Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A Tribute to the World Cup Losers #4: Japan and Portugal

We are currently featuring a special series on the World Cup and will return to our normal schedule including "This Week's Picks" and "Wednesday's Reader Picks" when the series is finished. We do hope you enjoy the current series. 

Alright, so maybe calling them "losers" is a little harsh seeing as they made their way into the final 16, but this new series will focus on the countries who are eliminated during the final stage of the World Cup. As the 2010 World Cup in South Africa moves into the elimination stage, Nomad's Playlist will be showcasing our favorite picks from the countries unfortunate enough to be thrown out of the running. 

Japan played a rough game against Paraguay and lost in the shot out at the end. While Paraguay may end up in our series before the World Cup is over, it is Japan that makes it here first.

"Tokyo Light" by Chieko Mori

Chieko Mori is one of leading virtuosos on the Japanese koto. Mori was trained in classical Japanese music, but soon adopted a fresh approach to playing that incorporated Western acoustic ideals. This track, "Toyko Light" from the album A Garden of Forking Paths (2008) is a refreshing, soothing piece. Straddling the worlds of the Orient, West, Classical and Contemporary, Mori has forged her way by embracing them.

In a close game, Portugal tried their best to win over their neighbors, Spain. But in the end, Spain, the favorites, did take the game and sent Portugal home and into our series.

"Leva-me aos Fados" by Ana Moura

Dominating the tradition of Portuguese fado music, Ana Moura has become a fast sensation.The fado songs are songs of pain, resignation, and emotion. This song, meaning "The fados takes me" is a lovely example of the style. Moura's voice is strong and powerful and even if you do not understand the language, you feel as involved in the music as if you did understand. A genre that is often best described as nostalgia, is the perfect send home for the Portuguese football team.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A Tribute to the World Cup Losers #3: Slovakia and Chile

Alright, so maybe calling them "losers" is a little harsh seeing as they made their way into the final 16, but this new series will focus on the countries who are eliminated during the final stage of the World Cup. As the 2010 World Cup in South Africa moves into the elimination stage, Nomad's Playlist will be showcasing our favorite picks from the countries unfortunate enough to be thrown out of the running.


Playing a rough game against Netherlands, Slovakia is taken out of the running. As Netherlands progresses into the final eight, Slovakia progressed into our series.

"Kedy Toto Zitko Zide" Performed by Jan Ambroz

Finding music from Slovakia is not an easy task. I did resist the temptation to showcase some Slovakian heavy metal and decided upon something a little more traditional. This song is bouncy and happy-go-lucky. It may not necessarily reflect the feelings of the Slovakian football team, but it will certainly cheer them up as they head home.

Chile was unfortunately paired up against Brazil, and in a demonstration of their dominance of the game, Brazil took Chile down without any mercy. However, the good news for us is that we now get to listen to some good music. 

"Cancion de Amor" by Angel Parra

Angel Parra is famous for promoting the Nueva Canción style that was big in the 1950s and 60s in South America, especially Chile. The style is identified with left-wing politics and Parra did his best to promote the style to ex-patriots living outside of Chile in Europe, North America and Australia. 

Monday, 28 June 2010

A Tribute to the World Cup Losers #2: England & Mexico

We are currently featuring a special series on the World Cup and will return to our normal schedule including "This Week's Picks" and "Wednesday's Reader Picks" when the series is finished. We do hope you enjoy the current series. 

Alright, so maybe calling them "losers" is a little harsh seeing as they made their way into the final 16, but this new series will focus on the countries who are eliminated during the final stage of the World Cup. As the 2010 World Cup in South Africa moves into the elimination stage, Nomad's Playlist will be showcasing our favorite picks from the countries unfortunate enough to be thrown out of the running.

England saw itself absolutely battered by Germany yesterday to the disappointment of their countrymen and won their way into the third spot on our series. 

"The Testimony of Patience Kershaw" by The Unthanks

This is a beautiful track off their recent album, Here's the Tender Coming (2009). This duo of sisters, Rachel and Becky Unthanks, from Northumberland, have aimed for "a warmer, calmer shade of sad" in this album than their first album Bairns. This song makes sense of that statement. The lyrics tell a sad story, but the music plays a piece that's eloquent in it's melancholy. A few English fans might even say this song, about a girl trying to make it in a man's world, seems the appropriate send off for the team.

Mexico had the bad luck of being paired with Argentina, who have proved they'll go far this year, for it's first game in the final stage of the World Cup.

"Paloma Negra" by Chavela Vargas

Chavela Vargas was actually born in Costa Rica, but fleeing to Mexico at an early age she became one of the most famous singers of the Mexican ranchera genre. This track "The Black Dove" beautifully demonstrates the ranchera style. It's a sad song with a single voice accompanied by guitar. Vargas seems to almost be crying in parts of the song which may reflect the feelings of the Mexicans who had high hopes for their football team. 

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A Tribute to the World Cup Losers #1: South Korea & USA

Alright, so maybe calling them "losers" is a little harsh seeing as they made their way into the final 16, but this new series will focus on the countries who are eliminated during the final stage of the World Cup. As the 2010 World Cup in South Africa moves into the elimination stage, Nomad's Playlist will be showcasing our favorite picks from the countries unfortunate enough to be thrown out of the running.

South Korea
Losing their match against Uruguay yesterday, South Korea is the first to be eliminated from the World Cup final 16, and the first to be featured here on Nomad's Playlist.

"Kayagum Sanjo Variation" performed by Hwang Byeonggi

This piece is performed on the Korean instrument, the Kayagum, a 12 string zither-like instrument. The style of music is sanjo, literally meaning scattered melodies and involves some improvisation. Byeonggi is one of the most famous performers of the Kayagum sanjo. This piece is relaxing, though not by a lack of interesting material. Byeonggi shows off his skill with beautiful patterns in a demonstration of the appeal of Korean music. A perfect tribute and send off for a country who was unfortunate enough to be sent home so soon.

United States of America
With an attempt that surprised most, the USA still came up short in their match against Ghana. However, they won the honor of being our our second featured country in the series.

"Cross Road Blues" by Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson is an icon of American delta blues. His signature voice and slide guitar set the standards for all other blues musicians to follow. His poorly documented life and mysterious early death have added to Robert Johnson's mystic and the creation of Faustian legend. As one of my favorite all time blues artists, we are sadly left with only a legacy of 29 songs by the blues great. This one, one of his more famous, is a great song for the USA as they return home from the World Cup. "I went down to the crossroad/fell down on my knees/Asked the lord above "have mercy now/ save poor Bob if you please." 

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Nomad's Calendar: Coming Up

There are some great shows on the horizon before we head into the crazy month of July. Tonight is the World Arts of World Issues concert at Cargo and Taara performs a free show at Momo's. 
  • June 26th, Saturday 7:00pm: World Arts for World Issues @ Cargo (82 Rivington Street Shoreditch EC2A 3AY) £11 For 'World Arts For World Issues Event' presented by The Human Culture Collective Featuring: Talvin Singh with Niladri Kumar, Carmen Souza, The Attab Haddad Ensemble, Julene
  • *June 29th, Tuesday 8:00pm: Taara @ MOMO'S (25 Heddon Street W1B 4 BH) FREE Seyni Diop was born in Dakar into a large family of artists and musicians. He started playing the bass and guitar at the age of 14 with his father Bello and brother-in-law Etu Dieng. Taara began as a group of friends playing music together  but soon gained recognition with their acoustic afro-jazz fusion with flavours of the traditional music of Senegal. 

Can't go to either of those shows, or looking to fill up your summer with concerts? Check out the full Nomad's Calendar and prepare yourself for a jam-packed July!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week reader joann3737 introduces us to a style completely different than anything we've showcased thus far.

"I Want to be Your Lover" by Pan Ron

This track is from the recently released album Electric Cambodia. The album features music from the 1960s and early 70s known as the Golden Era in Cambodia- a period of rapid modernization. The Golden Era came to a sad end with the Pol Pot Khmer regime and many of the artists of the time did not survive. This album is offered as a tribute to those artists. This artist, Pan Ron is one of the many artists not to survive the Khmer regime. This is a huge loss, as demonstrated in this song. For a genre some find it hard to enjoy, Pan Ron gently eases the listener into the hypnotic melody. The guitar demonstrates the modernization trends of the time, blending Cambodian sounds with a psychedelic rock aesthetic.
(Reviewed by joann3737)

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? Send in your review of a track for our weekly "Reader's Picks" series. Here, we want to know what you listen to.

Please visit our Reader Submission Details Page for more information on how to submit any material to Nomad's Playlist. 

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

London African Music Festival

The Southbank Centre has announced it's schedule for it's eighth London African Music Festival (Sept 10-12, 2010). There's a great line-up planned and several free shows that shouldn't be missed. So, update your calendars and we look forward to seeing you there!

London African Music Festival
Now in its eighth year, the London African Music Festival returns to Southbank Centre to celebrate some of the best in music from across Africa, whether it be the incredible Master Drummers of Africa or the meditative songs of beganna master Alemu Aga. There’s also a host of free events ranging from gospel jazz to East African melodies. 

The Schedule (also available on our Nomad's Calendar):
  • *September 10th, Friday 5:00pm: DJ Edu Radio 1 Extra@ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE A new DJ on the airwaves, DJ Edu of Radio 1 Extra brings his DestiNation Africa to a live audience with a mix of the hottest underground sounds out of Africa - from hip-hop and RnB to dancehall, garage and D&B. 
  • *September 10th, Friday 6:00pm: Amira Khier @ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Sudanese singer Amira Kheir creates something new with a fusion of jazz styles and East African melodies. (Book tickets online)
  • September 10th, Friday 8:30pm: MC Solaar @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £20/£10 One of the greatest names in modern French music, MC Solaar arrives with his distinctive mix of powerful lyrics and inventive rhymes that have taken him from the French underground to international acclaim. MC Solaar is an intensely charismatic performer whose thrilling live show is dominated by his signature smooth flow and linguistic fluidity, backed by throbbing funky beats that mix traditional African rhythms with urban techno. MC Solaar breaks the rules again with this freestyle touchdown, where he is joined by vocalists and a DJ to create an extravagant live show.
  • *September 10th, Friday 10:30pm: Sarah Ndagire @ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE  Uganda 's diva Sarah Ndagire has for a long time been a famous voice on several radio stations in Uganda. She makes her London debut, introduced by DJ Edu. (Book tickets online)
  • September 11th, Saturday 3:00pm: Alemu Aga @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £15/7.50 The Ethiopian King David's harp master Alemu Aga brings his spiritual and meditative songs to the festival for the first time. Alemu Aga plays an ancient instrument with ten strings called a beganna, a rare musical instrument of that has survived for nearly 6,000 years and is considered by Ethiopians to be the harp of King David of Israel. This is magical roots music of the ancient world and the closest we will get to hearing music referred to in the Bible.
  • September 11th, Saturday 6:00pm: Rafiki Jazz @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £15/7.50 World music's hottest big band brings their exciting mix of global rhythms to the big smoke. Featuring the combined talent of musicians from Zanzibar, Mauritius, Senegal, Colombia, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Brazil and the UK, who effortlessly blend to create big, vibrant, dancing sounds for today's multicultural world. The result is music of astounding power.
  • September 11th, Saturday 8:30pm: The Master Drummers of Africa @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £20/10 The world's greatest drum orchestra in full flow is one of the most thrilling and unforgettable spectacles in world music today. The Master Drummers of Africa features ten drummers from ten African nations and draws from 5000 years of tribal rhythms to create ecstatic and freewheeling music straight from the heart of African cultures in a dynamic stage show. They bring us their new show Lighting and Thunder in their first London concert in five years. The Lighting and Thunder suite draws from the rhythms of over 300 tribes of Africa . Using over 100 ethnic drums, the orchestra creates uplifting and infectious rhythms that are mysterious, spiritual, celebratory and utterly compelling.
  • *September 12th, Sunday 2:00pm: 4Seasons Band and Temitope Ajayi@ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Gospel jazz funk group 4Seasons Band joins forces with new Afro soul vocal discovery Temitope Ajayi to play music from their debut CD, Sound of Light.
  • *September 12th, Sunday 4:00pm: Sona Jobarteh@ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Sensational new kora player Sona Jobarteh brings freshness to the sound of the kora with modern music.
  • *September 12th, Sunday 6:00pm: Laye Sow @ The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) FREE Singer and guitarist Laye Sow is one of the most exciting new musicians from West Africa, who is not afraid to mix mbalax and hi-life with funk, soul and hip-hop.
  • September 12th, Sunday 8:30pm: London Community Gospel Choir@ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £20/10 For years the mighty London Community Gospel Choir, founded by the legendary Bazil Meade, has produced some of the finest gospel singers in the country, as well as lending their heavenly voices in live shows and recordings from Sir Paul McCartney to Elton John, George Michael and Mariah Carey. With some of the finest singers in London raising the roof and a funky band providing the pulse, the choir performs a show to lift your spirits and soothe your soul.

Monday, 21 June 2010

This Week's Picks (#6)

Please enjoy this week's picks.

"De Los Amores" by Susana Baca

This track is off the Peruvian singer, Susana Baca's album, Eco De Sombras (2000). Baca gained her respected status as an international artist after the release of her 1995 album, The Soul of Black Peru. Full of heart-felt emotion, this song gives me goosebumps. The lyrics sing of love's pain, "como duele el esmero, como duele (How love hurts, oh, how it hurts)." In only the way a South American songwriter can, Susana Baca crafts a song that is both an alluring, delicate combination of sounds and a tormented cry from the heart.
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

"World Massala" by Terrakota

Terrakota is a genius fusion group that describes themselves effectively as roots/reggae/afro-beat. This particular track is from their forthcoming album to be released in October 2010 and adds even more to their eclecticism. Incorporating a Punjabi groove into their reggae and afro-beat sounds, Terrakota creates a new sound that works surprisingly well. Sections that are highly Punjabi in influence give way to hybrid reggae bits, amazing listeners with the effortless blend. Terrakota's other tracks are great if you are in the reggae mood, but this track can get you grooving anytime.
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

"Romeo & Leila" by Ghalia Benali

This title track from Ghalia Benali's 2007 ablum. As the title suggests, this entire album represents a meeting of east and west- from the Western story of Romeo and Juliet and it's Eastern equivalent Kais and Leila. In this spirit of this blending, Ghalia uses her beautiful Arabic vocals over a background of oud and cello playing a mixture of both Eastern and Western classical music while throwing in a bit of jazz. Singing in Arabic, Benali says of this choice "...[Arabic] gives to me a feeling of mystery and magic, the weight of the word and its musical quality...the effect is immediate, the emotion that I try to forward is released, and often the spectator does not need 'translation to feel what I express."
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Nomad's Calendar: This Weekend

Check out some of the gigs coming up within the next few days:
  • June 19th, Saturday 6:00pm: Zong Zing All Stars @ Ritzy Bar (Upstairs) (Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW 21JG) £5/4 Zong Zing are a 9 piece band playing uplifting dance music called 'Cavacha'. 'Cavacha' is the core rhythm of Central African music that has given rise to ‘Soukous’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ‘Makosa’ in Cameroon and ‘Coupez Decallez’ in the Ivory Coast. 
  • *June 22nd, Tuesday 8:00pmLondon Lucumi Choir @ MOMO'S (25 Heddon Street W1B 4 BH) FREE Come and see the London Lucumi Choir perform at World Music Venue Momo's; it is free to enter, but you need to get there super early; when it is full, people get turned away!
Interested in what is coming up in the next few weeks? Check out our Nomad's Calendar for more shows and details.  

Have you heard about an interesting concert that is not listed on our calendar? Please email us and we'll be sure to update the calendar to include it!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week reader joann3737 shares the artist Buika.

"Sombras" by Buika (featuring Chucho Valdés on piano)

This track is from Spanish singer, Buika's newest album El Último Trago. This album features the pianist Chucho Valdés and is a tribute to one of Buika's earliest influences, Chavela Vargas. Vargas was a ranchera singer. Ranchera is a traditional Mexican genre made popular during the revolution and generally focuses on topics of love or patriotism. This track, titled "Sombras" (translation: shadows), features the raw and passionate voice of Buika. Her lyrics are heartfelt, and typical of the ranchera  style, about love and the pain of being away from a lover. Valdés' playing perfectly fuses with Buika's voice and lifts the tone enough to keep the track from being too depressing.
(Reviewed by joann3737)

Do you have a favorite track you'd like to share? Click here for details on how to submit your track for our next edition of "Wednesday's Reader Picks". 

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


There are a few changes going on here at NP as we slowly start expanding. Here are just a few updates.

If you haven't noticed, we've changed the look of the blog. We're hoping that this new look will make certain features (like our Nomad's Calendar and Map features) easier to find.  What do you think? Do you like the new look? Please send us your feedback so we can best cater the blog to our reader's needs.

Another change: Twitter
Nomad's Playlist is now on Twitter, and I think we're finally getting the hang of it. Follow us  today and keep more up-to-date on concerts and current goings-on of the world music scene.

Thank you for all your support! We couldn't be expanding so quickly if it weren't for the amazing response we've received from our readers!

Monday, 14 June 2010

This Week's Picks (#5)

Please enjoy this week's picks.

"Soda Soap" by Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars 

Yesterday, I excitedly attended the Celebrating Sanctuary Concert on London's Southbank hoping to see the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars play live. Much to my dismay, they were not to end up performing due to visa issues (which you can read more about here). So, instead, I'll settle for listening to YouTube videos. They founded the band from members of a Guinean refugee camp after being displaced from their homes in Sierra Leone. This track is off their first album, Living Like a Refugee released in 2006. A few months ago, they released a newer album, Rise and Shine, that I also highly recommend. This song features social commentary based around soda soap, a locally made soap. The commentary is skillfully embedded in upbeat rhythms and great guitar riffs.
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

"Inion ni Scannlain" by Lúnasa  

And now for something completely different. Always being a lover of Irish music, I have really embraced this band. The quintet of fiddle, guitar, bass, flute, and pipes/whistles has been around for awhile and produced eight amazing albums. This track is from their 2001 release, The Merry Sisters of Fate. Accomplishing what seemed like the impossible, this band has produced a traditionally based Irish group rivaling the Chieftains. The track is a perfect example of how they have achieved their international status. It features the band's trademark flute sound, which I may simply be partial to as a flute player. However, even those who do not simply melt at the flute's beautiful lines, will appreciate the calm and soothing effect of this song. 
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

"Mama Please" by Cirrus

This France-based fusion group features Tunisian singer Nawel Ben Kraiem and a mix of world-folk instruments such as bouzouki, guitar, and djembe. This track is quite powerful with the harsh and driving instrumental background. The lyrics are filled with fear and anguished- "Mama please, mama please, mama please take off the light... Papa will beat you if he found you there." This track and group offers a different side to what you might expect from "world-folk"- a dark and intense song filled with distress.
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

Don't forget to visit our Map Feature that is always be updated as we cover more tracks from around the world. 

Saturday, 12 June 2010

World Cup Concert

Thursday night's World Cup Concert featured some amazing artists in the world music scene. Below are some videos from the concert in case you missed it.

Tinariwen (Algeria/Libya)

(A reader reviewed this group in this post)

Angelique Kidjo (Benin)

Amadou & Mariam (Mali)
"Africa" (Embedding is disabled)
"Welcome to Mali" (Embedding is disabled)

BLK JKS (South Africa)

Vieux Farka Toure (Mali)
"Diaraby Magni"  (Embedding is disabled)
"Fafa" (Embedding is disabled)

Hugh Masekela and LIRA (South Africa)

Soweto Gospel Choir (South Africa)

Friday, 11 June 2010

Only 14 Days Left!

There are only 14 days left to submit a review of your favorite album and enter to win a FREE Songlines magazine.

To Enter To Win a Free Issue of the April/May 2010 (#67) of Songlines:
Please submit a review of your favorite album to before 12:00pm June 25th, 2010. The winner will be selected at random from the entries and the winning entry will be posted on NP. (If you are entering from outside the UK, please be advised that there would be a £3 shipping fee. Shipping to the UK is free!)

This issue of Songlines: Features a banjo playing Steve Martin (bet you didn't know he played banjo!) and two free CDs (Songlines' Top of the World and Iranian Underground)

Click here to see what's inside this issue of Songlines.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Featured Concert: Celebrating Sanctuary

Celebrating Sanctuary: London 2010
Sunday June 13th
1:00pm - 7:00pm
Bernie Spain Gardens, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 (adjacent to Oxo Tower Wharf)

London’s annual free festival which celebrates the art of refugee communities in the UK, Celebrating Sanctuary London, is back with a profusion of new talent across its three stages, pulsating with the sounds of live music, the flow of the spoken word, the sizzle of food and the rhythms of dance. Come and savour the cultural fruits of sanctuary at this unique event which launches Refugee Week: 14 – 20 June 2010.*

Communities represented: Afghanistan – Armenia - Bosnia Herzegovina - Cape Malay (South Africa) – Chile – China - D R Congo – Iran – Iraq – Nigeria – Serbia - Sierra Leone – Somalia – Sudan – Tibet - West Indies (Grenada, Guayana, Trinidad)

Headliners: Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars 

Check out the Celebrating Sanctuary pages:

We hope to see you there and stay posted for a review of the concert!

(For more information on Refugee Week, visit their website:

*Text from their MySpace page. 

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

This week reader Muhummad takes us to Brazil to hear the artist Seu Jorge.

"Life on Mars" by Seu Jorge

Seu Jorge grew up in the urban slums of Rio de Janeiro to become a critically acclaimed Brazilian musician. Although, it’s his cover versions of David Bowie classics that has brought him international recognition. Yeah you’re right; I said “cover versions of David Bowie classics”. I grew up listening to Bowie and am weary of any musicians covering original classics. Who could do justice to Bowie? Seu does and more so. Seu’s take on “Life on Mars” oozes an “effortless cool”. His softly spoken Portuguese vocals and gentle strumming on the acoustic guitar adds a whole new dimension to Bowie’s timeless classic. This “effortless cool” is nothing short of pure musical genius. Seu’s rendition of “Life on Mars” inspires all would be musicians to pick up an acoustic guitar and learn Portuguese.

Other tracks on the album include Seu’s covers on: “Starman”, "Rebel Rebel," "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide," "Five Years," "Lady Stardust," "When I Live My Dream," "Suffragette City," "Oh! You Pretty Things," "Ziggy Stardust," "Changes" and "Queen Bitch". David Bowie sums the album up by saying; "Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs acoustically in Portuguese I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with." Bowie’s right.
(Reviewed by Muhummad)

Do you have a favorite track you'd like to share? Click here for details on how to submit your track for our next edition of "Wednesday's Reader Picks".

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Reader Submissions

Please check out our new Reader Submission Info page that includes all you need to know on submitting your reviews and features. 

Here at Nomad's Playlist, we encourage our readers to be active participators in our content. We love the enthusiasm of our readers and are always looking to post any of the following reader submissions:
  1. Track Reviews- Every Wednesday we post reviews of tracks submitted by our readers
  2. Album Reviews- If you have an album that you just can't get enough of, we'd love to post a special entry with your album review. 
  3. Concert Reviews- If you have been to a concert recently, we'd love to hear what you thought about it. 
  4. Special Features- Have you heard some interesting world music news, or just feel like writing a piece about your favorite music style, artist, or instrument? Then please send it our way!


Monday, 7 June 2010

This Week's Picks (#4) World Cup Ed.

 This weeks' music picks are inspired by the anticipated start of the World Cup in South Africa. South Africa is known for its music and to pick only three tracks to represent South Africa was not an easy task. This small selection cannot represent the variety of sounds coming from this beautiful country. None the less, please enjoy our selections for this week.

"Khawuleza" by Miriam Makeba

It is impossible to talk about South African music without mentioning Miriam Makeba. She was a singer and civil rights activist caught up in apartheid South Africa. She came to be known as the voice of Africa, earning herself the endearing title of Mama Afrika. As Miriam explains in the video, this song is based on the phrase "Khawuleza" meaning "hurry." It is a plea for Mama to hurry away from the police coming to raid the house for one thing or another. It is a painfully beautiful song that serves to remind us of the terrors of the apartheid.
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

"Sdudla" by TKZee

TKZee is South Africa's popular kwaito group. Kwaito is a genre of music developed in Johannesburg in the 1990s. It is a mix of house, hip-hop, rap, and African elements. Kwaito is the first music completely controlled by blacks in South Africa. So whilst like hip-hop and rap, kwaito has come to be identified with the uneducated, lower classes, it has also been an inspiration in post-apartheid South Africa. This particular song features a video of a child leading a movement of people who just can't help but join and dance. When listening, it's easy to find yourself bopping to the beat and eager to join this symbolic parade of peaceful dance and song.
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

"Fire is Low" by Freshlyground

Freshlyground is a South African band that collaborated with Shakira to write the World Cup 2010 Anthem, "Waka Waka." (You can hear the track here.) While "Waka Waka" is too commercially produced to do Freshlyground justice, this track is a better example of their excellence. The song features sweet lyrics-- "Be like the swallows, remember home as a loving tree..." The group demonstrates it's indie leanings in this song, but it remains a distinct style with a hint of blues, jazz, and African folk influences.
(Reviewed by Alexandra)

If you enjoyed some of this music, check out Putumayo's newly released CD also inspired by the upcoming World Cup.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Free Album! Atração Presents: Music From Brazil

 You can't beat free music and luckily offers some free albums from time to time. If you enjoy Brazilian music, you've got to download this album from Amazon:

Atração Presents: Music From Brazil

Friday, 4 June 2010

Shows/Gigs This Weekend

Don't miss some of these amazing shows in London this weekend! (*denotes free shows!)

  • *June 5th, Saturday 7:30pm: Ritary Gaguenetti Live @ Inn on the Green ( 3-5 Thorpe Close, Notting Hill, W10 5XL) FREE As part of the Inn on the Green's west meets east programme through June, world music guitarist Ritary Gaguenetti comes to play a solo show.
  • June 6th, Sunday 7:30pm: Johnny Clarke @ Dingwalls (Camden Lock) £16 door Jamaican roots legend visits London to kick off the his European tour alongside afro-dub innovators Soothsayers and The Red Earth Collective who have released the critically acclaimed albums "One More Reason " and "Red Earth Dub" in 2009/10 ( on which Johnny Clarke was a special guest ) . Expect to hear tracks from these as well as a full Johnny Clarke set with all the hits like Move out of Babylon , Blood Dunza, African Roots, Declaration if Rights .........Add to this a set from Manasseh Sound and Manasseh at the mixing desk for the live show.!/event.php?eid=114808431880489
  • June 6th, Sunday 7:45pm: 'O Shakuntala' with Debashish @ Purcell Room (Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX) £15/£12 With a Grammy nomination and BBC World Music Award under his belt, Indian slide guitarist Pandit (master) Debashish Bhattacharya's remarkable virtuosity is winning international critical acclaim. O Shakuntala! is a sublime interpretation of the immortal Indian masterpiece of eternal love and features three slide guitars designed and developed by Debashish himself. A musical adventure fusing two great Indian musical traditions - Carnatic music from the South of India and Hindustani music from the North - it celebrates love in all its many wonderful rasas (emotions). Debashish is accompanied by the wonderful Subashish Bhattacharya (his brother) on tabla, Chitrangana Reshwal on pakhawaj and Charu Hariharan on mridangam and ganjira.
  • June 6th, Sunday 8:00pm: Seeds of Creation Live @ Charlie Wrights ( 45 Pitfield Street, Hoxton and Shoreditch, N1 6DA) £3 A drummer with a long and illustrious career, Seddik Zebri presents a evening of tremendous African and world music jam at Charlie Wright's.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Visa Fears for World Musicians Touring the UK

The following is an article from which is available here.

World music's great visa fear
by Robin Denselow, Thursday 27 May 2010 23.00 BST

It was supposed to be a quick trip to relaunch the career of one of the most successful hip-hop bands in Africa. Daara J, from Senegal, have headlined at Womad, won a BBC World Music award and performed alongside Wyclef Jean. Now a duo, renamed Daara J Family, and with a new album to promote, they were scheduled to play at the Jazz Cafe in London on Tuesday night before appearing on Radio 4's Midweek the following morning.

Instead, N'Dongo D and Faada Freddy found themselves in Paris, unable to board the Eurostar to London, because they had been refused entry to the UK by the UK Border Agency. They had visas to enter Europe, but not to cross the Channel. It wasn't through want of effort: their attempt to get to the UK had involved a trip from their home town of Dakar to Banjul in the Gambia, where they waited for three days at the British High Commission before being refused a visa.

Faada Freddy is confused and upset. "In Senegal, we were told there was no one to see us," he says, "so we had to travel to the Gambia to get our UK visas. There we were told that the people who were organising our London concert were supposed to have £800 in their account for us. So I asked them if they could ring the Jazz Cafe to check, but they refused. It's crazy."

Back in the UK, their record company is furious. "They are making it as hard as they can for black Africans," complains Ian Ashbridge of Wrasse Records. "And now Daara J's UK career is in tatters, and their album launch here is in the toilet."

He's not alone in complaining about the problems foreign musicians have in getting visas. Jah Wobble says he hasn't performed live for nearly two years because he is so furious at the treatment of the Chinese artists in his Chinese Dub project, one of the highlights of the 2008 Womad festival. "I wanted to bring them back in for more shows," he says, "but the British consulate in China turned them down. They thought they were going to stay in the UK, even though some have careers in Chinese opera." Nick Page of the Ethiopian fusion band Dub Colossus warns that "the world music scene will soon consist entirely of EU passport-holding musicians."

Over the past year, there has been a reform in the way that the Home Office issues visas to musicians. Like other foreign workers, musicians now need a "sponsor", often an agent or a concert promoter, who has been vetted by the Home Office and is charged £400 for a sponsor licence. The sponsors check on musicians while they are here, pay their expenses in the UK if they encounter problems, and are given sponsorship certificates to pass on to the musicians they want to bring in. According to one sponsor, David Flowers, an agent who looks after Tinariwen and the Buena Vista Social Club: "It's an instant system, no questions are asked, and in effect it replaces work permits."

The sponsorship certificate, though, is only the first step to getting a visa. Under the new points-based system for issuing visas, musicians must get 40 points. The sponsorship certificate wins them 30 points, and they get the final 10 if they can show that their sponsors will cover "maintenance requirements" in the UK. That is where Daara J came unstuck. Looking through their "refusal of entry" papers from Banjul, it's clear that they were awarded 30 points for sponsorship, but nothing for maintenance (hence that demand that £800 be available). So had a box been left unticked on the form?

For its part, the Home Office says: "Musicians' applications often fail because they haven't supplied enough evidence with the application form, and often they leave it too late before applying."

The system has its critics – not least because of its complexity. Nevertheless, some of the main sponsors responsible for bringing artists into the UK say there are benefits to this points system. David Jones, of the promotion and production group Serious, who is a member of the Home Office task force looking at visa problems, says: "It's now easier 50% of the time, though there are still problems."

The biggest of those problems is the UK's move to biometric passports. Once, musicians could send their agents across borders to get visas, but now they have to apply in person, every time they ask for a visa, so they can be photographed and fingerprinted. But in west Africa alone, there are no facilities to issue such visas in Mali, and the service in Senegal is slow, so applicants are advised to go to the Gambia, which is now the regional biometric processing centre (that is why Daara J were sent there). One popular alternative for those performing in Europe is to get a "Schengen" visa that covers the continent (but not the UK), and then apply for a UK visa in Paris – but again that can be a time-consuming and costly process, and it means musicians have to book their UK gigs and then hope they can get a visa when they reach Europe.

But does all this really matter to British music fans? Yes. The situation may have improved, but it's clearly still not fully understood by many musicians or their sponsors – in the case of Daara J, someone seems not to have realised that by not ticking the maintenance box, they were wrecking the band's chance of getting a visa. And now many African musicians have to travel to other countries to get visas, and then spend money waiting around in foreign cities, there's a danger that some will simply not bother to come here. Why go through the hassle and expense of getting a UK visa when it's easier to get a Schengen visa and play across mainland Europe? There are signs that is happening already. David Flowers points out: "Malian stars like the Rail Band now refuse to play in the UK because it's so complicated".

And despite the enthusiasm of some sponsors, there are concerns that the expense and bureaucracy involved might deter others. "Without maverick small operators, audiences will no longer get the chance to discover exciting unknown groups from the non-EU world," argues Page. Ashbridge agrees. "Would major African stars be here now if this system existed in the past?"

And as for Jah Wobble? "I had to do Chinese Dub myself," he says, "because no one else would touch it with a bargepole. This new system hits the small operator. I didn't become a bass player to be an unpaid civil servant."

Article available on original source ( here

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Wednesday's Reader Picks

Have you recently heard a great track that you would like to share? Send in your review of a track for our weekly "Reader's Picks" series. Here, we want to know what you listen to.

"Imazeghen N Adagh" by Tinariwen

This track is from the recently released album, "Imidiwan: Companions." The group started slowly forming in the 1970s as young Touareg men in Algeria and Libya with a passion for music began performing together, gaining a reputation by 1979 as the Kel Tinariwen, or "Desert Boys." This particular album fuses field and digital recordings together into what becomes a beautiful version of the Desert Blues. This group mixes their influencesMalian refugees in North Africa who finally return to Mali in the 90s to create a distinct Touareg sound.
(Submitted by joann3737)

How do I get my review posted?
Send the review you've written and a link to the track on YouTube to Please include the name you would like us to use as the author of the review (it can be your full name, first name, or user name). We will post up to three tracks in a given week.

I have a great track I would like to share, but I don't want to write a review. Can I still share it?
Of course! Please send us an email with a link to the track on YouTube and we might include the track in our "This Week's Picks" series.