Africa/Middle East: Features
Wednesday 14 July 2010Kora, Cello, Chamber Music - Vincent Segal
Late at night in Salif Keita’s studio in Bamako a cellist and a kora player recorded their jams. Vincent Segal (cellist) tells us what lay behind his collaboration with Ballaké Sissoko
Thursday 18 June 2009Joachim Kuhn/Majid Bekkas/Ramon Lopez - Out of the Desert
Veteran German pianist Joachim Kühn is not the first free-jazz artist to look to North Africa for inspiration — sax legend Archie Shepp recorded with Algerian and Tuareg musicians at the Pan African Festival — but to find such an electric collaboration between two such distinct musical worlds is exciting
Wednesday 3 June 2009Is Northern Mali Still Safe to Visit?
The tragic loss of Edwin Dyer’s life has shone a wholly unwanted light on the northern, desert region of Mali. It’s an area known to music fans for great bands like Tinariwen and amazing festivals like the Festival au Desert. We asked Tinariwen’s manager and regular visitor to the region to respond to the dreadful news of British tourist Edwin Dyer’s execution
Tuesday 26 May 2009Comfusoes - from Angola to Brasil with Producer Mauricio Pacheco
Mauricio Pacheco’s passion for Angolan music has flowered into a wonderful album of reinterpretations of classic Angolan tunes by the cutting edge of Brazil’s underground scene
Monday 18 May 2009Khaled: Rebel of Raï - The Early Years
dj Aicha tells us about her passion for the music of Khaled and how it literally turned her world around. A quarter of a century later and she has just compiled a double CD of Khaled’s early years…
Wednesday 17 September 2008Sibot & Spoek Are Playdoe - Afrobotic
Taking that electro, hip-hop B-more thing a stage further, welcome to the Afrobotic.
Thursday 27 September 2007Habib Koite - The Greatest Malian Musician You Don't Know
Go anywhere in Mali and people will fall over themselves to tell you how great Habib Koite is. Whether on guitar, flute, vocals or one of the seemingly hundreds of other instruments he plays, he is a musician to the core. He has the charisma to match so why is it so few people outside Mali know his name?
Wednesday 16 May 2007Rachid Taha - Street Fighting Man
On stage he’s a wild torrent of punk energy channelled into an eclectic musical output. In person, he locks eyes with you and declares in his accented English, “you are my brother.” Rachid Taha is a self-confessed hippy punk rocker with a big heart
Tuesday 1 May 2007United People of Zion - The Middle East Beats Process
Israel’s premiere soul collective are representing soulful music, regardless of genre
Saturday 10 March 2007Bassekou Kouyate - Blue Like a River to a Desert
The ngoni, the small plucked lute said to be a forerunner of the banjo is most often found taking a support rôle to the guitar or kora. But it wasn’t always thus, and the world’s leading exponent has just released a new album that aims to bring the instrument — and the Bamana tradition from which it hails — firmly back centre stage
Friday 23 February 2007Is it Time to Change the Record? Senegal: Modern Rhymes in Election Times
It’s widely held that hip hop artists helped tip the last government out of power, everyone knows that music matters in Senegal. This time round the electoral choices seem less clear cut but that hasn’t stopped the music
Sunday 18 February 2007Tinariwen - The Camel's Back
Tinariwen are one of only two bands to have their own Minister of Propaganda. Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav is now better known for his MTV show where very driven young ladies battle to win his attention. In contrast, the rather more earnest Issa Dicko is
Friday 16 February 2007Vieux Farka Toure - Desert Blues 2.0
With a fresh take on his father’s trademark sound, Vieux is almost guaranteed to attract international audiences — even if only a handful of his compatriots have heard him play. We went to the Sahara to talk to him
Thursday 8 February 2007Malick Sidibe - Dusty Town Portraiture
Malick has had three books of his photos published, exhibitions across Europe and the States and is regularly cited as one of Africa’s most important photographers. I dropped in on his Bamako studio to find a gentle man fighting the good fight against the airborne red earth of Africa and dodgy chemicals
Wednesday 13 December 2006Ali Farka Toure - Final Grammy?
Ali Farka Touré’s album Savane has been nominated for a GRAMMY, for the fourth time in his career. The 49th GRAMMY Awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday 11th February 2007 at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, and will be broadcast worldwide
Saturday 2 December 2006Ba Cissoko - Visitors from Electric Griot Land
Catching Ba Cissoko’s band on stage is like watching African lightning bottled in front of you. The aching beauty of the acoustic kora, the thrill of an electrified kora and the cross currents of tradition and modernity in west African music meeting in one band. The whole — as dazzling as it is — feels unstable, powerful, beguiling.
Monday 6 November 2006Idan Raichel Project - Music from the Many Tribes of Judah
The Idan Raichel Project is unlike anything you have ever heard before and in some ways like everything you have ever heard before — but at once. It is the story of the Diaspora, of the modern day and of the ages in sound
Monday 23 October 2006Lebo Masotha - Dies in Car Crash
Kwaito star Lebo Masotha, just 29, has died in a tragic car crash according to her manager. The singer died at the scene of the accident while the driver escaped serious harm
Tuesday 17 October 2006Akli D - Kabyle Mental - Ma Yela
A Berber born in Algeria, the songwriter and performer, Akli D compares the world to an ocean of riches of which so far he has only had two cups. From street performer to playing at the London Jazz Festival, we join him on his journey
Tuesday 15 August 2006Fela: The Man, The Music, The Message
February 2, 1988 was like any other day and my uncle Tony’s pace told me to keep up with him as we walked towards Ikeja bus stop. I didn’t realise I’d stopped in my tracks to listen to the sound booming from a music shop. I looked around at the frenzied crowd scurrying past me in the typical Lagos craze and felt their pulse in the beat
Friday 16 June 2006Yasmin Levy - Sing Like a Butterfly
Ladino — the language of the Sephardic Jews that originated in Spain prior to their expulsion in 1492 — is in danger of dying out. But there’s one young, passionate Israeli singer steeped in the tradition of European Jewish culture who is determined to reverse the decline, and her name is Yasmin Levy
Friday 26 May 2006Tragedy Hits Tanzanian Hip Hop Group X Plastaz
X Plastaz recently announced the tragic news that one of the group Nelson Rutter aka Faza Nelly was killed in March. It’s been a time of great sadness and uncertainty for the group and their families
Monday 15 May 2006Natacha Atlas - Mish-ion Impossible
Sometimes the best things in life really are free (or at least cheaper than you were expecting) as Conon Murphy finds out when he hooked up with Natacha Atlas, riding high on her best-received album in years
Sunday 30 April 2006The Evolution of East African Music
Now known as African urban music; kapuka, genge, bongo flava are some of the sub genres which have defined the new wave and interest in East African music
Sunday 30 April 2006Babak Khiavchi - The Tricky Business of Underground Persian Music
Babak Khiavchi is one of the heroes of underground music from Iran. He talks about how he has managed to continue the job from Iran to Canada and what he has in mind for the future…
Sunday 30 April 2006Aïwa - The Fire in our Eyes
“We aren’t politicians, but if we can show another aspect of Iraqi culture then that’s good,” says Naufalle, the sharp, lean, Beanie hatted rapper of thrilling Franco-Arabic breakbeat combo Aïwa…
Tuesday 4 April 2006Where is Toumani Diabate? - Toumani has arrived!
“Where is Toumani?” vocalist Soumaila Kanoute sings every Friday night in a small bar in Bamako called Hogon. “Toumani has arrived!” he announces as an unassuming man, carrying a four-foot high 21-stringed harp-lute known as a kora, takes centre stage. And every Friday night the expectant crowd erupts in song and dance to the African star’s latest project: Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra.
Thursday 9 March 2006Ali Farka Toure - Commander of the National Order of Mali
Ali Farka Toure was awarded Mali’s highest civil honor on Wednesday as a dense storm of sand and dust delayed his funeral in Niafunke, his Saharan hometown.
Wednesday 8 March 2006Maurice el Medioni - Bringing It All Back Home
The events of 1492 are surprisingly present for Maurice el Médioni. Up until his mother’s generation, the family still spoke the languages of El Andalus (Arabic and Spanish) in their home in Algeria. Some part of Maurice el Médioni was left behind in Spain when the Jews were expelled, just as 460 years later, he would leave something of himself behind in Algeria.
Tuesday 7 March 2006Ali Farka Toure - Mr. Mayor, the Legend
On March 6, 2006, Ali Farka Toure died after a long illness, just weeks after the one of the albums he excitedly told our writer about won a Grammy, “This is the best album… .the best. I swear!” We republish this piece in his honour.
Tuesday 7 March 2006Ali Farka Toure - Farmer, Music Legend, Mayor 1939 - 2006
We are deeply saddened to announce that the legendary Malian musician Ali Farka Touré passed away in his sleep at home in Mali on March 6th 2006, he had bone cancer.
Friday 3 March 2006Sara Tavares - From Saudade to Balancê
Displaced, abandoned and yet somehow triumphant, the Sara Tavares story is as extraordinary as her music. Join her on the journey from saudade to balancê
Friday 24 February 2006Stella Chiweshe - Mystic Sounds from Inner Space
If colonialism is on its last gasp, in Rhodesia, it seems capable of holding its breath for a very long time. It’s the early 1950s and an eight-year-old girl can hear drums, loud powerful drums, that rock her world and accompany the mbira she is listening to. Only, no one else can hear the drums.
Wednesday 22 February 2006Persian Electronica - Musical Subversion and Children's TV
In which we examine the strange case of Western electronica and psychedelia being beamed out into every home across Iran at its most anti-Western extreme and how nobody, well almost nobody, seemed to notice
Sunday 29 January 2006Beginner's Guide to Touré Kunda - A Band of Brothers
The story of the brothers Touré from Senegal reads almost like a fable. It is a story that all young African musicians dream will be their fate. From humble beginnings, to fame and fortune at home and abroad. Introducing Europeans to African music while appealing to the old as much as the young
Thursday 29 December 2005A Lifetime Achievement Award for Bi Kidude
Bi Kidude receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s World Music Expo (WOMEX)
Monday 26 December 2005The Young Iran - Rock, Pop and Girl Bands Go East
Khaled Sanadzadeh was a rock drummer in Iran. He lifts the lid on a very different Iran to the one imagined by most outsiders. Welcome to the world of girl bands, Persian rock and MP3s…
Thursday 22 December 2005Editor's End of the Year Round Up
Damian Rafferty takes a look back on some of the seminal releases and trends that shaped this turbulent year.
Sunday 27 November 2005Beats Without Boundaries
“This column is dedicated to all the wonderful international tunes that most people either don’t know about, or can’t be arsed to cover. I hope it inspires you all to start digging a little deeper.” Phil Meadley kicks off a regular feature dedicated to global beats
Monday 24 October 2005Africa's Greatest Ever Musician Revealed
We asked you who is/was Africa’s greatest internationally known musician? Over 150 of you responded and here are the results…
Friday 21 October 2005Mahmoud Ahmed - Addis Swinger
The name on everybody’s lips at Womad last summer was Ethiopian roots legend Mahmoud Ahmed. Katharina Lobeck catches up with the king of Abyssinian soul
Friday 7 October 2005Traditional and World Music MP3 Blogs
While debate rages about the ethics of downloading mp3s, fans of traditional sounds have been putting up songs for free download. Are they robbbing the artists of their livelihood or providing a marketing lifeline for music that would otherwise be overlooked? Richard Silverstein argues the case for the bloggers…
Monday 29 August 2005Akim el Sikameya - Maghreb Mixology
Akim el Sikameya charts the same exciting waters as Radio Tarifa and all those interested in the musical links that crisscross the Mediterranean and wind back and forth from the orient to the occident. He does so, however, from the south looking north
Monday 29 August 2005Meet 'Ngofariman' the Nasty Chimpanzee among Mali's Puppets and Masks
“When they hear the drums they come running… when they saw the Bozo in the boat and the beautiful fish in the water, a great howl escaped from the thousand people on the beach. It was chilling.”
Friday 19 August 2005Win Four Great Baaba Maal Albums - Competition Closed
After a truly overwhelming response, the competition has closed and the winner has been notified. Thanks for entering the competition and don’t forget there are other great competitions to enter!
Tuesday 9 August 2005Lura - Body and Soul
Before her sassy performance at this year’s WOMAD in Reading, the glamorous singer Lura shared stories of her unique Cape Verdean ancestry with a slice of cake to celebrate her thirtieth birthday. Beautiful, intelligent and absurdly talented, there is a huge buzz about this young singer who has been likened to the great Cesaria Evora
Thursday 28 July 2005Youssou N'Dour - On Live8, WOMAD and The Super Etoiles
Youssou is a true giant of African music and like Baaba Maal, manages to balance his international profile with a passionate engagement with the music, culture and issues of his native Senegal
Tuesday 19 July 2005Shiyani Ngcobo - The Maskanda Maestro
Despite his recent exposure, Shiyani is not a new name on the South African music scene, with a career spanning more than thirty years, as well as being a dedicated teacher, he has earned a reputation within South Africa as one of the maskanda greats.
Monday 25 April 2005Neba Solo - The Malian Breaking the Rules
The Malian balafonist Neba Solo is wowing audiences all over the world -- not only with his masterful performances, but also with the sound he is creating. Lydia Martin saw him play at the Segou Festival sur le Niger in Mali in February 2005 and tracked him down...
Tuesday 12 April 2005On the Fly Guide to Oumou Sangare
Oumou Sangaré is probably the most loved female artist in Mali at the moment -- and she is truly loved. Having caught her live in Segou, Mali, Lydia gives you the lowdown on Oumou
Monday 11 April 2005Ramata Diakité and Khaira Arby - More Malian Divas
Mali is a hot bed for musical talent and what's refreshing is that in Mali it seems to be Malian music that's top of the playlist -- J-Lo, Whitney or Jay Z just don't... do it. I heard lots of new sounds and rhythms while I was there, but it only seemed right to turn the spotlight on the female artists. There are others of course but these two lesser known Malian Divas -- Ramata Diakité and Khaira Arby -- seemed a good place to start
Saturday 5 March 2005N'faly Kouyate - Kora Grooves from the Afro Celtic Fringe
N'faly Kouyate represents a balance between tradition and innovation, combining his role as keeper of Guinea's Mandingue culture with a very modern outlook on life, a 'walking library' with a good stock of new books. He talked to Fly about what it is to be a griot and on some of his favourite collaborations.
Tuesday 1 March 2005Laye Sow - From Nomad to Womad and Back Again
“My role is to say what I think as a teacher, and that is the role of a musician in my culture. If you look at the music of Bob Marley, for example, you will find that his reggae is a direct descendent of a Senegalese style, but it is the message in the lyrics which makes Bob Marley a genius.”
Sunday 27 February 2005Baaba Maal - Voice of a Continent
Baaba Maal is Africa’s most important musician. He is unmatched in the most traditional or in the hippest of projects. He’s as highly regarded at home as he is abroad and he’s a tireless spokesperson for ordinary Africans. He gave Fly one of the few interviews he did during his recent visit to London
Wednesday 23 February 2005Ghanaian Food - Soul Food for the Highlife
Fly might be about music mostly but every now and then we like to consider our readers other needs. Amma reflects on Ghanaian food inside and outside Ghana
Monday 14 February 2005Africa 05's Leading Instigator - Augustus Casely-Hayford
Augustus Casely-Hayford, or just Gus to most people who know the urbane and influential leading light behind Africa 05, talks to Fly about turning round public perceptions of African arts.
Friday 7 January 2005Competition - Win Arabic Beat Box Set and Rough Guides T-Shirt!
Competition now closed. Winners will be announced on this page shortly and a new competition is being prepared.
Friday 7 January 2005Africa 2005 - A Year of Celebration
This year the world turns its attention to Africa and in return Africa will show the world its diversity and cultural wealth. Africa 2005 is a programme of events designed to tell the other side of the African story. Fly is proud to be a media sponsor.
Monday 3 January 2005Tsunami and Africa in 2005
Like everyone else, we at Fly have been deeply saddened by the terrible events that were set off by the tremors in the Indian Ocean. Asia has clearly taken the worst of the effects but we also spare a thought for those on the Eastern seaboard of Africa who have largely been forgotten.
Thursday 2 December 2004Dobet Gnahoré - New Star from Cote D'Ivoire
Ivorian, Dobet Gnahoré has produced one of the albums of the year, Ano Neke. We caught up with her in Paris just after she got back from Kenya and talked to the young singer about performance, politics and pan-Africanism.
Tuesday 9 November 2004Femi Kuti - The Son of a Lion
Femi aims both barrels at George Bush, his old record company, the press, the regime in Nigeria, radio, TV… At the same time, he has never been so musically satisfied and hopeful as his new base the Shrine takes off…
Tuesday 26 October 2004Fela Kuti - CD Box Set Winners Announced
Find out who won a copy of the double CD and DVD Fela box set being released on Wrasse Records and the two runners up who receive copies of Fela Kuti - The Underground Spiritual Game - Mixed by Chief Xcel...
Tuesday 26 October 2004Vusi Mahlasela - Afrofolkist
"I used to hear the guys singing acapella at my grandmother's shebeen (illegal 'booze shop') in her back yard and grew to love music from there. I met some real characters. I made my own guitar out of a paraffin tin and fishing lines"
Wednesday 13 October 2004Who's Who in Bongo Flava
Bongo Flava is the name for the music that has been coming out of the streets of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania since the early 1990s. Bongo Flava isn't one style: it has a mix of rap, hip hop, and R&B for starters but these labels don't do it justice. It's rap, hip hop and R&B Tanzanian style: a big melting pot of tastes, history, culture and identity.
Wednesday 6 October 2004Mory Kante - The Reluctant World Star
He claims that making one of the biggest hits of recent times, ‘Yéké Yéké’, credited with blowing open the ethnic dance fusion flood gates, was the kind of happy accident that only the major record labels could conspire to do. All that is in the past though as we catch up with Mory Kante, modern-day griot
Wednesday 15 September 2004African Underground Vol 1 - Hip Hop - Senegal
Five years ago, Ben Herson travelled to Senegal and was blown away by the skills of the local hip hop talent. He returned with his 'mobile guerrilla-style' production techniques and has just released a great album on his own label, Nomadic Wax. We have had words.
Wednesday 26 May 2004Angelique Kidjo - Oyaya! Routes Music
With the release of Oyaya!, Angélique has completed her trilogy of albums from the African diaspora with a great Latin album. We snatched an interview with the global music traveller herself.
Monday 10 May 2004Tete Alhinho: Voz of the People
‘I sing the nostalgia, the saudade, the sound of the islands, the hope of the rain, the love, the life, the happiness…’
Friday 3 October 2003Call for Writers on African and Middle Eastern Music & Culture
Do you have specialist knowledge about African and Middle Eastern music and culture gained at first hand?
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