- July 15th, Thursday 7:30pm: Najma Akhtar and Gary Lucas @ Jazz Cafe (5 Parkway, Camden NW1 7PG) £17.50 adv Najma Akhtar & Gary Lucas play London’s prestigious Jazz Café on Thursday 15th July, in support of their celebrated 2009 album ‘Rishte’ (Relationships). When acclaimed guitarist and Grammy-nominated songwriter Gary Lucas met Indian vocalist extraordinaire Najma Akhtar, sparks literally flew...The result was ‘Rishte’, truly a match made in heaven. Gary produced the music, including some songs originally written for Buckley, and Najma nailed the words and the melodies for their first album. Their coming together is a rare confluence of interests and talents and it has produced a beautiful & unique collection of songs which, when reproduced live at London’s Jazz Cafe, will hold you spellbound.
- July 15th, Thursday 8:00pm: Céu/Bomba Estéreo @ Hackney Empire (291 Mare Street E8 1EJ) Céu is Brazil’s latest gift to music – a hugely talented young singer-songwriter whose pure voice nestles in cool and contemporary productions of samba-funk, reggae and bossa.
- July 15th, Thursday 8:30pm: Django Drom: Celebrating Django Reinhardt @ Barbican (Silk Street EC2Y 8DS) £15-25 Legendary gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt would have turned 100 in January 2010; Django Drom is a stunning multi-media work created by Tony Gatlif to celebrate his centenary. The show, featuring violinist Didier Lockwood and guitarist Bireli Lagrene, explores the gypsy roots of Django’s genius as well as his dazzling achievements in jazz. Born in Algiers, Tony Gatlif arrived in France following the Algerian War of Independence. He struggled for years to break into the film industry, playing in several theatrical productions. Since his 1981 feature Corre, Gitano, Gatlif's work has been focused on the Roma people of Europe , from whom he partially traces his descent. Exils (2004), won the Best Director Award at Cannes Film Festival where Transylvania was premiered in 2006.
- July 16th, Friday 7:30pm: Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer @ Barbican (Silk Street EC2Y 8DS) £10-30 Zakir Hussain is one the world’s great tabla players, whose music is rooted in the playing of his father, tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha – but who has come to transcend genres and styles. A harmonic convergence of virtuosity, this singular event brings together a triumvirate of genre-bending masters.
- July 16th, Friday 8:00pm: Willie Colon @ Hackney Empire (291 Mare Street E8 1EJ) £15-25 Known in his youth as El Malo - the bad boy - Willie Colon, Bronx-born with Puerto Rican grandparents, has sold more than any other single Latin artist (over 30 million sales worldwide) during a career spanning more than 40 years.
A trombonist, singer, composer and one of the original Fania All-Stars, his collaboration with Ruben Blades, Siembra, is the biggest-selling Salsa album of all time. Later on, his collaboration with Hector LaVoe was the milestone that spread this joyous fusion of tropical/urban music throughout Latin America. His forthcoming albums are Pregunta Por Ahi (Pcm Digital) and Metiendo Mano with Ruben Blades (out this month on Fania). The UK’s leading international salsa DJ and Fania Records CD compiler Lubi Jovanovic provides the opening set. Dancing encouraged!
- July 17th, Saturday 7:30pm: Toots and the Maytals @ Barbican (Silk Street EC2Y 8DS) £15-25 One of Jamaica’s true musical legends hosts an evening of classic reggae and ska as part of a special weekend focusing on the roots of Caribbean music. One of the original legends of ska and reggae, singer and composer Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert - perhaps the last of the pioneers of the music still working with his original power and inspiration. Tonight Toots and the Maytals perform a set full of classics and invite guests Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Max Romeo to share their own rich catalogue.
- July 18th, Sunday 7:30pm: Youssou N'Dour @ Barbican (Silk Street EC2Y 8DS) £15-30 In an exhilarating live show, the Senegalese superstar’s exciting new project celebrates the relationship between Reggae and the Motherland, exploring the intertwined musical history of African and Caribbean music.
Can't make any of these shows? Check out our Nomad's Calendar for other upcoming world music events in London.