A blog about arts and societies around the world

Tag: Africa

Terakaft rocks la fête de la music

Tuareg rockers Terakaft have been touring Europe for the past couple of months. They played in Paris at the much-hyped Fête de la Musique on 21 June. Imagine a story that began a few centuries ago. Imagine a time when Timbuktu was so busy that it would make New York City blush. Imagine an age… Read More ›

Rising from Ashes: a story of reconciliation in Rwanda

Rising from Ashes is a documentary about a team of cyclists in post genocide Rwanda. It’s narrated by UNESCO goodwill ambassador Forrest Whitaker. Rwanda and cycling? It’s certainly not the most striking combination that can be thought of. Rwanda sadly made the headlines with the genocide that took place in 1994. However cycling has been… Read More ›

What next for Mali?

It’s been three weeks since the beginning of French intervention in Mali. The largest northern towns have now been seized by the French Malian coalition. Today, a few questions emerge as to what happens next. In January 2012, the National Movement of Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an independence Touareg movement, launched an attack against the… Read More ›

Pédro Kouyaté, a cross cultural griot

I’ve recently had a chat with Pedro Kouyaté, a passionate and nonconformist Malian musician living in Paris. His third album, Live, has recently hit the shelves. Pedro Kouyaté is not a typical griot artist. In West Africa, griots are the guardians of oral tradition. They can be historians, storytellers or musicians. Pedro was born of… Read More ›

Interview with Vieux Farka Touré & Idan Raichel

Vieux Farka Touré and Idan Raichel, the Touré-Raichel Collective, launched the 2012 edition of the Jazz N Klezmer festival. I spoke with these two wandering musicians after the show. Music has no frontiers. For millennia, musicians have traveled through mountains, deserts and oceans, bringing along their instruments, melodies and influences. They have met other musicians and… Read More ›

Terakaft: Kel Tamasheq

The Terakaft caravan is unstoppable. A year has passed since the release of Aratan N Azawad, and the Touareg band is back with a fourth album, Kel Tamasheq. Get ready for some rock n roll! Recently I’ve been rather slow at listening to new music, and even slower at writing about it. A perfect example,… Read More ›

Aziza Brahim: The voice of the Sahrawis

Sahrawi singer Aziza Brahim’s debut album Mabruk is out on Reaktion. It’s deep, sincere and militant. Old clichés describing the Sahara as a vast lifeless zone have long gone. The success of the likes of Tinariwen has proved that the region is busy cultural center. Sahrawi is the name of the population living in the… Read More ›

Fatoumata Diawara: Simply Fatou

African music fans see her as the next pop star to be. Wherever she goes Fatoumata Diawara makes the headlines. With the recent release of her debut album Fatou, she’s brought a little bit of her native region of Wassoulou in Mali to the world of folk music. She’s currently touring Europe and here are… Read More ›

Amadou Diagne and the sounds of Morocco

The World Music Network camp is never short of inspiration when it comes to discovering new music. Among their latest releases, the Rough Guide to series explores the sound of Morocco while the Senegalese virtuoso Amadou Diagne makes his debut. The Rough Guide to the music of Morocco is a solid snapshot of the four corners of… Read More ›

Interview with Femi Kuti: Music and Politics

Femi Kuti needs no introduction. Son of the legendary Fela Kuti, he has released more than a dozen albums, spanning over two decades. Like his father, he cannot dissociate music from the message it conveys. He recently performed in Paris, in the middle of the afternoon. I met him after the show. He gave his… Read More ›