wed 16/08/2017

Algeria

CD: Yasmine Hamdan - Al Jamilat

Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan founded Beirut’s groundbreaking 1990s electro-duo Soapkills with Zeid Hamdan – the first Middle Eastern electro band to garner a cult following across the Arab world. More recently she featured in Jim Jarmusch’s 2013...

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The Life and Times of Fanny Hill, Bristol Old Vic

Turning John Cleland’s 18th-century erotic classic Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure into a convincing stage play is a tall order. The book, a product of male fantasy, is a catalogue of sexual feats of every order, rich in euphemism and with a...

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CD: Tinariwen - Emmaar

On seeing that new Tinariwen album, Emmaar, had been recorded at Joshua Tree (due to ongoing security problems in their native Mali) with a number of American guest musicians, my heart sank. I imagined some special guest-heavy yet artistically...

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Siege in the Sahara, Channel 4

Bruce Goodison has been responsible for some of the more impressive television of the last decade, sometimes drama, sometimes straight documentary, and sometimes drama-documentary, like his Flight 93: The Flight That Fought Back. He was back in the...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Shadow Morton, Motorama, Rob Jo Star Band, Souad Massi

Various Artists: Sophisticated Boom Boom!! – The Shadow Morton StoryWithout Shadow Morton, Amy Winehouse could not have made Back to Black. The songs the enigmatic sonic wizard wrote and produced for The Shangri-Las in the mid Sixties were integral...

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CD: Rachid Taha - Zoom

Unlike the Rai masters Khaled and Mami, who grew up in Algeria and are slightly uncomfortable with the audience-winning slide into rock, Rachid Taha is a beur, a North African born in France, raised on punk but with a thorough knowledge of his...

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Orchestre National de Barbès, Queen Elizabeth Hall

I love the fact that under the “genre” tab on their Facebook page, Orchestre National de Barbès have opted for “Other” from the dropdown menu. Obviously in Facebookland “Other” simply means not rock, soul, hi-hop, jazz, reggae, classical etc....

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Who Do You Think You Are? - June Brown, BBC One

Your typical consumer of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC One would almost certainly have been disappointed by last night's first instalment of the eighth series. There were no tears from June Brown, EastEnders' Dot Cotton, for a start. That is as...

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Outside the Law

Australia's cricketers used to call batsman Mark Waugh "Afghanistan", because (compared to his brother Steve) he was the Forgotten Waugh. It was a reference to the Soviet campaign against the Mujahideen during the 1980s. But few wars in recent-ish...

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DVD: Of Gods and Men

'Leaving means dying': The monks of Tibhirine debate their future

At the risk of sounding falsely pious, as this stunning film never is, Des hommes et des dieux, to give its differently emphasised French title, should be screened in every school and to every faith around the world. Xavier Beauvois sensitively...

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CD: Iness Mezel - Beyond the Trance

Iness Mezel’s manifesto for spiritual independence also happens to rock like hell

No, not “trance” in the sense of galloping four-to-the-floor electronic music made by people on Ecstasy for people on Ecstasy. This trance is the original ritualised half-conscious state produced by fast, intensely repetitive, rhythmic tribal music...

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Ed Harcourt, Wilton's Music Hall

Multi-layered songwriter Ed Harcourt gives it some Heathcliff

If the audience at Wilton's charmingly archaic music hall were feeling depressed by the bleak comedy of the England "performance" against Algeria, a whirl around the musical block in the company of Ed Harcourt was the perfect antidote. Critics feel...

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