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The legendary Ethiopiques star brings the vibes

FAMILY ATLANTICA Africa meets Venezuela in East London

£4.95 ISSUE 95 OCTOBER 2013


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Jupiter & Okwess International

The Congolese ‘Rebel General’ reveals his long-fought battle to modernise his country’s music.


Timo Alakotila


Finland’s quiet harmonium master steps forward into the spotlight.


Mulatu Astatke

The father of Ethio-jazz recalls his pioneering of a new musical style.


Family Atlantica

The band that unites traditions and rhythms across the Atlantic.

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Peter Culshaw explores the profound Indian classical music genre. Songlines 3




7 Welcome 9 Top of the World CD 10 M  y World: Rufus Wainwright 13 BONUS CD Arctic Paradise 14 N  ews 22 S onglines at WOMAD 2013 24 G  rooves: Lucy Ward, Almeida, Yasmine Hamdan 25 Homegrown: Amadou Diagne 27 C  erys Matthews 28 Songlines Music Travel 31 G  lobe-Rocker: Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band 32 Letters



52 Beginner’s Guide to Paco Peña 54 Festival Profile: Woodford 57 Postcard from Aswan 59 S ubscribe +GET A FREE CD 91 G  ig Guide 96 You Should Have Been There... 98 B  ackpage from Reykjavík





31 Win a Reverend Peyton CD 39 W  in a Jupiter & Okwess International CD 41 W  in Timo Alakotila tickets 45 Win a Mulatu Astatke CD 87 Win Hook, Line & Singer book


66 The Americas

72 81 Middle






79 Asia



83 South Pacific


World Cinema


74 Songlines 5





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Editor-in-chief Simon Broughton Publisher Paul Geoghegan Editor Matthew Milton Editor-at-large Jo Frost Assistant Editor Alexandra Petropoulos Art Director Jenni Doggett Advertisement Manager James Anderson-Hanney Subscriptions Manager and Online Content Manager Edward Craggs Podcast Producer Nasim Masoud Reviews Editor Matthew Milton News Editor Nathaniel Handy Listings Tatiana Rucinska World Cinema Editor Ed Stocker Production Consultant Dermot Jones Financial Controller Iwona Perucka Commercial Consultant Chris Walsh Editorial Director Lyn Hughes Contributing Editors Jane Cornwell, Mark Ellingham, Sue Steward & Nigel Williamson Intern Gus Isherwood Cover photo Barry Hayden

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Printing Polestar Colchester Ltd, Severalls Industrial Estate, Colchester, Essex CO4 4HT. Record trade distribution Worldwide Magazine Distributors. Tel: 0121 788 3112 UK newsstand & overseas newstrade distribution COMAG Specialist Division. Tel: 01895 433800 All rights are reserved. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or in part, is strictly forbidden without the prior written consent of the publishers. No responsibility for incorrect information can be accepted. The views expressed in the articles are those of the author, and not necessarily of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of statements in Songlines, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions or for matters arising from clerical or printer’s errors, or for advertisers not completing their contracts. Songlines is also available in audio format from the Talking Newspaper Association, tel: 01435 866102, Songlines USPS 4638 is published Jan/Feb, March, April/May, June, July, Aug/Sept, Oct, Nov/Dec by Songlines Publishing Limited. Published by Songlines Publishing Ltd, PO Box 54209, London, W14 0WU. ISSN 1464-8113 © 2013 Songlines Publishing Ltd Songlines logo trade mark, registered under No. 2427714. Directors: Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, Paul Geoghegan, Lyn Hughes and Chris Pollard

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The tune flows and intertwines like the illustrations themselves

hat I love about music is the way it can be so connected to place. You can go to Mali and visit specific locations from the epic of King Sundiata. You can go to Aswan in Egypt and hear songs about its gigantic dam. You can go to Louisiana and play ‘Allons à Lafayette’ as you head along Highway 10. Recently I was in Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland in the north-east of England. It’s a magical, atmospheric spot, partly because it gets cut off from the mainland by the tide twice a day. You have to time your visit according to the sea. And it’s magical for its history. Lindisfarne was the crucible of Christianity in England and where the Lindisfarne Gospels were created. The book is one of the greatest works of Anglo-Saxon art, with intricate interwoven designs and beautiful illustrations of the four evangelists. Amazingly, it was painted by just one man called Eadfrith around 700AD, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne. Even though I’m not a believer, I feel incredibly proud of what this book represents and the fact that it was created here on this rocky outcrop in this place of mists and shifting sands. The Lindisfarne Gospels belong to the British Library in London, but the book is on a rare three-month loan to the north-east and on show in Durham till the end of September. As I was standing in the ruins of the priory on Lindisfarne with the images of the intertwining fronds, birds and animals in my mind, I was wondering if any music had been inspired by the Gospels. That very evening I went to a recital of Northumbrian pipe and fiddle music by Andrew and Margaret Watchorn. They tell good stories to introduce the tunes, and the Northumbrian smallpipes are a great regional speciality. The whole evening was full of music that related to places in Northumberland, or to specific people or events. It wasn’t long before they played a tune called ‘Lindisfarne’ by Matt Seattle – an outsider, but one who’s become a piper and honorary Northumbrian. It’s hard to know what Seattle had in mind when he wrote this tune, but I sensed the timeless majesty of the place rather than the tourist scramble to get back before the tide covers the causeway. But it was a piece they played called ‘The Return’ by Kathryn Tickell that struck me most. It’s from her Debateable Lands album and was composed in anticipation of the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the north-east. The tune, in a gentle triple rhythm, flows and intertwines like the illustrations themselves. I left with a much deeper sense of the region and its characters. That’s something that music has the power to do.

ON THE SONGLINES STEREO ALEX The cool Ethio-jazz of Mulatu Astatke’s latest album, Sketches of Ethiopia.

MATT Pickin’ n Clickin’ by Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys.

courtesy of ED ‘Kele Magni’ from Vieux Farka Touré’s new album Mon Pays.

PAUL Mohammad Reza Mortazavi – he blew me away at this year’s WOMAD!

SONGLINES TABLET For a limited time only, we’re offering a 30-day free trial when you subscribe to the Songlines Tablet edition for the iPad or Android. For more details see p8 Songlines 7



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


Vieux Farka Touré ‘Yer Gando’

From Mon Pays on Six Degrees Records Touré steps out of his father’s shadow, confronting the Malian crisis on an album that pitches his guitar against koras and pianos. See p63


Monsieur Doumani ‘Out-of-Touch Guy’

From Grippy Grappa on Monsieur Doumani Cypriot dance pieces are given a witty and catchy edge in this upbeat revamp of early traditions. See p73


Peter Rowan ‘Keepin’ it Between the Lines’ From The Old School on Compass Records The bluegrass legend offers up a seriously cool trip – half history lesson, half ode to the future of the genre. See p69


Georgia Ruth ‘Codi Angor’

From Week of Pines on Gwymon Delicate harp, wheezing organ and abstract ambience meet the exquisitely soft voice of Welsh folk singer Georgia Ruth. See p74


Lobi Traoré ‘Makono’

From Bwati Kono Vol 1 on KSK Records The late Malian bluesman is truly the real deal in these live recordings that celebrate the glories of Bamako’s afterhours nightlife. See p65

10 4

9 3

8 2 1


5 7


Nitin Sawhney ‘Nadia’

From One Zero on Metropolis/Cherry Red Records Live and unplugged, Sawhney proves himself a top guitarist and composer, fusing East and West with skill and innovation. See p85


Tal National ‘Wongharey’

From Kaani on FatCat Records Expertly recorded moody guitars and clattering drums lend a funky note to this refreshing release by Niger’s culturally diverse, 13-strong super-group. See p62


Cüneyt Sepetçi & Orchestra Dolapdere ‘Gayda’ From Bahriye Çiftetellisi on LM Dupli-cation Hot and steamy dance songs by Istanbul’s Gypsy clarinetist. See p85


Genticorum ‘Le Forgeron’

From Enregistré Live on Les Productions du Moulin Québec’s most vibrant and energetic band ramps things up for their live-recorded fifth album that’s lipsmackingly good. See p67

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Gjermund Larsen Trio ‘Argentum’ From Reise on Grappa A spellbinding work of art by the Norwegian fiddler and his two companions: ethereal instrumental pieces with a touch of baroque. See p72

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We’re giving away a choice of Vieux Farka Touré, Monsieur Doumani or Nitin Sawhney’s new albums (to new subscribers only). See the flyer inside your covermount CD for details, visit or call +44 (0)20 7371 2777.

Songlines 9




My World rufus wainwright

The talented singer-songwriter confesses his love of Oum Kalthoum, rebetika and country blues to Mark Ellingham


Tim Maia ‘Bom Senso’

From Nobody Can Live Forever on Luaka Bop “Tim Maia was this incredible singer – kind of like the Stevie Wonder of Brazil.”


Roza Eskenazi ‘En Taxei’

From Voices of Rebetiko on Ta Nea “I’m a big fan of rebetika. It’s so dark and so decadent and full of history and malice.”


The Philip Koutev National Folk Ensemble ‘Pilenze Pee, Govori’

From Bulgarian A Capella on JVC/Victor Entertainment Inc “The entirely different harmonies and ways of singing... I still don’t know how they do it!”


Oum Kalthoum ‘Tab en-Nasim al Alil’

From El Sett on Buda Musique “I love that people applaud in the middle of her songs. And her look, too – those sunglasses were rock’n’roll!”


Doc & Merle Watson ‘St James Infirmary’

From Remembering Merle on Sugar Hill Records “Doc Watson struck a really deep chord, particularly his song ‘Saint James Infirmary’. That was a big song for me.” 10 Songlines


with rebetika is that it dirties it up and brings out the imperfections.” Roza Eskenazi was a celebrated Jewish-Greek rebetika singer who recorded literally hundreds of songs in the 30s. ‘En Taxei’ has the loping, halting rhythm that is an irresistible characteristic of the genre. “It has this broken aspect to it, which is very nice, and very powerful.” He is on a roll. “Of course, the big world sound which I really grew up with was Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares – the Bulgarian choral album.” ‘Pilenze Pee, Govori’ is perhaps the most haunting of the songs featured on the album, performed here by the Philip Koutev National Folk Ensemble. “For me it was a sound that correlated with a kind of sadness and longing but also a sense of forgiveness and warmth. Maybe it was about my troubled teenage years. I was gay – I’m still gay – and I led a somewhat dramatic, wild youth. Maybe there was a ‘mother’ aspect to the music, the acceptance. It was calming – like a retreat. And the entirely different harmonies and ways of singing... I still don’t know how they do it!” For his next choice, Wainwright moves closer to home. “Going back to something very familiar, I grew up with a lot of country and blues music. This was stuff my mother played all the time at home and it was one of the building blocks on which my own music was based. My mother knew that whole canon – the Harry Smith archive of American recordings – but for me Doc Watson was the one who struck a really deep chord. And particularly his song ‘Saint James Infirmary’, which is about a cowboy who has syphilis. I kind of related to that as a young gay person. And to the whole Gothic drama of it all – the storytelling. That was a big song for me.” From classic old-time US roots, his playlist ventures south, down to Brazil. “For the fifth song, I really must have a Brazilian,” he confides. “I love Brazilian music and probably my favourite is a guy from the 70s called Tim Maia. He was this incredible singer – a big, fat guy, and really funky – kind of like the Stevie Wonder of Brazil. There’s an album of his called Cultura Racional that I love.” The track ‘Bom Semso’, taken from that album, has funkiness in abundance, proving that psychedelic soul works beautifully in Brazilian Portuguese. “Maia seems to have been forgotten these days but he was such an extraordinary musician. The album was made at a point when he got into this whole cult thing, ‘Rational Culture’, which had a system of beliefs based around energy and crystals and rainbows. It was all very Glastonbury, really.” ALBUM Rufus Wainwright guests on Pink Martini’s new album, Get Happy. See p86 PODCAST Hear a bonus track on this issue’s podcast October 2013

Barry Holmes

Also on your CD: five tracks chosen by Rufus Wainwright

erhaps the greatest of today’s singersongwriters, Rufus Wainwright is a man whose music, right from the start, has been just that little bit more daring, more charged and more original than the rest. His songs are like operatic miniatures, the lyrics as captivating as the dramatically orchestrated arrangements. But then again, great things were always expected of Rufus and his sister Martha, being the children of the legendary songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. I catch up with him at Glastonbury 2013 just after his solo performance on the Pyramid Stage, “opening,” as he teases his audience, “for Kenny Rogers.” He’s only been offstage for half an hour, and is keen to go and watch Rogers himself, but is courtesy personified, immediately warming to the task of pinpointing world musicians that he loves and who have influenced his own music. As he acknowledges, his own background is international, having grown up at the McGarrigle house in bilingual Montreal, where musical visitors were as likely to sing Québécois chansons as American folk. He, too, sings and sometimes composes in French. We begin by talking about African music and his enthusiasm for Amadou & Mariam, with whom his sister Martha played as part of Africa Express – a project he’d love to take part in himself sometime. But for his playlist, he looks not to Mali but to Egypt, in the form of the diva Oum Kalthoum. “I’m a big fan,” he asserts. “I saw a documentary on her in France when I was a teenager, and I had this immediate reaction – similar to seeing someone like Maria Callas or Tina Turner – where you realise this one person is the apex of her field and she knows it and everyone knows it. I have been fascinated ever since. There are actually certain songs of mine where I’ve lifted a little phrase of hers – because God knows she sung a lot of phrases! My song ‘Poses’ has a kind of undulating line that goes ‘Oh no, oh no, oh no’ – that’s one of hers.” The undulating lines are plentiful on ‘Tab en-Nasim al Alil’, which matches a decadent-sounding orchestra against Kalthoum’s serpentine singing. “An Oum Kalthoum performance is such a very emotional experience. Then there’s the whole myth, like how she played just that one gig outside of the Arab world – in Paris.” He barely pauses for breath. “Staying in the same area – well, the Mediterranean – I’m also a big fan of rebetika. A Greek friend of mine made a CD of various artists and I was completely enthralled. I gravitated towards the whole ethos of that music. It’s so dark and so decadent and full of history and malice. I like to think there is something about the Greek ideal – the ideal beauty – and what’s so great


Songlines 11

SONGLINES AT WOMAD 2013 As ever, WOMAD Charlton Park wowed the crowds with a stellar line-up. We were there to soak up the good times and music PHOTOS PAUL TOMLINS, KIA COATES, NEKANE REQUEJO DE OZAMIZ, SIMON BAINES, CHRISTOPHE BERNIER

22 Songlines

October 2013

Clockwise (from far left): the iconic WOMAD sign (KC); Edward from Songlines ready for action; Tamikrest (PT); the parade (CB); Tamikrest (PT); ready, aim, fire! (NO); revellers enjoy the music (KC); Family Atlantica stop by the Songlines stand; Kissmet (PT); punters shade themselves from the sun (NO); one of WOMAD’s younger fans (SB); Barrule on stage; Lee Scratch Perry (PT)

Songlines 23

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words Barry Hayden

Singer Nynke Laverman introduced the world to Frisian fado. She talks to Tim Cumming about language, motherhood and her new album

34 Songlines

July 2013


°Nynke °


“When I sing in Frisian, I cannot hide, so it’s honest and the audience feels that”

Songlines 35

The ethio vibe Chris Menist speaks to Mulatu Astatke, the godfather of Ethio-jazz, about his pioneering music, and how he so expertly treads between innovation and tradition



uch as the bent strings of a blues guitar solo can transport us straight to the banks of the Mississippi, so are the pentatonic notes of the Ethiopian tezeta mode just as evocative and recognisable nowadays – be they blown out in the urgent saxophone playing of Getatchew Mekuria or delicately sounded out on the vibraphone of the legendary Mulatu Astatke. It is Astatke’s take on the tezeta mode, which he calls Ethio-jazz, that has proved to be the entry point into Ethiopian music for many Western ears. At a time when Ethiopian sounds and modes are regularly being aped by groups far and wide, it seems like a good moment to catch up with one of the key figures of the country’s golden era. Paying a visit to the UK late last year to give a talk at The Royal Geographic Society in London and play a gig at London’s KOKO a few days later as part of a European tour, Astatke appears keen to wave the flag for more recognition of his country’s contribution to global music, as well as underlining his own contribution. Born in 1943, in Gimma, south-west Ethiopia, he came over to North Wales to continue his education aged 16, focusing initially on the sciences, with a view to becoming an aeronautical engineer. “It is so hard to find out about your talents when you are living in a third-world country,” he states, “because music, arts and theatre are not academic subjects in high school.” Encouraged by one of his teachers to pursue music, and after overcoming initial opposition from his family, he moved to London to continue his studies. “I tried trumpet, I tried clarinet, keyboard – I was playing everything there. After I finished school, I went to Trinity College. I started playing different clubs in London and hanging out with jazz musicians – Tubby Hayes, Joe »

42 Songlines


째 Mulat u

Astat ke 째






This rural oasis of an Australian festival rings in the New Year with great music from hundreds of bands. Martin Buzacott finds out how it almost became too successful


or 51 weeks of the year, Woodfordia, the 500-acre site an hour north of Brisbane managed by the Queensland Folk Federation, is an idyllic hidden valley where kangaroos and wallabies graze, just as they did for millennia under the watch of the land’s traditional Jinibara Nation owners. But on Christmas Day, cars full of early-bird campers pour into the grounds, heralding the beginning, two days later, of the largest annual gathering of musicians and artists anywhere Down Under. With around 120,000 annual attendees, the Woodford Folk Festival is Australia’s

54 Songlines

largest outdoor festival staged in a single location. For the six days leading up to the New Year, the former grazing country comes as close as this largely agnostic nation ever gets to a site of pilgrimage. It’s a massive music festival, with 2,400 performers on 21 different stages, but Woodford also embraces a plethora of talks, workshops, street theatre and spontaneous outbursts of creativity. While the rest of Australia is stampeding department stores in search of post-Christmas plunder or cramming onto nearby beaches, Woodfordians are meditating on hilltops or hugging total strangers, as Tibetan monks,

yoga workshop instructors and most of all, world musicians, provide an eclectic soundtrack. It’s part Glastonbury, part Burning Man, but with a distinctively Australian irreverence. Over its 27-year existence the midsummer event has sometimes experienced dramatic weather, most recently in 2011 when critical infrastructure was washed away in the Queensland floods. But, like the land itself, the Woodford Folk Festival has a capacity for rejuvenation after disaster, and its patrons love it so much that they pay for the privilege of planting trees on the site at

October 2013

a special weekend every May. Bill Hauritz, the festival director since its inception, found Woodfordia after the originally smallscale celebration of folk music and cultures became so popular that it outgrew its first location in Maleny, to the north. “We’d given up looking at real estate,” says the much-respected 60-year-old Hauritz, whose own self-deprecating humour has long been regarded as the spirit of the festival in microcosm. With no suitable land available to host the festival, Hauritz reluctantly recommended that the event be terminated after eight years, a victim of its own success. But then, the very next morning, an estate agent insisted on driving him to Woodford, where a cleared swathe of cattle country with no vehicle access had been discovered. And it just so happened that it was on the market. “When we walked onto the land, I couldn’t stop my heart from thumping,” confesses Hauritz, a former cricketer and musician blessed with legendary resourcefulness. “It was perfect, but I had to play it really cool with the agent so as not to push the price up!” The next day, destiny took its course, and the site was purchased. With it came the indigenous Jinibara Nation’s relationship with ‘country’ dating back millennia, and ever since, Hauritz’s team, consisting of 16 permanent staff, 100 casual contractors and 2,600 volunteers, have taken pains to maintain engagement with the land’s traditional owners. Little surprise, then, that when you enter the regenerated bushland site, the earth beneath your feet seems to have a strange power about it, a kind of indestructible life force

that reaches out to you. People come away changed by the very feel of the place, and then they return, year after year. “It’s because the Woodford organisers have been so respectful towards the Jinibara people, and we show the same thing back,” explains Jinibara elder Kenny Murphy. “The spirits we involve make it like this.” Indigenous activist Sam Watson puts it this way: “The songlines are so strong in this area that the magic of the aboriginal dreaming reaches out and draws people into them. I don’t believe that people of good heart can actually come to this place and not take away with them a part of that aboriginal dreaming story.” One of the festival’s regular performers is Tenzin Choegyal, a Tibetan exile who found a new home-away-from-home at Woodford. He now leads the Sunrise Concert on New Year’s Day, while also maintaining the Buddhist prayer wheels dotted throughout the site. “For me, when I first visited here, it felt like the big teaching spaces I used to attend with the Dalai Lama in India,” he reveals. “It’s a similar feeling and a similar heart-space, but in a musical way.” As you’ve probably deduced by now, Woodford doesn’t feature many mainstream headliners. Hauritz jokes: “Our marketing plan says that we’re asking people to pay high ticket prices to come and listen to obscure musicians while camping in poorly maintained campsites in pouring rain or searing heat!” That’s not entirely true, of course, but it typifies Woodford’s long-time policy of addressing problems head-on and avoiding traditional

publicity spin – Hauritz puts himself forward for a public grilling at the end of every festival. Attendance continues to increase on the basis of personal recommendations and happy festival-goers alone. It means that those who attend, more than 60% of them with a university education, are usually seeking a deeper engagement than they might do at more commercial music festivals. Millionaire businessmen, politicians and television personalities are among the regulars, often indistinguishable among the happy crowds whose revelry stops dead for three minutes of complete silence on New Year’s Eve, and reaches its climax at the burning of specially constructed wooden structures at the closing ceremony (pictured above right) on the night of January 1. But it’s the safety of the Woodford Festival that attracts families and women (who make up 60% of the audience): crime is virtually nonexistent and the event is staged with a combination of military efficiency, trademark good humour and friendly camaraderie. As former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke said of Woodfordians on his fifth visit earlier this year: “There are genuine differences of opinion, but people at Woodford listen with respect to views that they don’t necessarily agree with. They’re here to learn, and if the world behaved like that it would be an infinitely better place!” DATE The Woodford Folk Festival runs from December 27 2013-January 1 2014 ONLINE

Songlines 55



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e Angélique Kidjo

Spirit Rising: Live from Guest Street The singer from Benin invites guests for her first live album. Reviewed in #85

u Goran Bregovic´

Champagne for Gypsies Loud, fast and furious Gypsy pop beats by the Balkan superstar. Reviewed in #91

r Amparo Sánchez Alma de Cantaora The Spanish singer offers up unusual yet charming Tex-Mex sounds. A Top of the World in #92

i Rachid Taha

Zoom The Algerian singer returns with a swagger and a host of rock stars. A Top of the World in #92

t Femi Kuti

No Place for My Dream Infectious rhythms by the heir to Fela’s Afrobeat throne. A Top of the World in #93

o Skatalites

Walk With Me The remaining members stay true to the skank-driven formula of the 60s. Reviewed in #86

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Gilberto Gil, Béla Fleck, Mokoomba, Christine Salem, The Great Folk Music Debate... Top of the World #94 CD feat Mark Radcliffe’s playlist + Etnisk Musikklubb Sampler CD

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#93 July 2013

Top 25 Mali Albums, Etran Finatawa, Mugham of Azerbaijan, Beginner’s Guide to Irakere... Top of the World #93 CD feat Mick Jagger’s playlist + Azerbaijani Mugham CD



#92 June 2013

Manu Chao, Songlines Music Awards Winners, Festival Guide 2013, Peret, Beginner’s Guide to Abida Parveen... Top of the World #92 CD feat Eugene Hütz’s playlist



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Rokia Traoré, The Nile Project, Ballaké Sissoko, Songlines Music Awards Nominees, Rainforest World Music Festival... Top of the World #91 CD feat Jocelyn Pook’s playlist



#90 March 2013

Goran Bregović, Remembering Ravi Shankar, Music and Food, Enzo Avitabile, Oysterband... Top of the World #90 CD feat Joe Boyd’s playlist

Songlines 59

Songlines Magazine (October 2013, #95)  

Features Rufus Wainwright, Jupiter & Okwess International, Mulatu Astatke, two free CDs, and album and world cinema reviews from all around...

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