Posts Tagged ‘show of hands’

Top of the World March 2016

Posted on January 29th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the March (#115) issue.

Baaba Maal - The Traveller Cover

Baaba Maal
The Traveller (Marathon Artists)
Baaba Maal returns with his first album in seven years. The Traveller is a career highlight and an exhilarating summation of his life in which his activism and music are seamlessly intertwined. Read our review.

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Grupo Fantasma - Problemas Cover

Grupo Fantasma
Problemas (Blue Corn Music)
The Austin-based nine-piece take on a new approach to recording here; the songs have a new-found sheen and are an entertaining mix of funk, urban groove, rap and Latin pop-rock.

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Mamak Khadem - The Road Cover

Mamak Khadem
The Road (Innova)
Despite an undeservingly understated career, the Iranian singer’s third album showcases stunning vocals and various musical influences, from the Middle East to Eastern Europe.

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Show of Hands - The Long Way Home Cover

Show of Hands
The Long Way Home (Hands On Music)
Respected folk act duo Show of Hands mark the new year with a new album, continuing a long run of two decades’ worth of solid material.

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Lost (GFR)
Via the combination of Gaelic wire-strung and concert harps and various electronic elements, Graham Fitkin and Ruth Wall create a suspenseful, yet reserved and cohesive album.

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vesevo cover

Vesevo (Agualoca Records)
The Neapolitan trio provide a unique and contemporary take on southern Italy’s traditional songs and dances, utilising catchy rhythms and strong harmonies across nine tracks.

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Smockey - Prevolution Cover

Pre’volution: Le Président, Ma Moto et Moi (Outhere Records)
The hip-hop artist from Burkina Faso releases his new album, made in the midst of political unrest and revolution in his home country.

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Sidestepper - Supernatural Love Cover

Supernatural Love (Real World)
The electro-cumbia pioneers from Colombia explore the overlooked traditions of the country’s African music. The result is a calm, collected and cool celebration of musical culture.

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Čači Vorba - Satrika Cover

Čači Vorba
Šatrika (Oriente Musik)
Fronted by the excellent fiddle player and vocalist Maria Natanson, the Polish group exhibit inventive arrangements and striking vocals on a distinctive collection of songs of Romani origin.

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Pagoda Project - Clarion Cover

Pagoda Project
Clarion (Sylvafield)
A meeting between two artists from two different musical backgrounds results in one of this year’s most relaxing and pleasurable listens. A carefully crafted and thoughtful album.

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New issue preview: March (#115)

Posted on January 15th, 2016 in News, Recent posts by .

March (#115) Edition

Living Without Fear; Buika speaks to Alex Robinson about the music she discovered when she confronted her fears and found freedom from the expectations of what she was meant to be

Other features include Colombian band Sidestepper, who talk about the fresh sound of their latest album Supernatural Love; English folk duo Show of Hands chat about the people behind the songs on their new album; we find out how rap and reggae changed the political course of Burkina Faso; plus the latest CD, book and world cinema reviews to get stuck into.

The issue’s Top of the World covermount CD includes brand new tracks from Baaba Maal, Grupo Fantasma and Smockey, plus an exclusive playlist from BBC’s China editor Carrie Gracie, who talks about the sadly under-appreciated folk music traditions in China, the natural and cultural beauty of Tibet and her Scottish heritage.

This issue also includes a bonus CD showcasing some of the finest Polish folk acts to have been associated with the New Tradition Polish Radio Folk Festival since its inception in 1998.

The issue is on sale in the UK from January 29. Click here to purchase your copy now.

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Songlines Music Awards 2015 Nominees: Best Group

Posted on April 9th, 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 Best Group category, as voted by you.

For Revival on Island Records

Britain’s favourite folk big band, led by the estimable duo of John Spiers and Jon Boden, scored the biggest-selling independently released English folk album of all time with 2010’s Hedonism. It earned them a major label deal and their Island Records debut is a typically rollicking collection of drinking songs and sea shanties, pristinely produced and delivered with impressive brio.

Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté

For Toumani & Sidiki on World Circuit

The griot tradition of African musicians handing on their skills down the generations continues with the emergence of Sidiki, the 24-year-old son of the world’s leading kora player, Toumani Diabaté. On their debut album of kora duets, the strings of father and son are rhapsodically interwoven to create a rich tapestry of contrasting moods, brimming with burnished melodies and virtuosity.

Show of Hands
For Centenary: Words and Music of the Great War on Mighty Village

The centenary of the outbreak of World War I in 2014 generated many artistic tributes, but few were more heartfelt than Show of Hands’ collection of poetry, music and song in remembrance of those lost. Noted English roots performers for more than 20 years, Steve Knightley and Phil Beer’s songs are joined on the disc by readings from actors Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter.

For Tamburocket: Hungarian Fireworks on Riverboat Records

The Hungarian quintet are a traditional tamburica band, their sound based around the tambura, a plucked instrument common in south Slav music, supplemented by wind instruments and accordion. With a repertoire made up of material from across the Balkans, some of it collected by Béla Bartók, their second album to receive an international release sparkles with foot-tapping joie de vivre.


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The Songlines Essential 10: Protest Singers

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 in Recent posts by .


Only the bravest artists take on the biggest enemies. Chris Moss singles out the main role models for today’s young, wannabe revolutionary musicians.

Click here to stream the full playlist.

Freddie Aguilar – Greatest Hits (Vicor, 2009)
Aguilar’s rendition of the revolutionary song ‘Bayan Ko’ became the anthem of the opposition to the Marcos regime during the 1986 People Power Revolution. Soulful and searching, he is part late-Leonard Cohen, part James Taylor and part Pinoy rock sentimentality.

Billy Bragg – Talking With the Taxman About Poetry (Go! Discs, 1986)
Love/lust songs like ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’, ‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears’ and ‘The Warmest Room’ say as much about the working classes as any of the overtly political tracks – though ‘There is Power in a Union’ and ‘Help Save the Youth of America’ assured listeners that the Bard of Barking was not softening.

Woody Guthrie – This Land is Your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol 1 (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997)
Troubadour and tireless human rights activist Woody Guthrie beguiles us with his gentle voice, but the sticker on his guitar warned ‘This Machine Kills Fascists.’ This disc contains many classics including the original version of ‘This Land is Your Land’, his antidote to the patriotic puff of ‘God Bless America’.

Fela Kuti and Afrika 70 – Zombie (Knitting Factory, 2013)
Two songs lasting more than 12 minutes, one enemy – the corrupt, murderous and powerful Nigerian military. Fela Kuti’s brand of protest is danceable, cool, iconoclastic, passionate and controversial. The album was a smash. In response, a thousand ‘zombies’ attacked Fela’s Kalakuta Republic commune and destroyed his studio.

Bob Marley and the Wailers – Natty Dread (Island, 1974)
Marley, with or without the Wailers, always gave his social message a spiritual edge. Natty Dread was his first album without Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, and marks a shift towards a bluesy, skanky-swaying sound. In songs like ‘Rebel Music’, ‘No Woman No Cry’ and ‘Revolution’ the politics comes at us from the street with Marley as witness rather than speechmaker.

Hugh Masekela – Masekela (Uni Records, 1969)
South African jazz supremo Hugh Masekela is proof that the sound of rebellion can be subtle and sophisticated without losing any of its spleen. From the uncompromising opening track, ‘Mace and Grenades’, this 1969 album has an angry, anarchic quality, with the trumpet doing most of the protesting. On the closing song, ‘If There’s Anybody Out There’, Masekela tells us he’s ‘screaming here from way down below.’ Subversion is always subterranean.

Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam, 1988)
Copied and caricatured, revered and reviled, this hip-hop mission statement gave African Americans a voice, and a noise, they recognised as authentic. Chuck D’s ire comes through loud and clear, while the sound shapeshifts as it wanders the streets of NYC, horns blasting, crowds colliding, ghetto-blasters blaring and vinyl sampling and scratching.

Show of Hands – Witness (Hands On Music, 2006)
Rousing, lyrical, occasionally acerbic, Witness shows Steve Knightley and Phil Beer doing what they do best – educating, entertaining and filling the huge cultural gap left by mass-market pop and rock (‘Branch, stem, shoot/They need roots’). The rise of UKIP has made ‘Roots’ seem especially timely, but there are powerful local sentiments in all these songs.

Mercedes Sosa – 30 Años (Polygram, 1993)
From Tucumán in north-west Argentina – where mestizo and indigenous cultures persist – Mercedes Sosa (1935-2009) established herself as a nueva canción superstar with covers of Violeta Parra’s ‘Gracias a la Vida’ and Horacio Guarany’s ‘Si Se Calla el Cantor’. Singing lullabies and country dances or belting out folk rock alongside León Gieco, she had the popular touch.

Various Artists – The Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution  (World Music Network, 2013)
Given the disastrous denouement unfolding in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Sudan, we can’t be certain terms like ‘Arab Spring’ or ‘Arabic Revolution’ will endure, but this compilation charts the mood of these heated times – from Tunisian rapper El General daring to question the ‘State of the Nation’ to Iranian-born Sami Yusuf exhorting Muslims the world over not to surrender in ‘I’m Your Hope’. It includes a bonus disc by Ramy Essam, who came to prominence performing on Tahrir Square.

Podcast Click here to listen to music from Egypt’s Ramy Essam on this issue’s podcast

LET US KNOW Have any other suggestions? Write and let us know,

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