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08 décembre 2007

Youssou N'Dour has music with a message

Youssou N'Dour isn't so remote a performer that he can only be heard on National Geographic's World Music Web site. The Senegal native has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Neneh Cherry (on the haunting song "7 Seconds") and Wyclef Jean.

But he is probably best known for his work on Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." It is at the end of the sadly tender song that N'Dour releases the power and dexterity of his tenor voice.

Experience the world music superstar when he performs Saturday at Hill Auditorium with his group the Super Étoile de Dakar.

Besides being a musician's musician, N'Dour is considered a statesman of sorts. This year, Time magazine recognized him on its "Time 100" list as someone who helps "transform the world."

In an online video interview ( N'Dour says he uses music to educate those who listen.

"I think music is a language, maybe the first language. I try to use it to deliver a message and sometimes people can get the message quicker than by newspaper or politician. I am not someone to think about dreams -- I talk about reality."

Ralph Valdez, curator of cultural programming at the Arab American National Museum, says N'Dour is an important African leader like that of the late musician and father of "Afrobeat" music Fela Kuti. "He inspires social activism, which has even more impact when coupled with music of such integrity."

Thursday, December 6, 2007 Ursula Watson / The Detroit News

Rhythm: Voice of the world: Youssou N 'Dour to perform at Union Theater

Youssou N 'Dour / Wisconsin Union Theater/ Thursday

Named by Time magazine this year as one of the world's 100 most influential people, African singer Youssou N 'Dour remains a vital -- and enteraining -- world-music voice who has collaborated with several notable artists, including Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Branford Marsalis.

At 48, N 'Dour is several years removed from those recordings, but he still ranks among the most prominent African musicians. Ever. His concert at the Wisconsin Union Theater Thursday may be one of Madison 's most memorable shows in 2007. N 'Dour 's tenor is able to handle joyous dance to religious-influened chants. He 's also an accomplished bandleader.

His rise to international stardom is fortunate and surprising. N 'Dour grew up in a poor area of Senegalese, but he developed into an experienced performer during his teens. Gabriel saw N 'Dour in the early 1980s and by 1986, he toured as Gabriel 's opening act.

Since 2002, N 'Dour has released three albums and earned a steady stream of accolades. His show is at 8 tonight. Tickets cost $34, $28 and $18. For ticket information, go to or call 262-2201.

Tom Alesia

World Music Central : Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Shahen-Shah-e-Q_awwali (The Brightest Star in Qawwali) is a title reserved for the leading voice and spirit of qawwali, the devotional music of Sufi Islam. No other term better describes the late Qawwali master.

Born on October 13, 1948 in Lyallpur in the Punjab province of Pakistan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan made his first recording in 1973, beginning an astonishing recording career spanning over 20 years and 50 albums. As one of the Indian subcontinent's brightest talents, he incorporated elements of traditional classical khyal repertoire in his performance, producing his own unique style - and broadening the appeal of qawwali to listeners of all faiths.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's father was also one of the great qawwals of his time. With the best of intentions, the father attempted to persuade his son to become a doctor instead of following the family's 500-year tradition of qawwali performance. But, even his father's wishes could not keep the young Nusrat from the exquisite art formas a child, he eavesdropped on his father's music classes to learn the fundamentals. It was only after his father's death, when Nusrat was 17, that he began to perform in public, joining his uncle's group and before long becoming one of the most popular qawwali singers in Pakistan.

Mesmerized by one of Nusrat's live performances, Peter Gabriel invited him to perform at WOMAD during the 1980s, bringing the beauty and hypnotic intensity of the qawwali master's gift to Western audiences for the first time. The response was overwhelming and resulted in a longstanding alliance between Nusrat and Peter Gabriel's Real World label.

ShahenN-Shah, his first recording for Real World, marked the beginning of Nusrat's growing influence and celebrity outside Pakistan. In attempts to make qawwali more accessible to Western ears, he recorded Mustt Mustt in collaboration with Canada's atmospheric composer/guitarist Michael Brook, replacing traditional songs with classical vocal exercises backed by Western rhythms. A-later remix of Mustt Mustt by Massive Attack led to a surprising club hit through Great Britain and the United States.

Over the next few years, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan became an awe-inspiring and globally powerful world music force. His music has inspired some of this century's greatest filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone, and has been incorporated into soundtracks for such films as Dead Man Walking and The Last Temptation of Christ. Khan performed with music icons from all genres — including Peter Gabriel and Joan Osborne At the time of his death, he was due to record with Bjork and Luciano Pavarotti.

From archives in Nusrat's hometown of Lahore, Pakistan, Real World discovered studio recordings that were released for the very first time. The first of two high-quality archival releases came out with the title Dust to Gold. It presents the great innovator and bearer of tradition at the height of his powers.

The title Dust to Gold reflects Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's philosophy of life, as he considered himself a pinch of dust from a holy place.

In 2002, Real World released Body and Soul, a recording made in Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's hometown of Lahore shortly before his untimely death. The recording was retrieved from his family archive and much work was required to recreate the power of the original performance. The original master tapes were taken in hand by mixing engineer Stuart Bruce, who worked on them for many weeks at Real World Studios. The recorded masters were very inconsistent and it was difficult to assess the strenth of the material due to the random technical nature of the recordings. It was neecssary to re-balance the voice and instruments and correct the anomalies and distortion. The whole album was then remixed and remastered. Through this work, Real World was able to restore the energyof the original performance to enable the listener to get as close as possible to the full effect of Nusrat's singing.

07 décembre 2007

Long Way Down Compilation

New soundtrack for Ewan and Charley’s epic journey

Earlier this year, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman drove their bikes from John O'Groats to Capetown - visiting amazing places and meeting wonderful people along the way. This series, ‘Long Way Down’, is being broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday nights at 9pm - prime time slot for a prime series.

When they were planning this new journey across Africa, Ewan and Charley wanted the series to reflect the places they visited, and were delighted to get Peter Gabriel and Real World involved to provide music that perfectly fits the series and the compilation.

The result is 30 amazing tracks across two CDs, which all feature at some point in the TV show. The album is a mix of previously released tracks, some completely new, previously unavailable songs from Peter Gabriel, Dj's Sasha & BT, and from two new currently unsigned artists, Ben Onono and The Boxer Rebellion.

The first ‘Long Way Round’ TV show was shown on Sunday 28th October and the final episode will go out on Sunday 2nd December. The album ‘Long Way Round’ is released on DVD and double CD audio soundtrack on 3 December

Muizenberg longboarders at the 46664 concert

(...) The 46664 concert was on. Perfect. We could relax and move on to the second case of beer. A Muizenberg longboarder was on stage. He had a hearing aid in each ear and was strumming a guitar. "I've surfed with that dude," I said to Ted. "Nonsense," he snapped. "That's Peter Gabriel." I was shocked. "That's the ANC's chief whip in the city council?" Ted gave me the lazy eye. "The other Peter Gabriel." So it was. Between songs, the camera caught him drinking a cup of tea. The band sounded as if it were made up of people blowing on dog whistles. At one point, Pete stormed off stage. He was clearly unhappy with the sound. Ted said with all that tea he probably just needed to wee. Then he came back and played something that drove the crowd wild. Well, wildish. Okay, people clapped. Some simply stood and swayed. I would also sway if I had to smoke that awful Joburg majat. (...)

New Lanois album to download in high-quality format

Canadian musician and producer Daniel Lanois plans to offer the digital release of his new album, Here Is What Is, in high-quality WAV format. It will be one of the first downloads offered in CD-quality WAV format, according to Billboard.

Singer-songwriter and producer Daniel Lanois performs at the Canada For Asia tsunami relief in January 2005. The documentary film Here Is What Is follows him over the course of a year.

WAV has better audio quality than the more commonly used MP3 format, but results in a larger file that is slower to download.
Lanois, who has produced artists such as Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel and U2, also is a songwriter and musician.

Here Is What Is features Lanois in collaboration with drummer Brian Blade and the Band keyboardist Garth Hudson. Lanois's 1989 album Acadie is No. 20 in Bob Mersereau's controversial book, The Top 100 Canadian Albums.

He is releasing the WAV download in December, in collaboration with independent record label, which Lanois backs. It will be out on CD from RedFloor in March, the same time the documentary film Here Is What Is will be released.

The film follows him over the course of a year as he works in the studio and tours from Toronto to Morocco, working frequently with longtime friend Brian Eno. It was first screened this September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

(Mike Cassese/Associated Press)

06 décembre 2007

Daniel Lanois New Album Due Digitally Dec. 15

Daniel Lanois made himself known in the 1980s by producing artists such as Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel and U2. But now, several solo albums later, Lanois plans to make waves with Here Is What Is, his sixth solo work, which will be available for download exclusively via his Red Floor Records label site in December.

In a refreshing move (for folks who actually own a pair of ears and don’t believe that iTunes and other digital distribution services deliver a quality-sounding product), Here Is What Is is the first digital download release in high-resolution, CD-quality WAV format for $9.99, as opposed to lower-quality MP3 resolution, which usually costs the same price. The album will also be available in stores March 18, but online pre-orders will be delivered digitally Dec. 15.

The album was recorded in a variety of locations – Toronto, Los Angeles and Louisiana – and showcases a variety of Lanois’ musical abilities and sensibilities. The album also includes interludes from Brian Eno, taken from the film version of Here Is What Is, which debuted at this year’s Toronto Film Festival and will be available on DVD in March.(Fitting, as Lanois started his career decades ago as an apprentice of Eno.) It was directed by Adam Vollick, Adam Samuels and Lanois.

For more information on Daniel Lanois, visit his official website, and you can also see his entire catalog of solo records at the Red Floor site.

1. Chest Of Drawers
2. Where Will I Be
3. Here Is What Is
4. Not Fighting Anymore
5. Beauty
6. Blue Bus
7. Lovechild
8. Harry
9. Bells
10. This May Be The Last Time
11. Smoke #6
12. I Like That
13. Duo Glide
14. Bladesteel
15. Moondog
16. Sacred And Secular
17. Joy
18. Luna Samba

Roxana Hadadi, December 3, 2007
(Photo Credit: Adam Samuels)

Youssou N'Dour, Royce Hall

Band: N'Dour, El Hadji Faye, Assane Thiam, Papa Omar Ngom, Ablaye Lo, Moustapha Faye, Birame Dieng, Mamadou Mbaye, Habib Faye.

When, six songs into his 18-song set Saturday night, Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour asked to see some dancers, his audience took the invitation seriously. First a trickle, then a stream of (mostly) women -- including toddlers dragging their mothers -- ecstatically made their way down the aisles to the foot of the stage to writhe in ways that the human body was not designed to writhe. Soon the entire sold-out Royce Hall audience was on its feet.

From that moment, the show -- which was already pretty impressive -- turned from a simple concert to a celebration. The band's playing became looser, the grooves airier; the song structures less formal and more elastic. The one-chord vamps stretched out indefinitely, the harmonies changing as the two guitars, bass, keyboards, Assane Thiam's expressive talking drum and three percussionists shifted, like gears, into different musical patterns. increased speed so precipitously, it threatened to take off;"Bandiene" "Set" turned a corner, moving from sprightly to thunderous, with a slight change in the guitar line. It's a sound that reflects the title of his new Nonesuch album, "Rokku Mi Rokka (Give and Take)."

N'Dour's voice turned more urgent with the aud's enthusiastic reaction, wringing waves of emotion with a repeated "Senegal" at the end of "Immigrés" and breaking out a precise, aching soprano during "Birima." He can rally like a trumpet, cajole like a tenor sax and add the grave authority of a French horn. You don't have to speak Wolof to understand why he has been named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People."

He carries such conviction that the aud stayed on its feet even during a heartfelt speech -- read off a page -- recognizing World AIDS Day, and asking the aud to write representatives to help not only the battle against AIDS, but malaria. It was followed by the brooding prayer, "New Africa," its swelling keyboards reflecting the influence of Peter Gabriel. Other influences could be heard throughout the night -- Paul Simon (who collaborated with N'Dour on "Graceland") on "Baye Fall," and some North African arabesques on the love song "Letema," but N'Dour avoids the bland diplomacy of "world music." No matter what style he plays, his music remains identifiably his own.

(Royce Hall; 1800 seats; $60 top) Presented by UCLA Live. Reviewed Dec. 1, 2007.


46664 message misses mark - but music is a hit

While the stalwarts of the anti-HIV battle had their targets firmly in their sights at Ellis Park on Saturday during the 46664 Concert, the 45 000 strong crowd were there for the music.

The mainly young audience were enthralled by acts like Ludacris, Razorlight, Freshlyground, Just Ginger and the Goo Goo Dolls.

But the age gap between today’s youth and the concert’s driving forces, Peter Gabriel and Annie Lennox, was apparent. Fans begged for more Ludacris and hardly listened to the safer sex messages aired between acts.

One fan reported that Peter Gabriel appeared visibly shocked at the audience’s indifference to his struggle song Biko, released before most of the concert goers were born.

Most fans felt they got more than their money’s worth from the ten hour, globally broadcast show in support of Nelson Mandela’s World Aids Day initiative, taking its title from his Robben Island prison number.

Acts gave way to Aids statistics and footage of orphanages and Aids projects. But the message was lost on some of the audience, who larked around with the free condoms raining down.

Commenting on the purpose of the 46664 campaign, Deputy President and SA National Aids Council head Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “It’s about preventing the infections... caring for the people who are already sick. It’s about rolling out the treatment and ensuring we empower women who are at the frontline of the battle.”


World Aids Day concert

The World Aids Day concert took place in Johannesburg yesterday, 1st of December. Artists performing at the event included Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Razorlight, Corinne Bailey Rae, Ludacris, Jamelia and the Goo Goo Dolls. The 46664 World Aids Day concert is the main event of World Aids Day and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Fans of the performing artists at the World Aids Day concert can visit to see original material from World Aids Day unavailable anywhere else. The site includes special coverage of the event, along with a backstage look at the concert, speeches and messages from performing artists and more information on World Aids Day.

Mandela hosts World Aids Day concert

Thousands of people joined Nelson Mandela at a World Aids Day event in South Africa.

Razorlight, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel and Rihanna were among more than 20 stars who took to the stage at the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg.

"It is still alarming that for every person who receives treatment there are four others that are newly infected" - Nelson Mandela

The event was organised by Mr Mandela's 46664 campaign to stand up against the scourge of Aids.

Under the guidance of the former apartheid prisoner, 46664 is a campaign to raise awareness of the global HIV/Aids pandemic.

It also aim to raise funds to support HIV/Aids projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa where the disease is rife.

"It is still alarming that for every person who receives treatment there are four others that are newly infected," Mr Mandela told the crowd.

"We are pleased to say that the 46664 prevention campaign is being stepped up and going from strength to strength."

05 décembre 2007

Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox Play AIDS Benefit

Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox, Corinne Bailey Rae and Razorlight are among the artists set to play the 46664 World Aids Day concert -- the fifth since the charity's foundation in 2002, which carries the prison number of former South African President Nelson Mandela -- on December 1, at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ludacris, Goo Goo Dolls and Jamelia will also perform, as well as South African artists the Parlotones and Cassette, R&B trio Jamali, Johnny Clegg, Arno and Just Jinjer, among many others.

"The 46664 message is one that needs to be heard in every corner of our country, and indeed, the world," a spokesperson for the charity said. "These artists between them reach into every one of our communities -- upholding Mr. Mandela's message that HIV AIDS is not a local issue, but a universal one."

The entire event will be attended by Nelson Mandela and simulcast on the iClips Network. Click here for more information.

Posted Nov 30th 2007 12:00PM by Jessica Robertson

Tom Diakité : "Je ne suis pas un griot, mais un noble qui chante"

Originaire du Wassoulou, Tom Diakité fait partie des artistes maliens qui ont, à un moment donné, émerveillé le public, avant de s'éclipser comme une étoile filante. Dans sa tendre enfance, il n'avait jamais imaginé qu'il allait devenir chanteur, puiqu'issu d'une famille noble du Wassoulou. Il habite en France depuis fin 1985. Il est venu y rejoindre alors Ousmane Kouyaté, ancien guitariste des Ambassadeurs du Motel, rencontré à Abidjan, qui lui avait demandé de participer à son premier album solo, Be ni haminanko (1982).

La Côte d'Ivoire, c'est là que tout a vraiment commencé, affirme Tom Diakité, né en 1956, au sud du Mali. Par la suite, au fil du temps, la musique l'a envahi, lorsqu'il écoutait les griots venus rendre hommage à son père roi, ou bien en observant ses frères jouer du balafon, du djembé. Lorsque son géniteur le confie à une tante, à Abidjan, Tom Diakité met le pied sur le chemin qui le mènera jusqu'à aujourd'hui. Dans la capitale ivoirienne, Léon Keïta, un guitariste malien de passage, l'entend par hasard chanter. Il lui confie ses textes pour qu'il les interprète. "Quand ma tante a entendu ma voix à la radio, elle a mis le poste en miettes".

Le gamin a enfreint la règle. Fils de noble, il n'avait pas à chanter au vu et au su de tous. En France, Tom Diakité va, de ci de là, se mettre au service des uns et des autres (Johnny Halliday, les Gipsy Kings, Salif Keïta, Mory Kanté…) tout en préparant des maquettes. Premières investigations auprès des maisons de disques, premières désillusions. Le gaillard prend les choses avec philosophie. "Le monde est fait de problèmes, mais les problèmes font grandir les êtres humains. Quand on est triste aujourd'hui, cela n'empêche pas de sourire demain matin." Conscient de cet état de fait, il prend son courage à deux mains et fait des sacrifices, ce qui aboutit, en 1994, à "Prévention Sida", sur le label Salsa Center.

Le disque qui va contribuer à ce qu'on parle un peu plus de lui. C'est l'époque où il entame une collaboration avec Sotigui Kouyaté et entre par la musique dans le monde du théâtre et du cinéma. Après, il y aura la participation au projet discographique "Sarala", croisant jazz et musique mandingue et puis, surtout, l'aventure Tama, un trio formé avec le guitariste anglais Sam Mills et le percussionniste de Guinée- Bissau Djanuno Dabo (deux albums parus sur Real World, le label de Peter Gabriel). Et, cette année, Tom Diakité revient, après une longue absence, avec un nouvel album intitulé "Fala" l'orphelin. "Tout commence par une émotion", quand il plonge au cœur de ses souvenirs, Tom Diakité y trouve la raison du titre de l'album, qu'il présente aujourd'hui.

Un jour, se souvient-il, en vacances au Mali, pendant la saison des mangues, il a vu des enfants venir chez lui, le matin, pour lui proposer des fruits. Les interrogeant sur leur présence ici et non à l'école, à cette heure de la journée, il se rend compte que tous ces gosses n'ont pas droit aux livres et aux cahiers. En ville, il croise d'autres mômes qui mendient, accompagnant un parent non voyant. Bouleversé, il compose "Fala", en pensant aux enfants des rues. Il lance un appel. "C'est notre rôle en tant qu'artiste que de sensibiliser. Jusqu'au bout j'écrirai des chansons qui font enseignement", dit-il.

"Chanter pour les autres, participer à une aventure collective, c'est bien, écrire sa propre histoire, c'est encore mieux". Avec "Fala", Tom Diakité renaît une nouvelle fois. En s'accompagnant à la kora et au donzo n'goni, l'instrument des chasseurs au Mali, entouré de quelques amis au talent sûr, il impose à l'évidence sa différence.