Posts Tagged ‘omar souleyman’

Lau-Land Bristol, May 29-31

Posted on May 1st, 2015 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


The experimental folk trio Lau have made a name for themselves by pushing the boundaries. Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke speak to Jo Frost about curating their own festival, Lau-Land

Read our review of The Bell That Never Rang

Anyone familiar with Lau will be aware that the trio love a bit of collaboration – whether it’s performing with the Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu, wigging out with Norwegian jazzer Bugge Wesseltoft or creating avant-garde contemporary music with the Elysian Quartet. So the idea of them curating their own festival in order to perform with some of their favourite musicians seems like a no-brainer. The impetus behind Lau-Land is simple: “To present music that we find inspiring is our remit, which covers quite a lot of music,” Green explains. “And to try and get as much interaction as possible. It has always been good for us as musicians in such a small unit to take inspiration from outside sources.”

It undoubtedly helps that all three are voracious listeners of music. “I don’t think all bands love sitting around listening to music, but we genuinely do,” Green says. “There is always music in the van. It’s the perfect opportunity to listen to music.”

O’Rourke elaborates on the philosophy behind Lau-Land: “The whole ethos of collaboration is strong. It’s the theme that we wanted to run through them all; encourage as much collaboration onstage and offstage as possible. It’s a bit like ‘musical shepherding,’” O’Rourke laughs, “get them in an enclosure together and see what happens!”

There’s a clear pride in their folk origins that certainly influences the programming. “We’re really proud of our folkie thing,” Green acknowledges. One aspect of this is the traditional music session. “It’s a kind of social phenomenon,” explains Green, “how we can introduce this thing that we love to other people?”

Among the names on the Bristol Lau-Land programme are Tinariwen and Omar Souleyman. “There’s something about Tinariwen’s sound and their landscape which you can completely connect with, which has always interested me,” O’Rourke says. “As far as music is concerned, the music we write as a band, it’s all about places and landscapes – this is so obvious and beautiful in Tinariwen’s music.”

There are less obvious connections with the Syrian wedding singer, Omar Souleyman. At the time of speaking it’s not clear whether there will be a collaborative element to Souleyman’s set but O’Rourke confesses that he’d love to see a piper onstage with the singer: “I can just totally hear traditional Scottish Highland bagpipes with this music!”

There are plenty of other aspects to give the event its USP: the Lau-Lab, ‘a platform for traditional and experimental musicians to meet and learn from each other,’ and the Collaboration Station, which involves some jazzers, a few folkies and electronic musicians spending a day together, culminating in a free public performance on the Friday night. Then there’s the Emerging Music Platform, a stage for up-and-coming acts, selected by Lau.

Audience participation has become very much a part of Lau-Land. “Folkies go to festivals and expect to play in sessions and do workshops. That exists much less outside the folk world but there’s no real reason why it should not exist,” says Green. So there will be a range of workshops, including Sam Lee doing a song collecting workshop and Hacker Farm doing one about instrument-making. After London, Gateshead, Edinburgh and Bristol, where next? “We like the idea it’s a moveable festival,” explains O’Rourke, “we could do it anywhere, anytime… we’ve even talked about doing one in Tokyo.” It looks like Lau’s musical utopian vision is about to go global.

DATES The next Lau-Land takes place at Colston Hall in Bristol from May 29-31. Songlines Magazine is an official media partner. Buy tickets.

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December 2014: Top 10 UK Live Events

Posted on December 3rd, 2014 in Live, Music Travel, News by .

As the festive season draws ever closer, there are still a great deal of fantastic gigs to be seen that aren’t pre-occupied with carols and figgy pudding. 

Here’s a shortlist of the top ten gigs this December.


Rodrigo y Gabriela


The unfathomably talented Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela return to the UK for six dates this winter. They will showcase their new album 9 Dead Alive, and judging by their storming set on Glastonbury’s pyramid stage this summer it’s definitely not one to miss!

Where & When: Across the UK, Nov 30-Dec 6 More info


Cuban Classics: A Night In Havana


An evening of classical Cuban music will star young concert pianist Marcus Madrigal, who will be playing alongside tango songstress Ann Liebeck (pictured), and Omar Puente, a bright Cuban jazz violinist. The concert will include pieces by Manuel de FallaErnesto Lecuona, and Enrique Granados.

Where & When: Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, Dec 2 More info




This month is the tenth anniversary of the wonderful British-Indian ensemble Tarang. The young group have had pieces commissioned for them by such esteemed composers as Gaurav Mazumdar and Tarun Bhattacharya (pictured), and this evening’s celebrations include some pieces composed specifically for the occasion.

Where & When: Purcell Room, London, Dec 5 More info


Susheela Raman


The intimate surroundings of Turner Sims in Southampton plays host to the exquisite Susheela Raman this December. She plays as part of a quartet that includes Aref Durvesh on tablaKartik Raghunathan (violin), and Sam Mills (guitar). Her album Queen Between was a highlight of the year, so be sure to catch her last UK concert in 2014.

Where & When: Turner Sims, Southampton, Dec 5 More info


The Great British Folk Festival


This year’s stellar line-up for the annual affair in Skegness includes BellowheadThe Full English, and Capercaillie. There is also a performance from Jethro Tull’s guitarist Martin Barre and his band.

Where & When: Butlins Holiday Park, Skegness, Dec 5-8 More info




If you’re one for a quiet evening in then the modern Klezmer powerhouse Tantz may not be for you! However, if you’re up for blistering tempos, cascading string lines, and some good-old foot stomping then look no further! The Leeds based group play four dates across the UK this December.

Where & When: Across the UK, Dec 5-13 More info


Auntie Flo


Glaswegian DJ Auntie Flo launched his Highlife label back in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength since. These days he’s regularly accompanied at his high-energy shows by South African drummer Esa. Catch him at three dates across the UK, which includes a performance at London’s Plastic People alongside Axel Boman.

Where & When: Across the UK, Dec 12-19 More info


Just Jam


Following the last minute cancellation of the originally proposed performance earlier this year, Just Jam is set to go ahead at the Barbican. Headed up by the Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman (pictured), the eclectic line-up features grime artists JME and Big Narstie, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, and Libson-based DJ Maboku.

Where & When: Barbican Centre, London, Dec 13 More info


Canto, Ritmo y Baile de Latinoamerica: Celebrating a Continent’s Love for Dance


Further north on the very same evening, and entirely different affair is taking place. Mestisa are a yorkshire based Latin-American folk quartet and will be playing a variety of musics from the continent. This concert is part of the University of Leeds Concert Series, and is free for under 16s.

Where & When: Clothworkers Centenary Workers Hall, Leeds, Dec 13 More info


Gilles Peterson


Who better to spend your New Year’s Eve with than the musical polymath Gilles Peterson? Having turned the Bedroom Bar into a Cuban haven at the launch of his latest Havana Cultura album last month, he’s sure to get the heart racing with the finest selections right through to the early hours. He will be supported by Simbad, a fellow DJ from Brownswood who helped co-produce the new Havana Cultura project.

Where & When: The Prince of Wales, Brixton, Dec 31 More info


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March 2014: Top 10 UK live events

Posted on February 28th, 2014 in Live, News, Recent posts by .

There are so many fantastic concerts going on this March that we’ve compiled a list of the top ten to help make sure you don’t out of this month’s best shows.

Idan Raichel          


The Israeli songwriter – who has worked with an incredible array of artists in the past, including Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré (pictured above) – is visiting London for a one-off special gig, showcasing music from his new album Quarter to Six. He is known for his unique fusion of Arabic and Ethiopian musics and electronics, however this intimate show will see him perform his works on the piano in the manner in which he composed them in Israel.

Where & When: KOKO, London, March 2. More info.

Reflection of Silence: Flavours of Iranian and Kurdish Music


This creative improvisation sees four artists of varying backgrounds collaborating for an exciting evening of Persian and Kurdish music. Tara Jaff (pictured), the Iraqi-Kurdish harpist and singer will be joined by Iranian guitarist Pouya Mahmoudi, setar maestro Mehdi Rostami, and Adib Rostami (tombak and kamancheh).

Where & When: Kings Place, London, March 8. More info.

Sidi Touré


Featured in this month’s issue of Songlines (#98), Sidi Touré will be touring the UK playing songs from this new album Alafia. Hailing from Gao, Mali, he has rapidly become an important artist and representative of Songhai culture.  The bluesman will be playing three dates across the country.

Where & When: The Forge, London, March 14; Komedia, Brighton, March 18; Old Town Hall, Gateshead, March 15. More info.

Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba


The Malian ngoni star and his band will tour the UK this March. His most recent album Jama Ko was voted as one of Songlines’ Best Albums of 2013, so don’t miss the chance to see him live.

Where & When: Across the UK, March 11-20. More info.

The Elizabethan Session


Some of the best artists of the British folk scene are living together for a week in a rural retreat, writing music inspired by the Elizabethan period. This exciting event shall see the fruits of their labours. The session will feature Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr, Jim Moray, Bella Hardy, John Smith, Emily Askew, Rachel Newton and Hannah James.

Where & When: The Old Palace, Hatfield House, March 20; Cecil Sharp House, London, March 22. More info.

Juan Martin


Virtuoso spanish guitarist Juan Martin is touring a spectacular show this March with his Flamenco Dance Ensemble. He shall also be accompanied by singer Amparo Heredia for his dates with the ensemble.

Where & When: Across the UK, March 2, 26 (solo); March 7-18 (ensemble). More info.



Photo: Marie Planeille

Following the release of their seventh studio album Emmaar, Tinariwen will play two very special dates at London’s Village Underground this March. They shall also perform at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival this coming May.

Where & When: Village Underground, London March 6 & 7. More info.

Damned Nations


The collaborative project between Nuba Nour and Welsh musicians Sian James, and Gwyn Jones is travelling throughout England and Wales this March. These artists – united by their shared status as minority cultures – worked together on the album DamNation at the Rockfeld studios, which is due to be released in May.

Where & When: Across the UK, March 1-21

Salsa Celtica Tour 


The Scottish-Latin big band released their sixth album The Tall Islands this February, and are touring the UK with their unique blend of Afro-Latin salsa and Scottish folk.

Where & When: Across the UK, March 6-30. More info.

Flamenco Festival


This year sees the 11th edition of this fantastic annual celebration of flamenco in London. Featuring a debut from Ángel Muñoz – who has collaborated with the legendary Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña – the festival also sees appearances from Farruqito, Miguel Poveda and Sara Baras.

Where & When: Sadler’s Wells, March 1-15. More info.


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Songlines Youtube Playlist #97

Posted on December 20th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Now that you’ve read all about the music featured in the latest issue of Songlines (Jan/Feb 2014, #97), don’t forget you can also watch and listen to it on our YouTube playlist, which we compile every issue for your viewing pleasure. You can find the full playlist here.

Here are a few of this issue’s highlights:

Omar Souleyman
The next big thing, or is it all hype? We talk to the Syrian wedding singer who is bringing disco dabke to the trendiest corners of the world.

Alex Petropoulos speaks to the US-based singer who is poised to bring Sudanese music to a wider audience.


A Tribe Called Red
The Canadian act are part of a group of musicians breaking the country’s Aboriginal music out of the ghettos into the clubs.


Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
The duo were named in our Best Albums of 2013 list, along with other great acts including Bassekou Kouyaté, Buika and Leyla McCalla.

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