Posts Tagged ‘joe driscoll’

Top of the World June 2016: The best new releases

Posted on May 5th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the June (#118) issue.

Imarhan (City Slang)


The young Touareg band Imarhan release an enthralling collection of songs, drawing influences from a variety of subjects and musical styles to create a dynamic and diverse debut album.

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Sociedade Recreativa
Sociedade Recreativa (Jarring Effects)

Sociedade Recreativa Cover

With help from producer Maga Bo, Brazilians Sociedade Recreativa create a memorable album mixing traditional instruments and sound effects.

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Robert ‘Robi’ Svärd
Pa’ki Pa’ka (Asphalt Tango Records)

Robert 'Robi' Svärd - Pa'ki Pa'ka Cover

Trained as a classical guitarist while growing up in Australia, Swedish guitarist Svärd showcases his unique and individual take on flamenco music on this beautiful debut.

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Afro Celt Sound System
The Source (ECC Records)

Afro Celt Sound System - The Source Cover

A reenergised Afro Celt Sound System return after more than a decade since their last album.

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Jarlath Henderson
Hearts Broken, Heads Turned (Bellows Records)

Jarlath Henderson - Hearts Broken, Heads Turned Cover

Piper-turned-singer Jarlath Henderson releases a confident debut as a solo artist. Displaying impressive arrangements and musicality, the album exudes a youthful yet matured sentiment.



Anian (Real World)

9Bach - Anian Cover

9Bach deliver a cohesive set of original and traditional Welsh folk songs on their third album, a soulful and brooding project that explores themes of human nature and the outside world.

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Sierra Hull
Weighted Mind (Rounder Records)

Sierra Hull - Weighted Mind Cover

This album captures the mind of a maturing Sierra Hull, looking for direction in a changing world, showing off her ability as a talented instrumentalist and a sensitive songwriter.

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Joe Driscol & Sekou Kouyaté
Monistic Theory (Cumbancha)

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Monistic Theory Cover

Rapper Driscoll and kora player Kouyaté collaborate once again, seamlessly blending their own unique styles to create their own musical language.

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Gambari Band
Kokuma (Membran)

Gambari Band - Kokuma Cover

This nine-piece are a prime example of the great music currently coming out of Mali. Their debut, full of uplifting harmonies and explosive polyrhythms, is a captivating listen.

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Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble
Sing Me Home (Sony Music Masterworks)

Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble - Sing Me Home Cover

Cello icon Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble release their most diverse project yet, covering a range of musical worlds, from Mali to China.

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Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyaté – Monistic Theory | Album Review | Top of the World

Posted on April 28th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate-©Bugs Steffen-Free2

Words by Nigel Williamson

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Monistic Theory Cover

A New Yorker and a Guinean: two dudes with shared ’tude

When West African and Anglo-American musicians collaborate, the results are often heavily based on improvisation. The approach that goes ‘I’ll pick out a traditional melody on the kora and you can follow on the guitar’ – or vice versa – has produced some wonderfully intuitive jams over the years. But it was evident from their 2012 debut Faya that Driscoll and Kouyaté favour a different, more structured approach. The second album from the rapper, beatboxer and songwriter from Syracuse, New York and the Guinean kora virtuoso who used to play with Ba Cissoko is built around smartly sculpted arrangements on fully-developed new songs, from Driscoll’s tough-edged rap ‘Just Live’ to the gorgeous, lilting Afro-pop of ‘Tokira’, via the thumping trip-hop beats of the title-track.

The key lies not in the glorious collision of two contrasting cultures but how seamlessly they are intertwined in a common musical language, as Kouyaté and Driscoll overlap lyrics in English and Susu against taut but supple rhythms, the mellifluous African baritone of one intriguingly complemented by the streetwise New York City tones of the other. Kouyaté’s kora playing is excitingly unique, as well; the dynamics of his rock’n’roll attack evoke comparisons with the way fellow African rocker Bassekou Kouyaté cranks up the ngoni.

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April 2014: Top 10 UK Live Events

Posted on April 1st, 2014 in Live, News, Recent posts by .

We’ve compiled a list of the top ten concerts happening this April to help make sure you don’t miss out on this month’s best shows.

Seun Kuti & Fela’s Egypt 80

The youngest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti plays a one-off gig in London in support of his new album A Long Way to the Beginning. Co-produced by Robert Glasper the new album features powerful songs including a piece confronting the IMF’s involvement in Nigeria, and an ode to his grandmother, ‘Black Woman’. Expect to hear these and more at this very special concert. 

Where & When: Village Underground, London, April 2. More info.


Julie Fowlis

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Our current cover star will tour the UK this spring. Having recently finished toured with The Transatlantic Sessions, the Gaelic songstress will play four dates in April, and a further three in May. Her album Gach Sgeul – Every Story is a Top of the World in the current issue, too. This is not to be missed!

Where & When: Across the UK, April  8-May 27. More info.


Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyaté


The glorious combination of multi-talented beatboxer/singer/guitarist Joe Driscoll and Guinean kora player Sekou Kouyaté will tour the UK this April. Their album Faya was nominated for the Cross-Cultural Collaboration award in the 2013 Songlines Music Awards, and their live show is set to be an explosive affair.

Where & When: Across the UK, April 4-27. More info.



Music from the cultural melting pot of Victoria Falls.

Hot off the heels of their incredible performance at the Songlines Music Awards Winners’ Concert last December, Mokoomba return to the UK with their live show. The Zimbabwean band were winners of the Newcomer award in the 2013 Songlines Music Awards with Rising Tide.

Where & When: Across the UK, March 30-April 13. More info.




London-based klezmer band She’Koyokh head further afield and play dates in Norwich and Cambridge this April. They are fronted by Çiğdem Aslan, who has been nominated for Best Artist as part of this year’s Songlines music Awards. The winners willl be announced in out 100th issue (on sale April 25).

Where & When: Norwich Arts Centre, April 25 & Clare Hall, Cambridge April 26.


Roberto Fonseca + Family Atlantica


Legendary Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca will play a special one-off show at London’s KOKO this April, with support from Songlines favourites Family Atlantica.

Where & When: KOKO, London, April 8. More info.




The 11-piece folk heavyweights recently picked up the award for Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for their album Broadside, and will play two dates this April.

Where & When: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, April 19 & Royal Albert Hall, London, April 20.


Ed Motta


The Brazilian multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter will tour as part of the La Linea Latin Music Festival Tour. He will be playing tracks from his new album AOR, and  support will come from the talented cellist Dom La Nena.

Where & When: Across the UK, April 3-9, with more dates to be announced. More info.


Christy Moore


Christy Moore is playing six dates across the UK this April, with a full tour of Ireland in May. The founding member of Moving Hearts, released Where I Come From last year – 45 years after his debut – and he’s showing no signs of letting up soon.

Where & When: Across the UK, April 10-18. More info.


Steve Knightley


The Southampton born songwriter – and member of Show of Hands – starts a four-month tour, which will included an appearance at Larmer Tree Festival in July, this April.

Where & When: Across the UK, April 2-30. More info.





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Songlines Boat Sessions With Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate

Posted on May 21st, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

© Savannah Photographic

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate perform ‘Lady’ down at the docks

In the second of our Songlines Boat Sessions, hip-hop singer-songwriter Joe Driscoll and kora virtuoso Sekou Kouyate joined us on the boat, along with band members John (bass) and James (drums). 

Whilst we provided the stew and drinks, the guys treated us to an acoustic version of ‘Lady’ taken from their 2012 album Faya, which was nominated in the Songlines Music Awards 2013. The duo can also be heard on the official Songlines Music Awards 2013 compilation CD, available exclusively at Amazon:

To see a selection of photos from the afternoon click here.

Due to demand, they are currently taking part in their second UK tour in support of Faya. Last Friday (May 17) saw the boys play to a crowded Jazz Café in North London. The evening was jam-packed full of ripping kora licks, tongue-twisting vocal lines and a raucous sing-a-long encore. The band managed to conjure a genuine sense of communal musical appreciation and pleasure; a perfect segue into the weekend. This feeling was reaffirmed by the large queue of well-wishers that formed to greet Driscoll following the set. 

Remaining UK tour dates:

May 23 – Theatr Brycheiniog, Powys
May 25 – Mount Pleasant eco, Cornwall
May 26 – Kaya Festival, Wales
May 27 – The Lantern Theatre, Sheffield
May 28 – The Source Collective, Carlisle
May 31 – Bath Fringe Festival, Bath
Jun 1Feeding the 5000, Bristol

Festival Dates:

Jul 7 – Beat Herder Festival, Lancashire
Jul 20 – Sheep World Music Festival, Wales
Jul 21 – Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Scotland
Aug 18 – Greenman Festival, Glanusk, Wales
Aug 25 – Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire 

Look out for more Songlines Boat Sessions this summer.

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