thu 28/05/2020

New Music Reviews

Tinariwen, HMV Forum

howard Male

Back in June of this year, the international successful Malian blues band gave what felt at the time like a curiously muted performance at the World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert in Johannesburg. But perhaps it was the effect of having their laidback hypnotic grooves juxtaposed to the in-your-face emoting and hip-gyrating of the likes of Shakira and Alicia Keys that seemed to somewhat mystify the stadium audience.

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Benda Bilili!

howard Male

I must confess that when I first heard about Staff Benda Bilili - a Congolese band partly made up of paraplegics – I felt a little uneasy. The last thing that one wants as a (hopefully) trusted critic is to feel compromised by an obligation to give a positive review, or feel guilty about lessening their chances of bettering their circumstances with a bad review. Yes, the vanity and solipsism of your reviewer has no bounds!

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Kris Kristofferson, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

“This song is for my kids – and all their Mommas.” Even at 74, Kris Kristofferson exudes the quietly satisfied air of experience of a man who has spent at least half his life drinking, shagging, smoking and strumming to his heart’s content, and now has a whole lot of good times (and plenty of bad) to draw from at will.

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Shellsuit, Dublin Castle, Camden

Paul McGee 'How much do you charge for a piece of your own soul?' The Shellsuit manifesto explained

During the 1980s, a major artistic response to the Conservative government came in the form of a sustained surge in music that was, on some level at least, politically engaged. Not necessarily in the classic agitprop manner either. For every band of Red Wedge-compliant rabblerousers, there'd be another act insisting that "the personal is political", as they made domestic power struggles or everyday banalities their preferred songwriting topic. With a Tory government once more, pursuing...

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Gruff Rhys's Separado! & Tony da Gatorra, BFI Southbank

Kieron Tyler Cosmic patagonian intensity

Patagonia’s Welshness was a nagging issue for Gruff Rhys, mainman of Welsh psycho-nauts Super Furry Animals. His distant cousin, the folk singer René Griffiths, was born in the desert-filled southern reaches of Argentina, but visited Wales and appeared there on TV in the mid seventies. Remembering those appearances, Rhys decided to visit Patagonia to search for Griffiths amongst the region’s little-known Welsh-speaking community. Given a Rhys-hosted outing at the BFI yesterday, the resulting...

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Separado!/ Gruff Rhys, BFI Southbank

Kieron Tyler

Patagonia’s Welshness was a nagging issue for Gruff Rhys, mainman of Welsh psych-nauts Super Furry Animals. His distant cousin, the folk singer René Griffiths, was born in the desert-filled southern reaches of Argentina, but visited Wales and appeared there on TV in the mid-Seventies. Remembering those appearances, Rhys decided to visit Patagonia to search for Griffiths amongst the region’s Welsh-speaking community.

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Pink Martini, Barbican

Peter Culshaw

“You see! This is America! All races, genders and everything else blending together to make something beautiful!” This a quote from an American fan living in the Middle East currently on Pink Martini’s website. Thomas Lauderdale, the musical director of the band was involved in politics, about to run for Mayor in Portland, Oregon when he put Pink Martini together.

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Alan Moore's Unearthing, Old Vic Tunnels

joe Muggs

It's very hard to ever know what to expect from Alan Moore, the Mage of Northampton. The author of era-defining comics like Watchmen, V For Vendetta and From Hell has long maintained that art and magic are one and the same, and since the mid-1990s his works have often tended to be long and complex explications of various occult principles, which while eye-opening can often lose readers in all their baroque unfoldings.

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Ólöf Arnalds, The Slaughtered Lamb

Kieron Tyler

Last year’s Vid og Vid (an Icelandic colloquialism for "every now and then"), Ólöf Arnalds’ debut album, attracted some high-profile fans. Fellow Icelander Björk raised the flag on America’s National Public Radio, as did Jonathan Richman who requested that she open the shows during his San Francisco residency last week. Björk has contributed vocals to "Surrender", a cut from Arnalds’ forthcoming album Innundor Skinni (Within the Skin).

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WOMAD 2010, Charlton Park

sue Steward

“We all come from the same DNA, as Desmond Tutu is always reminding us, and we shouldn’t be surprised that these musical collaborations take place - and work so well.” That was Peter Gabriel's comment on the music at WOMAD last weekend, a festival he co-founded in 1981, now crammed with more and more bands revealing obvious genetic connections.“

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