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14 octobre 2005

The genesis of a guitarist

Steve Hackett expands on his early work with well-known band

By Jeff Miers, News Pop Music Critic, 10/14/2005

Countless guitarists claim Steve Hackett as an influence; still more progressive rock fans flock to watch tribute bands re-create Hackett's guitar parts note for note. Most listeners probably assumed it was a keyboard they were hearing.

After all, the early music of Genesis had an otherworldly quality and suggested some sort of dream state in which reality had been suspended. You never really tried to break it all down to the individual performances, preferring instead to passively let the music wash over you. This, after all, was the stuff which urged the christening of the term "headphone rock."

Steve Hackett's job in Genesis was to complement the classical harmonic structure of the music with crisp, taut, melodic figures, and to augment the music's dreamy drama with volume swells, arpeggios and crystalline legato phrases. He did the job so well that he all but disappeared into the gauzy fabric of mellotron, piano and organ that dominated the band's sound.

That is, until he broke loose with one of his complex, angular guitar solos, which suggested the aural equivalent of a swarm of bees gone mad in a Marshall amplifier factory. Bizarre and fascinating, Hackett's work with Genesis was the stuff of rock dreams. Countless guitarists claim the man as an influence; still more unvanquished '70s-era progressive rock fans flock to watch tribute bands recreate Hackett's guitar parts note for note, in clubs and concert halls from Buffalo to Bristol.

It's telling that Hackett's tenure with Genesis - which ended in 1977, when, after six years with the band, he embarked on a solo career - is still a matter of concern among serious musicians the world over. He's been a solo artist for more three times as long as he played with Genesis, but to this day, the bits of his live shows that draw the most enthusiastic responses from crowds involve instrumental recapitulations of famous Genesis melodies.

These days, Hackett is primarily an acoustic guitarist, with an emphasis on nylon string classical work. When he comes to the Town Ballroom at 7 tonight, he'll be performing largely solo, with augmentation from flute and keyboards during roughly half of the set.

Hackett won't be drawing material from his recently released classical album "Metamorpheus" - that album is fully orchestrated and would require a much larger ensemble. He will dig into his past for earlier solo tunes and Genesis nuggets, however. So you'll get an overview of the whole canon.

In preparation for the show, I've been rifling through my Hackett collection to compile a list of what I feel are his defining moments. Here's what I came up with.

"The Musical Box," from Genesis' "Nursery Crime" album (1971). This tells you almost all you need to know about Hackett, as he moves nimbly between 12-string acoustic beauty and electric mayhem, perfectly mirroring Peter Gabriel's bizarre tale of a young man trapped in an old man's body. As brilliant as it is weird.

"Supper's Ready," from Genesis' "Foxtrot" album (1972). Here, Hackett engages in what is essentially a fugue, as intricate parts are interwoven and build dramatically toward . . . well, we're never really sure what. But the journey is a bloody brilliant one. Musical storytelling at its finest.

"Los Endos," from Genesis' "A Trick of the Tail" album (1976). After Peter Gabriel's departure, Hackett remained in the fold for "Wind and Wuthering" and "Trick of the Tail," making himself as invaluable as ever. On "Los Endos," he gives new meaning to the phrase "lyrical guitar playing." Gorgeous.

"Carpet Crawlers," from Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" album (1974). Again, Hackett offers otherworldly playing that perfectly complements Gabriel 's breathy, immaculate chorus, "You've gotta get in to get out." So subtle, and yet, so essential to the overall success of the composition. Hackett makes high art of underplaying.

Genesis, "Seconds Out," entire album (1977). Hackett peaked as a member of Genesis on this live set. My understanding is that this is actually a live recording, free of overdubs of any sort. I'll hazard a guess and say that, between eighth and 12th grade, I listened to this album in the area of 1,000 times. I was never able to spot Hackett making a mistake. And this stuff is close to impossible to play.

"Voyage of the Acolyte," Steve Hackett (1975). Hackett's solo debut is still his strongest record, and has withstood the test of time. In fact, this is the most Genesis-like of his solo efforts, probably because Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins helped out on its recording.

"Metamorpheus," Steve Hackett (2005). A pensive, graceful collection of meticulously performed musical vignettes.

Funky fingers

By Sergey Chernov for St. Petersburg Times

Legendary bassist Tony Levin (second from the right) with the Tony Levin Band which makes its first trip to the land of his forebears this month.

Tony Levin, the long-time bassist with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, has also worked on many seminal rock albums by such artists as Lou Reed, Paul Simon and John Lennon. Now he steps into the spotlight with his own combo, the Tony Levin Band, with concerts in St. Petersburg and Moscow this month.

“First of all, I want to say how excited we are to be coming, finally, to Russia. I have wanted to play there, with Peter Gabriel, or King Crimson, for many years,” wrote Levin in an email interview with The St. Petersburg Times last week. “
That it is finally happening, and with my own band, is a very special thing for me.”

There is another reason why Levin is excited about the tour because his mother came from Berdichev, a once-predominantly Jewish town in Ukraine. In an online diary Levin mentions that he and his brother, Peter, who is on tour with him as a keyboard player/programmer, have sought a way to travel to Ukraine and Belarus to visit the hometown of their mother and grandparents.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in June 1946, Levin began playing double bass at age 10. Five years later he played at the White House with a youth orchestra for John and Jackie Kennedy. Later, he attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and played in the Rochester Philharmonic. Introduced to jazz and rock by now-renowned drummer Steve Gadd, who was also at the school, Levin moved to New York in 1970 where after a brief stint with a rock band he began working as a session musician playing bass with such diverse artists as Carly Simon, Don McLean, Alice Cooper, and Ringo Starr. He also performed at John Lennon ’s final studio sessions which yielded “Double Fantasy” in 1980 and the posthumous album “Milk and Honey” in 1984.

According to Levin, his way of playing with any artist largely depends on what he hears in studio.
“What I listen to is the music itself — I do not have a bass ‘agenda’ that I need to bring with me. If the lyrics are the focus (as with Paul Simon’s great songs), it feels to me the bass should pretty much stay out of the way. But maybe there’s a little need somewhere to do something a bit special. John Lennon’s songs have a rock feel, so a catchy bassline will always fit in. In some music, like Peter Gabriel's, there is often room for some new technique or sound on the bass... I greatly admire players, on all instruments, who consistently find just the right notes to play — what a special thing that is.”

Apart from the Levin brothers, the Tony Levin Band, now on its first European tour, features Jerry Marotta on drums, vocals and guitars, Larry Fast on synthesizers and electronic effects and Jesse Gress on guitars. “What we will perform is a product of the musicians in the band,” wrote Levin.
“I have a history with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, of progressive music. We will do some of the material from the 4 or 5 albums I have put out. But there is much more to the band than just me. Three of us (Larry Fast, Jerry Marotta and I) played together for many years in Peter’s band — so there is a tightness, and friendliness among us, that the audience can see. And we do a little of the old Peter Gabriel material that we know so well, each night. “Then, I can’t resist doing a little King Crimson material, just for fun. We also like to jam a bit, and maybe will do a song or two everyone knows — lately [Led Zeppelin’s] Black Dog’ has been our favorite — that we can open up on.”

An innovative musician, Levin helped to popularize the Chapman Stick, the instrument that combines bass and guitar strings. He wrote that he will use it in his Russian concerts alongside the five-string electric bass and a fretless bass guitar.
“I play [the Chapman Stick] mostly as a bass and I like the tonal change it gives me — more percussive than a bass, and with it’s unusual tuning (fifth, and strung low to high) it helps me break away from the same old bass lines. I’ve especially used it a lot with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson. (We’ll probably play Elephant Talk,’ which has, I guess, the most famous Stick line.)”

To broaden the possibilities of bass Levin developed Funk Fingers, a technique of playing the instrument with a pair of chopped-off drum sticks, first used on the track “Big Time” on Gabriel’s 1986 album
Performing with Gabriel and King Crimson poses different challenges for a bass player, according to Levin. “Those two situations are very different,” he wrote. “Peter’s vision is exceptional, and he expresses it through his songs — then lets his band join in and add the eclectic feel that it wants. His shows are theatrical, big productions, and a lot of fun. “[King Crimson leader] Robert Fripp’s vision is also an exceptional musical one, and I have a lot of faith in what he deems right for the band. But it is not an easy process, and he must review all ideas, let different mixtures of radical ideas go through their necessary days, and then see if it’s appropriate for the band. The result, in simple language, is that we try out a lot of wild ideas that are awful sounding, but we don’t give up on them quickly. It makes for quite tortured work sessions. Add to this that Robert does not love touring, and that we are always pushing ourselves to play, individually, different than we have before, and you have... not an easy process. It’s worth the work, of course, and if there’s suffering... well... it’s King Crimson.”

Prog rock,” the term used to describe what such musicians as Levin do, is accepted for the lack of a better term for music innovation in rock, he wrote.
“I often run into different understandings of what prog rock is. We in King Crimson keep trying to break the boundaries, and do things we (and others) haven’t done before. That is a giant challenge — more so after you have succeeded on an album (I think we did, with the Discipline album) because there is a temptation to keep doing that style. “So, bands that play in the style of progressive groups from the ‘70s are called Prog. But then there is no new term for those who try to do things nobody ever heard. “Now, I think great things are being done, all over the planet, by many musicians and bands. It’s a great time for music, and so much is being shared, even though it’s becoming a very hard time to make a living from your music, and get attention for it, with so much out there from so many places.”

Having started out as a classical musician who then switched to jazz, Levin wrote that rock music gave him more opportunities for free expression.

“Classical music has always been my love, and probably will be my favorite for life. But I didn’t enjoy playing in an orchestra, and I also love challenges, and life in an orchestra was too stagnant for me,” he wrote.
“Jazz is great music, but I found myself out of sync, always wanting to try new ideas and sounds, in a genre which, at least at that time, was supposed to sound a classic way. “So rock provided me with the best outlet — especially progressive rock.”

However, Levin’s classical background still echoes in his music.
“I laugh to think that at the end of Peter Gabriel’s song ‘On the Air,’ I played a strong bass line, borrowed from a Shostakovich symphony. I don’t think many people in live audiences through the years noticed that, but probably the listeners in Russia would be aware of it. Hey, maybe we will do that song!”

Tony Levin Band performs at the Center for Contemporary Art (formerly Priboi film theater) on Oct. 21.

New Live 2DVD Review from german genesis fan club

UP The Amazon, UP the Nile… Once that was an idea of Peter’s for remixing his new album UP.

In the end, he went on tour and then he toured and toured… and toured…and toured. In a way, it was up the Mississippi, up the Rhine, up the Thames, up the Seine – who would have thought that Peter would tour some two years on end?

The first version of his sophisticated show was released in 2003. Growing Up Live consisted of an almost full concert. Gabriel did not stop half-way through, though, so that Growing Up Live was much more than a couple of images with a concert.

In the end he enjoyed it so much that he was Still Growing Up the year after. Still Growing Up delighted the Europeans. There were even some open air shows with a smaller stage on festivals. In 2002 Gabriel kicked off the Up shows with an unexpected open air performance in Munich, Germany.

Some two years later, it ended not quite as scheduled with another open air show on Kaiserslautern’s Stiftsplatz. Hamish Hamilton recorded the last open air shows as well as the longest indoor gig (Brussels 2004) and Anna Gabriel kept her camera running, too. In the end things went they way they had to: Peter Gabriel now releases a second live DVD of his marathon tour. A fine package with lots of Gabriel in it. What about new stuff?...

13 octobre 2005

Angelina Jolie and Peter Gabriel to Host Benefit Gala for WITNESS

Event to highlight WITNESS’ ongoing work to secure sustainable peace in Sierra Leone

CSRwire) New York, NY - Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie and musician/activist Peter Gabriel will co-host a benefit gala for WITNESS, the international human rights group, on December 5, 2005 in New York City. The event, to be held at The Supper Club in Times Square, will include performances by folk rock icon Emmylou Harris, legendary performers Nile Rodgers and CHIC, and other special guests to be announced soon.

WITNESS, the New York-based organization that deploys video and technology to promote human rights causes worldwide, was co-founded in 1992 by Gabriel, the Reebok Foundation for Human Rights, and Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights). The benefit will highlight WITNESS’ work in the West African country of Sierra Leone, where a devastating 11 year conflict, notorious for the rebels’ practice of amputating limbs of civilians, came to an end in 2002.

Jolie traveled with WITNESS Executive Director Gillian Caldwell in May to Sierra Leone where they met with the President and key decision-makers to discuss the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report investigating the civil war. The TRC was established as a forum for truth telling, a non-partisan investigative body, and a catalyst for the longer-term process of reconciliation. Its final report attributes responsibility for the atrocities and recommends measures to prevent recurrence. WITNESS produced “Witness to Truth,” a companion video to the TRC’s written report, which has been key to engaging civil society throughout Sierra Leone in the peace-building and reconciliation process over the past year.

During the visit, Jolie also helped secure key commitments by the country’s president to implement the TRC’s recommendations. Citing this initial success, Caldwell said,
"We are working hard with our local partners and are hopeful that new laws key to ensuring lasting peace in Sierra Leone will be passed before the end of the year."

Selections of "Witness to Truth" will be screened at the gala. In addition, former child soldier from Sierra Leone Ishmael Beah will share his inspirational story of surviving the loss of his family and repeated trauma, as well as the hope he has given fellow child survivors for nearly a decade.

WITNESS will host a West Coast benefit in Los Angeles on April 6, 2006. More details will be released later this fall.

WITNESS ( uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. By partnering with local organizations and empowering human rights defenders, WITNESS brings often unseen images, untold stories and seldom heard voices to the attention of key decision makers, the media, and the general public. Over the past decade, WITNESS has partnered with groups in more than 60 countries, catalyzing grassroots activism, political engagement, and lasting change.

Peter Gabriel has earned a worldwide reputation for his innovative work as a musician, writer and video maker. A repeat Grammy winner, Gabriel is also the founder of Real World Records and WOMAD. He is committed to a wide spectrum human and environmental rights.

Angelina Jolie won an Oscar ™ for her role in "Girl, Interrupted" and is also known worldwide for her commitment to raising awareness of issues affecting refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency for which she just received the
United Nations Global Humanitarian Action Award.

Emmylou Harris is an 11-time Grammy winner once called a "truly venturesome, genre-transcending pathfinder" for her seamless ability to flow between pop, folk, country and alternative music. She is the winner of Billboard’s prestigious Century Award and a committed animal rights activist. Harris is also a spokesperson for the
Campaign for a Landmine Free World.

Nile Rodgers is an acclaimed producer, songwriter and musician whose signature style can be found in an amazing array of music - from Madonna to Diana Ross, from David Bowie to Eric Clapton. His band CHIC, co founded with Bernard Edwards, is responsible for some of the 70s most popular hits. Rodgers also founded the We Are Family Foundation to promote tolerance and multiculturalism education and to support victims of intolerance.

Corporations or individuals interested in event sponsorship or tickets, please contact:

Sara Federlein, WITNESS
Tel. 718.783.2000 ext. 304

AES News: Plans Unfold at Solid State Logic

At the recent AES trade show in New York City, Solid State Logic, a manufacturer of professional analog and digital consoles, announced future plans to expand on its core business and enter new markets.

Following SSL’s acquisition by Peter Gabriel and David Engelke in June, the business embarked on a period of analysis to identify key areas of growth and opportunity. The company chose the AES show to publicly introduce its new vision....

L-R: Phil Wagner, SSL U.S. president; SSL co-owner Peter Gabriel; David Engelke, SSL co-owner; and Piers Plaskitt, SSL group commercial director Photo by David Goggin

Retro Review: Genesis' Album Foxtrot

Just when psychedelic music was reaching its peak, a new musical style was coming of age. In the late 1960's, the progressive rock era was just beginning. With bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Byrds evolving their musical styles, classic rock and psychedlia were on a crazy train to a prog era of greatness. Taking elements from classical music to classic rock, and lyrical elements from poetry and myth, prog was an evolutionary leap for music. The stage was set for a showing of unimaginable power and magic, making an impact that would forever be engrossing and influential for decades.

Before the great decline of their musical greatness, Genesis was once led by the power and genius of a progressive mastermind. Peter Gabriel, now known for his solo work on "Solsbury Hill" and "Sledgehammer," once ruled the progressive rock kingdom with sheer musical brilliance. Genesis released seven albums in the early 70's, all of which reach near perfection, while Gabriel was leader.

"Foxtrot" is the fourth album released by Genesis in the 1970's. Genesis, being part of the great progressive movement, was searching for their sound and experimenting with new ideas on every album. Due to the absolute wonder of this album, it is safe to say Genesis was a tight, solid band at this time. The album begins with the classic 70's hit, "Watcher of the Skies." The bassist, Mike Rutherford, shines through on this track, giving the song its unique, moving beat. Tony Banks is absolutely outstanding, as usual, using the mellotron to obtain some very deep and moving sound. Extraordinary drumming by Phil Collins and the amazing guitar work by Steve Hackett all come together to support the phenomenal vocals of Gabriel. This general outlook applies to every track on the album, proving that "Foxtrot" is an absolute masterpiece.

The next three tracks are typical Genesis greats. The second song, "Time Table," is a peaceful, melodic tune with some of the best piano work by Tony Banks. It is difficult to understand that this band was not touched by some alien race, giving them the ability to write such amazing music. The lyrics to "Time Table" are absolutely great, and the song itself is simple but amazing. Next is "Get Em' Out by Friday," a mini-epic clocking in at just about nine minutes. This exciting, storytelling track is heavy on Hackett's guitar and Collins' drums and is a faster-paced song. The tempo changes often to parallel the song's emotion and not make the tune constantly aggressive. Following that piece is "Can-Utility and the Coastliners," which is similar in style to "Get Em' Out by Friday." Yet again, this track baffles with some of the most amazing lyrical work ever done in music. The song immediately captivates the listener and is perfect in every aspect. The melody is stunning, and the constant build-up of instrumental usage works perfectly. Gabriel may well have been from a different planet once you reach this point in the album.

Now the album drifts into its final two tracks, which may as well be one, due to the astronomical construction of the final piece. "Horizons," an instrumental song by Hackett, is utterly beautiful and melodic. On this album, Hackett has shown great improvement compared to previous albums and is set in the Genesis mold of perfection. "Horizons" drifts into "Supper's Ready," the ever-so-hailed, 23-minute epic masterpiece. Every track to this point on "Foxtrot" lasts the standard times, but enesis throws this in to take things a step higher, if that is even possible. "Supper's Ready" is amazing, with every band member contributing to its greatness. Lyrically, the song is confusing and probably has some underlying mystical meaning which only Gabriel and few others can truly understand. Interpretations have been made many times in the past on the lyrics of many Genesis songs, and "Supper's Ready" is considered by most as quite possibly the best progressive rock track ever recorded. This is good enough reason to pick up "Foxtrot." The track is broken into many separate, mini songs. In the end, everything comes right back around and holds perfect construction. A few listens and any human being will be entranced like never before.

"Foxtrot" is really just a perfect example of Genesis when Gabriel led the group. If there is anything more than perfect in this world, it is "Foxtrot." Two years after its release, Gabriel left the greatness of Genesis. The epic nature of this album will always be remembered, and many still hail it today as their best work and a timeless classic.

By Brian Travers

Thodos Dance Chicago

Overlapping the Merce Cunningham weekend will be Thodos Dance Chicago in its first-ever fall concert, which the troupe intends to make an annual event.

The Oct. 29-30 performances at the Athenaeum Theatre will offer eight works by seven choreographers, among them company founder Melissa Thodos herself.

The dances have been set to music by Peter Gabriel, John Nevin and Intermix ( Afro-Techno ) among others.

Chicago performances

12 octobre 2005

Amjad Ali Khan’s album in a bid for Grammy

CHICAGO: Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s new album Moksha has been nominated for a Grammy in the ‘traditional world’ category. Moksha has eight pieces including solo pieces by Khan’s sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. The album was released in Europe in May and in the US in June by Real World Records.

Khan said Moksha had been specially packaged for the international market. “This is an attempt to expose the Western world to the magic of sarod,” he said. The eight pieces in the album are short, he added, making it easy listening for Western music lovers. The final winners are to be announced in February when the awards will be presented at a glittering function.

For Khan, who is on a tour of the US with his sons, it has been an eventful month. His concerts have been well received on this tour. The trio will perform here on October 16. The concert, according to its sponsor, Moti Agarwal, has already been sold out. Khan said:
“We can innovate and create, but we have to be careful of the classical lineage.”

Khan said he did not agree with purists who were against experimentation. “They blindly follow conventions,” he said.
“I innovate, but within the tradition of classical music. We cannot destroy the sanctity of the raga.” The maestro said he was very pleased with the success of his sons, who have followed in his footsteps. The brothers have brought out a highly successful album, Reincarnation. “It has already sold 700,000 copies in India,” said Khan.

11 octobre 2005

L'émission Flash (TQS) rencontre Peter Gabriel à New York mercredi et jeudi

Peter Gabriel. (AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

L'émission Flash rencontre Peter Gabriel à New York mercredi et jeudi

Canadian Press
October 11, 2005

MONTREAL (PC) - Peter Gabriel a donné une entrevue à l'émission Flash, à un mois du lancement de son DVD.

L'entrevue, présentée comme une exclusivité canadienne par le réseau TQS et réalisée à New York, sera diffusée mercredi et jeudi dans le cadre de l'émission artistique. L'ancien soliste du groupe Genesis durant les années soixante-dix lancera le 15 novembre prochain un DVD réunissant ses plus grands succès.

Peter Gabriel a vendu des millions d'albums, remportant huit disques d'or et trois qui ont été certifiés platine et multiplatine. Le chanteur parlera de son abondante discographie. Depuis 1977, début de sa carrière solo, il compte plus d'une quinzaine d'albums.

SSL Outlines Sound Vision For Business Development at AES

SSL Outlines Sound Vision For Business Development at AES

Legendary console manufacturer gears up to provide new tools for DAW users
(October 11, 2005)

Solid State Logic, the world’s leading manufacturer of professional analogue and digital consoles, announced at AES its intention to expand on its core business and enter new markets.

Following SSL’s acquisition by Peter Gabriel and David Engelke in June, the business embarked on a period of analysis to identify key areas of growth and opportunity. The company chose the AES show to publicly introduce its new vision.

“The future of SSL is based around continued excellence in the audio console market,” says SSL’s managing director , Antony David.
“In addition to that, the owners have a clear commitment to new product development and bring an imaginative and entrepreneurial vision to the business strategy. The feel of the company is now very much akin to when we were independently owned in the 1980s and enjoyed a long period of strong growth.”...

10 octobre 2005

Dream Engine to drive Womad

BRITISH aerialist troupe The Dream Engine will bring its giant inflatable show to Adelaide as part of next year's Womadelaide world music festival.

Womadelaide has also revealed its 2006 poster design, which features its lion logo made up from stars on a blue background, shining above the Southern Cross.

The Dream Engine was formed in 1995 by Tim Petter, who came from a background in contemporary circus and music, and Steve Edgar, who worked in stand-up comedy and musical cabaret. It combines the talents of musicians, performers, designers and inventors to create aerial events.

At Womadelaide, which will be held at Botanic Park from March 10 to 12, the company will perform its new show The Conedancers, described as "a 21st Century maypole".

A male and female dancer are hoisted up opposite sides of an 8m-high, air-filled PVC cone. A sound system inside the structure forces them to dance, bouncing around the outside on harnesses. The two dancers realise they are soulmates, but cannot reach each other. As the cone begins to glow with lighting effects, the dancers finally meet by climbing to the top. The dancers then sink down as the inflatable cone structure collapses around them. The Dream Engine – a self-funded company – has performed at public street arts festivals in the UK and Europe, as well as at corporate events and launches around the world.

Womadelaide will announce highlights of its musical line-up as part of next year's Adelaide Bank Festival program, which will be launched at the new Adelaide Airport terminal on Monday.
Adelaide Bank Festival artistic director Brett Sheehy will reveal a 72-event strong program of which two-thirds is international acts and 81 per cent is exclusive to Adelaide.

The full list of Womadelaide performers will be released in January. Tickets for the 2006 event will be on sale online from Monday and at VenueTix outlets from Tuesday.

Youssou N’Dour et ses amis ont du chœur

Le concert United Against Malarias’est déroulé samedi devant un public international.

Cinquante mille moustiquaires pour l'Afrique! Le chèque géant que tient Youssou N'Dour en fait foi. «Ça, c'est vous», déclare le chanteur sénégalais en indiquant les cinq chiffres. Chaque billet payé pour assister au concert United Against Malaria, entend-on de la bouche des organisateurs, a contribué à l'achat des protections en question, le concert en soi étant «offert».

Samedi, aux alentours de 21 h. Débordant largement sur le parterre habituellement réservé aux spectateurs, la scène de l'Arena est prête pour accueillir la douzaine d'artistes. Accusant un léger retard d'une vingtaine de minutes, la grand-messe humanitaire donnée à l'occasion des 60 ans de l
'ONU démarre enfin. Vêtu d'une tunique noir et argent, Youssou N'Dour s'engage dans un court exposé sur la lutte contre le paludisme. Au centre de l'estrade, bras écartés, timbre vibrant, l'initiateur de la soirée et maître de cérémonie a des allures de prédicateur.

Attentif aux présentations bien intentionnées des intervenants, applaudissant à tout rompre lorsqu'apparaissent les guest stars, le nombreux public écoute un peu, discute pas mal, et se laisse bercer par les émouvantes interprétations
d'Axelle Red, seule au piano pour évoquer l'horreur des mines antipersonnel, ou Neneh Cherry et N'Dour dans le fameux Seven Seconds. Ressortissants d'Afrique, du Sénégal ou d'ailleurs, Occidentaux de tous horizons, souvent anglophones: ce soir, la Genève internationale est de sortie.

Kofi Annan en invité surprise

Durant plus de deux heures, les «amis» de Youssou N'Dour défilent dans une suite de duos ponctués de quelques solos. Impressionnant, le plateau d'invités voit Anggun répondre à Peter Gabriel sur Don't Give Up , avant d'enchaîner avec Stephan Eicher pour Tous les cris les SOS de Balavoine. Frissons garantis.

Les musiciens du Super Etoile de Dakar, formation de Youssou, ainsi que Manu Katché en batteur de haut vol, accompagnent tour à tour Tiken Jah Fakoly, Jocelyne Beroard et Jean-Claude Naimro de Kassav', Patti Austin, Amadou & Mariam, Gilberto Gil et la pétillante Rokia Traoré.

Surprise! On annonce Kofi Annan. Le public des gradins est debout pour applaudir. «Ce n'est pas un événement. C'est un mouvement!» assure le secrétaire des Nations Unies, avant de poursuivre: «Lorsque vous rentrerez chez vous, n'oubliez pas!» Et de terminer en s'adressant une dernière fois à l'auditoire:
«VOUS êtes les Nations Unies!»

Bouquet final: tous les chanteurs invités entonnent l'hymne du jour: Roll Back Malaria , «Faites reculer la malaria!» Le message est lancé. Affaire à suivre…

Youssou N'Dour à Lausanne

A noter que Youssou N'Dour était hier soir au club de jazz Chorus, à Lausanne, accompagné notamment du pianiste Monef Genoud, apparemment dans le cadre d'un tournage. Impossible d'en savoir plus: Emmanuel Getaz, interdisant l'accès des lieux, s'est refusé à tout commentaire.

Fabrice Gottraux Publié le 10 octobre 2005

09 octobre 2005


Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel and Yo-Yo Ma are among the artists whose busy schedules kept them from appearing on Herbie Hancock's aptly titled new album, "Possibilities," but the legendary jazz pianist isn't complaining.

Eager to explore new vistas, he has teamed with an array of young talents – including Joss Stone, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Raul Midon and Damien Rice – and such long-established stars as Annie Lennox, Sting, Paul Simon and Carlos Santana.

Other guests include ex-Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, blues-rock upstart Jonny Lang and singers Angelique Kidjo and Lisa Hannigan........

photos from concert against malaria

From left: Tiken Jah Fakoly of Ivory Coast,
Anggun of Indonesia, Peter Gabriel of Great Britain and Axelle Red of France ( NDR: No from Belgium, please !) during the concert of Youssou N'Dour and friends at the Arena in Geneva, Switzerland, late Saturday, Oct. 8, 2005.

The musicians performed at a UN-organized concert against malaria on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. (AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

Musicians Manu Katche of France, Stephan Eicher of Switzerland, Jean Claude Naimro of Antilles, Swedish born Neneh Cherry, Tiken Jah Fakoly of Ivory Coast, Jocelyne Beroard of Antilles, Rokia Traore of Mali, Senegalese-born Youssou N'Dour and Gilberto Gil of Brazil, from left to right, pose for a group picture, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The musicians will perform at a unique UN-organized concert against malaria on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the
United Nations, at the Arena in Geneva on Saturday, Oct. 8. (AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)


Peter Gabriel of Great Britain, Axelle Red of France (No ! from Belgium) , Senegalese born Youssou N'Dour, Swedish born Neneh Cherry, Amadou Bagayoko of Malia, Rokia Traore of Mali and Amadou Bagayoko of Malia during the concert of Youssou N'Dour and friends at the Arena in Geneva, Switzerland, late Saturday, Oct. 8, 2005.

Photo Photo
British musician Peter Gabriel performs on stage during the concert of Youssou N'Dour and friends at the Arena in Geneva, Switzerland, late Saturday, Oct. 8, 2005. The musicians performed at a UN-organized concert against malaria on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. (AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

Un Arena de Genève comble et uni contre la malaria

Youssou N'Dour au coeur d'une grande soirée contre la malaria.

Plus de 6000 personnes ont applaudi Youssou N'Dour, Peter Gabriel, Gilberto Gil, Neneh Cherry, Stephan Eicher, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou et Mariam, et bien d'autres.

Dans le cadre du 60e anniversaire des Nations unies, ces artistes se sont réunis à l'Arena de Genève pour pour un concert contre le paludisme, un fléau peu médiatisé qui
tue 3000 enfants chaque jour en Afrique.

Le paludisme fait plus d'un million de victimes chaque année à travers le monde. En Afrique, il tue un enfant toutes les 30 secondes. Cette maladie parasitaire, transmise par la piqûre de moustiques infectés, est aujourd'hui la principale cause de mortalité chez les jeunes africains. Youssou N'Dour prend conscience de l'ampleur du fléau en 2003. «Quand j'ai découvert le nombre de femmes et d'enfants qui en meurent tous les jours, je me suis dit qu'il fallait une révolution», expliquait-il lors de la présentation à la presse du concert United Against Malaria.

Peter Gabriel à l'aise au milieu des musiciens du monde

le concert sera retransmis sur TSR2 le 29 octobre 2005

L'Europe conquise par les musiciens africains

Les artistes du continent africain font désormais partie du paysage musical occidental

Salif Keita, Youssou Ndour, Manu Dibango, Césaria Evora ou Alpha Blondy sont les parrains d'une nouvelle génération qui sillonne l'Europe de scène en scène, apportant une part de rêve et d'évasion à un public européen en mal de dépaysement.

Les voyages immobiles se font désormais dans les salles de spectacles, et les grands festivals européens n'hésitent pas à programmer chaque année leur lot d'artistes du continent pour apporter l'éclectisme indispensable aux attentes du public. Pour Ibrahima Sylla, le producteur malien qui a fait connaître Ismael Lô, Salif Keita et Mory Kante, les multinationales du disque ont besoin de réunir sur leur catalogue leurs artistes africains, même si elles ne sont pas prêtes à y investir les mêmes sommes que pour les Anglo-Saxons.

Car les albums servent davantage de "plaquettes" pour monter des tournées qu'à générer des ventes de CD pour lesquelles l'investissement marketing doit toujours être conséquent. Rokia Traoré, qui a produit elle-même son album Bowmboï avant de le défendre sur toutes les scènes d'Europe, a réussi à décrocher un disque d'or en France grâce à ses spectacles et à séduire l'Angleterre, l'Allemagne et la Scandinavie. José da Siva, le producteur de Césaria Evora, a signé de nombreuses licences de distribution pour sa diva en Pologne, en Russie, en Croatie, en Tchéquie ou en Bulgarie. Chaque année, à l'occasion du Midem, il n'est qu'à voir le nombre de contrats signés pour comprendre que la musique africaine est entrée dans la cour des grands.

Subtil équilibrisme

Même les stars de la scène rock européenne ont besoin de travailler avec les artistes africains. Damon Albarn, chanteur du groupe Blur et star de la pop anglaise, a réalisé voici deux ans un superbe album intitulé Mali Music avec Toumani Diabaté et Afel Bocoum. Manu Chao, lui, a travaillé avec le couple malien Amadou et Mariam à l'album Taxi Bamako, numéro deux des ventes au mois d'août en France et sorti dans toute l'Europe grâce à ce parrainage.
Car c'est bien là la tendance, pour les artistes africains, que ces rencontres multiculturelles avec des artistes européens de renom. Youssou Ndour l'avait bien compris, lui qui s'était ouvert le marché français en collaborant au milieu des années 1980 avec Jacques Higelin, puis le marché anglo-saxon avec Peter Gabriel.

Ce sont les duos qui contribuent le mieux à faire connaître les artistes africains. Libre à eux de reprendre ensuite leur autonomie pour une nouvelle carrière, parallèlement à celle qu'ils mènent au pays, dans la sous-région ou sur tout le continent.

Subtil équilibrisme. Entre les nombreux festivals qui se montent en Afrique, où ils servent de parrains à la jeune génération, et les contrats en Europe qui génèrent des recettes substantielles, il est réellement difficile de répondre à toutes les sollicitations, et c'est toujours en Europe que les cachets sont les plus conséquents. De Budapest à Glasgow en passant par Bruxelles, Carhaix, en Bretagne, ou Montreux, les artistes africains sont à l'affiche de tous les festivals d'été.

Au festival Sziget de Budapest, l'un des plus importants de l'été, les Touaregs maliens de Tinariwen partageaient l'affiche avec les Sénégalais Baba Maal et Youssou Ndour. Tiken Jah Fakoly poursuivait, lui, sa longue tournée entamée en octobre 2004. Quant à Amadou et Mariam, stars de l'année, ils ont été à l'affiche de tous les grands festivals européens et représentent avec leurs chansons empreintes de gaieté et de simplicité une image positive de l'Afrique. Avec Mariam, qui revendique l'héritage de Sheila, et Amadou, celui de Jimi Hendrix, le couple est la bonne surprise de l'année et une grande fête les attend à l'Olympia à l'automne après une tournée aux Etats-Unis.

Youssou Ndour est quant à lui la tête d'affiche du concert pour les 60 ans de l'Onu à Genève le 8 octobre avec le Rwando-Canadien Corneille, révélation musicale 2004, qui sortira cet automne un album très attendu. Tiken Jah Fakoly profitera, lui, du Womex, le grand marché des professionnels de la world music qui se tiendra fin octobre à Newcastle en Angleterre, pour montrer toute l'étendue de son talent aux Anglo-Saxons, qui ne le connaissent pas.

Car si l'Europe est une, les goûts musicaux diffèrent selon les pays. Et même s'il joue devant 30 000 personnes à Bamako ou à Carhaix, Tiken Jah se doit de jouer devant 500 professionnels s'il entend confirmer son statut d'héritier de Bob Marley.

Pierre René-Worms (MFI)