Posts Tagged ‘sekou kouyate’

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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Sauti za Busara Festival 2014

Posted on December 5th, 2013 in Live, Music Travel, News, Recent posts by .


The 11th edition of East Africa’s prestigious Sauti za Busara festival will take place February 13-16 2014 in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The first artists to be confirmed in the line-up have been announced and include Ghanian highlife legend Ebo TaylorJupiter and Okwess International and a collaboration between Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyaté. 

Nicknamed the ‘friendliest festival on the planet,’ the four-day experience shall feature an open-air film programme, a carnival parade and more than 300 artists in total. The festival, whose focus is the Swahili coastal regions of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, is the perfect introduction to the local sounds. Songlines Music Travel will  also be hosting a trip to Zanzibar for the festival.

Ghanian highlife star Ebo Taylor has released two internationally acclaimed albums on Strut Records in the past three years, and will be one of this year’s artists at Sauti za Busara. Watch the video for ‘Ayesama’ taken from last year’s Appia Kwa Bridge, which also features Tony Allen on drums.

Jupiter and Okwess International will represent the DRC at the festival after the success of their debut album. It has taken 30 years for Jupiter Bokondji to release his first album, but Hotel Univers was chosen as one of Songlines’ Best Albums of 2013. They recently appeared on the BBC’s Africa Beats for a performance of the track ‘Margarita’, which you can hear below:

The exciting collaboration between US multi-instrumentalist and rapper Joe Driscoll and Guinean kora player Sekou Kouyaté has produced one of the most creative crossover projects of the past few years, and will be featured as part of this year’s festival. Their album Faya was released last year and  nominated in the Songlines Music Awards 2013 – watch our Boat Sessions clip with the guys below:

Also appearing at the festival shall be Nigerian songstress WunmiThe Nile Projectthe Addis Acoustic ProjectSona Jabarteh, and many more. To see a complete list of the announcements, and for further updates, you can visit the festival’s website.

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