Posts Tagged ‘la linea’

La Linea Festival returns to London, featuring Orkesta Mendoza, António Zambujo, Totó La Momposina and more

Posted on April 13th, 2017 in Live by .


Orkesta Mendoza, António Zambujo and Totó La Momposina are set to appear at this year’s La Linea Festival in London

The London Latin Music Festival, La Linea, founded by ¡Como No! has built a firm reputation as one of the world’s most unique celebrations of South American music since its inception in 2001. The annual event returns for its 17th year this April, hosting an eclectic range of artists in a number of venues spread out across the capital.

The festival will feature the fiery Orkesta Mendoza, who will bring their unique cultural fusion of cumbia, mambo, indie and rock’n’roll to Rich Mix on April 21. Portuguese singer and guitarist António Zambujo is also set to make a welcome return to La Linea, bringing the Chico Buarque songbook to London for the first time; catch him at Cadogan Hall on April 21. The legendary Totó La Momposina will also take to the stage at Cadogan Hall on April 28 in a rare UK appearance, representing the music of Columbia’s Caribbean coastline.

La Linea will take place between April 18-29 2017.


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Spotlight: António Zambujo

Posted on April 12th, 2017 in Features by .


Michael Macaroon speaks to the Portuguese singer and guitarist who will make a welcome return to London in April for La Linea

The title of António Zambujo’s latest album, Até Pensei que Fosse Minha (Until I Thought it was Mine), could stand as the tag line for his whole musical career. His extraordinary popularity as a singer and guitarist, both in his native Portugal and abroad is founded on a seemingly effortless absorption of musical influences ranging from fado to bossa nova, taking in Chet Baker, Serge Gainsbourg and Bulgarian folk choirs on the way.

This latest outing is a tribute disc to Chico Buarque, the Brazilian singer whose 50-year career has encompassed dozens of albums, as well as plays, poems and novels, not to mention political protest. Buarque’s samba and tropicália roots may not seem obvious material for a fado singer, though the points of cultural connection are there, and in any case, Zambujo is not exactly a fadista from central casting.

Zambujo’s own roots are in the Alentejo region in the south of Portugal, and he’s steeped in the social and musical traditions of cante alentejano – choirs of men and women who sing of the land they work, local saints and lost love. Cante has an austere harmony built up in parallel thirds, pregnant with Arab influence from centuries back. By his teens, however, Zambujo had discovered the fado of Amália Rodrigues and before long made the move to Lisbon. Mentored by guitarist and composer Mário Pacheco, it was four successful years in the role of Amália’s husband in the eponymous musical that gave him his big commercial break. The recording and touring career that’s followed has charted an individual’s cultural coming of age – a transition from local to international fame, yielding in the process some wonderful tunes, poetry and albums.

His early discs are noted for bridging cante and fado – notably 2004’s Por Meu Cante – though wider interests soon emerge, and a passion for Brazilian music in particular receives the full Zambujo treatment in albums such as Outro Sentido (2007) and Guia (2010).

Now on his eighth disc, Zambujo is established enough to follow his personal enthusiasms without compromise. This is a fan’s tribute: “Chico Buarque is one of the biggest poets of the Portuguese language and I love him,” says Zambujo. Unlike an ordinary fan, though, he has drawn on his idol’s help in whittling down a long list of a hundred songs to create this personal playlist of 16.

What’s more, Buarque, together with the likes of Carminho and Roberta Sá, perform alongside Zambujo on some of the tracks. This dynamic of collaboration is no doubt important morally as well as musically. If you are reinterpreting a classic protest song such as ‘Cálice’ – written in the face of government censorship following the Brazilian military coup of 1964 (cálice or ‘goblet’ is a near homophone for cale-se or ‘shut up’) – then direct engagement with its author helps reconcile a 21st-century perspective with the authenticity of the original (not to mention avoiding the pitfalls of cultural appropriation).

For future projects, Zambujo claims not to have any plans: “I just want to sing and play my guitar… I know that we will tour this year with this album, then we’ll have a live album being released around September, and after that we’ll see…” It doesn’t take much probing, however, to get him to admit there are other enthusiasms he’d like to explore further: “Tom Waits, Caetano Veloso, Agustín Lara, Chavela Vargas, so many…”

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La Linea Festival 15: The London Latin Music Festival

Posted on April 15th, 2015 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


La Linea, the London Latin Music Festival, kicks off in the capital next week featuring performances from Ana Tijoux, Buika and Plaza Francia and a celebration of Mexico

Launched by ¡Como No! in 2001, La Linea celebrates its 15th year with a sprinkling of chilli and mescal, as the official Year of Mexico in the UK gets into full swing. Aside from the Morrissey madness of Mexrrissey, there will also be a Mexican-flavoured electronica with Mextronica and Anglo-Mexican classical music from Morgan Szymanski & Alejandro Escuer.

La Linea begins with Oscar-winning Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler on April 21 at Union Chapel. Plaza Francia – the trio that sees Eduardo Makaroff & Christoph Müller of Gotan Project join forces with French pop powerhouse Catherine Ringer – will head to KOKO on April 23. Flamenco singer Buika returns after her sold-out 2013 La Linea show, while the South American hip-hop scene is well-represented by Chile’s Ana Tijoux and Brazilian MC Emicida.

Click here for your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Plaza Francia on April 23 at London’s Koko.

Jorge Drexler April 21, Union Chapel
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Z’ikr April 21, Leicester Square Theatre
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Plaza Francia April 23, KOKO
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Emicida April 24, Rich Mix
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Year of Mexico in the UK 2015

Morgan Szymanski & Alejandro Escuer April 23, Purcell Room Southbank Centre
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Mextronica featuring Compass (Mexican Institute of Sound & Toy Selectah) April 24, Village Underground
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Mexrrissey April 25, Barbican
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Mexacustico featuring Ceci Bastida, Chetes, Jay de la Cueva, Alejandro Flores + more April 26, Rich Mix
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Buika April 27, Barbican
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Ana Tijoux April 30, Rich Mix
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Eduardo Makaroff & Christoph Müller

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Introducing… Plazia Francia

Posted on April 14th, 2015 in Recent posts by .


The trio are blurring the boundaries between retro tango and contemporary pop. Alexandra Petropoulos reports.

Plaza Francia might be a new name to many of our readers, but the folks behind the group are certainly no new kids on the block. The group combines the electro-tango genius of Eduardo Makaroff and Christoph Müller (Gotan Project) with the queen of French pop, Catherine Ringer (formerly part of Les Rita Mitsouko). As Plaza Francia they explore the space between tango, pop and rock, which finds the long-form, largely instrumental tango that we have come to love from Gotan Project condensed into bite-sized songs airing closer to the acoustic than electronic.

That Ringer is the only voice of Plaza Francia is a testament to how well the project came together. “I had this idea to write songs inspired by tango,” Makaroff explains, “and we wanted them to be songs interpreted by women. We started to think about singers and we had some in mind.” He admits that their original idea was to have several different singers and voices across the album. They asked Ringer, planning to record just two songs, but “it was simply so great. So we asked Catherine if she would be OK to do everything!”

Ringer is the perfect match, her sultry voice perfectly blurs those lines between tango and pop, and the traditional and contemporary. “It was more about classic songwriting without being necessarily retro,” Makaroff elaborates. “Especially with the lyrics, it’s contemporary. It’s a hybrid form because it mixes a lot of different elements but the main ingredient is Argentinian tango.”

As such, each of the songs on their debut album, A New Tango Songbook, are in Argentinian Spanish, forcing Ringer, who does not speak Spanish, to step outside of her comfort zone. “I made work of learning the songs and translating, knowing every word, to jump deeply in the songs, to know the songs.” And yet despite her extensive research, she reassures me that “you don’t have to understand the lyrics. The thing is to feel the songs.”

She tells me that while she enjoyed diving into the world of tango, it wasn’t completely unfamiliar territory. “In French songs we have a tango feeling. In the 1920s we were fond of tango so it’s not so strange for us. It was a pleasure to jump into tango. And they wanted someone who was a tango virgin,” she laughs. “I am no more a virgin.”

Ringer has a tango soul and when asked what that means she elaborates: “The tango soul is to be dramatic, to be intense and to give suspense in the song… and humour.” Makaroff cuts in, “and sensuality,” he pauses reflectively. “Tango is life.”

+ DATES Plaza Francia will perform on April 23 at KOKO as part of La Linea. Find out more.

+ ALBUM A New Tango Songbook will be reviewed in the June (#108) issue.

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