Songlines Magazine (October 2016, #121)

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The Best Music from Around the World


Ana Moura


Taking fado into new territory




One of the great charismatic voices of South India


South Korea, Guinea, Morocco, Nepal, Cape Verde and more

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Editor-in-chief Simon Broughton Publisher Paul Geoghegan Editor Jo Frost Deputy Editor Alexandra Petropoulos Art Director Calvin McKenzie Content & Marketing Executive, News Editor Edward Craggs Advertisement Manager James Anderson-Hanney Online Content Editor James McCarthy Reviews Editor Matthew Milton Listings Editor Tatiana Rucinska World Cinema Editor John Atkinson Cover image Frederico Martins Contributing Editors Jane Cornwell, Mark Ellingham & Nigel Williamson Assisted in this issue by Emma Baker Intern Jamie Kyei Manteaw Subscriptions Director Sally Boettcher Editorial Director Martin Cullingford Publishing Director Paul Geoghegan CEO Ben Allen Chairman Mark Allen SUBSCRIPTIONS

UK: 0800 137 201 Overseas: +44 (0)1722 716997 ADVERTISING

Musical participation


here’s something about watching an orchestra in full swing that never fails to enthral me. From the emotion of seeing the 50-plus Grit Orchestra performing Martyn Bennett’s final work at WOMAD or marvelling at the fervour of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at the Proms. I had a similar feeling watching the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians with the Africa Express collective, filmed at the Royal Festival Hall and screened on YouTube ( Sometimes it’s simply admiration at the musical virtuosity on display or the nostalgia of being part of a ‘community’ (after playing second violin in my local youth orchestra, I decided to become an avid appreciator rather than a very mediocre practitioner of music). Festivals have become savvy at catering for people’s desire to take an active part by programming a full menu of workshops. So whether you fancy singing with a Sardinian choir at WOMAD ( or some bata drumming at SOAS summer school (p68), you’re guaranteed to find something to fit the bill. If it’s spirituality you’re after, then the Barbican’s Transcender festival promises ‘ecstatic, devotional and psychedelic music from across the globe.’ I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the Meshk Ensemble (p26). And don’t forget there’s also our Award winners’ concert on October 3 featuring Mariza, Debashish Bhattacharya, Sam Lee & Friends and Songhoy Blues (see p96 for details). Alternatively, for a more immediate fix of cracking music – with choices by Quincy Jones, no less – pop our latest, exclusive covermount CD in your machine and enjoy!

“I decided to become an avid appreciator rather than a very mediocre practitioner of music”

Jo Frost, editor


+44 (0)20 7501 6683

Songlines is published by MA Music Leisure & Travel Ltd St Jude’s Church, Dulwich Rd, London, SE24 0PB, UK +44 (0)20 7738 5454 © MA Music Leisure & Travel Ltd, 2016. All rights reserved. No part of the Songlines may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the Publishing Director. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the editor or Songlines Advertisements in the journal do not imply endorsement of the products or services advertised.

ISSN 1464-8113. Printed by: Pensord Press Ltd, Blackwood, NP12 2A Record trade distribution WWMD Ltd 0121 788 3112 Newstrade distribution COMAG 01895 433600

Gonçalo Frota Gonçalo is a Lisbon-based music journalist, who writes for Público. He is inspired by Billy Bragg’s idea that music should work as a trigger for change in our collective lives. This issue he speaks to Ana Moura (p20).

Maria Bakkalapulo Maria has been documenting events around the globe, including stories from Indonesia, China and the US. She recently directed a film about street punks in north Sumatra. Read her report from Little Havana (p73).

Martin Stokes Martin teaches ethnomusicology at King’s College London, with published books including The Republic of Love. This issue he examines one of the key moments in Arabic music, the 1932 Cairo Conference (p30).

Songlines was launched in 1999 and is the definitive magazine for world music – music that has its roots in all parts of the globe, from Mali to Mexico, India to Iraq. Whether this music is defined as traditional, contemporary, folk or fusion, Songlines is the only magazine to truly represent and embrace it. However, Songlines is not just about music, but about how the music fits into the landscape; it’s about politics, history and identity. Delivered in both print and digital formats, Songlines, through its extensive articles and reviews, is your essential and independent guide to a world of music and culture, whether you are starting on your journey of discovery or are already a seasoned fan.

@SonglinesMag ISSUE 121

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81 Dispatch from Guinea

Grupo Fantasma at Gentse Feesten


Recording India’s Siddi musicians




06 09 14


Ana Moura


Meshk Ensemble

44 46 52 59 61 62 66 68

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Top of the World CD What’s New Introducing... Bitori & Sarathy Korwar Simon Says... Letters Songlines Music Travel Spotlight: K-Music Festival


32 36

The Portuguese fado star finds her own stride The history of Turkey’s whirling dervishes

Cairo Congress of Arab Music, 1932 Rediscovering the recorded treasures

70 73 74 76 81

Aruna Sairam

83 85

Bringing 1930s Jewish music back to life South Indian Karnatic singer returns to London

Musician and historian Timuçin Çevikoğlu, p26

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Africa Americas Europe Middle East Asia Fusion World Cinema Live Reviews

Semer Ensemble

“This music was inspired by Rumi but it belongs to the whole of humanity. Turkey has moved very far from Rumi, but it is our duty to bring this culture back” W W W . S O N G L I N E S . C O. U K


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My World: Quincy Jones Postcard from Miami Beginner’s Guide: Master Musicians of Jajouka Festival Pass Jazzmandu Festival Dispatch from Guinea Quickfire My Instrument: Kathryn Tickell Gig Guide Overseas Festivals Soapbox Essential Ten: Sufi albums

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01/08/2016 10:56


01 Tezeta Band ‘The Viper’ 02 Vieux Kanté ‘Kono’ 03 Hannah James ‘Treasures’ 04 Anthony Joseph ‘Neckbone’ 05 Ten Strings and a Goat Skin ‘Auprès du Poêle’ 06 FLUX ‘Horizon’ 07 Sarathy Korwar ‘Bhajan’ 08 SUFI – Jan Ibro Khelil ‘Lorke-lorke’ 09 Goitse ‘First Class Bananas’ 10 Ustad Rahim Khushnawaz ‘Dar Daman-e Sahra Am’

Free tracks








CD ISSUE 121 121 PLUS 5 tracks chosen by Quincy Jones

On your free CD – the editor’s selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in this issue

11 Richard Bona ‘Souwedi Na Wengue’ 12 Ila Paliwal ‘Holi’ 13 Gurrumul ‘Wiyathul’ 14 Ravi Shankar & Chatur Lal ‘Raga Hamir’ 15 Angélique Kidjo ‘Afrika’

Featuring Angélique Kidjo, Sarathy Korwar, FLUX, Anthony Joseph, Gurrumul, Vieux Kanté, Richard Bona, Goitse, Ravi Shankar and more...

Exclusively with the Oct 2016 issue of Songlines. STWCD97. This compilation & © 2016 MA Music, Leisure & Travel Ltd

STWCD97 This compilation & © 2016 MA Music, Leisure & Travel Ltd, Executive producer Paul Geoghegan. Compiled and sequenced by Jo Frost & Alexandra Petropoulos. Design by Calvin McKenzie. Mastering by Good Imprint. CD pressing by Software Logistics Ltd. The producers of this CD have paid the composers and publishers for the use of their music.

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Auprès du Poêle (Ten Strings and a Goat Skin) & © 2016 Ten Strings and a Goat Skin. Courtesy of Ten Strings and a Goat Skin

Afghan Rubab with Songbirds (Felmay) & © 2016 Felmay. Courtesy of Felmay

05 Ten Strings and a Goat Skin ‘Auprès du Poêle’ (3:22)

10 Ustad Rahim Khushnawaz ‘Dar Daman-e Sahra Am’ (2:50)

Caribbean Roots (Strut) & © 2016 Heavenly Sweetness. Courtesy of Strut

Inspired by Change (Goitse) & © 2016 Goitse. Courtesy of Goitse

Don’t miss next issue: Singersongwriter Tom Robinson’s playlist

Spirit Rising (Wrasse Records) & © 2012 WGBH Educational Foundations, licenced to Wrasse Records. Courtesy of Wrasse Records

15 Angélique Kidjo ‘Afrika’ (4:23)

The Best of Pandit Ravi Shankar Ever Vol 1 (Saregama) 2013 & © 2001 Saregama. Courtesy of Saregama

14 Ravi Shankar & Chatur Lal ‘Raga Hamir’ (3:10)

TOP OF THE WORLD PLAYLIST TRACKS Navaratna (Padmasheel Productions) & © 2015 Padmasheel Productions. Courtesy of Padmasheel Productions

07 Sarathy Korwar ‘Bhajan (4:46)

02 Vieux Kanté ‘Kono’ (6:11)

13 Gurrumul ‘Wiyathul’ (5:57)

Shadowlines (Prisms) 2016 Prisms & © 2016 FLUX/Prisms. Courtesy of Prisms

Beyond Addis Vol 2 (Trikont) & © 2016 Trikont. Courtesy of Trikont

06 FLUX ‘Horizon’ (3:38)

01 Tezeta Band ‘The Viper’ (4:12)

12 Ila Paliwal ‘Holi’ (5:56)

Scenes From My Life (Columbia Jazz) & © 1999 Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Courtesy of Sony

11 Richard Bona ‘Souwedi Na Wengue’ (3:39) QUINCY JONES’ PLAYLIST


10 tracks from this issue’s best new albums + 5 bonus tracks exclusively with the October 2016 issue of Songlines

From ShadowLines on Prisms

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Gurrumul (Skinnyfish) & © 2008 Skinnyfish Music Pty Ltd. Courtesy of Skinnyfish

Lament for Syria (Etnisk Musikklubb) & © 2016 Etnisk Musikklubb. Courtesy of Etnisk Musikklubb

Day to Day (Ninja Tune) & © 2016 Ninja Tune & Steve Reid Foundation. Courtesy of Ninja Tune


08 SUFI – Jan Ibro Khelil ‘Lorke-lorke’ (3:28)

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06 FLUX ‘Horizon’

This compilation proves that Addis is still

This finely-wrought and promising

swinging with the sounds of Ethio-jazz,

debut from Shammi Pithia’s new quartet

soul and funk. Here US-based Tezeta

is a musically accomplished marriage of

Band offer up some funky organ lines

Indian and Western classical music, folk

and solid grooves. See p45

and electronica. See p62

02 Vieux Kanté ‘Kono’

07 Sarathy Korwar

The late Vieux Kanté was an innovator of

Percussionist Sarathy Korwar dives into the

the kamalengoni – the six-string hunter’s

music of the East African descended Siddi

harp – and this previously unreleased

community of India, covering the middle

album offers an invaluable glimpse at a

ground between ethnographic recordings

major talent of Malian music. See p44

and Western jazz composition. See p64

03 Hannah James ‘Treasures’

08 SUFI – Jan Ibro Khelil

Fusing traditions of song and dance with

Having fled from his native Syria in 2010

her own original innovations, Hannah

for political asylum in Norway, Jan Ibro

James’ first solo work presents a stunning

Khelil performs both tradtional and

showcase of layered voice, accordion and

contemporary Kurdish songs on this

foot percussion. See p54

engaging and varied album. See p59

04 Anthony Joseph ‘Neckbone’

09 Goitse

Poet and spoken word performer Anthony

The young Limerick quintet show

Joseph spins stories that deal with issues

off their tightly-knit virtuosity and

of Caribbean history, race, identity and

enormous gusto for a mature album,

exile, all the while rediscovering his

which includes this delightfully tongue-

Trinidadian musical flair. See p47

in-cheek track. See p53

05 Ten Strings And A Goat Skin ‘Auprès du Poêle’

10 Ustad Rahim Khushnawaz

The second album from the Prince Edward

One of the great Afghan rubab players,

Island trio offers precise arrangements

the late Rahim Khushnawaz performed

that take in the Celtic and Francophone

an intimate set of songs, with songbirds

elements of their home region. See p49

audible in the background. See p61

From The Young Man’s Harp on Sterns Music

From Jigdoll on RootBeat Records

From Caribbean Roots on Strut

From Auprès du Poêle on Ten Strings And A Goat Skin

06 S O N G L I N E S

The Young Man’s Harp (Sterns Music) 2016 Sterns Africa & © 2016 Sterns Music. Courtesy of Sterns Music



Jigdoll (Rootbeat Records) & © 2016 Rootbeat Records Ltd. Courtesy of Rootbeat Records



03 Hannah James ‘Treasures’ (5:17)



From Beyond Addis Vol 2 on Trikont

09 Goitse ‘First Class Bananas’ (3:42)



01 Tezeta Band ‘The Viper’

04 Anthony Joseph ‘Neckbone’ (4:16)




From Day to Day on Ninja Tune


From Lament for Syria on Etnisk Musikklubb

‘First Class Bananas’ From Inspired by Change on Goitse

‘Dar Daman-e Sahra Am’ From Afghan Rubab with Songbirds on Felmay

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11 Richard Bona ‘Souwedi Na Wengue’ From Scenes from My Life on Columbia Jazz “I was introduced to Richard by one of my best friends, Rod Temperton. He told me I had to listen to Richard and took me to see him. A year later, I asked Richard to perform at my concert at Montreux.”

12 Ila Paliwal ‘Holi’

Courtesy of Quincy Jones Productions


From Navaratna on Padmasheel Productions “I’ve known Ila for years, but I had no idea she was a singer! About two years ago she played some of her music for me and I was blown away. All I can say is that it’s wonderful.”


13 Gurrumul ‘Wiyathul’

From Gurrumul on Skinnyfish/Dramatico “We work with the Australian promoter Michael Chugg, who manages Gurrumul. He sent Gurrumul’s music to us to check out and I simply fell in love with him and his haunting voice.”


14 Ravi Shankar & Chatur Lal ‘Raga Hamir’

“I was planning on going [to Paris] for only two weeks but I stayed for five years. It was one of the first times in my life where I didn’t feel judged by the colour of my skin but rather by my skill as a musician” Turn to p70 for the full interview with Quincy Jones

From The Best of Pandit Ravi Shankar Ever Vol 1 on Saregama Quincy Jones met Ravi Shankar and Chatur Lal while on tour in Karachi in 1956. “Since that trip I’ve been studying Indian classical music.”


15 Angélique Kidjo ‘Afrika’ From Spirit Rising on Wrasse Records

“I brought Angélique to the World Economic Forum in 2001 and had her

SONGLINES IS NOW ON APPLE MUSIC We are happy to announce that Songlines has officially teamed up with Apple Music’s streaming service to create bespoke playlists for you. Listen to our playlists at

perform on my ‘We are the Future’ concert three years later,” Jones says. “I’ve been a big fan of her for a very long time.”

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WHAT’S NEW Views, news and events from around the world CALYPSO ROSE WINS THE 2016 WOMEX AWARD

Souvid Datta

The lost musicians of India decisions were made on the fly,” Soumik explains. “The essence of the film is to shine a light on the beauty and depth of these fading cultures.” Using Bauls as an example, the Bengali mystic minstrels, the sarod player describes the numerous off-shoots and sub-genres from this one core; “to break the stereotype, you have to show that it’s not a type.” The film also seeks to make apparent the sociopolitical struggles plaguing India, often fuelled by a lack of support from the government, which has in turn ostracised many rural communities and led to a perceived lack of self-value. It was while performing in Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah that Soumik says he realised “the true purpose of this journey,” and stresses that despite ongoing segregation, we can “step outside the lines that define us, to connect with people far removed, to break social stigma and to allow music to fill our hearts with acceptance.” + ONLINE


Richard Holder

“These communities, the last torch-bearers of their craft, struggle for existence in this new world.” With these portentous words, renowned Indian sarod player Soumik Datta introduces the mission he and his brother, award-winning photographer Souvid, embarked on for their film Tuning 2 You: The Lost Musicians of India. Their journey took them far beyond India’s growing commercial metropolises in search of hidden musicians; through Goa, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and deep into the ‘wild east’ of the country within Nagaland’s rolling hilltops. In addition to backing from Soumik Datta Arts and the Bagri Foundation, a Kickstarter to support the post-production of the film surpassed its £10,000 target in early July. “Our campaign has built a community around this project in a really surprising way,” said Soumik, who is aiming for a release in early 2017. With six months of planning, the brothers were focused on the styles they wanted to capture, yet the road quickly began to fork in many directions. “Word of mouth is still a powerful tool, so a lot of

The 18th WOMEX Awards will again honour the most influential figures in the world music scene when they return to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia this October. This year’s Artist Award will be presented to Calypso Rose (below). Now 76 years old, the queen of Trinidadian calypso has had a remarkable career, underlined by her triumph over the male-dominated ethos of calypso culture (read more in our Beginner’s Guide in #119). No doubt sporting her trademark twinkling beam and exuding Caribbean flair, Rose will close WOMEX with a special performance alongside fellow countrymen Kobo Town, led by Drew Gonsalves. The singer was quick to thank her global admirers, “it is a special recognition, also for my fans all over the world. They will be happy to know I’m receiving this award.”

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The Atlantic islands of Cape Verde boast an abundance of musical styles, including the dance music known as funaná. Jo Frost meets one of its stars


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Joao Barbosa

he frenetic dance music of Cape Verde known as funaná has an instantly recognisable sound – the fast, repetitive rhythm of the accordion accompanied by the scratchy noise of the ferrinho (iron pipe). Victor Tavares – aka Bitori – is the genre’s veteran and his debut album, Bitori Nha Bibinha, recorded in 1997, aged 59, has just been reissued – as Legend of Funaná – by Samy Ben Redjeb on his Analog Africa label. “I heard it in 1998 in a nightclub in Praia,” Ben Redjeb tells me. “It was a coup de foudre [love at first hearing].” Ben Redjeb then went on a mission to find the musicians involved. He discovered lead singer Chando Graciosa now lives in Rotterdam and Bitori, the gaita (accordion) player, lives in Tchadinha, a neighbourhood in Praia. En route to Bitori’s home, Ben Redjeb gives an insight into the history of funaná, which prior to independence in 1975, was banned by the Portuguese who saw it as lascivious and immoral. In fact, everything that was an expression of African culture was ‘domesticated,’ especially funaná, the most African of all the islands’ music. A small group of us huddle into Bitori’s front room cluttered with various prize certificates the musician has received over the years. Gilles, one of his current students, acts as musical accomplice, interpreter and spokesperson – the quietly spoken Bitori turns out to be a man of few words. Yet his backstory is fascinating. The accordion wasn’t actually Bitori’s first choice of instrument – he started learning the guitar, but when he played the wrong chords, his teacher would hit him on the hands with a stick so he stopped going. Gilles says that explains why Bitori is such a kind and patient teacher as he wasn’t

going to make the same mistake. Aged 11 he started playing the gaita de boca (harmonica) and eventually moved onto the accordion. In 1954 Bitori decided to make the journey to São Tomé, another Portuguese West African colony, so that he could earn enough money to buy himself a decent accordion. The price of the instrument was 750 escudos in both countries, however Bitori was only earning 24 escudos a month and in São Tomé he could earn double, cutting hair and working on coffee and cocoa plantations. After several years he’d earned enough, so returned to Praia. The origin of the word funaná is steeped in mystique. One explanation Bitori gives is that when people danced outside, they would create a dust storm (fumaça) from the earth – similar to the French bal poussière. However, Gilles has another legend, about how it was the church who brought the accordion

to Cape Verde and two fathers in particular, one called Fune who played the accordion and another called Naná who played the ferrinho. Either way the music was seen as a threat to independence as the colonial authorities didn’t understand the songs sung in Creole so thought they could be inciting rebellion. When asked what the lyrics are about, Gilles says they’re about the hardships of life, poverty… ‘Bitori Nha Bibinha’ the opening track on the album, represents the reality of Bitori’s own life, says Gilles – working hard but still living in poverty, despite being a highly respected teacher of accordion. Hopefully the reissue of this infectious album and the new-found interest in this distinctive sound of Cape Verde will at least bring Bitori some long-overdue international recognition.

+A LBUM Bitori’s Legend of Funaná is reviewed in this issue, see p44

WIN We have three copies of Legend of Funaná to give away. To enter, answer: What year was Bitori’s debut recorded? See p17 for competition rules and deadline

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Sarathy Korwar

Alexandra Petropoulos speaks to percussionist Sarathy Korwar about his debut that combines ethnographic recordings and jazz


he movement of African music across the Atlantic is well documented. Without that migration the music of South America and the Caribbean would be starkly different, so would blues, rock or hiphop for that matter. The journey of African music eastwards is much less familiar territory. However this concept is the root of the debut album from percussionist Sarathy Korwar, Day to Day. After spending time recording musicians from the African-descended Siddi community of India, Korwar fuses these folk sounds with electronics and jazz for an album that explores themes of migration and movement. For Korwar, migration is familiar terrain; born in the US, he grew up in India, living in Ahmedabad, Chennai and Pune before settling in London seven years ago. He started learning tabla at the age of eight and drum kit by the age of 15, transferring the Indian rhythmic vocabulary to jazz and other non-Indian classical

Fabrice Bourgelle

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contexts. Using this idea of musical translation, Korwar has worked on numerous collaborative projects, but in late 2015 he left for India to record a troupe of Siddi musicians and start work on his first solo project. He initially became interested in Siddi music after meeting ethnomusicologist Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy from UCLA. “I met her in Pune because she was staying at my parent’s house. She had been working with this particular Siddi community for a while. She told me about her work and I was really taken by their history, their sense of their background and how unique they are.” Their history is a complicated one; Siddis are said to be descended from the Bantu community of East and South Africa, although “Siddi is a blanket term that is used for anybody now who has migrated from Africa to India over time,” Korwar explains. “They emigrated over the centuries as merchants, traders and sailors, and then with the colonies – the Dutch, British, Portuguese and

French – as slaves.” Fascinated by their historical and musical links to Africa, Korwar spent time with the Sidi Troupe of Ratanpur, recording their distinctive music. “A lot of their drumming patterns are quite polyrhythmic. It’s a fairly unique thing in India, because a lot of music is played in unison. Polyrhythm is a very African concept.” There were interesting links in the instrumentation as well. “They have a music bow called the malunga. It looks pretty much exactly like a berimbau.” This resemblance to the Afro-Brazilian instrument seemingly connects the black Atlantic to African music’s lesserknown migration east. “Nobody really talks about the music going East in the same way. So that was something I was excited about exploring,” he enthuses. Using loose arrangements based on his field recordings, Korwar invited a host of UK-based musicians out to Pune to record for five days. “It was a very organic way of doing the album. I wanted to get the right musicians involved and then just have them express themselves. They are musicians who I know very well and I knew that whatever we do will be good.” These musicians include the saxophone whizz-kid Shabaka Hutchings and Al Macsween (keys), Giuliano Modarelli (guitar) and Domenico Angarano (bass) of the collective Kefaya. The result is an album that subtly shape-shifts, with a trance-like abandonment that mimics the sacred Sufi nature of Siddi music. It is an effortless melding of folk, jazz and electronics that drifts as naturally through Korwar and his friends as the music has historically drifted out from Africa’s shores.

+A LBUM Day to Day is a Top of the World this issue, see p64




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Songlines Music Travel

Dedicated trips for music lovers worldwide, bringing you the excitement of real music directly where it’s made COLOMBIA WHERE THE HEART BEATS September 12-22 2016 Embark on a 11-day trip to Colombia to discover and appreciate its musical culture up close.

Experience the vibrancy of Rajasthan’s music in the stunning setting of the Mehrangarh Fort

INDIA RAJASTHAN MUSICAL ADVENTURE October 6-18 2016 Visit one of the most soul-inspiring parts of the world during the Jodhpur RIFF folk festival.

D Campbell

SENEGAL NEVER MIND THE MBALAX November 18-27 2016 Immerse yourself in the local sounds and rhythms of Senegal’s capital, Dakar.


CUBA THE MUSIC OF CUBA March 15-29 2017 Explore the rich variety of music from one of the top music destinations.




Rajasthan is famous for its palaces, stunning landscapes, fabrics, spices and music. This tour sweeps across the lesser-travelled northern part of the state, and takes in encounters with artists as well as visits to spectacular lakes and temples. The tour culminates at the famous Jodhpur RIFF, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, hosted in the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. There will also be the opportunity to discover the city of Jodhpur on a heritage tour.

Dakar is one of the music capitals of Africa – renowned as the home of mbalax, the rhythmic dance style pioneered by Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour; and its hip-hop scene, one of the liveliest in Africa. But it’s a city that’s hard to negotiate as an outsider. With Songlines’ help on this trip, you can visit the best clubs and experience some great live music. We’ll help you find the best local sounds, from mbalax to folk via reggae, roots and hip-hop.

ROMANIA AT HOME WITH THE GYPSIES May 27-June 4 2017 Authentic Gypsy music in its natural environment.

Robin Ball

“ This is an incredible tour. We had the privilege of meeting musicians in their own homes and villages, and listening to their music was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget.” Tiki Kyte, Rajasthan trip, 2014

CHINA A MUSICAL DISCOVERY March/April 2017 As well as exploring the music scenes in Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, we also visit the Great Wall of China.

ARGENTINA GET TANGOED! August 2017 We trace the history of tango in South America’s most European city. *All dates shown are ex-destination.

Visit Call +44 (0)207 501 6741 Email The Songlines Music Travel Tours are operated by Master Travel Ltd. The air holiday packages advertised are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 3800. Please see our booking conditions for more information. ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services advertised.

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A Time for Freedom On her latest release, fado wonder Ana Moura continues the small revolution she began with her album Desfado. Gonรงalo Frota catches up with the singer who is following her own path

Roger Alarcon ISSUE 121

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Rumi’s Legacy As a remarkable group of whirling dervishes, the Meshk Ensemble, come to the UK, Simon Broughton investigates Mevlevi music in Turkey, its history and the ensemble’s special take on it

Bilâl Deg ˇirmenci

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the skyline of old Istanbul. It was built by Suleiman the Magnificent who conquered Constantinople in 1453 and re-named it Istanbul. It has one of the biggest manuscript collections in the world with books in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and more. Arabic was the scientific language, while Persian, in which Rumi wrote most of his poetry, was the artistic language. In a small room in the library we have come to view some of the few surviving manuscripts of Mevlevi music. A librarian brings in a cardboard box, puts on white gloves and takes out a black-bound book and opens the pages. The music for the sema ceremony is called an ayin and this is a collection of about 30 ayins written down by a musician called Emin Dede in the early 1920s. Çevikoğlu opens it on the ‘Ayin in Makam Rast’ by Osman Dede, who was one of the greatest composers of Mevlevi music. So this is music composed in the early 18th century that had been passed down orally for 200 years and only written down in the 1920s. What we’re looking at is a sort of palimpsest, music of different layers and interpretations that has passed through several chains of transmission. Mevlevi music, like all classical music of the Ottoman period, was transmitted orally and not written down. Emin Dede probably notated these ayin to preserve them for posterity as president Atatürk, with his modernising, Westernising agenda, closed the Sufi lodges in 1925. Nâyî Osman Dede was a ney player and head of the Galata lodge from 1697-1729 and is buried in the cemetery beside it. The manuscript belonged to the Galata tekke, but was moved to the Sülemaniye Library when the lodge was closed in 1925. The music is neatly written and exquisitely beautiful, but with its dots and squiggles, totally unintelligible unless you understand the Hamparsum notation in which it is written. Hamparsum is named after the Armenian musician Hampartsoum Limondjian who was asked to devise a form of notation for Turkish and Armenian music by Sultan Selim III in the early 19th century. Çevikoğlu traces his gloved finger along the line and sings the melody; immediately the music



Simon Broughton

ith a sudden crack, the dervishes strike their palms on the wooden floor. They get up from their knees, cast off their black cloaks and, with a blessing from the sheikh, one by one they start to spin, their white robes billowing. The dervishes hold their right hand upwards to receive blessings from God, and turn their left hand down to transmit them to the world. These Mevlevi Sufis are popularly known as whirling dervishes, but that name suggests something much wilder and impassioned than this esoteric ritual taking place in front of me. The music is calm and sedate Ottoman classical, but it has a curious power and a fascinating history, which I’m here in Istanbul to uncover. Is this anything like the ritual would have been in Rumi’s day? How has it been transmitted and preserved from then to now? The Mevlevi were followers of Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th-century poet and mystic who lived in the city of Konya, then the capital of the Seljuk Empire. The music features the haunting and breathy ney (reed flute), plucked tanbur, bowed kemenche, and kanun (zither), rhythmically underpinned by two kudum (small kettle drums), played with a pair of sticks. The ney is an important symbol in Rumi’s poetry, its plangent tone lamenting its separation from the reed bed from where it was plucked and metaphorically echoing man’s separation from God. I’m in the Galata tekke (Sufi lodge or meeting place) in Istanbul, the most atmospheric place to see the sema, the whirling dervish ceremony, because it was purpose built. Founded in 1491, it was the first Mevlevi lodge in Istanbul and is surrounded by a small, but atmospheric cemetery of Ottoman tombstones where the sheiks and dervishes are buried. Inside the octagonal hall, the sema ceremony is principally for the benefit of those taking part, although it also has a powerful effect on those that come to see it. Visitors to Istanbul have been fascinated by it for years, and it’s through the accounts of historical travellers that we get useful information about the ceremony and instrumentation. The Mevlevi describe their turning not as a dance, but as a prayer. There are four sequences – selams – of whirling in the sema ceremony and Mevlevi musician and historian Timuçin Çevikoğlu briefly outlines them: “The first selam is called shariat (observance) and is the mundane practice of religion without thinking. The second is tariqat (the path) when you find the way and the third selam, hakikat (realisation), is when you find the meaning and you fall in love with it.” The music for the third part is faster and more joyful and uses three rhythmic cycles, one of which is waltz-like and may have led to the ‘whirling dervish’ description. “The fourth selam is marifet (accomplishment),” he continues. “You reflect on the meaning of what you’ve accomplished and absorb it into your life.” I’m meeting Çevikoğlu (pictured above) at the Süleymaniye Library, which is attached to the vast mosque that dominates


17/08/2016 15:12


Adam Berry

Berlin’s Lost Recordings The Semer Ensemble have brought the musicians of 1930s Berlin back to life after decades of silence. Tim Cumming speaks to Alan Bern about the wealth of stories and songs they uncovered when in the archives of the Semer label

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The Semer Ensemble, led by Alan Bern (left)


ast November the music of 1930s Berlin, originally recorded by a long-lost Jewish label, was heard again after 80 years of silence as the Semer Ensemble took to the stage of the city’s Maxim Gorki Theatre. Led by US musician and longtime Berliner Alan Bern (pictured opposite), the ensemble is an octet of players and singers including Klezmatics’ Lorin Sklamberg, trumpeter Paul Brody and Latvian-born singer Sasha Lurje, all steeped in klezmer, Yiddish song, jazz, flamenco and more, recreating for their album, Rescued Treasure, a hidden world of Jewish-German cabaret, art and sacred music from the early Nazi era. “It’s like shining a flashlight down a very, very deep well,” says Bern, “catching glimpses of what was down there and trying to connect with it and draw water up from that well and drink from it.” The members are all veterans of Bern’s Yiddish Summer Weimar school, where he keeps an open house – the Other Music Academy – for Europe’s new refugees, whose fate points us firmly to the past and the circumstances of earlier generations of humans fleeing war and brutality. “A lot of what they’re going through when they try to find a safe haven in Europe,” says Bern, “if a Jewish person is thoughtful about that a little, they will recognise deep points of identification there in their own history.” That sense of identification comes through the music of the ensemble, too, drawn from the recovered archives of the Semer label set up by Hirsch Lewin in 1932. A year later the Nazis took power and Jewish musicians were forbidden to play in non-Jewish settings – overnight, ordinary German citizens became the hated ‘other.’ If the 20s were a golden age of Jewish music in Berlin, the following decade saw that burnished gold sink into dangerous twilight, then deadly darkness. On

Kristallnacht, November 9 1938, Nazi thugs destroyed Lewin’s stock and store – night and silence enveloped the 4,500 recordings issued by the label for the next 80-odd years. Record collector Dr Rainer E Lotz was the man who travelled far and wide to recover the remaining shellac discs that had survived. He issued 11 CDs of original Semer recordings, from which the Semer Ensemble chose 12 songs. “What seemed to be the most central, most important, or musically most convincing works,” says Bern. “The ones that are totemic.” What is strange is how almost normal the songs are – drinking songs, cabaret numbers, love songs, a lullaby. And not all the recordings were of Jewish music, but simply music played by Jewish musicians. “So you have this huge spectrum of what was recorded,” says Bern. “We wanted to represent as many of those genres as possible, to pass on this picture of the variety of ways Jewish musicians were active – in cabaret, in cantorial music, in folk songs.” The ensemble’s resurrection of what Bern calls “this musical Noah’s Ark” of cabaret, café, cantorial, Yiddish and East European songs, acts as a crucial re-remembering – one that comes with its own politics. “The role of memory changes from generation to generation,” says Bern, “and the generation that came after that – my generation – wanted to remember what their parents or grandparents had gone through,” but had tried to forget. “There’s been a struggle, a negotiation among different generations about which memories should be kept and which should be left alone.” The originals had emerged from a culture tightly compressed and corralled. “It wasn’t a ghetto, but it was a parallel society. Parallel nightclubs, bars, theatres, record stores. Like Jim Crow [racial segregation laws] in the US.” Which meant that

“It’s like shining a flashlight down a very, very deep well”

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Africa REVIEWS Mamadou Barry & Afro Groove Gang Tankadi Label Bleu (56 mins)


Fulani funkiness from sax master

Banning Eyre



Vieux Kanté The Young Man’s Harp


Sterns Music (44 mins)


Legacy from the late maestro of the hunter’s harp Born in Mali in 1974, Noumoussa Soumaoro – aka Vieux Kanté – began playing the six-string hunter’s harp known as the kamalengoni when he was 11. Left behind at home due to his blindness while his brothers went to work in the fields, he swiftly became a virtuoso on the instrument and, by the time he reached adulthood, his fame had spread throughout the villages of the Wassoulou region that extends across southern Mali, northern Guinea and parts of the Ivory Coast. In addition to being one hot player, he was a significant innovator too, developing the instrument so that his eventually boasted 12 strings. These seven tracks were recorded for what was

intended to be his debut album, but his death from a sudden illness in 2005 meant that it was never released. Its belated appearance now reveals a major talent that ought to have made him a star. With his dazzling cascades of rhythmic notes and percussive riffing to the fore – heard to best effect on the instrumental showcase ‘Sans Commentaire’ – it’s a stylistically diverse set on which he shares vocals with the urgent griot praise voice of Kabadjan Diakité. Whether swinging seductively or thundering with an unstoppable funk, it’s remarkable stuff and comes beautifully packaged with insightful liner notes by Banning Eyre, who met Vieux shortly before his untimely death. NIGEL WILLIAMSON

TRACK TO TRY Sans Commentaire

GET THIS ALBUM FREE Readers can get The Young Man’s Harp when subscribing or renewing with Direct Debit. See CD flyer

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Now almost 70 years old, Guinean saxophonist Mamadou ‘Maître’ Barry has been making music since the 60s, when he led Kaloum Star, one of Conakry’s most legendary big bands. He didn’t record his debut solo album until 2005 when World Village released Niyo, a fine collection of Afrobeat grooves and hypnotic Mande rhythms that showed him to be the natural heir to Guinea’s other great saxophone hero Momo Wandel Soumah. Backed by a talented band that fuses the experience of veterans with the energy of younger musicians, Tankadi is a more expansive affair, jazzier and funkier and taking in Latin influences alongside Fulani roots. Barry drives the sound relentlessly on tenor, alto and soprano saxes across a bunch of his own compositions and a hypnotic cover of Mongo Santamaria’s ‘Afro Blues’, but it’s not a one-man show. Mamady Diabaté contributes some quicksilver lead guitar lines reminiscent of the virtuoso playing of Mali’s Djelimady Tounkara and the deep, griot-like voice of Ibrahima ‘Rizo’ Bangoura features compellingly on half-a-dozen tracks. The production by Christian Mousset is top-notch, too. NIGEL WILLIAMSON

TRACK TO TRY Mousso Kelen

Bitori Legend of Funaná

★★★★★ Analog Africa (41 mins)

Putting the fun in funaná Due to its rural origin, funaná was forbidden for years in Cape Verde – most notably in Santiago, where it was born – by the Portuguese colonialists. While morna was praised and considered to be a respectful art form, the accordion-based funaná was disregarded, as being low-class music sung in unwelcomed Creole. All the more reason for 1975’s independence to resurrect this festive dance music that quickly spread all over the country’s islands. Soon enough, bands such as Bulimundo and Ferro Gaita were becoming hugely popular and funaná became essential to every national singer’s repertoire.

A self-taught accordionist, Bitori was one of the original interpreters of funaná back in the 50s. But it took more than 40 years for him to record his debut album. Legend of Funaná, first released in 1997, is a perfect example of how entrancing funaná often is and documents the unstoppable drive behind it – once set in motion, this music goes on without slowing down. Lead singer Chando Graciosa was responsible for getting Bitori in an Amsterdam studio and immortalising his fiery accordion sound. And now we should thank Analog Africa for placing him back in the limelight. GONÇALO FROTA

TRACK TO TRY Bitori Nha Bibinha

Adama Dramé Dakan Buda Musique (73 mins)


Djembé genius with a varied mix In the world of the djembé, we have progressed a long way from CDs of traditional dance drumming captured purely for ethnographic interest, and this is largely thanks to the 50-year career of Burkinabé master Adama Dramé. This is not his first concept album, and the bass, horn section, keyboards, guitar and violin that are added to the traditional Mande instruments of djembé, bala (xylophone), dunduns (bass drums) and voices to extend the sonic palate without straying into cheesy fusion. There are all manner of emotions, surprises and influences augmented by the tasteful arrangements and beautifully balanced and disciplined ensemble playing. At times nodding towards Afrobeat, at times desert blues, the recontextualised swinging percussion and female chorus travel through a world of unexpected colours. I’m not sure there is another album of djembé music with as much welcome variety. BARAK SCHMOOL


Nils Kercher Suku: Your Life is Your Poem Ancient Pulse Records (61 mins)


West Africa via Germany German multiinstrumentalist Nils Kercher’s second studio album is an international affair. His ensemble is

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TRACK TO TRY Tuuli Itkee

Siama Rivers: From the Congo to the Mississippi Siama (62 mins)


A veteran of soukous guitar A veteran soukous guitarist from the DRC, Siama Matuzungidi played on local hits by the likes of Kanda Bongo Man, Sam Mangwana and Tshala Muana in his youth. After spells of living in Uganda, Kenya, Japan and Dubai he eventually settled in the US. Rivers operates like a soundtrack to his journey, tracking the expansion of his musical vision far beyond his Congolese roots. The global stew is best epitomised by the expansive opener ‘Jungle Zombie’, a throbbing melange of horns, tribal chants, swelling percussion, funk-fuelled bass lines and jazzy keyboards that defies geographical location. ‘Sisili’, ‘Bolingo’ and ‘Kueya’ draw more directly on the sweet harmonies and spiralling guitar tropes of soukous, while ‘Yele Yele’ sways irresistibly to a South African township beat. But it’s when non-African cultural imports join the fray that things get really interesting, whether it’s the Indian veena of Nirmala Rajasekar, the cello of Jacqueline Ultan or the pedal steel guitar of Joe Savage. They’re all instruments seldom, if ever, heard in

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Tezeta Band

Campbell Salgado

made up of musicians from Mali, Finland, Martinique, Senegal and Australia. The result is an ambient soundscape infused with the music of West Africa but also betraying Kercher’s classical orchestral background, which predated his interest in drumming, the djembé and the kora. Accompanied by Oumar Barou Kouyaté on ngoni and guitar and with Mariama Kouyaté, Kira Kaipainen and Sylvia Laubé on vocals, Kercher also sings and plays kora and balafon, while violin, viola and cello add extra depth to the sound. This is particularly compelling on ‘Tuuli Itkee’, where the insistent pulse creates an effect much like the music of Steve Reich. Kercher studied kora with Djelimady Sissoko (brother of Ballaké) and if you like Ballaké’s fusion of kora and cello with Vincent Segal, you’ll probably enjoy this. This album offers a beautifully crafted dream-world of shifting rhythms and many-layered voices.



Various Artists Beyond Addis Vol 2


Trikont Records (55 mins)


Addis is still swinging with Ethio-jazz, soul and funk in 2016 The legacy of Mulatu Astatké rolls on splendidly on this second volume of contemporary interpretations of his Ethio-jazz style. Astatké formulated his style in the late 60s and early 70s by fusing traditional Ethiopian music with the jazz that he had learned while studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Despite being recorded by 13 different groups, there is a cohesion to this compilation that makes it sound like a full album by one artist. Several tracks have the production involvement of compiler Jan Weissenfeldt (also known as JJ Whitefield) and he clearly has an ear for the authentic sound of 70s Addis Ababa – or ‘Swinging Addis’ as it was known. This is a

African music but here they sound like a natural fit that was meant to be. NIGEL WILLIAMSON

TRACK TO TRY Jungle Zombie

Wiyaala Wiyaala

Djimba World Records (51 mins)


Quality Afro-pop from Ghana Known as ‘The Lioness of Africa’ Wiyaala grew up in a small village in the Upper West region of Ghana. She sings primarily in the Sissala language, and achieved comparative fame as a member of the group Black N Peach, who won the Vodaphone Icons reality show in Ghana. This, her first solo recording, was made in South Africa and musically bears similarities to internationally successful African artists such as Angélique Kidjo and the late Brenda Fassie. Wiyaala has a strong voice and the commercial musical arrangements make this a very likeable record – albeit one without any clear African identity.

14-track extravaganza of Ethio-jazz instrumentals with more than a nod to psychedelic soul, funk and Afrobeat. It is all very organic, with cheesy keyboards, a vintage drum-kit, exotic horns, flute and vibes and funky wah-wah guitars. The compiler has wisely included the emblematic track ‘Musicawi Silt’. Originally recorded in 1974 by the Walias Band (and featuring the vibraphone of Astatké), the spectacular version here is by Brooklyn group The Daktaris, whose excellent album was cheekily dressed up as a long-lost Afrobeat LP. There is also a track from French group Akale Wube, featuring Afro-jazz experimenter Manu Dibango. MARTIN SINNOCK

TRACK TO TRY Yesega Wat by Debre Damo Dining Orchestra

She is an outspoken activist, campaigning for women’s rights and against forced marriage, which makes her an ideal candidate for international exposure. The only possible obstacle is that this album is mostly sung in a language little understood outside of northern Ghana. This may hinder her progress and potentially stand in the way of her obvious significant talent. MARTIN SINNOCK

TRACK TO TRY Tuma (No Food for the Lazy Man)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Nigeria Freedom Sounds! Soul Jazz Records (67 mins)


Vintage genres galore Subtitled ‘Popular Music and the Birth of Independent Nigeria,’ these 23 tracks were all recorded more than half a century ago. They present a fascinating snapshot of a culture in flux: between independence from

colonialism in 1960 and the coup and civil war that would ensue half a dozen years later. Context is all, for it explains the innocence of the music, which ranges from highlife, jùjú and Yoruba traditional styles to palm-wine guitars and calypso. This diversity is perhaps unsurprising, given that Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and comprises more than 250 different ethnic groups and languages. The best known name here is IK Dairo, represented by five tracks of gently swaying jùjú rhythms. The bandleader EC Arinze also gets five tracks for his Ghanaian-influenced highlife. Chris Ajilo and his Cubanos are jazzier and considerably more sophisticated; several members of the band went on to play with Fela Kuti and they deserve more than the one track here. Haruna Ishola plays a more traditional tribal Yoruba style known as apala, while both Godwin Omobuwa and his Soundmakers and the Apolos Empire Rhythm Orchestra offer West African calypso. Lovely, timeless stuff. NIGEL WILLIAMSON

TRACK TO TRY Ariwo by Chris Ajilo and his Cubanos




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Indy Sagoo



FLUX ShadowLines


Prisms (39 mins)


An East Meets West project without any of the pitfalls Those who know the work of British composer, producer and musician Shammi Pithia will know to expect a dreamy, cinematic quality to any project he pursues. ShadowLines, the debut album from his new four-piece FLUX, is just that. But it is more than simply blissed-out Asian beats; it is a musically accomplished marriage of Indian and Western classical music, folk and electronica. Seven of the ten tracks on this album are instrumentals, and to lie back and absorb this band’s music is to open your ears to ever-wider vistas. Over the base of Michael Goodey’s piano and Suroj Sureshbabu’s guitar rises the violin

of Preetha Narayanan and Pithia’s bansuri (flute). The beauty of this music lies in its delicacy. Every instrument is clear and defined, each note resonant. The three vocal tracks feature two guest singers – Sabiyha and Tanya Wells – and it’s the former that works better in this context. However, FLUX are really at their best without vocal accompaniment, allowing their instrumental talents free rein. When they do, Narayanan’s violin and Pithia’s bansuri duet like a pair of voices over the languid piano and guitar melodies. If you fear a fusion mush, rest assured, this is a finely wrought, very promising debut. NATHANIEL HANDY


GET THIS ALBUM FREE Readers can get ShadowLines when subscribing or renewing with Direct Debit. See CD flyer for details

AMJ meets RSD Sky Blue Love Astar Artes (70 mins)


Summery dub reggae, with world music flavours Anyone interested in 70 minutes of rather clinical, polite dub reggae? OK, that’s a little unfair, but there’s something about the overly clean production on this trio’s collaboration with musicians and singers from Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean that leaves this reviewer unmoved. The album artwork is festooned with photos of panoramic seascapes and landscapes that sadly the music never comes close to evoking. The bass has a throbbing presence but little definition, the drums are uncomfortably dry and at the forefront of the mix, and various instruments from Spanish-style acoustic guitar to muted trumpets and flugelhorn float in and out. Seckou Keita pops up on kora. Yet nothing really sticks. Eventually, on ‘Blue

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Mountain Dub’, some female vocals break the monotony. But even then there is little about the melodies or words that lifts proceedings above the generic. Had the ‘world music’ contributions from guest musicians impacted more on the style of the music rather than simply been cosmetic additions to rigid, unbending reggae grooves, we might have been talking about a more interesting album. HOWARD MALE

TRACK TO TRY Blue Mountain Dub

Cheyenne Brown & Tory Dugan Road Soda Bird Creek Records (46 mins)


Eclectic Alaskans: fiddle and harp from across the globe This collaboration between two Alaskan-born artists – fiddle player Tory Dugan and Scottish harpist Cheyenne Brown – straddles multiple styles. The traditional tunes on Road

Soda derive from sources ranging from Celtic countries to Finland and Israel. While Brown’s harp makes a clear link to Scottish music, Dugan’s gritty, mic’ed-up violin and slurring delivery render his playing reminiscent of Didier Lockwood and other modern jazz figures. Add in a heavy-handed rhythm section – a drum kit and electric bass – and the sound shifts again to something rockier. Does it all hang together to make a whole? Occasionally. Opener ‘Eva’s Polka’, with its overdubbed harp lines and brisk bass, followed by a funky fiddle solo, is an enjoyable start. Traditional Welsh tune ‘Cuckoo’ has similar character in its spark and bounce. The harp solo on final track ‘The Grey Heron’ is beautiful in its simplicity. Other tracks spin out into more exploratory material, from grinding fiddle solos to probing, improvised ensemble playing. The overall effect is patchy and the balance is too bassheavy throughout, setting up a clash with the gentler, high-pitched harp. TIM WOODALL

TRACK TO TRY Eva’s Polka

Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko Jardins Migrateurs Ma Case (54 mins)


The sounds of West Africa meet those of classical Iran Ablaye Cissoko is a kora-playing Senegalese griot who has been invited to accompany the celebrated Montréal-based Iranian trio Constantinople. Kiya Tabassian leads Constantinople with a voice that simultaneously soothes and sends pleasurable shivers up the spine. His instrument is the setar, a plucked lute with four strings. Accompanying him is hand percussion and viola de gamba (a form of plucked and bowed cello), which provides a bass line. The repertoire on this disc mixes compositions and adaptations created by Cissoko and by Tabassian, who are steeped in Mande tradition and Persian poetry respectively. It is a seamless and harmonious meeting

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Fusion REVIEWS of the two cultures. The kora and setar sit perfectly well together, each played with great virtuosity and without unnecessary ostentation. The alternating voices are a breath of fresh air and contrast beautifully: Cissoko mellow and Tabassian spiritual. A disc of regal and dignified magnificence. MARTIN SINNOCK

TRACK TO TRY Le Pas de l’Eau

Fei Scho Aussegrasn Galileo Music (65 mins)


Bavarian band turn their hands to folk, funk, jazz and polka A slow start doesn’t necessarily indicate a dull ride. But in the case of Fei Scho’s latest offering, this theory is tested and strained, to say the least. The Bavarian modern folk troupe do manage to inject an interesting sound palate into their 15-track strong album Aussegrasn. From funk to jazz to polka, it’s all here. The only thing is, this journey tends to be a rather unevenly paced one. Just as the listener is brought to a thundering climax on tracks such as the rock-infused ‘Herzkasperl-Polka’ the mood is dramatically flung in another direction, which makes for quite a restless listen at times. This however, is quite possibly an intentional move, with the album cover art aptly depicting a powerful yet jovial bucking bull. The guitar playing really is the album’s saving grace, as it is often this element that projects the band into a different and pleasing direction. There’s something about Aussegrasn as a whole that suggests this band could be a lot more engaging as a live act, as the potential energy of these tracks unfortunately seem slightly lost in the recording process. MIKE FLECK

TRACK TO TRY Have Fun Mr Miller

Ganga Procession Ganga Procession Coop Breizh (56 mins)


Indo-Breton brilliance Famous flautist Sylvain Barou has worked with Ronan Pellen (Istan Trio), Jacques Pellen (Offshore Quartet) and Prabhu Edouard (Thali Gang) before, and on Ganga Procession these artists are joined by the incredible

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Indian violinist Sukhdev Mishra and talented percussionist Satish Krishnamurthy. The resultant collaboration between the Indian classical and Breton folk music traditions is unexpectedly seamless and the album is cohesive and imaginative. After beginning with an ingenious cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’, guitarist Jacques Pellen’s ‘I Can Get No Sleep’, from 1988, is reworked with enchanting Indian vocals. ‘Silent Love’, the album’s third and best track, is haunting in ‘Raga Madhuvanti’ and Ronan Pellen’s cittern solo, in particular, stands out in the track’s seven-beat rupak taal section. While Mishra’s violin dominates the album to begin with, in the later tracks Barou’s flute and bansuri become more prominent, and ‘Thaali’ contains some thrilling percussive interludes from Edouard and Krishnamurthy. Following ‘Homage to Kashi/Tandava Grove’, Mishra’s energetic two-part tribute to his hometown Varanasi, the last track, ‘Maro Song’, sounds distinctly underwhelming. This slight disappointment is occasioned by the brilliance of the preceding tracks, however, and easily forgiven. Overall, Ganga Procession is a pilgrimage you’ll want to make. AMARDEEP DHILLON

TRACK TO TRY Silent Love

Etienne de la Sayette Maputo Queens Paris DJs (43 mins)


East Africa and Korea via Paris This is the debut solo album from composer, arranger and producer Etienne de la Sayette. The Parisian is primarily known for his instrumental work as a saxophonist for Ethio-jazz band Akalé Wubé. However, this outing sees him take full control for a groove-based journey through East African and Korean music. It starts with great promise as opener ‘Take a Second’ segues from intricate kalimba (thumb piano) lines into a bubbling groove with a quirky feature from MC RacecaR. Likewise, the title-track – named after a visit to Mozambique’s capital – possesses a funky feel and warm analogue synth passages that combine well with interlocking flute and saxophone lines. Unfortunately, it quickly moves into less dynamic territory with the rather pedestrian ‘Mafa Doubou’ and ‘I’m So Cool in Seoul’ being particularly

low points. ‘Han Gang’ is enjoyable and worthy of mention, featuring the moktak – a Korean wooden percussion instrument – forming the rhythmic basis. But ultimately this album is a real mixed bag that never really settles into one style, nor carries sufficient progression within each piece to maintain intrigue on repeated listens. ALEX DE LACEY

TRACK TO TRY Maputo Queens

Hackney Colliery Band Sharpener Hackney Colliery Band (48 mins)


Energetic East London brass band The Hackney Colliery Band have achieved greater popularity than any other contemporary British brass band through regular performances and savvy marketing; among other things, they have ales and sausages bearing their insignia. Even their name manages to mix a hipster borough with the term used for the brass bands that once were a staple of northern mining towns. Having seen them perform, it’s safe to assume none of them ever worked down a mine – their focus being a contemporary urban brass ensemble rather than authentic miners’ band. Here, they perform nine originals and three covers, all in their brass-with-atouch-of-electronica style. They are competent blowers who play assuredly but they don’t swing, lack ferocity and bring little imagination to the music. I’m unsure what the HCB are aiming for: this is not music that inspires community pride in the tradition of colliery bands, neither is it funky in the way great New Orleans brass ensembles are, nor is it wild and fluid like the best Balkan brass. Instead, it’s jazz-flavoured but lacking the mercurial qualities that inspires the best jazz. GARTH CARTWRIGHT

TRACK TO TRY Jump Then Run

Old Salt Up River Overseas Appel Rekords (40 mins)


Flavoursome Americana, but it needs a little pepper too Old Salt are a six-piece collective of musicians from the US, Belgium, Sweden and Scotland who first

came together at a Slovenian folk festival in 2013 and have since developed into a touring unit, based around the banjo and vocals of sole American member Dan Wall. While an international band, Old Salt’s collective focus is on the music of New Orleans and the Appalachian mountains, alongside hints of the old European folk music that crossed the Atlantic ocean to the US. They mix traditional songs with several Dan Wall originals and play everything with tasteful acoustic prowess. And that’s it. Wall’s singing voice and songwriting are never more than average and the band lack any of the fire and dynamism that has fuelled such notable recent US string bands as Old Crow Medicine Show or Hurray for the Riff Raff. This album, then, is more a souvenir for the musicians and audiences of a tour than a promissory note for a band to watch in the future. GARTH CARTWRIGHT


Kevin Seddiki & Sandra Rumolino Tres Luceros Wildner Records (43 mins)


Elegant tango-but-not-quitetango from European duo Tango is the elephant in the room of this debut duo record – always present in spirit but rarely fully evoked. A sophisticated set of contemporary readings of old music is the result. Tres Luceros is a collaboration between ArgentinianItalian singer Sandra Rumolino and French guitarist and percussionist Kevin Seddiki. The duo’s spacious and elegant but ultimately engrossing music is all the better for wearing its inspirations lightly. Seddiki has the touch and technique of a classical guitarist; Rumolino’s voice morphs from fadista to jazz diva, frequently dazzling with its depth. Her staccato delivery on the milonga (pre-tango dance) ‘Silueta Porteña’ shows off her virtuosity. There is an obvious creative spark between these two artists. Four of the 12 tracks here are penned by the duo and the record could have benefitted from a greater proportion of new compositions. Each is a taut duet between voice and either guitar or percussion, from the Middle Eastern feel of the opening title-track to the percussive ‘Why Not Un Huayno?’, presumably in reference to the




17/08/2016 16:07

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Gig Guide


Darren Griffiths-Warner


Allan Yn Y Fan A new album from the Welsh outfit

One of Wales’ foremost traditional bands, this sextet are known for their impressive vocals and instrumentals. Originally formed in 1996, Allan Yn Y Fan play a mix of traditional and original

songs and they are just about to release their sixth album, NEWiD. Newid is Welsh for ‘Change’, so it is only appropriate that the album marks a more mature and refined sound.

31 AUG Llantrisant Folk Club; 18 SEP Bute Park, Cardiff 02920 872730; 23 SEP Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen 0845 226 3509; 25 SEP Chapter, Cardiff 029 2030 4400; 28 SEP Borough Theatre, Abergavenny 01873 850805; 1 OCT Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli 01758 704088.

McNicol & Luke Selby 229 The Venue; Souad Massi Islington Assembly Hall 0871 220 0260; 11 SEP Klezmer in the Park Regent’s Park Bandstand FREE; Kumar Bose & Anindo Chatterjee The Bhavan 020 7381 3086; Abdoulaye Samb Kings Place FREE 020 7520 1490; Kamao Quartet Jamboree 020 7791 5659; Ewan McLennan Kings Place 020 7520 1490; 13 SEP Metá Metá Battersea Arts Centre 020 7223 2223; Sklamberg & The Shepherds Jewish Museum 020 7284 7384; 14 SEP Sophie Solomon Jazz Cafe 020 7485 6834; Family Atlantica Battersea Arts Centre 020 7223 2223; 15 SEP Peggy Seeger with Sam Gleaves Cecil Sharp House 020 7485 2206; 15 SEP-25 OCT K-Music: London’s Festival of Korean Music; 16-18 SEP Darbar Festival Southbank Centre

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121; 16-24 SEP The London African Music Festival; 17 SEP Moushumi Bhowmik + Khiyo Rich Mix FREE 020 7613 7498; 18 SEP Asha Bhosle The SSE Arena, Wembley 0844 815 0815; 20 SEP Lulo Reinhardt Campfire Club; 21 SEP Jason Kalidas & Sirishkumar Manji Sands Films; 22 SEP John Renbourn Tribute Cecil Sharp House; Ruth Theodore + Alejandra Ribera The Borderline 0844 477 2000; Chris Wood The Slaughtered Lamb 08444 771 000; 23 SEP Da Lata Portico Gallery 020 8761 7612; Holy Moly & the Crackers Level 5 Foyers at RFH FREE 0844 875 0073; 24 SEP Shooglenifty The Borderline 0871 220 0260; Armaan Malik The SSE Arena, Wembley 0844 815 0815; Lisa Knapp + Ceilidh Liberation Front Cutty Sark;

25 SEP Bangla Music Festival Rich Mix FREE; Mahalay: A Celebration of Bengali Music & Dance The Bhavan; 25 SEP-6 NOV [every Sunday] Folk Ballads Course City Lit; 26 SEP Jain The Lexington 0871 220 0260; Ana Moura Barbican 020 7638 8891; 27 SEP-1 OCT The London Latin Jazz Fest Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho; 28 SEP TEYR + Loïc Bléjean & Tad Sargent The Old Queen’s Head; 29 SEP Hicks & Goulbourn Uxbridge Folk Club, Hillingdon 01895 230071; 29 SEP2 OCT Transcender transcender; 30 SEP Songs of Immigrants & Experience Rich Mix; Ashley Hutchings Kings Place 020 7520 1490; Rachael Dadd Foundling Museum

26-29 AUG Into the Wild Summer Festival Bentley Estate, Lewes; Towersey Festival Thame Showground; Cornwall Folk Festival Wadebridge; 27 AUG Harpenden Folk Festival; The Barra MacNeils Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea 01273 464440; 1 SEP Smugglers Festival Mulberry Lodge, Little Mongeham; 2-4 SEP One Love Festival Hainault Forest Country Park; BunkFest Wallingford FREE; 9-10 SEP Undercover Festival IV Brighton Racecourse; 9-11 SEP Lyme Folk Weekend; Old Time American Music Festival Hastings; Swanage Folk Festival; 10-24 SEP St Ives September Festival; 11 SEP Bollywood Brass Band with Jyotsna Srikanth The Stables, Milton Keynes 01908 280800; 16-18 SEP Folkestone Skabour; Cornish Bluegrass Festival Hendra Holiday Park, Newquay; 17 SEP Juan Martín Merlin Theatre, Frome 01373 465949; 20 SEP The Coal Porters Rye Community Centre 01797 224442; 22 SEP 9Bach Rye Community Centre 01797 224442; 23 SEP Bollywood Brass Band with Jyotsna Srikanth The Haymarket, Basingstoke 01256 844244; 23-25 SEP Looe Music Festival; South Downs Folk Festival Bognor Regis; 24 SEP Spiro Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury 01227 787787; Terakaft Milligan Theatre, Rye 01797 224442; 28 SEP Flats & Sharps Tapeley Park, Instow 01237 451933; 29 SEP Bollywood Brass Band with Jyotsna Srikanth Exeter Phoenix 01392 667080; 30 SEP Flats & Sharps Penwith College, Penzance 01726 879500.

WALES & WEST 26-29 AUG Shrewsbury Folk Festival; 28 AUG Show of Hands + Megan Henwood National Trust Tyntesfield, Bristol 0844 249 1895; 31 AUG

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17/08/2016 11:52

Gig Guide Terakaft The Old Malt House, Bristol; 1-4 SEP Festival No6 Portmeirion; 2 SEP Emily Portman The Convent, South Woodchester 01453 835138; 2-4 SEP Didmarton Bluegrass Festival Cotswold Airport, Cirencester; 8 SEP Imarhan + Tezeta The Cube, Bristol 0117 907 4190; 9-11 SEP The Big Green Cardigan Sedlescombe; Bromyard Folk Festival; 16-18 SEP The Good Life Experience Hawarden Estate; 17 SEP Damien O’Kane The Convent, South Woodchester 01453 835138; 23 SEP Shooglenifty The Convent, South Woodchester 01453 835138; 23-25 SEP Stroud Folk Weekend; Salsa Amor Cymru Weekender Venue Cymru, Llandudno; 30 SEP Black Umfolosi Pontio, Bangor 01248 382828; Jim Causley Meadow Folk Club, Ironbridge 01952 730849.

MIDLANDS 26 AUG Altaf Raja Second City Suite, Birmingham; 26-29 AUG Greenbelt Boughton Estate, Kettering; 28 AUG Kulwinder Billa Karma Nightclub, Birmingham; 29 AUG Altaf Raja Leicester Athena; 2-4 SEP Off the Tracks Festival Castle Donington; Moseley Folk Festival Birmingham; 3 SEP Kaifi Aur Main Symphony Hall, Birmingham; 4 SEP 1 Big Multicultural Festival Alexandra Park, Ipswich FREE; 4-6 SEP Robin Hood Folk Festival Newstead Abbey Park, Nottingham; 6 SEP Imarhan Norwich Arts Centre 01603 660352; 10 SEP Mad Professor Ariwa Dub Norwich Arts Centre 01603 660352; 17 SEP Asha Bhosle Genting Arena, Birmingham 0844 581 1331; Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers Wirksworth Town Hall 01629 824393; 18 SEP Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers Blackfriars Theatre, Boston 01205 363108; 26 SEP Spiro The Junction, Cambridge 01223 511511; Nancy Kerr & The Sweet Visitor Band The Musician, Leicester 0116 251 0080; 28 SEP Kate Rusby Stafford Gatehouse Theatre 01785 619080; 29 SEP Kate Rusby Newark Palace Theatre, Newark-on-Trent 01636

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655755; 30 SEP Palak Muchhal & Palash Muchhal + Sohail Sen + Sreeram De Montfort Hall, Leicester 0116 233 3111; 30 SEP-2 OCT Derby Folk Festival Cathedral Quarter

NORTH 26-28 AUG Solfest Tarns, near Aspatria; Cottingham Folk Festival; 27-29 AUG Folk Festival on the Dock Liverpool; 28-29 AUG Newcastle Mela Exhibition Park FREE; 1 SEP Holy Moly & the Crackers Fibbers, York 0844 477 1000; 2 SEP The Ska Vengers + The Crossings Band VAMOS Social, Newcastle upon Tyne; 2-4 SEP Freedom Festival Hull FREE; 4 SEP Amani Live Band on the Wall, Manchester; 10 SEP Holy Moly & the Crackers Grewelthorpe Village Hall, Ripon; 11 SEP Souad Massi Merlin Theatre, Sheffield; Souad Massi Howard Assembly Room, Leeds 0844 848 2727; 16 SEP Damien O’Kane The Crescent, York 0871 220 0250; 16-18 SEP Otley Folk Festival; 17 SEP Eduardo Niebla Cast, Doncaster 01302 303959; 18 SEP [talk and concert] Rakesh Chaurasia Sage Gateshead 0191 443 4661; Damien O’Kane Holmfirth Picturedrome 01484 689759; 22 SEP Calaita Flamenco Son The Wonder Inn, Manchester; Shooglenifty The Platform, Morecambe 01524 582803; 23 SEP Calaita Flamenco Son The Continental, Preston 01772 499425; Nancy Kerr & The Sweet Visitor Band Sage Gateshead 0191 443 4661; 23-25 SEP Cornucopia Festival Burton Constable Hall, Skirlaugh; 25 SEP Calaita Flamenco Son The Swan, Dobcross 01457 873451; 27-28 SEP Nancy Kerr & The Sweet Visitor Band The Greystones, Sheffield; 28 SEP Ashley Hutchings Sage Gateshead 0191 443 4661; The Master Musicians of Jajouka Howard Assembly Room, Leeds 0844 848 2727; 29 SEP Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill Howard Assembly Room, Leeds 0844 848 2727; Nancy Kerr & The Sweet Visitor Band ARC, Stockton-on-Tees 01642 525199; Spiro Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield; 30 SEP Kate Rusby King George’s Hall, Blackburn 0844 847 1664.

SCOTLAND 26-27 AUG Summer Isles Festival Achiltibuie; 27 AUG Capercaillie The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh 0131 668 2019; Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers St John’s, Edinburgh 0131 225 6470; 27-28 AUG Edinburgh Mela Leith Links; 1 SEP The Ska Vengers + Esperanza Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow 0844 477 2000; 2-10 SEP Blas Festival The Highlands


Barmer Boys Spellbinding Rajasthani folk

The Indian group come from the Manganiyar caste in Rajasthan and comprise of the impressive vocalist Mangey Khan (pictured) plus dholak (two-sided drum), morchang ( Jew’s harp) and khartal (large stapler-like castanets) players. They recorded their most recent album, At Home

(reviewed in #103), in their village, Ramsar, and the music is a wonderful combination of Sufi songs and traditional Rajasthani folk. The Barmer Boys have toured extensively across the US and Europe and are about to make their UK debut this autumn.

1 SEP Gloucester Guildhall 01452 503050; 2 SEP Bradford Playhouse 07870 100590; 3 SEP Moseley Folk Festival; 4 SEP Bristol Folk House 0117 926 2987; 6 SEP Rich Mix, London 020 7613 7498.




17/08/2016 11:52



Sufi music, like that of Turkey’s whirling dervishes (read more on p26), occurs all across the Islamic world. Simon Broughton chooses the standout recordings, going for the more traditional and spiritual examples

01 Al Kindi Ensemble Aleppian Sufi Trance (Le Chant du Monde, 2003)

With singer Sheikh Habboush, the late Julien Weiss and his Al Kindi Ensemble pay a superb tribute to the amazing Sufi lodges of Aleppo. The Syrian city was a centre of Sufism from the 13th century and this two-CD digipack includes pictures and information about the different brotherhoods and lodges. Sadly they’re probably all gone now. Reviewed in #23.

02 Kudsi Erguner Ensemble Ferahfeza Mevleví Ayíní (Imaj Muzik, 2001)

There are a lot of recordings of Mevlevi music, but this is one of the more historically informed. It features ney (reed flute) player Kudsi Erguner and his ensemble playing music for the sema ceremony commissioned by Sultan Mahmud II from composer Ismail Dede in 1839. There are excellent instrumentalists in the group.

03 Faiz Ali Faiz L’Amour de Toi me Fait Danser (Accords Croisés, 2004)

Faiz Ali Faiz is probably the leading figure in qawwali music today, the most famous Sufi style in Pakistan and India. The music with solo voices and backing singers driven by tabla drums, breaks over you in waves. This well-produced album, with pictures and texts, takes its title from Punjabi poet Bulleh Shah. Reviewed in #27.

04 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan King of Sufi Qawwali (Manteca/Union Square, 2006) There are countless 98 S O N G L I N E S

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recordings of Nusrat, who died in 1997, from superb concert performances on Ocora and Navras to fusion successes like Mustt Mustt on Real World. This double CD, compiled by Songlines contributor Jameela Siddiqi, includes his most representative repertoire opening with ‘Allah Hoo’ and concluding with ‘Dam Mast Qalander’ as his concerts often did. Reviewed in #40.

05 Ali Akbar Moradi Mystical Odes and Secular Music (Inédit, 2001)

Unlike qawwali, the sacred tanbur music of Kurdistan is little known. The tanbur is a long-necked lute and is considered sacred among the devotees. Moradi is the living master of the tradition and accompanied on daf and tombak (drums) he plays and sings exquisite mystical songs. A gem of a disc.

06 Abida Parveen Ishq (Accords Croisés, 2005)

Abida Parveen, from Pakistan, is a living superstar of Sufi music and a rare woman performer in the Sufi world. She sings solo kafi songs, rather than qawwali. She’s always best seen live and untamed, but as that is a rare opportunity this well-produced disc with Bijan Chemirani on daf (drum) and Henri Tournier on bansuri (flute) is the next best thing. Reviewed in #31.

07 Sheikh Yasin Al-Tuhami The Magic of the Sufi Inshad (Long Distance, 1998)

Given how widespread Sufi music is in Egypt – particularly at moulid (saints day) festivals – it’s surprising there are so few internationally available recordings. This

features Egypt’s most celebrated inshad (Sufi singer) in two incredibly intense performances on two CDs. Sheikh Yasin AlTuhami is accompanied here by fiddle, ney (flute), oud, qanun and percussion.

08 Various Artists Gnawa Home Songs (Accords Croisés, 2006)

There are many Sufi brotherhoods in Morocco, each with their own music – the Aissawa with long trumpets and drums are the most spectacular. But the most celebrated are the Gnawa, and these recordings of some of the great masters are superb. A high-quality disc with deep gimbri (three-stringed bass) playing and soulful songs. Reviewed in #45.

09 Various Artists Sufi Soul (Network Medien, 1997)

This is the best available compilation of Sufi music from across the Islamic world. In a two-disc digipack, Sufi Soul includes 21 selections from Senegal to Afghanistan covering all the main genres and more. There are standout tracks from Kurdish singer Ostad Elahi as well as Mevlevi music, the Sabri Brothers and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

10 Various Artists Troubadours of Allah (Wergo, 1999)

This splendidly titled double album, compiled by Peter Pannke, features the incredible diversity of Sufi music in Pakistan. There are a couple of qawwali tracks, but mostly it’s solo singers and groups of fakirs playing the music you hear at shrines across the country. There’s a superb booklet with information and pictures too.

+ LET US KNOW Have you other suggestions? Let us know,

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17/08/2016 11:57

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