sun 22/09/2019

Africa

CD: Tinariwen - Amadjar

Tinariwen’s music has always been evocative of West African deserts with their mellow blues-like guitars and shuffling groove. Initially recording everything in Mali until it was invaded by religious fanatics who deemed playing music forbidden,...

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José Eduardo Agualusa: The Society of Reluctant Dreamers review - vivid visions towards a free Angola

Reality follows dreams in José Eduardo Agualusa’s latest experiment in quixotic political fable. The book opens with journalist Daniel Benchimol waking at the Rainbow Hotel in Angola’s capital, Luanda: “I saw long black birds fly past. I’d dreamed...

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The Lion King review - a dazzling photocopy

The cynicism of this film’s existence squeezes all the feeling from it. It approaches cherished childhood memories of the original The Lion King (1994) with a view to remonetising them. Technological advances apart, there’s no reason at all for this...

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CD: KOKOKO! - Fongola

This debut is the best collaboration between a French producer and African musicians since Yves Wernert got together with Malian ngoni player Issa Bagoyogo for a string of masterful fusion albums during the Noughties. But his time around it was the...

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CD: Santana – Africa Speaks

You hear a lot about living legends, but there aren’t actually that many around – at least not since the first half of 2016. Carlos Santana, however, definitely fits the bill. From his early days stealing the show at Woodstock alongside drummer...

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Freedom Fields review - Libya’s next freedom fighters

Set in the months and years after the Libyan revolution, Freedom Fields follows several women aiming to compete in international football. The documentary finds the players excitedly preparing for their first overseas tournament. However, it soon...

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CD: Youssou N'Dour - History

Yousou N’Dour has come a long way from his cassettes with Super Etoile de Dakar, that wild mbalax energy, fed by the clatter of the high-pitched sabar drums, with vocals that soared and fizzed with emotion and soul.  Today’s Youssou is air-...

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The Widow, Series Finale, ITV review - Congolese drama parts company with reality

Are brothers Harry and Jack Williams mounting a takeover bid for British TV? They’ve written (among other dramas) The Missing, Liar and Baptiste, and they produced Fleabag. However, judging by their co-writing efforts on The Widow (ITV) they’re...

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Styx review - high seas, high stakes refugee nightmare

The Mediterranean’s massacres of the refugee innocent come uncomfortably close to a lone female sailor in this stark parable of European helplessness and indifference.When German doctor Rike (Susanne Wolff) casts off from Gibraltar, the ocean’s...

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Oumou Sangaré, Earth review - the new Mama Africa takes her crown

Oumou Sangaré is not a woman to be trifled with – tales of people who have crossed her and lived to regret it abound: one story (of many) has her personally hiring a bulldozer in a land dispute and getting a recalcitrant local official sacked. She...

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The Widow, ITV review - Kate Beckinsale stars in tale of a missing husband

The Williams brothers (The Missing, Liar, Rellik, Baptiste) are back. In The Widow, the writer-producer team of Jack and Harry move on to Wales, Rotterdam and corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the recipe is wearyingly familiar...

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theartsdesk in Zanzibar - behind the veil

Damn exotica. It has a habit of marshalling your gaze away from shabby Soviet-style apartment blocks and training it on white-washed palaces with ornate doors and latticed balconies; away from traffic jams of fume-spouting 4x4s and on to the old...

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