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26 juillet 2008


ARTE METROPOLIS samedi 26 juillet 20h15

Metropolis en ligne

Vous avez raté la dernière émission ? Alors regardez Metropolis ou quelques extraits de l'émission en streaming pendant sept jours après la diffusion : Streaming

Avec cette semaine : Peter Gabriel et son projet "Big Blue Ball", HeraKut duo de street art, André Verleger - sculpteur de lumière, la Manifesta 7, le chanteur d'opéra Erwin Schrott, la restauration des trésors d’architecture à L.A. - Tous les sujets de la semaine

WOMAD off to a sunny start

> Chic go through their paces last night

Good weather and great music greeted the opening of the WOMAD festival at Charlton Park last night. And with morte sunshine today the festival is set to be an altogether more pleasant expereince for the 30,000 people who have flocked to Wiltshire.

Yesterday's opening saw great performances from a wide variety of acts, including founder Peter Gabriel, funk legends Chic and punk pioneer Shane McGowan.

Police have made 16 arrests so far, mainly for thefts from tents. Officers have been using special decoy tents equipped with cameras to rap would-be thieves. The arrests are well down on the total of 90 last year.

Tonight's highlights include singer Martha Wainwright and reggae legend Eddy Grant.

By Lois Avery, this is Wiltshire

Rachid Taha's wildness restates festival's mission of connection

Womad Festival, Charlton Park, Wiltshire

The French-Algerian punk maverick Rachid Taha closed WOMAD's first night with a show of dervish wildness the rest of the weekend will do well to match.

There has been mild controversy this year about the high number of Western chart acts, including Squeeze and Chic. But one listen to Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra earlier in the day reminds you that WOMAD is about inclusivity and connection, not austere authenticity.

Diabate begins solo on the harp-like Malian kora, of which he is a maestro, casually unfurling an insanely rapid silver stream of notes. But this music's basis in religious trance also recalls Wasis Diop's claim that African music is inherently psychedelic.

And when the Orchestra appears, barrelhouse piano, weird chicken-scratch guitar and deep funk bass attain a swirl half from Mali, and half from some 1960s West Coast acid den. As throat-singers from the near-mythical Central Asian republic of Altai strike up on one stage, Chic offer New York City's thrilling melancholy of disco, making their debut in WOMAD's Wiltshire field.

Golden-crowned Cambodian dancing girls and the veteran Bedouin Jerry Can Band, who play Israeli army debris left in the Sinai Desert, are no stranger than Shane MacGowan's appearance with Sharon Shannon's Irish big band.

Rachid Taha is a magnetic mix of 1940s Casbah spiv, Richard III, Joe Strummer and a free-spirited French-Algerian energy all his own. There is something appealingly unhealthy yet entirely benign about him. There are Spaghetti Western fanfares, Europop tackiness and rai rhythms, a restless, rolling surprise putting everything that catches his ear through an Algerian prism.

It is Taha, though, that brings this British crowd up short, with how far we still have to go to really lose ourselves in the world's music. He is staggered at our monolingual inability to sing with him, in French or Arabic.

He finally gives up, puffing his cigarette in eloquent disgust. But then, he bends down, talking in French about Iraq. And when he stands up, he is singing "Rock the Casbah", reclaiming The Clash's punk roar against Islamist intolerance. If WOMAD's mission needed restating, Taha has done it superbly.

By Nick Hasted,, Saturday, 26 July 2008

Chinese world music phenomenon Dingding to appear at this year's Womad

This weekend sees a key world music festival and on the bill is one of China's biggest musical exports. More4 News reports. Some musicians have, controversially, been denied access to Womad due to visa problems, but one performer who will be there is Sa Dingding.

World Music, or the marketing to westerners of international music, is growing in popularity and Sa is becoming a global phenomenon. If you haven't heard of her yet, it may only be a matter of time.

Kylie Morris reports, Channel 4

The whole world in his hand

Peter Gabriel founded the WOMAD festival in the early 80s. We talk to the former Genesis frontman about his love of world music, who he's looking forward to seeing at this year's event, which takes place this weekend, and how the festival is about more than just music.

The World Of Music, Arts And Dance, or WOMAD as it's known, is an annual gathering which hosts, as its title might suggest, the very best performers from all corners of the globe.

The festival was pioneered by former Genesis frontman and world music aficionado Peter Gabriel and a group of like-minded friends, who staged the first WOMAD in 1982 in Shepton Mallet, Somerset and attracted 15,000 people.

The festival found a new home in Reading, Berkshire, not long after, and 2007 saw the nomadic WOMAD up sticks once again and move to Malmesbury in Wiltshire.

The latest site, argues Gabriel, will provide the festival, already the world's largest with events in more than 20 countries around the world, even more opportunity to grow.

"It's about twice the size of the old place, particularly with the extra land we've been given this year, so we are able to do more things," explains Peter.

"There will be more workshops, more stuff happening with the food, more stalls and better camping too. This year, we've also got a bit of a spa happening too, so you can either relax or clean up," he says, smiling. "It's growing and the new site is a great place for us to be based. There are more opportunities, even though the people in Reading were great partners."

Like most other festivals last summer, WOMAD suffered from appalling weather but at Charlton Park this year, campsites will be on higher ground and a track has been built allowing access for all vehicles.

"We were renamed WOMUD last year because we were drowning in the stuff but with a few new provisions this year, we should be in good shape, even if we are hit by the weather. We're hoping very much that lightning won't strike twice and it hasn't rained as much this year in general, so the underlying land won't be as soggy," he adds. The site is such a beautiful site, with the trees and the big house there. It's going to be a great home for us."

As in past years, this year's festival has a wide and diverse mix of music on offer, from disco godfathers Chic and critics' favourite Martha Wainwright, through to Dengue Fever, who are a group of Cambodian rockers based in Los Angeles and Senegalese singer Wasis Diop.

"There are lots of people I'm looking forward to seeing but I was introduced to a band called Speed Caravan earlier this year and think they're brilliant," says Peter.

"Mehdi Haddab from Speed Caravan is a bit like the Jimi Hendrix of the (11-stringed pear-shaped Arabic instrument, similar to a lute) oud. He really is unbelievable. (an Algerian-French singer) has a similar vibe but he's less about the playing, really, and Rachid TahaSharon Shannon who has a great Irish big band featuring Shane MacGowan," he continues, enthusiastically."Chic are also playing. I've seen them before, they did a benefit concert for us a while back, and I've known Nile Rodgers a long time. He's an amazing groove player and their set will be chock full of hits. That's just Friday night! Shall I keep going?"

Other big names on the bill include dub pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry, reggae singer Eddy Grant, reformed new-wavers Squeeze, American singer songwriter Devon Sproule and Mercury Prize-winner Roni Size And Reprazent, all of whom will be playing alongside relatively unknown artists from all over the world.

"The idea is that there's a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar," explains Peter. "We're making much more of the food element at the festival this year too. There'll be a 'food of the world' kind of thing, so you can taste all these amazing, new flavours while hearing amazing new sounds," he continues, before talking about the family-oriented nature of WOMAD - a mission statement he and the other organisers outlined from day one. Families are a big part of what we do and we're proud that parents can feel safe to let their kids play on the site, which they don't often do at a lot of festivals. People are happy with there not being so many people out of their heads as well," he says.

"One of our main goals has always been about introducing the kids to new things. If children get used to being introduced to different flavours from around the world, and different sounds and cultures, then they'll hopefully be comfortable in whatever world they find themselves in when they're older and retain that curiosity, enthusiasm and open-mindedness. I think it was a passion for the music that got us going in the first place but now more than anything else, the festival is about unity and just shows the stupidity of racism."

Now in its 26th year, WOMAD in the UK is undoubtedly a successful enterprise, with spin-off workshops and summer schools taking place in Bath, where children and adults can learn various musical styles from experts.

More than 20 countries, including the USA, Spain, New Zealand and Australia, where it's the nation's largest outdoor event, have staged their own WOMAD festivals, while the organisation was involved in their own Live8 concert - Africa Calling - and the Sri Lankan Festival Of The Drum. The WOMAD brand has now staged or been involved in more than 150 festivals since it began.

Aside from organising the festival, Peter, while maintaining his boundary-pushing solo career, has also established his own Real World Studios, which offers artists from developing countries the chance to record in a state-of-the-art studio and have their music distributed in ways otherwise impossible for them.

He also worked hard to spread the word about musicians such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who last year made Time magazine's list of all-time Asian heroes, and Grammy-winning Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour, who shot to fame after his hit single 7 Seconds with Neneh Cherry.

"When we started WOMAD, I think we were just young people exploring our dreams and we were planning to take over the world," he says. "The fact it managed to survive through potential disaster, and that we've managed to keep going and build it in so many countries, is just wonderful."

By Andy Welch, Dudley News

Samedi 26 juillet 08 à 20h15 sur Arte : Peter Gabriel et le projet Big Blue Ball

Plus que quelques semaines et l’attente prendra fin avec la sortie du CD Big Blue Ball. Le projet est signé Peter Gabriel et Karl Wallinger (World Party, The Waterboys).

De 1992 à 1995, les deux artistes avaient invité des poètes et musiciens du monde entier à participer à des improvisations collectives dans le studio d’enregistrement de Peter Gabriel. Les sessions étaient enregistrées sur le champ mais il a fallu des années pour remanier les innombrables bandes.

L’album Big Blue Ball vient d’être présenté à Aix-la-Chapelle en même temps qu’une collection d’œuvres inspirées par ce projet. Lors du vernissage de cette exposition, que l’on pourra voire aussi à Paris, Peter Gabriel a donné quelques indications sur la gestation de ce CD hors normes, mais aussi sur d’autres projets à venir, au croisement des genres et des cultures.


L'Exposition across the borders/BIG BLUE BALL est présentée au Ludwigsforum à Aix-la-Chapelle jusqu'au 24 août 2008.
Homepage pour le projet Big Blue Ball
Homepage de Peter Gabriel

(sites en allemand et en anglais)

Reportage de Georg Maas et Dieter Zeppenfeld
Samedi 26 juillet 2008 à 20h15

Merci à Papyck :-)

25 juillet 2008

Womad acts fail to get UK visas

The cancellation of three acts who failed to obtain UK visas will not spoil this weekend's Womad Festival, organisers have said.

Congolese band Kasai Allstars, India's The Dhoad Gypsies and Pakistani Asif Ali Khan will not now perform at the UK's biggest world-music event.

They failed to meet entry rules despite being exempt from needing work permits.

More than 70 acts from 35 countries are performing across four days at Charlton Park in Wiltshire.

A Womad spokesman said another two acts - singer and saxophonist Seun Kuti and his band Egypt 80, and Malian guitar group TeraKraft - were also in doubt because of "visa issues".

"It's a problem that we always have at Womad as you do at any big festival with so many artists on the bill," he told the BBC News website.

"With Womad, [it is] even more so, because the artists are so much more diverse and from little countries that don't necessarily deal with visas as much as other places."

He said such restrictions had been tightened in recent years.

The spokesman said all the missing acts had been replaced on the bill and insisted the forced cancellations would not spoil the enjoyment of festival-goers.

Speaking on Friday morning, he said: "I think generally about 60% of the people arrive on the Thursday so it's buzzing already and the atmosphere's phenomenal already. Every artist that you can think of is performing at Womad - and a lot you could never think of."

The Home Office said acts at major UK festivals, including Womad, were already exempt from having to apply for work permits.

"However, performers still need to meet our entry requirements, applying for a visa where necessary, and where they do not, applications to enter the UK will be refused," a spokesman said.

The government recently announced that, in future, performers coming to the UK for permit-free concerts and festivals would be assessed under a new "visitor visa" category with different entry requirements.

This was "to ensure entertainers continue to contribute to British cultural life", the spokesman said.

The festival began on Thursday night with dub and reggae from artists including Lee "Scratch" Perry and Adrian Sherwood.

Friday sees an Irish ceilidh night with artists such as Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, while on Saturday brings a celebration of Sufi - hypnotic vocal music found throughout the Muslim world.

Highlights of Sunday include a gala performance featuring Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate - whose band Ngoni Ba took home two prizes at this year's BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music - and a number of other guest artists.

Kouyate plays the ngoni, a lute-like instrument from West Africa.

Other artists appearing at the festival include Eddy Grant and The Frontline Orchestra, drum 'n' bass veteran Roni Size and Brit Award-winner Finlay Quaye.

Seun Kuti: Arsenal's loss is WOMAD's gain

Of all the artists at this year's Womad, few evoke the festival's spirit of world music better than Seun Kuti. Son of the legendary Fela Kuti, for 11 years Seun (pronounced shehoun) has fronted his late father's band, Egypt 80, carrying forward the torch of Afrobeat. After inheriting the family legacy at the age of just 25, he was never in any doubt that he would follow in his father's footsteps.

'I've always believed in what my father stood for and in his music,' Seun explains. 'It had to be done. I never felt I had to literally replace my father. You have to go on, and the band always support me.'

In fact, Seun and Egypt 80 have just finished their first album, Many Things. Available on import, and due a full UK release in September, it showcases Seun's saxophone and singing skills, where he pours emotion into songs of hope and condemnation. Much inspiration is drawn from his native Nigeria: when not circumnavigating the globe he still resides in Lagos. Despite problems in his home city, Seun doesn't envisage leaving any time soon.

'The West is too organised for me,' he says. 'But I can't say I really enjoy [Nigeria] these days because everything is so bad. Things are harsh for everybody around me. It's very crazy. These days you hardly have electricity, traffic is everywhere, everything is...' He tails off with a sigh. He isn't even sure if the Kuti musical bloodline will continue after him. 'I don't know what my kids want,' he says. 'After two generations, my family tend to want to do something else. My great-grandfather was a reverend, my grandfather was a reverend, then all his kids were something else. That's how it is.'

Prior to his first Womad appearance, headlining the open-air stage on Sunday, Kuti suggests he could have spent more time in Britain had he pursued another talent. 'I was school captain for my football team, so I could have been playing for Arsenal,' he says. 'I was good at school. I could have done something nine to five, but my mind would never like that.'

by Adam Kennedy, - Thursday, July 24, 2008

Visa rules force top acts to pull out of Womad festival

Organisers of the country's biggest world music festival were forced to make last-minute cancellations yesterday after three musicians in their line-up were unable to obtain visas to play at Womad. Another two performers – including a headlining star from Nigeria – were struggling to gain entry into Britain for the weekend festival which attracts more than four million viewers. Womad is the latest of a succession of events that have been affected by tougher visa rules.

Seun Kuti, the son of the Nigerian legend, Fela Kuti, who was to play with his father's politically-charged Afrobeat band, Egypt 80, was fighting to gain an artist's visa in the hope of performing on Sunday. He was among the headlining acts listed on Womad's website, along with Eddy Grant and Martha Wainwright.

TeraKraft, an electric guitar collective from Mali, are also facing the possibility of missing their performance tonight. Meanwhile, Kasai Allstars, a Congolese band who have performed all over the world, did not gain a temporary work visa from the Home Office, along with the Pakistani Sufi master, Asif Ali Khan, a protégé of the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and a powerful figure on the international music stage who is often referred to as Pakistan's musical prince.

A statement from Womad added that Kasai Allstars have been forced to "cancel their whole European tour as they couldn't get the visas they needed."

An Indian troupe, the Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan, were also unable to enter the country to perform at the three-day festival.

A spokesman for the organisers said it was an increasingly frequent problem each year, with musicians being denied performances in this country due to "red tape". "Organisers have noticed it's getting harder and harder with more performers in trouble over visas each year, having to go through a lengthier process each time. Three of the performers have not got visas for whatever reason but it has nothing to do with the band as far as I know. These three acts are hoping to play at next year's festival but the fact that two acts are fighting to get visas on the day the festival begins makes things very difficult," he said.

Many devotees of world music will have bought their £150 weekend tickets to the festival, starting today, expecting to see the billed performers who have since faced visa difficulties.

Jason Walsh, who runs Musicians Incorporated, a booking agency for many African artists including Seun Kuti's brother, Femi Kuti, said that, while visa regulations were changing, they still presented enormous difficulties for many African acts. "We have enormous problems getting artists over here from the likes of Mali as there is no British embassy there and we have to fly the entire band – sometimes as many as 20 people – to Senegal, where they may have to wait for days for their visas. This is so financially prohibitive that I can't see why there isn't a deal where artists from these Francophile countries can go through this process at a French embassy. We are working towards greater cultural diversification and exposure to each other's cultural heritage and it's a great shame that these performers can't be seen by people who would otherwise never be able to see such acts. Where else could you see them perform?" he said.

A Home Office spokeswoman refused to comment on the Womad cases but added that each case was "assessed on its individual merits".

Meanwhile, Eddy Grant, who is scheduled to play at the festival after a 25-year career break, has said of Womad that: "It is still about real people from all over the world coming together to play real music."

Visa requirements

Womad is one of the country's many "work permit-free" music festivals, but performers at these events still need to meet certain immigration requirements. As well as complying with immigration rules that apply to all visitors, they need to provide a genuine invitation from the organisers; evidence they will be self-financed during their time here and proof they can pay for their journey home.

By Arifa Akbar, Arts Correspondent,, Friday, 25 July 2008

Vampire Weekend Go Goth For New Video, Get Covered By Peter Gabriel

Love them or hate them, Vampire Weekend have carved out quite the style for themselves: button-ups, khakis and Banana Republic. Well, apparently these guys are as sick of their style as we are, opting to goth it up in their upcoming video for Graceland's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa."

Apparently the video, which finds each member dressing up like the Cure, is set in the ’80s and sees Vampire Weekend and company playing the parts of several characters, some with mascara, others without. According to MTV News, front-man Ezra Kroenig and the band got the acting bug and chose the music video to embrace their alter goth egos.

"We've done fairly abstract videos in the past, in that there's no narrative," Kroenig told MTV. "We thought maybe it'd be fun if there were actual characters. We used to shy away from anything that even came close to 'acting' in videos, but in this one there is interaction among people, so in that sense it is more of a story. There are preppy people in it and non-preppy people in it. So it was a chance to have some of our friends come be in the video."

We assume the band’s friends are the preppy people.

In related Vampire news, former Genesis vocalist Peter Gabriel has said he would like to cover "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," which gives him a shout-out.

"I actually do like that song a lot and they've asked me to sing a version of it now, which I may well do," he recently told the BBC.

However, Gabriel is unsure how he would deal with name-dropping his own name. "Well, I haven't quite worked that out whether I should be doing that or substituting it with a name that might be appropriate to me — I think playing with yourself makes you go blind after a while,” he said.

Nice one for Vampire Weekend to get old Gabe’s attention, but could someone tell us when it suddenly became cool again to actually like Peter Gabriel? Feel free to fill us in on Graceland while you’re at it.

By Brock Thiessen,, 7/25/2008

Vampire Weekend "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" on Jimmy Kimmel

Thousands gather for WOMAD Festival

An international music festival is back in Malmesbury, serving up a platter of entertainment and culinary delights from around the world.

Boasting more than 70 artists from 35 countries, the three-day WOMAD festival is sure to be a hit with all music lovers. "I challenge anyone not to find something on the bill that inspires and moves them," said music legend and festival co-founder Peter Gabriel. "Musically this is one of the best festivals we’ve ever had."

WOMAD is also one of the only festivals that can truly be called a family event. An adult ticket will also allow two children entry free of charge. There are various activities organised exclusively for children including a reading library and a storytelling yurt.

Cookery enthusiasts can indulge in the festival’s ‘Taste the World’ cookery sessions or peruse more than 250 stalls, sampling international food or getting a drink from one of five bars. Families looking to catch some early sleep can rest easy as the festival offers family camping areas where a respectful and early-to-bed philosophy exists between families.

The WOMAD festival is already under way at Charlton Park in Malmesbury, but tickets are still available from the box office at special rates for the weekend. Two-day weekend tickets cost £100 and two-day family weekend tickets cost £175 (based on two adults and two children). Children under the age of 13 get free entry with an adult ticket. Camping is included in the price of the tickets.

Reduced ticket prices for SN16 residents are available for Sunday and cost £40.

Peter Gabriel's legal alternative to P2P abuse

Peter Gabriel's The Filter provides a legal alternative to illegal P2P filesharing

Plus, Billy Bragg criticises BFI, reaffirms need to monetise P2P

Billy Bragg has slammed the BPI's latest downloader letters initiative branding the agreement between the government, ISPs and the BPI as a smokescreen, obscuring the crisis that the record industry is in.

"If this were an ordinary copyright infringement case, the record companies would put their lawyers onto the ISPs," Bragg wrote in the Guardian this week."However, everyone knows that the music industry is using internet sites, particularly the big social networks such as MySpace, to promote their artists," he adds.

Letters merely a gesture

Put simply, Bragg argues that the music industry just cannot afford to "bite the hand of the ISPs, which provide them with access to potential customers."

Bragg, like any common-sense internet savvy adult, laments the BPI's misjudged thinking behind the 'warning letter' idea.

"Without some kind of legal framework to back it up, it's nothing more than a gesture. The real problem for the record companies is that the ground is changing beneath them. New technology has made it possible for people to acquire music without going through the traditional route of buying objects in a shop."

As a number of other music industry and music press luminaries have already argued, the real issue (which Bragg argues is being 'smokescreened') is how the industry reacts to, and monetizes, P2P filesharing.

Peter Gabriel's Filter - a legal alternative?

One of those new ways of doing exactly this is being trialled by Peter Gabriel's new company The Filter. Andy Semple, CMO at The Filter explained a little more about this new service to TechRadar.

"While we don't actually provide full track streaming on our website, we view our role as a vehicle of discovery to help people discover, among other things, music that they'll love. We provide 30 second samples of that music, and then give them the opportunity to download it from a legitimate source. Users can also share what they've discovered with friends, but not share the files. In this way, we believe we satisfy everyone's desires for P2P technology, without encouraging illegal filesharing. It's not really our place to comment on the likely success or otherwise of sending out informational letters to stop file sharing, but we are offering a legal alternative, which, having grown at a staggering rate since our launch in June, appears to be extremely popular."

Zimbabwe : Youssou N’Dour : "C’est une honte !"

Chanteur engagé et compositeur hors-pair, Youssou N'Dour a organisé en 1985 un concert pour la libération de Nelson Mandela au Stade de l'Amitié de Dakar. Il a également organisé plusieurs concerts au profit de l'organisation humanitaire Amnesty International. Il a travaillé avec des artistes de renommée internationale comme Peter - genius - Gabriel. En 1998, il compose l'hymne pour la phase finale de la Coupe du monde de football 1998, "La Cour des grands", qu'il chante avec Axelle Red. Il est aussi le compositeur de la musique du film d'animation « Kirikou et la sorcière ».

Vous êtes aujourd’hui un artiste mondialement connu. Comment expliquez-vous ce succès d’un enfant issu du quartier populaire de la Médina ?
Je pense que mon évolution a séduit les gens… j’y suis allé petit à petit, les opportunités sont venues à moi assez tôt, par exemple Higelin qui m’a présenté à la France en 86, ou encore Peter Gabriel qui m’a présenté au « monde » en m’invitant à faire la première partie de sa tournée mondiale… Vous savez, j’aime toujours dire aux jeunes de la médina que « c’est possible » j’en suis la preuve vivante et j’en suis fier, et je pense que mon parcours donne de l’espoir à beaucoup de jeunes, pas forcément dans le métier de la musique, dans plein d’horizons différents.

Dans votre dernier album Alsaama Day vous parlez du reflet d’une Société Sénégalaise en Mutation ? Quelles sont-elles ?
Le Sénégal a beaucoup évolué ces dernières années… les gens sont plus entreprenants et veulent faire des choses dans et pour leur pays. Il y a eu une crise de confiance dans les politiques, et du coup les gens se sont dit qu’il fallait qu’ils comptent sur eux-mêmes pour avancer. Je pense que quand on a sous les yeux des exemples comme ce qui se passe au Zimbabwe, on se dit qu’on a de la chance chez nous, ça ne pourrait pas arriver, les gens descendraient dans la rue, c’est une honte ce qui se passe la bas, et c’est une honte que la communauté internationale ne s’en préoccupe pas plus que cela.

Vous êtes ambassadeur de l’Unicef quel est votre rôle actuellement ?
Je suis ambassadeur de plusieurs organismes, je pense que je suis plus un porte parole de l’Afrique avec mes petits moyens… j’aime m’exprimer pour mon continent quand on m’en donne l’opportunité, mes voyages musicaux m’ont emmené dans le monde entier, alors, j’en profite pour faire passer des messages chaque fois que je le peux… je suis très impliqué dans la lutte pour le respect des droits des enfants, pas forcément à travers l’Unicef seulement, mais aussi à travers ma fondation.

Quel est votre feeling avec le public français ?
J’adore le public français, je pense qu’il commence à bien me connaître ! On a des « codes » ensemble…il y a toujours une ambiance que j’aime vraiment quand je joue en France… c’est un public très réactif.

Quand vous allez à la plage, vous êtes plutôt raquette, bouquin ou ipod ?
Je ne vais pas à la plage ! Mais quand ça m’arrive de m’y promener c’est plus pour faire une séance de photos.

Quelle est votre plage préférée ?
J’aime bien la plage de Ngor car c’est de là que partent les bateaux de pêche et ça m’est arrivé de les regarder partir ou rentrer, c’est un beau spectacle, sinon, non, pas de plage pour moi…cela dit, on a joué a Papeete il y a 2 mois, et la plage y est vraiment magnifique.

Propos exclusifs recueillis par Bertrand Vial. Le Journal des plages

Manu Katché revient à ses premières amours, le jazz

Par Karina Chabour, FRANCE 24, Jeudi 24 juillet 2008

Toute la semaine, les Arènes du jazz ont pris leur quartier à Montmartre pour la quatrième édition. C'est au pied du Sacré Cœur que nos reporters ont rencontré Manu Katché.

L'artiste français longtemps courtisé par la pop internationale revient à ses premières amours. Accompagné de quatre jeunes musiciens talentueux, il revisite à sa façon les racines du jazz, en y mêlant sons et rythmes actuels.

Entre classique, jazz, pop, rocks sons et rythmes actuels, Manu Katché aime bousculer les genres. Lancé en 1986 par Peter Gabriel, l'artiste français se fait très vite remarquer par les plus grands du pop-rock. Sting, Dire Straits, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N'Dour, ou Joe Satriani ont croisé sa route... Une carrière fulgurante, où le jazz occupe une place bien à part.

"Moi, le jazz, j'en ai toujours beaucoup écouté", explique Manu Katché. "J'en ai joué aussi pas mal. C'est vrai qu'on me connaît plus pour la musique pop et rock , mais c'est une musique qui fait vraiment partie de moi, donc j'avais jamais fait d'album représentant cette musique là. Mais c'était quelque chose qui était vraiment à l'intérieur. Donc tout à coup, après fait eu pas mal d'expérience dans la musique industrie, j'ai envie de revenir à mes premières amours et d'expérimenter. "

Un retour aux racines, teinté de sons et de rythmes actuels. Avec sa formation de jeunes musiciens européens, Manu Katché aime dépasser les frontières du jazz.

"Je trouve qu'aujourd'hui, l'Europe a pris le pas dans l'émergence de musiques nouvelles", analyse Manu Katché. "En tout cas dans la nouveauté jazz, que ce qui se passait il y a une vingtaine d'année à peu près. C'est pour ça que je suis passé à ce moment là dans une carrière en solo, de m'inscrire dans cette musique là, qui est assez représentative de ce que je fais."

Et tout réussit à ce touche-à-tout musical. Une passion qu'il aime partager. Un temps, membre du jury de la très populaire nouvelle star, le musicien anime "One shot note", une émission de télévision qui explore en live ses univers musicaux.

Peter Gabriel, le philosophe chantant

L'artiste qui se fait discret depuis la sortie de son dernier opus "Up" en 2002 reste très prolixe et multiplie ses activités sans pour autant se mettre en avant classe quoi !

Par farida
, le Post, le 25/07/2008

Pour un coup d'essai, c'est un coup de maître! Depuis le temps que nous attendions une biographie digne de ce nom consacrée au grand Peter Gabriel ... c'est chose faite et ce grâce à Franck Buioni un passionné de musique et de cinéma qui voue un culte au créateur de Sledgehammer et Solsbury Hill depuis de longues années.

Le livre relate le parcours atypique de l'ancien chanteur du groupe Genesis (formation qu'il quitta en 1975) jusqu'à aujourd'hui. De ses expériences musicales avant-gardistes à ses nobles combats humanitaires en passant par les grands évènements politiques majeurs qui se sont déroulés depuis la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale jusqu'en 2008 , l'auteur retrace avec brio et passion la vie trépidante et un brin mystique du chanteur. Une biographie qui ravira les fans mais pas seulement ...Vous y découvrirez les aléas de la vie d'un homme fou de musique et de communication , un homme qui a mis sa notoriété et son art au service du genre humain ... une vraie leçon de vie!

Plus qu'un chanteur,
Peter Gabriel représente aujourd'hui un phare dans la nuit, un philosophe chantant qui a été désigné «Homme de la paix 2006» lors d'un sommet de lauréats des Prix Nobel .

Je vous conseille
vivement de vous procurer cet objet qui récèle de renseignements, d'humour et de réjouissantes syntaxes qui font honneur à la langue de Molière!

Le bon plan lecture de l'été
qui restera comme une alternative aux derniers brouillons de Marc Levy et consorts qui sont un peu à la littérature moderne ce que Dany Brillant est à la musique.

New World Man

By Dan Harkins, The Clevelands Free Time

Peter Gabriel Assembles An International Cast For Big Blue Ball

Ever since he bowed out of groundbreaking prog-rockers Genesis back in 1975, Peter Gabriel has made his name as a proud foster parent of world music, combining the rock and soul of his roots with a more global approach. He's taken that image quite seriously, and on Big Blue Ball he's gone all out.

Over three different weeklong sessions in 1991, 1992 and 1995 at his posh Real World Studios in Wiltshire, England, Gabriel held court with a slew of international innovators, creating a lush abstraction of musical styles. Percussion-heavy as usual, the album kicks off with the lush single "Whole Thing," one of just two tracks on which he sings lead. With guitar flourishes from Karl Wallinger of World Party and Waterboys fame, the song is a throwback to the years of Gabriel's greatest hits, tunes like "In Your Eyes" and "Sledgehammer."

What immediately follows is a flight around the world. On "Habibe," Natacha Atlas sings in her immaculate Indian tongue, with the Hossam Ramzy Egyptian Ensemble stringing everything together over a funky-ass techno Bollywood beat. Afro-pop legend Papa Wemba and his band caterwaul expertly over flamenco guitar on "Shadow." And then France's Deep Forest, a commercial success in early techno, lays down a somber bass line on "Altus Silva" for singers Joseph Arthur and Iarla î Lionáird to volley pop and operatic verses respectively. Supported by gravel-voiced Gabriel and Wallinger, Arthur also leads "Exit Through You," and it's another throwback, this time verging a bit on adult contemporary.

The album bounces around like, well, a "big ball" for the duration, most of the time landing someplace unexpected. Sinéad O'Connor's "Everything Comes From You" is a haunting anti-war treatise composed by Japanese master Joji Hirota, with striking flute from Guo Yue. "Burn You Up, Burn You Down" is Gabriel again in retro form but with the Holmes Brothers adding needed groove on the chorus.

"Forest" combines, to orgasmic effect, the tribal protestations of vocalist Hukwe Zawose with a mix of computerized and djembe percussion. Madagascan singer Rossy raps "Jijy" over complex programming. It's truly a trip around the world, ending with "Big Blue Ball," a Wallinger composition that rounds out the experience with a perfect meld of Gabriel's celestial pop and the best of what the world has to offer. Why it took so damn long to edit and release this album is unclear; the only complaint I have is that some of the songs sound about a decade stale. But when wines are made with such quality grapes from vineyards so variegated and pure, it's pretty easy to ignore the vintage

Peter Gabriel, Big Blue Ball (Real World) ***1/2

Peter's July Update

on Full Moon Club :

Peter's doing the right thing and taking a month off from Full Moon updates in order to fully pursue his increased paternal responsibilities.

As you can see from our clip, time is flying past at Real World, so hopefully Peter will be back on Moon Club duty before you know it. We've grabbed a song- Ngadu Gwe from The Zawose Family's 'Small Things Fall From The Baobab Tree' CD to accompany the video and thank you for dropping by.

The Zawose Family are at The Edinburgh Festival this year: Along with Children of the Khmer, who can also be seen at

WOMAD Charlton Park this month: Where Peter will be giving a talk with Karl Wallinger about Big Blue Ball, a record that brings us back to The Zawose's as it features the late lamented Dr Hukwe Zawose on the track Forest:

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.

Beckham Does Not Sniff Sharpies

Podcast: Sonic TALK092 - Beckham Does Not Sniff Sharpies

Child prodigy drummers, new Wii motionplus thingy, classic sounds and green technology 24-Jul-08

TALK092 - Drummers, classic sounds and more 53:40 mins

Download MP3 Audio | iTunes | Subscribe to Podcasts

SONIC TALK 092 A sultry afternoon in Bath and one of the rare occasions when I'm joined in the studio - this weeks guest on the spare chair is Richard Evans who's had a long affiliation with Peter Gabriel and Real World studios - just back from a stint recording at a Serbian monastery. Staying very much in the UK this week, on the line we have Mark Tinley who's worked with Duran Duran and Nick Rhodes for many years and Dave Spiers from GForce Software, who's recovering from Labrinthitis by playing tennis, both real and virtual.

Speaking of virtual tennis, we take a look at the new Wii MotionPlus addition for the WiiMote which allegedly ads true 1:1 motion control and increases the accuracy of the 3D positioning and it's musical possibilities - it's demonstrated by the new WiiMusic titles with people "playing" various instruments at the recent E3 demo. Then we talk about virtuoso drummers - with plenty of drummer jokes, then on to famous sounds, green technology and finally David Beckham in the Sharpies ad.

Gabriel wants to Filter the Internet

Mike Collett-White, Reuters, Thursday, July 24, 2008

LONDON - Grammy-winning musician Peter Gabriel believes the Internet has drowned users with too much choice and eroded the quality of what people listen to. The 58-year-old producer, former Genesis frontman, world music champion and digital technology pioneer is involved in two new ventures he hopes will address his concerns.

The first is The Filter (, which aims to produce a blueprint of an individual's taste in music, movies, news and views by analyzing what the person buys online. Users can recommend songs and films to each other, and, further down the line, may be able to customize their profiles by selecting particular directors, artists and critics.

The second is a venture with speaker makers Bowers & Wilkins which offers an exclusive album each month recorded at his Real World Studios and available online as an uncompressed file, which should ensure CD-standard quality.

, who helps organize the WOMAD world music festival in Britain which take place this year Friday through Sunday, spoke to Reuters about his new projects.

Q: What is the main idea behind The Filter?

A: I think in a world in which we are drowning in choice and have access to everything, we are going to rely more and more on good filtering. I think one of the ways we are trying to do this a little differently is (to) integrate the best of expert systems -- best of machine and best of man. There are living, breathing people whose tastes and guidance we trust whether they be friends, experts, musicians, film directors, critics, journalists.

We're trying to integrate their parameters, if you like, with "you bought this therefore you might like this." That is part of the mixer idea and it's only in its first stage of implementation. Those people whose taste is available through The Filter, you can then allocate them to the mixer. That would be the aim ideally.

Q: Are the kind of musicians you typically support, most of whom are not household names, benefiting from the digital revolution in music?

A: Not as much as I would like yet, and as a lot of the artists are losing one of the central sources of their income, i.e. record sales, they need to become smarter in building their own database as a means of accessing their own fans and learning and getting the feedback from their fans.

That's a channel through which they can sell other stuff. We do need to democratize the process of discovery.

Q: Another negative aspect of the Internet you identified is the poor quality of downloaded music many people listen to?

A: The iPod, for example, does have the capacity to hold ... what they call "Apple Lossless" files, so it's built in and available, but very few people use it and an MP3 has become the sort of new standard and it's a giant step backwards. Whereas in television now most of us are getting used to wide screen or high definition, and that's gone forwards in terms of quality, music has certainly gone back.

To get as small a number of digits taken up as possible something has to be sacrificed and it's unfortunately the music. (It should be) as good as CD, which I think should be the starting point. We're just trying that out with B & W (Bowers & Wilkins) and we have a small number of acts (to record the albums) but it would be great if a few more musicians would get involved and try and put stuff out in formats other than MP3.

Treacherous trek led Lhamo to musical mountaintops

By Tony Montague,, July 24, 2008

Yungchen Lhamo didn’t aspire to become a musician. When she was growing up in Tibet in the ’70s and ’80s the singer was more concerned with her Buddhist spiritual practice. But Lhamo’s grandmother knew that the young girl had an exceptionally beautiful voice—one that would sustain her through life, and further enrich the culture of her homeland.

“She said to me, ‘Yungchen, if you want to do something for people, you must sing—you have a gift,’ ” Lhamo says, on the line from New York City, where she now lives. “ She taught me some chants, some from her village. Most of them were prayers.”

Tibet’s indigenous culture has been under threat since 1950, when Chinese Communist armies invaded and occupied the Himalayan nation. For many years Tibetan Buddhism was suppressed. As a young woman, Lhamo decided to seek freedom, and in 1989 she joined a party of seven people who crossed the mountains to India—a journey of 1,600 kilometres through the most rugged terrain in the world.

“Tibetan people who flee are risking their lives,” Lhamo says. “It’s not easy. You pack a small bag, and you leave. And you do not know if you will ever return. In the West, when you go on a trek, you have different shoes and different things for the trip. We just left, which is very dangerous. Many have died on the mountains. Even today, they do. It’s really frightening. I didn’t have much sleep, and there was little food. There are people chasing you, and if they catch you, you spend many years in prison. At one point, we were robbed. There were so many difficulties to face. Some mountains have snow, some have rain. And if you fall over, you can fall to your death.”

Fortunately, Lhamo reached safety in India, where she went to see the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Inspired by the meeting, she resolved to develop her voice and her music, and to share the richness of her Tibetan Buddhist heritage with westerners. In 1993 she moved to Australia and made a debut album of her original songs, Tibetan Prayer.

Lhamo’s wonderfully serene and hauntingly soulful voice caught the ear of rock icon Peter Gabriel, who signed the singer to his Real World label. She’s released three CDs with that label, including her most recent album, 2006’s Ama, dedicated to her late mother. Though on her studio recordings Lhamo works with other musicians, in concert she usually sings solo. The songs are almost all original pieces by Lhamo, deeply rooted in traditional chants and music, in spare arrangements that feature light percussion and instruments such as cello, viola, synthesizer, and National steel guitar.

In concert, however, Lhamo usually performs solo. “The reason I sing a cappella is that, when I came from Tibet, I lost everything,” she explains. “The only thing that I kept is what is inside of me. Alone on-stage, accompanied by the orchestra of only a listening audience, is a pure, lovely experience. I will go on performing this way. I wish that people will get inspired and look at their own spiritual lives—and see that to make others happy you don’t need many things around you.”

Yungchen Lhamo plays the Mission Folk Music Festival in Fraser River Heritage Park this Saturday and Sunday (July 26 and 27).

Burma In The Spotlight

A House of the Gods design for The Burma Campaign UK

Leisa Barnett,, 24 July 2008

With cyclone Nargis having thrown Burma into the media spotlight for the saddest of reasons recently, counter culture label House of the Gods has teamed up with charitable initiative The Burma Campaign UK to create a collection of T-shirts highlighting the plight of the Burmese people.

The likes of Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel and Faithless' Maxi Jazz are all public supporters of the campaign, so expect to see one of the designs snapped on an A-lister soon; net profits of all sales go directly to the charity.

Get yours at, or call 0207 033 9439 for further information.

Candlelight and Conversation: Laurie Anderson's 'Homeland'

BRINGING IT HOME Laurie Anderson in 'Homeland.'

By Joy Goodwin, The New York Sun, July 24, 2008

Laurie Anderson calls it a "concert poem." Depending on your point of view, you might categorize it as an art-rock song cycle or a spoken-word performance set to music.

But whatever you term it, Ms. Anderson's "Homeland," which opened on Tuesday in its Lincoln Center Festival incarnation, is the work of a consummate artist at the highest level of her craft.

"Homeland," staged with austere elegance at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, unfolds in front of a giant scrim that is alternately bathed in richly colored light or blackened to set off the flicker of the votive candles that carpet the stage. The show is as streamlined and polished as the set, burnished to a high sheen after a series of work-in-progress concerts over the past year. Though the show is more overtly political than some of Ms. Anderson's previous works, its abundant social commentary is carefully blended with song, myth, underscore, and digital sampling to produce an alluring hybrid.

Standing at a keyboard, Ms. Anderson leads a tight, four-piece band and two backup singers, casting a spell with her throaty, stylized voice. Video, a favorite element of Ms. Anderson's, is absent here, forcing the eye to relax and the ear to take over. "Homeland" is, in many ways, a sort of campfire piece — a set of stories and songs delivered in semi-darkness, amidst flickering light.

This campfire experience is itself the antidote to the social ills laid out in Ms. Anderson's running commentary on America. She laments the loss of the art of conversation, of a do-it-yourself ethos, of children playing outdoors. In the poem "Pictures and Things," she mourns the way a media-driven culture replaces tangible things with images, and how those images in turn "replace feelings." In one passage, she recalls her childhood desire to become a troubadour — only to discover that the cows and cottages of her storybooks were no longer there.

Yet Ms. Anderson has become a 21st-century troubadour, and in "Homeland," despite its rocking score and its postmodern downtown vibe (the violist wears a trucker hat), the presence of the 1960s folk rock scene is palpable. "Homeland" feels like the natural extension of what Bob Dylan and the Byrds were doing back then — taking on the establishment with words and melodies, and holding an audience in the palm of their hand.

With her short, spiky hair and her loose pants and shirt, Ms. Anderson, now 61, projects a kind of timeless cool. She has absolute command over all her instruments — violin, keyboards and, especially, her voice. When she tells a simple story, she burns its images into your head; when she sings, she mixes it up, going from breathy to burly to beautiful. As a narrator, she's versatile — she tells a good joke, but she also can build to a dramatic climax. By passing her speaking voice through an electronic filter, she can drop into a low register reminiscent of a sci-fi creature, and she uses this garbled voice to intense effect.

The music, all composed by Ms. Anderson, is defined by her use of bass and drum grooves, over which she layers a rich variety of riffs on violin, accordion, and viola. The female backup singers fill in the vocals with a high, sweet sound. The overall effect is part world music, part art rock, part Peter Gabriel. This is music that envelops you — especially when the lights dim and the candles flicker and a melody surges up.

There are harsh notes, too. When Lou Reed (Ms. Anderson's husband) joins in for a late tune, "The Lost Art of Conversation," there is in-your-face dissonance in the notes — one of several times the music takes on the anxious urgency of some of Ms. Anderson's anti-war, anti-consumer-culture commentary. In the song "Bad," she finds the musical equivalent of the seductive hiss of violence, simultaneously indulging and critiquing rock-and-roll's fascination with bad boys. ("I'm a bad guy," she snarls. "Let me blow up your churches. Let me blow up your mosques.")

There's a lot of social critique in "Homeland" — some of it witty, some of it poignant, and some of it less sophisticated than the rest of the show (e.g., "Was the Constitution written in invisible ink?"). What is invigorating about the show — apart from the brilliance of its tightly constructed interlocking pieces — is how it presents political feeling as one aspect of human experience. Ms. Anderson wants peace — and liberal government — but she also yearns for the lost arts of conversation, for connection to the physical world, for the campfire tradition. Her solution in "Homeland" is to create her own campfire, and through the force of her music, her text, and her persona, the dying art of conversation lives to fight another day.

Until July 26 (60th Street and Broadway, 212-721-6500).

23 juillet 2008

Green Diva’s Guide to a New World Vision: The Wisdom of The Elders in Action

Written by Megan McWilliams, Ecowordly

This is not my usual blogging area with GreenOptions. I keep it on the lighter side of green (more humor and fluff than science, research and serious global news), but from time to time I get serious especially when deeply inspired as I have been with this particular group of elders.

It just may be that rock n roll/music will indeed save the planet. In 1999 Peter Gabriel and Richard Branson decided that we as a global village were missing the essential survival ingredient - the wisdom of our elders. So they set about to identify a few of them. It didn’t take long for them to approached Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel, both who have done amazing work beyond what I can even describe here in this brief blog post. If you’ve been under a rock for the past 20 years, you will want to read up on Mr. Mandela, but I would encourage everyone to please see the brief, but inspiring biography I’ve linked you to for Graca Machel.

While it took several years for them to put this group together, they launched these elders as facilitators of powerful global change last July.

This is a potent list of global leaders who have reached a place in their lives and careers where they can shed imposing restrictions and focus on serious global concerns such as basic human rights, world health issues, climate change as well as share their valuable wisdom. These are not mere figureheads, but have the resources, seemingly boundless energy and drive to create change and movement on issues that other world and political leaders cannot seem to manage.

Kofi Annan
Ela Bhatt
Lakhdar Brahimi
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Jimmy Carter
Graca Machel
Nelson Mandela
Aung San Suu Kyi
Desmond Tutu
Muhammad Yunus

Start with these brief biographies that live on, but I encourage you to read more about each of these extraordinary individuals and let yourself be moved beyond your immediate sphere of influence into the realm of courageous action or very simple (sorry in advance for the cliche) random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. It all makes a difference.

“This group derives its strength not from political, economic or military power, but from the independence and integrity of those who are here. They do not have careers to build, elections to win, constituencies to please. They can talk to anyone they please, and are free to follow paths they deem right, even if hugely unpopular.”

Nelson Mandela, The Elders Launch Speech July 18, 2007

See Nelson Mandela’s speech from July 18, 2007

Angélique Kidjo : "Régler la question de l'esclavage"

Propos recueillis par Véronique Mortaigne, Le Monde, 23.07.08

La chanteuse Angélique Kidjo vient de faire danser tout le monde sur la scène du Parc floral de Vincennes lors du Paris Jazz Festival, le 19 juillet. Elle arrive d'Italie, et repart le lendemain à Damas en Syrie, puis en Espagne pour un hommage à James Brown. Elle sera fin juillet à Vence puis à Lyon, avant de conclure une tournée européenne qui passait, rituellement, par le Montreux Jazz Festival, en Suisse. La chanteuse franco-béninoise est l'une des représentantes les plus audacieuses de la musique africaine moderne, entre les expressions issues de la tradition (fon et yoruba) et celles qui puisent dans la chanson, la soul music, le jazz, la pop...

Angélique Kidjo vit à New York depuis onze ans. Le 18 juin, elle était à Paris aux côtés de Bono, du groupe U2, Yannick Noah et Bob Geldof pour demander des comptes aux pays du G8 sur l'aide promise à l'Afrique. Francophone, Angélique Kidjo s'est liée d'amitié avec des stars du rock ou du jazz, comme le guitariste Carlos Santana, le compositeur, pianiste et chef d'orchestre Quincy Jones, les chanteurs Peter Gabriel et Ziggy Marley, le saxophoniste Branford Marsalis, la chanteuse Joss Stone ou le chanteur pop californien Josh Groban... Certains d'entre eux ont participé à l'album Djinn, Djinn (1 CD EMI), paru en 2007, lauréat d'un prestigieux Grammy Award américain en 2008. Quincy Jones lui envoya derechef un gros bouquet de roses blanches.

VM: Alors, vous avez volé le bassiste de Youssou N'Dour ?

AK: Habib Faye ? Mais non, il est venu de son plein gré ! Pour rire, un jour, Peter Gabriel m'avait présentée sur scène en disant : "Attention, elle mange les hommes au petit-déjeuner" ! Mais non, mais non ! Habib Faye avait besoin d'une parenthèse, d'air. Dans mon groupe, il est servi, il y a un Brésilien de New York, un Africain de Guinée-Bissau, un Américain originaire du Surinam...

VM: Peter Gabriel a dit de vous aussi : "Elle donne de la vie à tout ce qu'elle touche." Et Carlos Santana : "La voix de Kidjo me réveille, c'est mieux que toutes les drogues que j'ai prises." D'où vous viennent tous ces admirateurs ?

AK: Je les ai rencontrés au fil des concerts, ou du hasard, et puis ils ont compris ma démarche. Je suis partie aux Etats-Unis en 1997, parce que je commençais une trilogie sur l'esclavage (un album américain, un autre brésilien, un troisième caribéen). J'ai découvert l'existence de l'esclavage à l'âge de 9 ans, en voyant la pochette d'Electric Ladyland, de Jimi Hendrix : je regardais cette photographie d'un Noir qui n'était pas africain et, dans mon esprit d'enfant, c'était insensé. Mes parents m'ont expliqué ce qui était resté un sujet tabou au Bénin. Je suis née à Ouidah, l'une des capitales de la traite. J'ai voulu savoir comment mes pairs afro-américains vivaient ce chapitre de notre histoire. J'ai rencontré James Brown, Cassandra Wilson, Branford Marsalis, Alicia Keys, qui sont devenus mes amis, Erikah Badu, etc. Tant que la question de l'esclavage ne sera pas réglée, beaucoup de formes d'oppression et de néo-esclavagisme perdureront - les bonnes philippines enfermées en Arabie saoudite, les sans-papiers, les sans-droits, les clandestins qui viennent d'Afrique vers l'Europe sur les bateaux...

VM: Vous collaborez avec Bono, mais aussi avec Peter Gabriel, dont la fondation, Witness, lutte contre les atteintes aux droits de l'homme. En 2007, vous avez créé votre fondation, Batonga, pour donner aux jeunes filles africaines une éducation secondaire...

AK: Si la Kényane Wangari Maathaï a eu le prix Nobel de la paix, c'est qu'elle avait fait des études aux Etats-Unis, puis qu'elle était rentrée au pays et avait pu immédiatement agir grâce à son niveau d'éducation. Nous travaillons avec des ONG qui veillent au primaire. Nous voulons prendre en charge les adolescentes. Ma tournée avec Josh Groban m'a permis de récolter 43 000 dollars chez les grobanites.

VM: Les grobanites ?

AK: Oui, les fans de Groban, qui est une immense vedette aux Etats-Unis. Il y en a partout, en France aussi. Ils ont aussi une fondation, Grobanites for Africa. Josh Groban a enregistré avec des Sud-Africains, les Ladysmith Black Mambazo et le trompettiste Nous nous étions croisés à Oslo en 2002, lors du concert de la remise du prix Nobel de la paix à Hugh Masekela.Jimmy Carter. Il m'a appelée en 2007 pour que je l'accompagne dans sa tournée américaine.

VM: Faites-vous beaucoup de concerts géants et caritatifs ?

AK: Oui, c'est important. J'ai rencontré Ziggy Marley en 2005 à Addis-Abeba pour l'hommage à son père. Quincy Jones, c'était au concert organisé au Waldorf Astoria par les rencontres de Davos, qui s'étaient délocalisées à New York après les attentats du 11-Septembre. Alicia Keys au We Are The Future au Circus Maximus de Rome, devant 350 000 personnes. Branford Marsalis, lui, était à Paris à un concert des Touré Kunda dans les années 1990. Je trouvais tellement insensé qu'un Américain puisse aller écouter de la musique africaine...
VM: Vous avez aussi gagné en 2008 un trophée de la National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), toute-puissante organisation afro-américaine fondée en 1909. Est-ce une première ?

AK: Ah, oui, le jour de la remise des prix, retransmise sur Fox TV, ils étaient tous là, Aretha Franklin, Denzel Washington, Ruby Dee... J'ai chanté en languefon. C'était la première participation africaine à ces trophées.
VM: A Cotonou, votre maison est devenue une attraction touristique...

AK: Ça recommence ! Je n'ai pas de maison à Cotonou ! Quelqu'un a inventé qu'une horreur en béton qui trône au bord d'une route était la maison d'Angélique ! Maintenant, c'est devenu un point de repère : prendre la troisième à gauche après la maison d'Angélique, etc. Les taxis font le détour pour les touristes.Les Béninois ont envie que je construise au pays, où vit ma famille. Je le ferai, mais pas une maison, des studios pour les artistes, oui. Et pas en béton gris.

Angélique Kidjo en concert : festival les Nuits du Sud, à Vence, place du Grand-Jardin, le 25 juillet (tél. : 04-93-58-40-17), 18,50 €, sur Internet : ; festival les Nuits de Fourvière, à Lyon, Grand Théâtre, le 29, avec Asa et Rokia Traoré (tél. : 04-72-32-00-00), 28 €, sur Internet :