Posts Tagged ‘susheela raman’

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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November 2014: Top 10 UK Live Events

Posted on November 3rd, 2014 in Live, News, Recent posts by .

As the nights draw in, the musical calendar is getting ever busier. This month plays host to the annual EFG London Jazz Festival, and there are plenty more other events going on besides.

Here’s a lowdown of the Top 10 to look out for this November.


Red Note Ensemble with Kuljit Bhamra and Fraser Fifield


The premier Scottish force in contemporary classical music teams up with renowned Indian tabla player Kuljit Bhamra (pictured) and piper Fraser Fifield for two intimate performances in Aberdeenshire.

Where & When: Tarland & Portsoy, November 1 & 2. More info

The John Langan Band


Playing at the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, the frenetic folk trio are set to tear all sense of decorum and pretence from its illustrious heritage. Known for their outrageous live shows, which can be personally verified following their incredible performance at last year’s London Remixed Festival, they’ll be accompanied by Will Varley, whose beautiful and wistful songs were a highlight of this year’s Larmer Tree Festival.

Where & When: Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, London, November 2. More info



The 11-piece mainstays of the contemporary English folk scene celebrated ten years together this year with their fifth studio album Revival. They follow it up with a full UK tour this November.

Where & When: Across the UK, Nov 7-29. More info

Susheela Raman


Susheela Raman returned this year with the highly acclaimed Queen Between and headlines the Jazz Cafe as part of the London International Arts Festival with an impressive roster in support. Jyotsna Srikanth’s band Bangalore Dreams are topping the list, but there will also be performances from Krar Collective and Nordic Raga.

Where & When: Jazz Cafe, London, November 9. More info

Abdullah Ibrahim


Dollar Brand celebrates his 80th birthday celebrating in style this year at the Royal Festival Hall. There’s a UK debut from his brand new trio with Noah Jackson and Cleave Guyton, and a performance from his septet Ekaya.

Where & When: Royal Festival Hall, London, November 15. More info

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80


His most recent release A Long Way to the Beginning was named as one of our ten essential Afrobeat albums in this month’s issue, and not without good reason. He plays one date in the UK as part of his November European tour, so don’t miss out!

Where & When: Band on the Wall, Manchester, November 20. More info



Tinariwen released their sixth album, Emmaar, earlier this year and have just announced a follow-up EP Inside/Outside, which was recorded in the same studio sessions. Catch them at the Roundhouse this November on the eve of the EP’s release, as part of their world tour.

Where & When: The Roundhouse, London, November 16. More info.

Tony Allen


On the very same evening that Seun plays in Manchester, an Afrobeat legend takes to the stage in the capital. Tony Allen was the drummer for Fela’s original Egypt 80 and has continued to produce genre-pushing and interesting albums as a solo artist following their parting. This year’s Film of Life is by far his strongest release this millennium and includes a track with his longtime collaborator Damon Albarn. Support will come from Aziz Sahmaoui.

Where & When: Village Underground, London, November 20. More info

Kassé Mady Diabaté


The Malian jeli will play as part of the London Jazz Festival in the intimate surroundings of London’s Purcell Room. His new album Kiriké was a Top of the World in this month’s issue.

Where & When: Purcell Room, London, November 23. More info

Ibibio Sound Machine


Ibibio Sound Machine’s blend of West African funk and modern disco is taking the world by storm. You’d be a fool not to be caught up by their infectious rhythms and outstanding arrangements. They’ll be supported by London-based Nigerian MC Afrikan Boy.

Where & When: Village Underground, November 27. More info


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Album Review | Top of the World | Susheela Raman – Queen Between

Posted on June 19th, 2014 in News, Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Nigel Williamson

BL dax112xt_digi_4pp_1_tray_pocket 03A Raman for all seasons: Susheela branches out

When confronted with an impressive new album, there’s always a temptation to hail it as the artist’s ‘best work to date.’ Raman’s sixth album may not necessarily top what has gone before, if only because the quality since her 2001 debut Salt Rain has been so consistently high. But Queen Between is as big, self-assured and ambitious as anything we’ve heard from her. Produced as always by partner and guitarist Sam Mills, the Tamil influences of earlier albums have given way to qawwali and Rajasthani flavours, although there’s a dazzling diversity in the eight songs (all Raman/Mills compositions with the exception of the traditional ‘Karunei’).

‘Corn Maiden’ is English-sounding pagan psych-folk; ‘Riverside’ is a hypnotic piece of Asian-tinged left-field rock; and the lovely, acoustic troubadour presentation of ‘North Star’ recalls Natalie Merchant. But it’s the addition of the ecstatic voices of Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali group and a band of Rajasthani folk musicians led by Kutle Khan that provides the most thrilling and ambitious moments. On the throbbing Gypsy party opener ‘Sharabi’ and the epic 12-minute closer ‘Taboo,’ the sound is given further rich texture by the resonant cello playing of Vincent Segal. More than a dozen years on from her debut, Raman continues not only to sound unique but like an artist whose creative vision is still growing.

Track to Try: ‘Sharabi’

Buy the album exclusively through Songlines


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DJ Nihal’s playlist and the 10 best new releases

Posted on June 6th, 2014 in News, Recent posts, Reviews by .


The July 2014 (#101) issue includes our regular Top of the World CD with ten tracks from the world’s finest new releases. The CD also includes five tracks selected by BBC’s DJ Nihal, who also discusses his picks with Simon Broughton.

The Top of the World CD includes brand new tracks from cover star Susheela Raman; father-daughter duo Martin & Eliza Carthy; Brazilian experimentalists Metá Metá, and many more.

Pick up your copy here, at selected UK HMV stores, selected WHSmiths and all good record retailers. Check out this issue’s top tracks:



Susheela Raman ‘Sharabi’ from Queen Between (own label)

More than a dozen years on from her debut, Raman continues not only to sound unique, self-assured and ambitious, but like an artist whose creative vision is still growing.





Forabandit ‘Nemidoonem’ from Port (Buda Musique)

It’s the energy and urgency of Forabandit that impresses the most: there’s an unstoppable drive about these songs that mirrors the idea of a common Mediterranean culture.





Boulpik ‘Boulpik Twoubadou’ from Konpa Lakay (Lusafrica)

Boulpik are a Haitian troubadour combo armed with twin banjos and a tight rhythm section that includes maracas, tambours, Cuban-style claves, plus the boom of a manouba bass.





9Bach ‘Pa Le?’ from Tincian (Real World Records)

9Bach reflect on their folk traditions with something of a modernist’s or internationalist’s perspective, drawing inspiration from their home of north Wales for this original set of songs.





Sväng ‘Kyytiläinen’ from Karja-La (Galileo Music)

A touch of Howlin’ Wolf, hints of anarchic fiddle playing, traditional Baltic runo song, and a jumping minuet: prepare yourself for the latest journey into the unknown from these frolicsome and feisty Finns





Metá Metá ‘Orunmila’ from Metal Metal (Mais Um Discos)

A cool, measured delight that mixes art rock, modern jazz and funky Afro-Brazilian rhythms while folding in tales of long-neglected gods and goddesses of the ancient Yoruba people





Angkanang Kunchai ‘Kid Hod Chu’ from The Sound of Siam Volume 2: Molam & Luk Thung from North-East Thailand 1970-1982 (Soundway Records)

The second compilation by DJs Maft Sai and Chris Menist uncovers more groovy gems from Thailand’s molam and luk thung masters.





Alsarah & the Nubatones ’Soukura (It’s Late)’ from Silt (Wonderwheel Recording)

Creating something fresh yet timeless and imbued with a sense of nostalgia, Silt perfectly captures what Alsarah describes as ‘East African retro pop.’





Martin & Eliza Carthy ‘Waking Dreams (Awake, Awake)’ from The Moral of the Elephant (Topic Records)

This is the first time the father and daughter have recorded as a duo, and it deserves a place up there with the best of the family oeuvre.





Sakar Khan ‘Train Song #2’ from At Home (Amarrass Records)

Aside from the glorious playing, there’s a comfortable intimacy about the music that makes this one of the best field recordings of late. Here is master Indian kamancha player heard in his home environment.



Plus DJ Nihal’s playlist



Angélique Kidjo ‘M’Baamba (Kenyan Song)’ from Eve (429 Records)

“She could walk into a room wearing dungarees and you would look at her – and that comes through in her music. In terms of soul and energy, clearly she is insurmountable.”





Circle of Sound ‘Zero’ from Anti Hero (Baithak Records)

“I love people who look at traditional music and give it a twist of their own, and Soumik is one of those people. That’s why I’m a big fan of his.”





Nitin Sawhney ‘Homelands’ from Beyond Skin (Outcaste Records)

“It’s the kind of track that should go up into space and if aliens find it and listen to it, they’d be utterly seduced by planet Earth and they’d want to make their way to Glastonbury where Nitin’s playing.”





Rita Morar & Talal Qureshi ‘Piya (Official Remix)’ from Piya (Official Remix) (Rita Morar & Talal Qureshi)

“These guys have a sound palette that is as broad as anyone’s, and they’re making music in a city that has suicide bombings and there’s no club scene.”





DJ Vips featuring Babli ‘Long Gawacha (Bashment Mix)’ from Party Time (VIP Records)

“This is a version I absolutely love because it’s got an element of digital dance hall to it. It’s right up my alley because it’s a melding of two cultures.”



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