sat 18/05/2024

black culture

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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Album: Burna Boy - I Told Them...

There’s been a lot of flak flying around this album already. It’s mainly been triggered by Burna Boy’s public activities which have included disparaging the wider Afrobeats music scene of West Africa, and some somewhat overcooked expressions of his...

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Prom 7: Urioste, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Otaka review – old friends, new worlds

A full house, and television cameras: rarer events at the Proms than they used to be (or should be). Both lent a sense of occasion to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s visit to the Royal Albert Hall with their Conductor Laureate, Tadaaki Otaka....

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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: Janelle Monáe - The Age of Pleasure

There’s been a good deal of discussion on “the socials” about how much Janelle Monáe’s sexy image is a new thing or a big deal.Casual viewers, still stuck on the suit-wearing image with which she crashed into public consciousness in 2010, have acted...

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Album: Steel Banglez - The Playlist

There is a truly fascinating story to be written about the hidden Punjabi influence on UK bass music. Maybe it’s natural for kids growing up with the huge booming sounds of dhol and tabla drums to gravitate to big bass speakers, but some of the most...

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Glory to Sound: Linton Kwesi Johnson, Brighton Festival 2023 review - a reggae rebel's life in music

Straight-backed at 70, Linton Kwesi Johnson wears the smart garb of a British Caribbean elder – trilby, cream jacket, West Indies maroon jumper and tie, grey trousers, blue socks and grey shoes. His voice has resonant, slow-rolling authority...

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Blue, English National Opera review - the company’s boldest vindication yet?

Two recent operas by women have opened in London’s two main houses within a week. Both have superbly crafted librettos dealing with gun violence without a shot being fired, giddyingly fine production values and true ensembles guided by perfect...

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Ain't Too Proud, Prince Edward Theatre review - Temptations musical is none too tempting

Ain’t Too Proud? Ain’t too good either, I’m afraid. Which is a shame as there’s plenty of the raw material here that powers juggernaut jukebox musicals around the world, but this production has the feel of a cruise ship show with a much tighter band...

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Album: The Selecter - Human Algebra

To music-lovers of the era, The Selecter are known as part of the 2-Tone ska explosion which blew up as the 1970s turned into the 1980s. The Selecter were right in the middle of that, their eponymous song on the B-side of The Specials’ debut single...

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Album: Dave Okumu and the Seven Generations - I Came from Love

It’s hard to think of an album that’s simultaneously as dramatic and as restrained as this. But then Dave Okumu has always put his music and ideas out into the world in the subtlest of ways.As a guitarist he’s been omnipresent for many years,...

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Diana Evans: A House for Alice review - lyrical sequel to Ordinary People

Diana Evans specialises in houses, their baleful quirks and the meaning of home. In her acclaimed third novel, Ordinary People (2018), formerly happy, black couple Melissa and Michael live in a crooked, malevolent Victorian terraced house in south...

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