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Watch: Ténéré Tàqqàl by Tinariwen

Posted on February 27th, 2017 in News, Recent posts by .


From guitars and Kalashnikovs to music in exile and songs resonant of desert solitude, of assouf – of loss, longing, pain, nostalgia – coupled with revolutionary songs and tales from the long struggle for Touareg independence, the legend of Tinariwen is a fixed star in the world music firmament. Their seventh album was recorded partially in southern Morocco near the Algerian frontier, and partially in the Californian desert of Joshua Tree National Park while in exile from the Islamist troubles in Northern Mali. Read more about the group and their fascinating career in this issue’s Beginners Guide (#125), as they continue to bring their Saharan desert blues sound to the world.


New album from Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita out now

Posted on February 24th, 2017 in News, Recent posts by .


Photo by Alicia Carrera

Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita release Transparent Water

February 24 marks the arrival of a much-anticipated collaboration between seven-time Grammy-nominated pianist, composer and bandleader Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora master and Songlines award-winner, Seckou Keita. Their new album Transparent Water grew from a chance musical encounter in London in 2012, as Omar made an impromptu addition to a date shared by Seckou and drummer Marque Gilmore. As a result of busy touring and recording schedules, a year later Omar and Seckou finally entered the Fattoria Musica studio in Osnabrück, Germany to lay down the core tracks.

A veritable array of other musical contributions also features on the album. Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble member and sheng master Wu Tong recorded sheng and bawu in Beijing, and Omar also enlisted the creative voice of Paris-based koto artist Mieko Miyazaki. Native Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles brings the polyrhythmic spirit of the African diaspora to the project.

Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita will tour France in March 2017, followed by a tour of the UK in November, dates of which will be announced in early 2017. 

Order the new album today.

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Transcending boundaries: Iranian and Israeli collaboration

Posted on February 24th, 2017 in Recent posts by .


Music can transcend boundaries – even political ones, as proved by Iranian singer Golazin and Israeli pianist Idan Raichel

Music is powerful, as we explore in our special issue this month. It can provide courage, give voice to those who otherwise may not be heard, and serve as a poignant celebration of culture. It has the power to transcend physical, social and cultural boundaries, as evident in the story of a collaboration between Israeli pianist and songwriter Idan Raichel and Iranian singer Golazin.

Given the strained political relationship between Iran and Israel, Golazin’s request to cover Raichel’s ‘Sabe Deus’ with lyrics in Farsi was an intriguing one. Raichel originally recorded the song with Portuguese singer Ana Moura for the album Quarter to Six, with lyrics in Hebrew and Portuguese. Watch Golazin’s powerful cover and accompanying video here:

Golazin, who came to London in 2006 to pursue her singing career, says she aimed to portray a ‘journey of love’ through the song, from darkness and hatred, to freedom and happiness. Since the cover’s release, Raichel has invited Golazin to join him on stage at his London performances.

This story provides a clear example of music transcending barriers and bringing people together towards one goal – to create art. What promises to be a touching and symbolically significant performance will take place on February 26 and 27 at 229 The Venue, London.

Listen to Idan Raichel and Ana Moura’s original version here:


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First acts announced for WOMAD Charlton Park 2017

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bombino and Emir Kusturica are among the first acts announced for this year’s WOMAD Charlton Park Festival from July 27-30

The first wave of names have been announced for this year’s WOMAD at Charlton Park. Recognised as one of the greatest world music events, the festival returns to its regular setting at the Wiltshire site this summer.

The hugely popular household name that is Ladysmith Black Mambazo will take to the stage this year, alongside politically-minded Benjamin Zephaniah with his new musical project, Revolutionary Minds. Emir Kusturica is also sure to lead a lively set of Eastern European folk and Gypsy music, with help from The No Smoking Orchestra.

Maarja Nuut, the Estonian vocalist and fiddler, will also make an appearance, as will Alsarah & The Nubatones, whose track ‘Ya Watan’ featured as a Songlines Top of the World in #123.

Other confirmed acts so far include: 

Shobaleader One (UK)

Bokanté (USA/Guadeloupe)

Bombino (Niger)

Chico Trujillo (Chile)

Grupo Canalón de Timbiquí (Colombia)

Jamie Smith’s Mabon (UK)

Khmer Rouge Survivors (Cambodia)

Maarja Nuut (Estonia)

The Nile Project (Egypt/Ethiopia and more)

Nomade Orquestra (Brazil)

Rajab Suleiman & Kithara (Zanzibar)

Savina Yannatou (Greece)

Spooky Men’s Chorale (Australia)

Tom Middleton (UK)

Zhou Family Band (China)


For tickets and more information, visit


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