Articles review on the net, revue d'articles sur la toile

Inscription : feeds, flux :
(Atom) Gabriel Real World News

24 juillet 2008

Womad 2008: Africa's best will bring a smile to your face

> Much-loved survivors: Orchestra Baobab

As the world turns on to African music's optimism, Mark Hudson (The Telegraph) lists the top acts at Womad festival

Rock and African music have traditionally led separate lives.

While rock fans find African sounds too homespun, too "ethnic" to be quite cool, admirers of African music see rock as painfully self-absorbed and rhythmically crass - and African musicians, by and large, don't get rock at all. But all that is changing. Influential young bands such as Foals and Vampire Weekend, from New York, are drawing on classic African sounds from combustible Afro-beat to South African kwaito. Damon Albarn's "Africa Express" sessions are teaming top artists with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, the Magic Numbers and Jamie T.

Yet this rapprochement isn't unprecedented. The early Eighties saw a brief cosying-up between African music and rock that found Echo & the Bunnymen jamming with the Drummers of Burundi at the first Womad festival in 1982. But the late Eighties world music boom hived Africa off into its own niche market, catering generally to older listeners. Now, the landscape is shifting again. Africa is back at the forefront of rock and roll aspiration, and in a more profound way.

And the reason for this sudden burst of Afro-centric excitement? As Damon Albarn exclaimed on hearing Mali's Amadou & Mariam: "Can you feel the joy in that!"

As the international mood gets grimmer, African music celebrates the positive. Wasted sneers and pallid pouts are out - big, beautiful, sexy smiles are in.

If you want to know what the fuss is about, you won't do better than checking out the bill at this year's Womad festival. While many mainstream festivals now feature African acts - with Glastonbury hosting the first Africa Express session - this year's Womad features an astounding array of African talent, a roll-call of stars that covers all the most crucial aspects of the world's most vibrant music.

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba
The down-home, string-driven side of African music

Twice Radio 3 award-winning Malian lute master Kouyate is the man to watch. His band's furious, hard-gut strumming is perfectly complemented by his wife Amy Sacko's airy voice and vivacious personality.

Rachid Taha
Punky rabble-rouser

Whether railing against hypocrisy or falling over in style, Franco-Algerian bad boy Rachid Taha has charisma to burn - and his uproarious roots version of the Clash's Rock the Casbah leaves the original standing. If Africa ever needs a Keith Richards, Taha will do nicely.

Orchestra Baobab
Old-school, Latin-flavoured dance band.

These much-loved survivors of African dance music's Forties-to- Seventies golden age spice their gently throbbing rhythms and deep-velvet harmonies with touches of mbalax - the hard-edged rhythm of the modern Senegalese street.

Toumani Diabaté
Darling of Western pop stars

The mercurial virtuosity of Mali's kora genius has to be experienced to be believed. Having reinvented the traditions of his 21-string harp in challenging collaborations - with Björk and Albarn among many others - he is now exploring his more meditative side.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
Stepping into dad's shoes

The explosive Afrobeat of the late, great Fela Kuti just keeps getting more fashionable. And who better to present his legacy than his charismatic younger son, Seun, fronting his dad's combo, Egypt 80 - one of the best bands in the world, ever?

Wasis Diop
Urbane, cosmopolitan, art-house

From enigmatic film soundtracks to a surprise British hit - the deliciously mumbly African Dream - this deep-voiced, Senegalese Renaissance man is uncategorisable, but endlessly intriguing. His super-chilled Wolof version of Talking Heads' Once in a Lifetime sets the tone.

Kenge Kenge Orutu System
Life-affirming, shake yer bootie

Sparkly guitars and buoyant bass rhythms make Kenyan benga the kind of classic, joyous African dance sound you'd feel a bad person for not responding to. It's played here in a back-to-the-roots fashion on flutes, fiddles, drums and ox-horn trumpets.

Malam Mamane Barka
Mysterious and mythic

Hailing from the deserts of Niger, Barka is the last master of the biram, a sacred harp similar to those played in Ancient Egypt. Featuring trance-inducing traditional percussion, this could be one of those unlikely revelations for which Womad is legendary.

Indigo veils and Kalashnikovs

Featuring two founder members of Tinariwen, the acclaimed Touareg nomad guerrilla band - including the charismatic colossus Kedou - the spacey guitars of Terakaft strip the desert blues to its starkest, edgiest essence.

Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara
The Gambian Led Zep?

Robert Plant guitarist and Tinariwen producer, Adams is one of the most interesting people in world music. This rowdy collaboration pits his reverb-laden Les Paul against the squawking one-string fiddle and invocatory vocals of Gambian master-musician Camara.

Aucun commentaire: