Posts Tagged ‘Ibibio Sound Machine’

Top of the World albums: Songlines #127 (May 2017)

Posted on April 5th, 2017 in Features, Recent posts by .

Here is our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the May issue of Songlines. Tracks from each of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with issue #127.

To buy the new issue or to find out more about subscribing to Songlines, please visit:



Orchestra Baobab
Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng
World Circuit
This heartfelt dedication to the group’s original vocalist is packed with familiar Afro-Cuban rhythms and lyrical brass arrangements, with a new prominent place given to the kora.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Los Hijos de la Montaña
Los Hijos de la Montaña
Vacilando 68
From New Age soundscapes to Latino mock-goth, this Tex-Mex band has twangy guitars, old-school synths, blasts of brass and saloon-bar piano.



Ibibio Sound Machine
Merge Records
A catchy opening number with an eerie, futuristic synth motif. This is a fiercely funky second album full of confidence and swagger, fronted by British-Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



An Anthology of Mongolian Khöömii
Buda Musique
Ethnomusicologist Johanni Curtet has delved into the archive of Mongolian Radio from 1954-2016 to explore the development of khöömii (throat singing) in all its diverse variations.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Siobhan Miller
Songprint Recordings
An upbeat opener to an enchanting second album of mostly new arrangements of traditional songs, expertly played and with the purity of Miller’s voice shining through.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Glitterbeat Records 
It’s hard to believe that there are many bands in contemporary Western rock music who could shake your bones harder than these Touareg rockers.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Tunde Jegede & Derek Gripper
Mali in Oak
Globe Music
This joint composition showcases the collaborative magic produced by these two musicians. A special communion between exceptional players.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



The Hot 8 Brass Band 
On the Spot
Tru Thoughts
A joyously fresh-sounding fifth album, full of greasy street-funk grooves as well as hints towards a softer side. Hard times have not hindered New Orleans’ hardest working brass band.
Amazon | iTunes



Jaune Toujours
Choux de Bruxelles
Sounding as fresh as when they first started, this 20th anniversary double CD includes previously unreleased live and demo tracks from the Brussels-based, guitar-less band.



Baluji Shrivastav
Best of Baluji Shrivastav
ARC Music
Indian classical music remains at the core of this compilation from multi-instrumentalist Baluji Shrivastav OBE.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

Pick up the May issue of Songlines to enjoy our Top of the World cover-CD, which contains tracks from each of the albums above. To find out more about subscribing to Songlines, visit:

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World music: the rising stars

Posted on March 1st, 2017 in Features, Recent posts by .


Every year, Songlines recognises an emerging artist or group who have made an outstanding album, and winners of the Newcomer Award invariably go on to have bright futures. Mokoomba (pictured above) won the Award in 2013, and you can find out all about their latest project in the April 2017 issue (#126). Meanwhile, here on the Songlines website we’ve gathered together fascinating features and interviews with other previous winners of this prestigious award.



Songhoy Blues won the  Newcomer category in the Songlines Music Awards 2016. Hailed as ‘Mali’s Next Big Thing’, the young band have continued to ride on a much-deserved wave of success.

Read the article: ‘Songhoy Blues: Songhai Stars’ 



Winner of the Newcomer Award in 2015, Ibibio Sound Machine’s British-Nigerian singer Eno Williams talks to Alexandra Petropoulos about her role as a storyteller.

Read the article: ‘Introducing… Ibibio Sound Machine’



Family Atlantica carried off the Songlines Newcomer Award in 2014. Russ Slater talks to the band that unites traditions, stories and rhythms across the Atlantic in a wave of Afro-Latin grooves. (Photograph by Alex Harvey-Brown)

Read the interview: ‘Family Atlantica: a family affair’



The story of Fatoumata Diawara’s rise to fame includes winning the Songlines Newcomer Award in 2012. She chats to Rose Skelton and explains about how she found her voice. (Photograph by Youri Lenquette)

Read the interview: ‘Fatoumata Diawara: “my voice was my first companion”’



Robin Denselow catches up with Songlines’ 2011 Newcomer Award-winner, Raghu Dixit, and reflects on the young singer’s remarkable career to date. (Photograph by Nikhil Madgavkar)

Read interview: ‘The Rise and Rise of Raghu Dixit’



Since winning the Newcomer Award in 2010, Deolinda have been taking Portugal by storm. (Photograph by Isabel Pinto)

Read interview: ‘Deolinda: the fresh face of fado’



Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia has moved away from her ghazal tradition and come up with a whole new musical genre: a Touareg-ghazal-qawwali fusion. She talks to Li Robbins about her new-found love for music from the Sahara. (Photograph by Fernando Elizalde)
Read the interview: ‘Kiran Ahluwalia: mix and match’

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Songlines Music Awards 2015: The Winners

Posted on April 29th, 2015 in News, Recent posts by .

We’re delighted to announce the winners of the seventh Songlines Music Awards. Selected from an original pool of over 650 albums to a shortlist of 16, here are the four outstanding albums of the past year


Tony Allen
For Film of Life on Jazz Village


To sustain artistic creativity over half a century is a rare achievement and so it was remarkable that Tony Allen should mark the 50th anniversary of his first encounter with Fela Kuti with the release of one of the finest albums of his career. Their 1964 meeting, of course, led to the musical revolution that was Afrobeat, and on 2014’s Film of Life, Allen paid homage to his illustrious past but moved expansively into fresh territory with a thrilling melange of tribal grooves, jazz and funk.

“It’s still Afrobeat but I cannot repeat the same things,” he told Songlines in #104. “I want people to know I’ve not grown stagnant and I’m giving it a new twist.” Key to Allen’s best work as a drummer and bandleader over the years has been his choice of collaborators. On Film of Life they include Damon Albarn, with whom – like Fela Kuti – Allen claims a “telepathic” understanding. “It broadens my knowledge to work with people like that. I’ve got everything to gain by taking up the challenge,” he says. It’s a hell of an attitude at 74 years young.

Nigel Williamson

Read our review of Film of Life


Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté
For Toumani & Sidiki on World Circuit


Photo by Youri Lenquette

The African griot tradition of handing ancient musical skills down from father to son was shown to be alive and well on a sparkling collection of kora duets between Toumani Diabaté, the acknowledged poet laureate of the instrument who can trace his ancestry back through 71 generations of hereditary musicians, and the latest branch of the family tree, his 23-year-old son Sidiki. The younger Diabaté has made something of a name for himself in Mali as a hip-hop producer, but he’s also absorbed the ancient oral traditions of the Mande people and developed a fluent, virtuoso style of his own.

Together father and son crafted an album of rich diversity, the kora’s trademark sound given a markedly different nuance of tone and character on almost every track. Changes of rhythm or tempo convey contrasting moods – reflective, energetic, hypnotic, graceful, dynamic – although who is playing what is not easy to discern, so intricately are the strings of father and son interwoven in an exquisite tapestry, every thread perfectly chosen in the pursuit of perfection.

Nigel Williamson

Read our review of Toumani & Sidiki


Kronos Quartet
For A Thousand Thoughts on Nonesuch


Photography by Jay Blakesberg

“When I started playing string quartets aged 14,” says David Harrington, the leader of Kronos Quartet, “I remember looking at the globe and thinking that all the quartet music I knew was written by four guys who lived in the same city – Vienna.” Now a young boy might look into the repertoire of Kronos Quartet and think ‘Where haven’t they been?’

Kronos celebrated their 40th anniversary with A Thousand Thoughts. It not only won them this award because it’s so good, but also because it draws on a worldwide diversity of sounds. Guest artists include Asha Bhosle, Zakir Hussain, Wu Man and Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares – an extraordinary line-up of stars – plus music from Vietnam, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and beyond. Looking ahead, they’ve just finished a recording with this issue’s cover star Tanya Tagaq. A few years ago, the New York Times suggested that no one had expanded the idea of the string quartet as much as Kronos since it was ‘created’ by Joseph Haydn (in Vienna of course) in the 1750s. A Thousand Thoughts is the evidence for that.

Simon Broughton

Read our review of A Thousand Thoughts


Ibibio Sound Machine
For Ibibio Sound Machine on Soundway


This London-based eight-piece, fronted by British-Nigerian singer Eno Williams, have created the perfect dance storm with their music since the release of their self-titled debut. First started as a project in order to use Williams’ mother’s language – Ibibio from south-east Nigeria – ISM successfully deliver Nigerian folk tales set to some of the funkiest beats this side of disco’s heyday.

The members of ISM provide a solid base of Afrobeat grooves, highlife guitar lines, a funky horn section and electronic dance beats around which Williams’ folktales weave themselves. The album is full of stories, from the cunning tortoise to the proud peacock who struts his stuff.

Williams told Songlines last year, “the way storytelling happens in [Ibibio] culture it is like passing down history and messages, so it feels like that baton has been passed to me and I’m now putting those stories to song.” And this rejuvenation of folktales required a fresh musical approach, which they have perfectly delivered here – storytelling that is sure to get your booty shaking.

Alexandra Petropoulos

Introducing… Ibibio Sound Machine


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Songlines Music Awards 2015 Nominees: Newcomer

Posted on April 13th, 2015 in News, Recent posts by .


Seven years since their launch, the Songlines Music Awards continue to champion the huge amount of brilliant music from around the world. Here are the four nominees in the Newcomer category, as voted by you.

Olcay Bayir
For Neva/Harmony on Riverboat Records

Born in the Kurdish region of southern Turkey, Bayir moved to London to study opera and classical singing, then started a band to perform traditional music spanning the Western borders of Asia and Eastern Europe’s Mediterranean coast. Her debut is an elegant and gently exquisite set, including Albanian, Armenian, Balkan and Kurdish songs accompanied by clarinet, violin and saz (Turkish lute).

The Gloaming
For The Gloaming on Real World Records

They may be newcomers as an ensemble, but The Gloaming are something of Celtic roots supergroup, including Afro Celt Sound System singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, virtuoso fiddlers Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Martin Hayes, guitarist Dennis Cahill and American pianist Thomas Bartlett. Their debut as a collective is an epic achievement, brilliantly innovative and executed with masterly conviction.

Ibibio Sound Machine
For Ibibio Sound Machine on Soundway

Emerging from London’s vibrant ex-pat Nigerian community, charismatic female lead singer Eno Williams lends the star quality as the eight-piece ISM cook up a simmering mix of deliciously retro Fela Kuti-styled Afrobeat, highlife, funk, gospel and shimmering electronic synth effects, underpinned by slinky bass lines and punctuated by stabbing brass and psych guitars.

For Flor di Bila on Lusafrica

Since the death of Cesaria Evora in 2011, the search has been on for new champions of the intoxicating music of the Cape Verdean islands. Neuza emerges as a worthy inheritor of the mantle. On her debut album of mostly traditional songs, Neuza sings with a sad-but-sweet coaxing voice that recalls the young Barefoot Diva before her vocal chords were marinated in nicotine and whisky.


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