Posts Tagged ‘angelique kidjo’
Launched in 2008, the Songlines Music Awards celebrate and acknowledge the breadth of musical talents from around the world featured in Songlines magazine. From over 600 albums to a shortlist of 16, we have finally selected four outstanding artists.
Best Artist – Angélique Kidjo
For Spirit Rising on Wrasse Records
As one of Africa’s most exciting live acts, it’s surprising that it’s taken the effervescent Kidjo this long to get around to an in-concert album. Recorded in Boston, the set showcases her impressive diversity, augmented by a procession of celebrity guests.
Sounding as fresh and intriguing as ever after their 30 years together, the French collective’s tenth album offers the usual enticing global pick’n’mix of musical influences and styles. The great Robert Wyatt is among the guests supporting the enigmatic poetry and singing of Denis Péan and the thrilling voices of the el Mourid sisters.
Cross-cultural Collaboration – Dub Colossus
For Dub Me Tender Vol 1+2 on Real World
Woozy but sprightly dub remixes from former Transglobal Underground man Nick Page and his Addis/London collective. Taking material from their previous releases and mixing Ethio jazz with Jamaican reggae, the album impressively manages to combine an authentic 70s dub aesthetic with the crisp definition of modern production.
A young band from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Mokoomba make a joyful noise and their debut is full of energetic playing, produced with impressive polish by Zap Mama’s Manou Gallo. The raw, potent vocals of Mathias Muzaza are particularly striking and they’re great live – last year’s performance at WOMEX blew away even the most jaded.
Watch our brand new Songlines Music Awards 2013 video below, featuring a performance from each winner.
You can purchase the official Songlines Music Awards 2013 compilation album exclusively on Amazon for £2.99, OR only £1.99 if purchased with any other world music album (offer available until June 30). Click here to get your copy.
Photos: Angélique Kidjo, Jed Root; Lo’Jo, Michael Putland; Dub Colossus, Abate Damte; Mokoomba, Roel Determeijer
Royal Festival Hall, London, March 8
I’ve been to many memorable concerts in the Royal Festival Hall, but few as special as this. Fatoumata Diawara, from Mali, having been a newcomer (and awarded in our Songlines Music Awards last year) has become a mature artist. She strode onto the stage with stature – elegantly dressed in red and yellow robes and turban. It was International Women’s Day and every mention of the fact drew applause. But Fatoumata has also become a musical ambassador.
As the South Bank’s artistic director Jude Kelly pointed out in her introduction, Fatoumata has recently pulled together many of the top Malian stars to record ‘Mali-ko’, a peace song for Mali and speaks for the women of Mali in many of her songs. ‘Moussou’ is a song paying tribute to the women of Mali – “women give birth to rich people, poor people, heads of state” – and she said she hoped to see a female president of Mali one day. Seeing the success of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Joyce Banda, President of Malawi – and given the current situation in Mali – one hopes it’s not too long.
Towards the end of her set, Fatou took off her turban and started dancing, flinging her head backwards and forwards, sending her beaded hair flying. One of her new songs, ‘Tounkan’, was a celebration of African women and African dance. Fatou neatly demonstrated the rhythmic and dance links between her native Wassoulou region and other styles in Ethiopia, Morocco, Congo, South Africa and more. “We are from the same African roots”, she said. The only disappointment was a muddy sound on the electric guitars, which would have been gorgeous if the musical lines had rung out clearly.
“We all come from Africa,” said Angelique Kidjo, in what made a natural progression from Fatou. Angelique, from Benin via New York, just exudes stage presence – she’s tough and pugnacious after Fatou’s stately elegance, punching above her weight. She entered singing solo, followed gradually by her band on piano, percussion, bass and guitar. The topics of her songs include freedom, education and the horrendous custom of female genital mutilation. She paid tribute to her father who encouraged his daughters to do what they wanted to do and paid tribute to Miriam Makeba, a role model for Angelique, who used music to further a cause.
Kidjo took a circuit through the audience and then invited them on stage – much to the disquiet of the security guys – for some joyous final numbers, including her signature song ‘Agolo’ (which features on our Songlines Music Awards CD). Fatou returned in casual civvy clothes and many other girls from the crowd did spectacular dancing to Mamadou Sarr at the front of the stage on djembe. It really was a night to remember.
UN Women releases its official anthem on International Women’s Day
The first UN agency to have its own theme song, UN Women have released its official anthem today, marking International Women’s Day. Originally performed in 2011, the track has become an anthem for the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality issues and the empowerment of women. ‘One Woman’ was composed by Graham Lyle and British-Somali singer-songwriter Faham Hassan while the lyrics were penned by Beth Blatt, founder of the charity Hope Sings.
The song was inspired by the stories of women who had been supported by UN Women and the agency hopes that ‘One Woman’ ‘will become a rallying cry that inspires listeners about the mission of UN Women and engages them to join in the drive for women’s rights and gender equality.’
Jerry Boys, who has produced albums by Ali Farka Touré, Buena Vista Social Club and Omara Portuondo, produced the song with Blatt. Among the participating artists are some Songlines favourites: Rokia Traoré; Angélique Kidjo; and Anoushka Shankar. Other contributors include Zhang Liangying (China), Ximena Sarinana (Mexico), Yuna (Malaysia) and Vanessa Quai (Vanuatu).
Watch the official video below
Southbank Centre, March 6-10 2013
Women of the World (WOW), the annual global festival that celebrates women across the world, returns to the Southbank Centre this March. A programme of debates, performances and concerts seek to both highlight the achievements of and restrictions facing women today. Established and emerging female talent will be showcased alongside one another throughout the festival – from politics to fashion, health to music.
Friday’s festivities fittingly coincide with International Women’s day (March 8), and offer the opportunity to enjoy an evening at the Royal Festival Hall with West African singers Angélique Kidjo and Fatoumata Diawara.
Kidjo has received a multitude of accolades, among them a Grammy Award and a place in the Guardian’s Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World. Described by Time magazine as ‘Africa’s premier diva,’ Kidjo has collaborated with Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys and Amadou & Mariam amongst others.
Fatoumata Diawara’s first album, Fatou was heralded as the Sunday Times No 1 world music album of 2011, and she was – of course – winner of our Newcomer Award in the Songlines Music Awards 2012, appearing in our winner’s concert at the Barbican late last year.
Look out for an exclusive chance to win a pair of tickets to this evening in next week’s elist.
Saturday March 9 will see Grammy Award winner Susana Baca performing tracks from her latest album, Afrodiaspora, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The Afro-Peruvian singer’s album explores Africa’s vast influence on Latin American music, and received five stars from Songlines (#77).
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