing live appearance by the group of Garifuna women at any of the UK’s summer festivals. The greatest surprise was the reported intransigence of WOMAD’s artistic director Thomas Brooman, who soon afterwards moved on from that position. By the time a new team was in place at WOMAD, which might have adopted a friendlier line toward Umalali, the possible dates at the end of July had been filled with bookings elsewhere in Europe. Even so, the album has remained in the memory and on playlists, and now takes its rightful place in our top seven. The combination of accessible rhythm tracks and bitter-edged vocals works equally well on every track.

Driss El Maloumi, Ballaké Sissoko, Rajery

In a year when Toumani Diabaté’s album The Mandé Variations received more praise than is usually granted to instrumentals, I was even more impressed by the encounter between three musicians from countries whose names (in French) start with te letter ‘Ma’ – hence the album title, 3MA. A cousin of Toumani Diabaté, Ballaké Sissoko is another internationally-acclaimed virtuoso kora player, who manages to find space in the messh of strings played by Rjaery from Madagascar and (a new name to me) Driss El Maloumi from Morocco (Maroc). The album ebbs and flows beautifully, and might have been more widely acclaimed if the trio had played live in the UK (as they did in Ireland).

Sjahin During; Arto Tuncboyaciyan

Sjahin During (pronounced Sha-heen Doo-ring) is hardly a household name even among the connoisseurs of world music, but Sjahin, a Turkish percussionist based in The Netherlands, did involve some better known names on his album Afro Anatolian Tales, including Arto Tuncboyaciyan, whose distinctive voice attracted many comments from listeners when I played the song earlier in the year.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:36 pm
by Alan
listen again for 7 days via this link

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:28 pm
by Charlie
Thanks Alan

emails that have come in so far for this show, from:

1. Martin Ashford, Hampton Hill, London

Hi Charlie,

I've greatly enjoyed listening to your show - which I catch via 'listen again' on the iplayer or on your web site (today's edition).

The two artists I've most enjoyed hearing played are Chinowiso and Buika - both new to me.

Can you recommend another world musician from South America (I know Andy Palacino a little bit) - I'd like to introduce my wife to some new music from that part of the world.

Best wishes



CG reply: I wonder if you mean' Central America' since South America is such a huge area and Andy Palacio was very specifically from Belize in South America. The Umalali album is from the same producer (Ivan Duran) and definitely recommended if you liked Andy; but there's nothing else i can think of to recommend that is similar to them


2. Julie, Beaverton Oregon USA

WOW! What a great show. I am now happy that I was awake during the middle of the night. Thank you for exposing me to great world music.


3. Randy Hatch, Eliot, ME

Love your show. I will be purchasing Buika's album. Thanks for highlighting it. A loyal USA fan.


4. Pauline Simons, Eski Foça,nr. Izmir,Turkey

Thanks Charlie - a real treat this week - The Garifuna Women's Project and 3MA were my favourites - but Buika was as good as ever too!

Happy Christmas from Turkey!

Looking forward to your shows in 2009.


5. Karl Thorpe Morgan, Manchester UK

Hi there, I was listening in amazement last night (Early Monday 22nd Dec 2008 Morning) when you played a track that you described later as having over 50 strings being played it it...fantastic but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called, it was what seemed like hundreds of Guitars?! or lets just say stringed instruments being plucked in an intricate tune.

Have you any idea what it was called and where I can buy it?

Kind regards and Merry Christmas

Karl Thorpe Morgan


6. charlie coulson, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Happy Christmas Charlie. Another great show this week, really enjoyed 3MA tracks and have added the album to my collection. Never heard the oud played so beautifully before. kind rgds Charlie C

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:37 pm
by Kirin
Charlie wrote:The Umalali album is from the same producer (Ivan Duran) and definitely recommended if you liked Andy; but there's nothing else i can think of to recommend that is similar to them

What about the From Bakabush anniversary compilation Stonetree put out a few years ago? If he likes Umalali and Palacio he might like some of the others on there too. Maybe their Paranda album as well?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:16 am
by Charlie
Kirin wrote:What about the From Bakabush anniversary compilation Stonetree put out a few years ago? If he likes Umalali and Palacio he might like some of the others on there too. Maybe their Paranda album as well?

The Paranda album was very good, you are right. I had tricked myself into forgetting about it, trying to think of something current. Is Paranda still in catalogue - I should dig it out and play something, if it is.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:48 am
by Charlie
email from

1. Liz Travers, Nelson - New Zealand

Hi Charlie, Merry Xmas and happy New Year. Thank you for having your show as I enjoy listening to your selection of music - even though you are repeating some songs (but they are the good ones!). Could you possibly play some more tracks from this weeks show from 3MA and Otra Mundo please. Cheers to you all the way from New Zealand.


2. Paul Kidd, Barcelona

Dear Charlie,

Great tracks this week, really beautiful/inspirational music. I once shared a taxi ride with Concha Buika in Madrid. Great woman, I saw her perform a jazz set in Cafe Berlin , Madrid. Check out any jazz tracks you can find from her. Amazing.

Have a great christmas and looking forward to listening to the programme in 2009!
Hasta Luego,