mon 20/05/2024

Africa

Mlima's Tale, Kiln Theatre review - simple, powerful tale about the rape of Africa

The work of the double Pulitzer-winning Black American dramatist Lynn Nottage has thankfully become a fixture in the UK. After its award-winning production of Sweat, the Donmar will stage the UK premiere of her Clyde’s next month, and MJ the...

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School Girls, Lyric Hammersmith review - an African Mean Girls with added bite

The alternative title of Jocelyn Bioh’s 2017 play School Girls, The African Mean Girls Play, might indicate that it’s a super-bitchy account of high-school rivalries, here with a west African accent. Which it is. But it’s much more besides. The...

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Album: Jantra - Synthesized Sudan: Astro-Nubian Electronic Jaglara Sounds from the Fashaga Underground

Synths has a special attraction in a world that aspires to modernity. Thirty years ago Algerian Rai, which combined elements of traditional North African music with rock, was characterised by the sweet and slight tinny sound of electronic keyboards...

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Caleb Azumah Nelson: Small Worlds review - Ghana and London dance together

Small Worlds, the second novel from Caleb Azumah Nelson, is a delight: a book with a real feeling for sound and dance, and a sense of place from London to Ghana and back again. It’s a story of a first romance, the intricacies of family life, the...

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Album: Baaba Maal - Being

“Yerimayo Celebration”, which opens Baaba Maal’s brilliant and superbly paced new album, sets the tone: it starts in the mists of time, as it were, drawing deep on the minimal soul of traditional West African music: a plucked ngoni, and a haunting...

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The Dam review - a remarkably haunting allegory

Maher (Maher el Khair, an actual brick-maker) works in a brickyard sloshing sticky mud into rectangular moulds with his bare hands. Next the mud bricks are tipped out to dry in the sun, before being fired in a large, wood fired kiln. The same...

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The Meaning of Zong, Barbican review - didactic tale based on the 1781 massacre of 132 slaves

There’s a moment in the opening stretch of Giles Terera’s The Meaning of Zong where you think the former Hamilton star has written a piece about slavery that’s in much the same idiom as the hit musical. Music will indeed be a strong presence in...

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Sleepova, Bush Theatre review - sweet coming of age play with a soft centre

Can a play ever be a bit too much like real life? The thought came to me while watching Matilda Feyisayo Ibini’s entertaining new play Sleepova at the Bush. This latest opening is almost a bookend to the excellent Red Pitch, premiered at the same...

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review - expanded Afro-dreams survive a star's death

Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa dies off-screen of an undisclosed disease, suffering “in silence” notes sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), actor and role as one at the end. Lost after one, uniquely iconic full-length film, recasting and digital resurrection...

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Album: Star Feminine Band - In Paris

The Star Feminine Band are from Benin, all of them under 18, the youngest only 12. They hail from a village in the north of their small country tucked between Togo and Nigeria. Their pop-inflected mix of high life, Congolese rhumba and other trans-...

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Album: Linda Ayupuka - God Created Everything

Africa is an endlessly surprising source of new music: sounds that grab you instantly, and combine the wisdom and grace of the ancestors with the creative and playful use the latest technologies. Linda Ayupuka is the latest singer to look out for,...

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The Rite of Spring, Pina Bausch/École des Sables, Sadler's Wells review - explosive and disturbing

Superstition, herd instinct, brutality, base terror. Whatever the precise narrative themes of Pina Bausch's response to The Rite of Spring – the most admired of dozens of dance settings of Igor Stravinsky’s score – it’s clear that it concerns...

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