Posts Tagged ‘calypso rose’
Songlines’ editors Jo Frost and Simon Broughton select their favourite albums of 2016
Jo Frost and Simon Broughton have handpicked their ten favourite albums of the year from over 700 featured reviews. These are the albums they found themselves returning to over and over, and the discs that made a lasting impression. Here are their choices for year’s greatest albums, but be sure to pick up a copy of the new issue (January/February 2017, #124), on sale December 9, for a full rundown.
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Anda Union – Homeland
(Hohhot Records, will be reviewed in #124)
These are distinguished songs about nature, history and identity from this nine-strong Inner Mongolian group, featuring horse head fiddles and growly throat singing.
Bollywood Brass Band & Jyotsna Srikanth – Carnatic Connection
(Bollywood Brass Band, will be reviewed in #124)
An energetic and cinematic journey south, with fuel provided by Jyotsna Srikanth’s Karnatic violin. Renditions of AR Rahman compositions appear alongside South Indian musical gems.
Calypso Rose – Far from Home
(Because Music, reviewed in #120)
With the help of Manu Chao, the Calypso queen represents her home country of Trinidad and Tobago, covering a range of social and political issues with a contemporary Caribbean flair.
Roberto Fonseca – ABUC
(Impulse!, reviewed in #123)
A raucous, dizzying journey back and forth through Fonseca’s Afro-Cuban musical heritage. An ambitious and convincing offering from the young maestro.
Derek Gripper – Libraries on Fire
(Derek Gripper, reviewed in #119)
With great aplomb, the South African takes on the compositions of the great 21-stringed kora players on his classical guitar. Gripper’s delicate transcriptions deliver beautiful results.
Kefaya – Radio International
(Radio International Records, reviewed in #122)
This debut album fizzes with the energy of the international collective’s acclaimed live shows and is hard hitting with its political commentary.
Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo
(Cumbancha, reviewed in #117)
Lakou Mizik’s debut is a passionate tribute to the people and culture of Haiti. Formed in the aftermath of the country’s 2010 earthquake, the collective deliver a project of celebration and hope.
Leyla McCalla – A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey
(Jazz Village, reviewed in #119)
An outstanding sophomore album from the young cellist and banjo player. Three years on from her stellar debut, McCalla once again draws from her Haitian heritage and Creole influences.
Vaudou Game – Kidayú
(Hot Casa Records, reviewed in #122)
Vaudou Game take a magpie-like approach to African music styles, uniquely blending Afrobeat, Ethio-jazz and highlife for an album that is unpredictable and fresh from start to finish.
Various Artists, featuring Musicians of the Calais ‘Jungle’ – The Calais Sessions
(Sessions of the World, will be reviewed in #124)
An extraordinarily and moving collaborative album. The resilient testament to the human spirit will reduce you to tears, but also uplift your heart.
Garth Cartwright attends a rare London performance from the Queen of Calypso at the Jazz Cafe (Photo by Colm Moore)
Calypso Rose has been an infrequent visitor to British shores over several decades, tending to often play Notting Hill Carnival-related events. Her profile has risen dramatically in 2016 with the release of her superb new album Far From Home, it being produced by Ivan Duran alongside Manu Chao (and released via his French record label). Rose is one of the wellsprings of contemporary Caribbean music yet often overlooked in recent decades so its great to see a veteran like her winning a wider audience.
Born McArtha Linda Sandy-Lewis on the Caribbean island of Tobago in 1940, Rose wrote her first calypso aged 15 and turned professional in 1964. Her witty, outspoken songs have made her a much celebrated – and sometimes controversial – performer at home and tonight she proved age had not mellowed her, ribald innuendo and belly ‘dancing’ occurring over the performance. Age has taken its toll in other ways – Rose’s voice is often croaky and she finds performing tiring, taking a break midway through the 80-minute set. Her bassist is a mainstay of the Trinidadian scene but the rest of the band are French and, in true French world music tradition, tend to favour a thumping funk rock that is shorn of musical subtlety. That said, Calypso Rose overcame the band’s shortcomings to charm, tease and sing such classics as ‘Do Dem Back’, ‘Fire in Me Wire’ and ‘Black Israel’. On a bleak autumn night she ignited the heat of Carnival in London’s Jazz Cafe.
The First Lady of Calypso gets the Manu Chao endorsement
From the opening, jump-up moments of ‘Abatina’, a crisp, smart updating of a famous traditional rhythm, ‘Kalenda March’, it is clear that Trinidad and Tobago’s musical matriarch is on tip-top form. The confident, infectious melodies plough onwards, through the carnival hit ‘I Am African’ into the first of three tracks featuring world music’s enfant terrible Manu Chao. ‘Leave Me Alone’ is at chugging pace, enhanced by strong horn work and an uncluttered sound.
Chao’s presence on Far From Home is a typically serendipitous story. While Rose was working on the tracks just before carnival with Belizean producer Ivan Duran, Chao popped up and offered to strum his charango (a small Latin American stringed instrument), and do a spot of warbling. Offer taken up, he choruses with typical verve at the end of ‘Leave Me Alone’, and solos on charango on the sparkling Marley-esqe anthem ‘Human Race’, a cultural rallying cry with multiple voices and powering bass over Rose’s astute reasoning.
The 76-year-old Calypso Rose is perhaps the most prominent ambassador for not only calypso music but the Trinidad and Tobago nation as a whole. Her work covers social and political commentary, dance music classics and gospel-tinged anthems. Far From Home updates traditional Caribbean music in a masterful way, giving her a now well-deserved global status.
It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally back, our listening playlist returns as normal with a selection of five videos from artists that have been on the Songlines radar.
Melingo – ‘En un Bosque de la China’
This new track is the first to be unveiled from rebel alt-tango singer Melingo’s new album ANDA, due for release in September. It’s fairly light and mellow vibe is paired with a faux-horror visual to accompany it.
Calypso Rose – ‘Calypso Queen’
The queen of calypso teamed up with Manu Chao for her latest album that covers a range of social issues – such as being a woman in a man’s business on this track – with her effortless, summery Caribbean flair.
Foster Manganyi – ‘Ndzi Teke Riendzo’
If you feel you’ve heard this recently, then you probably recognise the drum and bass line from Jessy Lanza’s hit from earlier this year. I’ve always had a soft spot for Shangaan Electro when the summer comes around again, and this record from 2010 (Honest Jon’s Records) ticks all the boxes.
Quantic Presents Flowering Inferno feat U-Roy & Alice Russell – ‘A Life Worth Living’
Record producer and musician Quantic (with a little help from some special guests) put on a stellar performance at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. This track is the second on his new Flowering Inferno project which is reviewed in the new issue (#120).
The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians with Noura Mint Seymali – Richa
The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians were also another exceptional act to play at Glastonbury alongside composer and Damon Albarn. They put on a show at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall the following day, with this stunning performance with Noura Mint Seymali being one of the night’s highlights.