fri 07/05/2021

African music

Album: Toumani Diabate and the London Symphony Orchestra - Kôrôlén

Toumani Diabate, master of the 21-string kora, along with some other Malian musicians, collaborated on a symphonic concert at London's Barbican Centre in 2008. The orchestra in question were the London Symphony, who have often been open to working...

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Album: Ballaké Sissoko - Djourou

Ballaké Sissoko is one of the greatest musicians in Africa – a kora player of extraordinary quality, strongly rooted in the Manding and family traditions that have nourished him. He’s also a born collaborator, with a sense of adventure that has...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 63: KMFDM, Laurie Anderson, Seratones, The Telescopes, Black Sabbath, Conrad Schnitzler and more

Rumours keep swirling of pressing plants stumped by the effects of COVID-19 lockdown, and it’s true that vinyl editions of many albums have been delayed, yet still those records keep arriving. At theartsdesk on Vinyl, no-one cares if an album was...

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Disc of the Day 10th Anniversary: the level playing field

Theartsdesk is a labour of love. Bloody-mindedly run as a co-operative of journalists from the beginning, our obsession with maintaining a daily-updated platform for good culture writing has caused a good few grey and lost hairs over the years. But...

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Sauti za Busara Festival 2021, Zanzibar review - 2500 gather to celebrate music unlocked

“Zanzibar, are you ready?” yells the singer from the stage.There’s a huge cheer. It seems the crowd – and it is a crowd – is certainly ready. In shades, a flat cap and dreadlocks down his back, singer Barnaba Classic (pictured below left)...

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Disc of the Day Celebrates 10 Years of Album Reviews

Ten years ago yesterday, on Monday 14th February 2011, one of theartsdesk’s writers, Joe Muggs, reviewed an album called Paranormale Aktivitat, by an outfit called Zwischenwelt. It was the first ever Disc of the Day, a new slot inserted into...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 62: Nick Mulvey, Off The Meds, Black Keys, Kreator, Oneohtrix Point Never, Sam Cooke and more

The top-selling vinyl at independent UK record shops in 2020 was Idles' latest album (closely followed by Yungblud, which is impressive, given his only came out in December!). The Top 10 is dominated by indie, rock and retro but, actually, the...

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Albums of the Year 2020: Melt Yourself Down - 100% Yes

I’ll leave it to others, better placed, to unpack 2020’s gruelling impact on so many. But one of its side effects was the elevation, alongside food and television, of recorded music. It became a salve, a focus, a locus of social media blather about...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 61: Amy Winehouse, Krust, Motörhead, Extrawelt, Sade, Chase and Status and more

Welcome to the penultimate 2020 edition of the world’s vastest, most musically wide-ranging, regularly posted, online vinyl reviews. This year vinyl boomed, especially in the wake of COVID-19, with gig-goers stuck at home but wanting new music. 2020...

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Arena - Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat, BBC Two review - the music that never dies

There have been Felabrations, stage musicals, bands featuring his sons Seun and Femi that have continued the legacy. There has been the slew of re-releases from his massive catalogue, and a number of films, including Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela, and...

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Album: Gorillaz - Song Machine: Season One - Strange Timez

The cast list for Song Machine…, the seventh album from virtual virtuosos Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, is the size of some festival line-ups: Beck, Fatoumata Diawara, Imagination’s Leee John, Peter Hook, Robert Smith, Slaves, Slowthai, St...

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Album: Burna Boy - Twice as Tall

There’ve been plenty of global breakout successes from Nigeria in the past decade; D’banj, Davido, Wizkid and more – but by far the most recognisable to the international audience is Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy. And doesn’t he know it. His last album...

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