fri 15/12/2017

black culture

Chineke! Ensemble, RNCM, Manchester review - musical advocacy

The Chineke! Orchestra has won golden opinions for its ground-breaking work and musical achievement, and Manchester caught up to the extent of a visit from the eight-person Chineke! Ensemble to the Royal Northern College of Music. As with the full...

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CD: Mavis Staples - If All I Was Was Black

The queen of R&B is no stranger to struggle – the Staples Singers, led by Pops, played a key role in the 1960s civil rights movement, emerging from the gospel circuit as so many great black singers did. Mavis’ first paid gig was with her family...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Frantz Fanon - Black Face White Mask

The much-respected visual artist Isaac Julien made his name as one of the first great black British filmmakers, not least with Looking for Langston (1989) and Young Soul Rebels (1991). While Steve McQueen moved from gallery art and installations to...

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Trouble in Mind, The Print Room review - Tanya Moodie is a treat to watch

Truth is pursued in different ways in Alice Childress’s groundbreaking 1955 Trouble in Mind, and its play-within-a-play story of rehearsals for a Broadway show fully mines the range of theatrical opportunities, for much comic as well as rather more...

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'No matter where our intersections lie, we are all fundamentally connected'

Trouble in Mind, written by Alice Childress, the black actress, playwright and novelist, first opened at New York’s Greenwich Mews Theatre in November 1955. The show made Childress the first African-American woman to win an Obie Award for an off-...

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Quest review - intimate documentary about a north Philly community

Christopher Rainey, aka "Quest" – his hip-hop name – lives with his wife Christine’a and their young daughter PJ in north Philadelphia. Jonathan Olshefski’s restrained, absorbing documentary follows this African-American family over almost a...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Daughters of the Dust

Julie Dash’s remarkable 1991 film tells the story of the Peazant family, the descendants of freed slaves who live on the Georgia Sea Islands, an isolated community on the South-Eastern seaboard of the USA, more in touch with African traditions than...

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CD: Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' - TajMo

Fellow defenders of the Delta tradition Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ have never recorded together before. Billed as a “historic collaboration”, this album features appearances from starry performers including Bonnie Raitt, and excellent young jazz singer...

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Barber Shop Chronicles, National Theatre review - foot-stompingly pleasurable

The strapline for this joyful show is: “One day; six cities; a thousand stories.” Allowing for hyperbole, this is just about right. Performance poet Inua Ellams’s new show is set in a handful of cities that stretch across one part of the globe, from...

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Mulatu Astatke, Jazz Café

Mulatu Astatke has carved out a particular niche within music. He is a one-off purveyor of what Brian Eno called “jazz from another planet”, smoky, mysterious and playful. He’s about the only artist you could describe as both transcendent and sleazy...

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Expensive Shit, Soho Theatre, review - 'strong but slender'

It’s hot. Real hot. And you’re dancing, just lost in music. You’re at the legendary Shrine nightclub in Lagos, where Afrobeat star Fela Kuti is king. It’s 1994. And it’s hot. Sweat is just pouring off you, no longer in little trickles but soaking...

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theartsdesk in Bergen: Questions upon questions at Borealis Festival

There comes a point in any experimental music festival when you have to accept the silliness and go with it. And at Borealis, that point comes very early. Only a couple of hours off the plane in Bergen and we're in a pedestrian tunnel under the bus...

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