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2006 - July 29 - Live from WOMAD

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:01 am
by Charlie
This was the seventh year that we have been invited to broadcast live from the WOMAD Festival, taking our pick from the artists booked to appear earlier in the day, inviting each of them to perform two or three songs.

After tonight’s show was over, I felt we could hardly have improved on the roster of four artists even if we had been able to choose from all the artists who have played in the UK over the past couple of years.

One of those wizard finger-pickers who can master any instrument that looks even vaguely liked a guitar, Thierry ‘Titi’ Robin has been making records since 1992 that explore ways to connect gypsy, flamenco, middle eastern and north Indian music. On his latest album, Titi’s eighteen-year-old daughter Maria sings on two tracks, and I made a special request that he feature both of them in his group’s set of three songs.

Serene and beautiful in a bright red dress, Maria sang in a high, yearning voice that was equally effective on the slow ‘Rovave, Sa Rovave’ and the rousing ‘Amantito.’ Maria has no vocal role on the third song ‘Medi’, which dates from an earlier period in Titi’s career, but she added hand-claps until Titi gave her the nod to get up and dance in swirling, dervish-like pirouettes. When word gets out about Maria, undoubtedly a star in the making, Titi will finally get the international recognition that has been long overdue (*).

Incidentally, the group lives in a village near Angers in north west France, not far from where Lo’Jo live. Curious that two such interesting groups should be based so close to each other.

(*) This prediction is in no way swayed by the delicious supper that Titi presented to me before the show started, a tasty savoury pancake he had prepared and cooked himself.

Daby Balde is the first Senegalese singer to emerge in the past ten years from Casamance, the southern part of Senegal below Gambia. Although you might guess from his sound that he comes from Senegal, Daby’s melodies and arrangements don’t follow in the steps of any of the well-known singers from the northern part of the country, whose style and fame cast such long shadows over every new singer based in Dakar or St Louis.

On his album Introducing Daby Balde, violin, saxophone and accordion are cleverly blended with traditional African instruments, but economic constraints prevented Daby from bringing the full ensemble. Limited to four musicians, his line-up was two guitars, kora and percussion, but the majestic melodies of ‘Sora’ still shone through.

Jamming four live groups into a two hour show puts huge pressure on the sound technicians, who have to set volume and tone settings for each group’s microphones and instruments. So while I played records, our Dutch crew were pulling out one set of wires and plugging in another, checking each channel of them in turn. It takes about fifteen minutes if the line-up is small and conventional, longer if there are complications.

On my way through the site earlier in the afternoon, I met the journalist Jan Fairley, who kindly shared the story of how Dona Rosa came to be discovered, which Jan had learned during her interview with Dona and her musicians the day before. Born blind as one of eight children in a poor family in Oporto, Dona had been sent to Lisbon to make a living however she could. First she simply begged on the streets, before becoming a seller of lottery tickets. When somebody stole her tickets one day, she could not think what to do, and for the first time in her life began to sing in public. The sound of clinking coins encouraged her to continue, and she came back to do the same thing next day. And the next. I don’t know the time frame, or the exact sequence of events, but somebody heard her who helped her to become a professional stage performer and now she is a recording artist with two albums on the Jaro label of Germany.

Accompanied by accordion, Portuguese guitar and percussion, Dona gently strikes a triangle as she sings in a voice that is timeless and touching. Not a fado singer, she has learned a repertoire of hundreds of traditional Portuguese songs, two of which she sang for us tonight.

And finally, K’naan. Although I ‘ve written extensively about him, and greatly enjoyed the two songs he sang during the Radio Ping Pong session on May 13th, I had not previously experienced him singing live to an audience. Everybody who had seen his trio earlier in the day on the Village Stage was brimming over with enthusiasm, and now I saw why. Accompanied only by U-dogg on Djembe and Kierscey on guitar (which he plays left-handed, upside down!) K’naan sings fast and strong but never macho, critical but never disparaging, truthful but often funny. Even though it started to rain, dead on ten o’clock, the crowd would have happily listened to him all night. But the broadcast has to end at ten, which meant we had room for only four songs, and the stage had to be cleared for Radio 3 straight afterwards.

From the reactions of those who came to say thank you afterwards, I think everybody drifted away happy that they had enjoyed a special show. I enjoyed it too, but my pleasure was always tempered by an awareness that anything could go wrong at any moment, and it is only in retrospect that I have fully appreciated the range and quality of those performances. Not a bad way to finish.

In the early years of these live broadcasts, I was self-producing, which was exhausting and scary. But it has been a very different experience since Jason Phipps came on board as producer three years ago. With each successive year, Jason has taken on more of the pre-production planning, to the point where my role has been simply to name the artists I’d like, give Jason the contact details of their managers or agents, and turn up on the day. It’s like the difference between driving myself to Greece in a banger with a dodgy starter motor and taking Eurostar to Paris. Thanks Jason.

And one final big ‘thank you’.to my trusty team of volunteer helpers, in the studio, at these live broadcasts and on the website: Nikki Akinjinmi, Alan Finkel, Zee Nagre and Philip Ryalls.

The playlist is posted below (by Alan)

Be sure to check Philip Ryalls' great pictures, linked from the News section of the home page, under the photo of Maria in the red dress.

watershed weekend

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:49 am
by will vine
Charlie's Saturday Night Sounds of the World bit the dust last night and tonight it's goodbye to 42 years of Top of The Pops....a watershed weekend surely? Thanks again Charlie.
(Watershed Weekend -- a good alliterative song title..No?)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 12:03 pm
by will vine
So, farewell then,
Charlie Gillett's Saturday Night.
World music and that,
Wasn't it?

Keith's mum says she preferred
Charlie Gillett's Sunday Dinner,
but loved the presenter's catchphrase
(right up to the end),

"Oh! What happened there?........."
followed by a minutes silence.

E.J.THRIBB.

Re: 2006 - July 29 - Live from WOMAD

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:16 am
by Con Murphy
Charlie wrote:Incidentally, the group lives in a village near Angers in north east France, not far from where Lo’Jo live. Curious that two such interesting groups should be based so close to each other.


I think Angers is in Western France in the flat, Chateaux-laden wine region of the Loire, which probably makes the coincidence seem even more unlikely.

I thought Titi Robin's set was one of the highlights of WOMAD, and I'll certainly be checking out his music in more depth as a result.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:23 am
by howard male
Con wrote -

I thought Titi Robin's set was one of the highlights of WOMAD. . .


I've still got the pleasure of listening to the last show to come as I had to miss the live broadcast. But I think I'll leave it a couple of days as I think I've reached saturation point with world music after such a fantastic weekend.

My most memorable moment was being done the front with the teenagers being even more thrilled than they were by K'naan's charming and powerful performance. I can such a great sound be made with just two hand drums and a semi-acoustic guitar? I know they used backing tracks on two or three songs but they sounded the least powerful to me.

Other than that Think of One were superb, even though I'm not a big fan of their latest album I'll now go back to it for a reassessment.

Pascals, a weird 15 piece Japanese orchestra had their moments particularly their ragged take on Eno's 'By This River' which I actually preferred to Eno's version.

Moussu T e Lei Jovents were slightly disappointing, if only because the relied a lot on backing tapes.

Mahotella Queens kicked up a storm - so much energy!

And Etran Finatawa sounded exactly like they do on their album and looked stunning - what more could you want than that?

And the lamb kebab with houmous and cous cous I had from a Mediterranean food stall was absolutely delicious as was the rather too easy to drink organic beer.

So what was everyone else's highlights?

Re: 2006 - July 29 - Live from WOMAD

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:57 am
by David M
Con Murphy wrote:I thought Titi Robin's set was one of the highlights of WOMAD, and I'll certainly be checking out his music in more depth as a result.


I also am a believer in Titi Robin, Con. Having stated elsewhere on this forum that I don't think much of live albums I think his "Payo Michto" is an exellent record. So was it to do with where I was in the Siam tent. That bass guitar was rumbling & occasionally breaking out into feedback ruining the beautiful sounds coming out of the other instruments. Oh for a string bass in the band (or better mixing). But you didn't hear this from where you were? Hoped to give the group another go but got to Charlies Show a bit late.

Only did the Saturday Howard(what a lightweight) but highlights were as you stated K'aan. Especially his Village tent performance & definately without the backing tapes. I don't think he played 'Is this Hardcore?' on Charlies show(I was sent off for drinks & missed some of his performance) but that was great. The other for me was Enrique Morente. Though I missed some of it as it overlapped with Charlies show I thought everything & everyone one involved in the performance was extraordinary.

Re: 2006 - July 29 - Live from WOMAD

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:13 pm
by Charlie
Con Murphy wrote:I think Angers is in Western France in the flat, Chateaux-laden wine region of the Loire, which probably makes the coincidence seem even more unlikely.

Thanks Con, for pointing out my mistake, which I have corrected in the text. I am still buzzing with the experience of Titi's group, and have been listening to some of his records since I got back.

They're all a bit uneven, including the Greatest Hits double CD, which starts with his studio version of La Petite Mer. I far prefer the live version on the album Payo Michto, which I included on my second world compilation, 'And This is the World Calling' (1998).

'Pundela' on his debut album Gitanes is marvellous. I think the singer was his wife, which would make her the mother of his daughter Maria, the singer in the red dress who knocked us all dead on Saturday. Does anybody know for sure?

Re: 2006 - July 29 - Live from WOMAD

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:20 pm
by Con Murphy
David M wrote:That bass guitar was rumbling & occasionally breaking out into feedback ruining the beautiful sounds coming out of the other instruments. Oh for a string bass in the band (or better mixing). But you didn't hear this from where you were?


I did hear it, and I also noticed that Titi wasn't the only artist having sound problems in the Siam. But even so, the quality still got through most of the time during his set, from where I was standing anyway.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:27 pm
by Chris Walsh
Yeah - the sound guy at the Siam tent was a total mupett in my opinion, he seemed to mess up most things... and when he gave way to some of the group's own soundmen, he didn't seem to give any help at all when things began to unravel - as with Titi's set...... shame. Also the sound guy during Charlie's broadcast kept losing Charlie's mic feed, so the audience didn't catch much of what he was saying, only those near enough the front to hear the onstage monitors were able to listen.... another shame.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:37 pm
by Alan
Live from Womad 2006

Seq Artist: Song Title, Album (Country) Label Cat no

First Hour:
1 Titi Robin: Rovave, Sa Rovave - Live from Womad (France)
2 Titi Robin: Amantito - Live from Womad (France)
3 Titi Robin: Mehdi - Live from Womad (France)
4 Kevin Johansen + The Nada: La Falla de San Andres, World 2006 (Argentina/USA) Korova KODE1010
5 Ali Farka Toure: Penda Yoro, Savane (Mali) World Circuit WCD075
6 Dorothy Masuka: Zoo Lake, London is the Place for Me 4 (South Africa) Honest Jons HJRCDDJ25
7 Mahmoud Ahmed: Erè Mèla Mèla, Ethiopiques 7: Erè Mèla Mèla (Ethiopia) Buda 82980-2
8 Daby Balde: Mamadiyel - Live from Womad (Senegal)
9 Daby Balde: Sora - Live from Womad (Senegal)

Second Hour:
10 Little Richard: Rip It Up, 22 Classic Cuts (USA) Ace CDCH 195
11 Fanfare Ciocarlia: Caravan, World 2006 (Romania) Korova KODE1010
12 Dona Rosa: Green Corn - Live from Womad (Portugal)
13 Dona Rosa: Amor em Viana (Romance in Viana) - Live from Womad (Portugal)
14 David Lowe's Dreamcatcher: Sadhu, featuring Benjamin Zephaniah, What …is in Between (UK) Oval OVLCD 601
15 Blue Asia: Dao Ruang Dao Roi, Hotel Bangkok (Japan/Malaysia/Thailand) King KICP 1078
16 AB Crentsil: I Go Pay You Tomorrow, Menba Bio (Ghana) Nakasi Records CDNAK0771
17 K'naan: In the Beginning - Live from Womad (Somalia/Canada)
18 K'naan: The African Way - Live from Womad (Somalia/Canada)
19 K'naan: Smile - Live from Womad (Somalia/Canada)
20 K'naan: Be Free - Live from Womad (Somalia/Canada)

------------------------------------------
Played to the WOMAD crowd during the news on BBC London:
10 Orlando Cachaito Lopez: Tumbanga, Cachaito (Cuba) World Circuit WCD061

Alan

Guardian blog about the show

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:19 pm
by JLW
there’s a blog about Charlie’s show on the Guardian’s Culture Vulture site . . . plus an earlier (longer) draft on UP. JLW

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:53 pm
by howard male
David M wrote -

Only did the Saturday Howard(what a lightweight). . .


Far from it, David. I trained, then tubed, then trained, and then walked - there and back from Streatham all three days. A journey which varied between 120 mins and 150 mins depending on connections and number of stops on the Reading train. I also squeezed in a compulsory Gotan Project gig at Shepherd's Bush on the Saturday night - actually having to run to get there in time for their first number. I couldn't believe how exhausted I was on Monday - must be getting old. And must buy a tent for next year.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:06 pm
by David M
Sorry Howard, it must be my terrible punctuation...or I'm misunderstanding your post above. I(underlined) only did Saturday so could only give you my highlights on that basis. You I'm aware from your reviews did the whole thing & I had already speculated from the times of your postings that you mustn't have camped. I did for a moment wonder whether you had lodged at the Marriot(Holiday Inn?) next door. Then I would have been jealous. What rather soured the camping for me was when a few years back people-ourselves included- started getting their tents turned over. The Radio 3 site has this photo for this WOMAD with it's rather telling caption. http://www.bbc.co.uk/berkshire/content/ ... ry.shtml?4
This wouldn't have happened way back when(cue long winded verbage about the good old days)

WOMAD show

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:21 pm
by Kate Hands
Titi Robin was definitely a highlight of Charlie’s WOMAD broadcast for me, as well as Dabe Balde, though I thought it was a great shame Daby didn’t have a violinist on the session ;-) I wasn’t at WOMAD on Saturday night so I was able to have a good Boo hoo in the comfort of my own kitchen at the thought of it being Charlie’s last ever Saturday Night show. From the days when I used to help on the phones and put the advert carts into the slots to more recent years doing sessions on the show with my band, I have always had the deepest respect and admiration for Charlie and the place that he has carved out on radio for “music from the corners of pop musicâ€

Now on Mondomix

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:05 am
by Charlie
As announced in the news section on the home page, this show is now archived at Mondomix.