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The utterly unique and incomparable..

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:15 pm
by Charlie
Whether we are simply listeners or people involved in bringing musicians to public attention, the ultimate quest remains the same: to discover and champion musicians, writers and/or singers whose ability is so remarkable, it feels as if everything they do is inherently special.

Howe rare they are, these people who truly deserve the epithet, 'artist'

Miriam Makeba was clearly one of the special few

Among our contemporaries still alive, the shortlist would include Mariza, Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, Toumani Diabate, Oliver Mtukudzi, Arto Tuncboyaciyan ..and who else?

Re: The utterly unique and incomparable..

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:47 pm
by Papa M
Charlie wrote:..and who else?


From Zaire the two greatest band-leaders in the history of African music - Tabu Ley Rochereau and Luambo Makiadi Franco.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:02 pm
by NormanD
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

edit: well, he's off this list through changed goalposts, but he's still alive in many people's hearts.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:04 pm
by Rod B.
Enrique Morente

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:27 pm
by Adam Blake
Of those left alive? Fairuz, for sure. BB King, undoubtedly. Ummm... Can't think of anyone else on that level who's still with us.

Re: The utterly unique and incomparable..

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:41 pm
by Charlie
Papa M wrote:
Charlie wrote:..and who else?


From Zaire the two greatest band-leaders in the history of African music - Tabu Ley Rochereau and Luambo Makiadi Franco.

I should have made clear, 'among our living contemporaries', so Tabu Ley would count but not Franco in this context.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:04 pm
by Jonathan E.
There is, of course, a great difference between being widely recognized as an artist and actually being an artist. Popularity and media acclaim often seem to me to add a certain cloudiness to the atmosphere. I wouldn't disagree (but might quibble) with any of the names mentioned above, not the ones I recognized anyway, but I think there's a tremendous number of lesser known, but great, artists still with us. Off the top of my head, I'll suggest Taj Mahal and Thierry 'Titi' Robin — and Pharoah Sanders.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:58 pm
by David Flower
Paco de Lucia
Joe Zawinul (damn, just gone)
John Martyn
Joni Mitchell
Bob Dylan
Donal Lunny
Paul McCartney (bring it on)
Rafael Riqueni

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:59 pm
by Nigel w
Van Morrison.

From Bob Lefsetz's piece about him and his Astral Weeks concert last weekend, posted by Norman elsewhere:

''What struck me most was the master at work. Fronting a 13 piece band like it was his... It seemed effortless. Like he was born to do this.

And maybe he was. To think this used to be a reasonable profession. To be a musician. Following your muse around the world. Not worried so much about your chart position or your audience as getting it right in your own mind. Figuring people would follow you if you got close to the flame, if you nailed it for yourself.

He’s past sixty. He’s not skinny enough to be on a sitcom. But with his hat and sunglasses, his fine clothing, Van Morrison was a star. You didn’t sit in the audience thinking YOU could do this. You were watching a virtuoso at work."


Although he uses the word 'musician' rather than 'artist', it seems to me that's probably about as good a description as there could be of what Charlie was getting at in his original post...

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:23 pm
by Papa M
David Flower wrote:John Martyn


I think the epithet was simply "artist" not "piss artist"?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:30 pm
by David Flower
i hesitated over Martyn, but decided that he has been an immensely influential figure, and I would say is a true artist to the core. We can't take artificial stimulants out of the equation.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:39 pm
by judith
Allen Toussaint
Yo-Yo Ma
Lee "Scratch" Perry
Aretha Franklin
Usted Amjad Ali Khan
Ravi Shankar
Mavis Staples
Lata Mangeshkar

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:45 pm
by Papa M
David Flower wrote:i hesitated over Martyn, but decided that he has been an immensely influential figure.....


In that case I would instantly add about a thousand other names.

I think this game might turn into a list of peoples' favourites.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:57 pm
by Nigel w
Surprised Garth hasn't been on here suggesting those god-like geniuses AC/DC.

Perhaps he's busy and hasn't caught up with the thread yet...

Among contemporary 'pop' names, dare I say Damon Albarn and, even more contentiously, Amy Winehouse?

And talking of Damon is anyone going to the first night/press night of Monkey at the O2 tomorrow?

The extraordinary thing is that I think Monkey is going to end up making him more famous than Blur and Gorillaz combined.I saw it described in The Guardian at the weekend as the new Cirque du Soleil - it's going to end up running on five continents simultaneously with different casts.

Who would have thought it? Well me, actually. When I first met him ten years ago I wrote a piece saying that he had the potential to become 'the David Bowie of his generation'. I think he has now not only achieved but surpassed that, and if I had a pound for every time my 'Bowie of his generation' phrase has been repeated since, I would be almost as rich as Damon himself!

For me, he meets the over-riding requirement of the true 'artist' - namely, that he believes the ultimate artistic sin is to repeat yourself. He's told me on more than one occasion that the day he thinks he has repeated himself is the day he will retire...

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:09 pm
by c hristian
"to discover and champion musicians, writers and/or singers whose ability is so remarkable, it feels as if everything they do is inherently special."


can we define, "do" and "ability" and for that matter "special" ?