“The late, great Charlie Gillett had a passion for music”, Mark Coles, BBC World Service, June 2010.
I Speak Fula strips away some of the ponderousness that flawed the otherwise delightful debut album from this most explosive live band and reveals far more of Bassekou as a result
When you’re an international superstar, I suppose there’s got to be a little give and take here and there to keep everyone happy; but has N’Dour got it right with his new album?
“I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks,” I was told be my partner in the queue to get in. And I’m not surprised as when are you going to see Salif Keita and Tony Allen on the same night in Dorset?
Apparently mud has different grades and it has gone from slurry to liquid on the site but we should be grateful — the Reading site would have been submerged. In these rather beautiful surroundings, WOMAD has begun with the best line-up in years to make up for the conditions underfoot
Dee Dee has just released a wonderful album recorded in her spiritual homeland of Mali. Of course she was physically born in Memphis, TN but she explains on the DVD that as soon as she saw the bright Malian red earth, she felt that she had arrived home
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
Bassekou Kouyaté is better known as the ngoni player on seminal recordings by Toumani Diabaté and Ali Farka Touré. Segu Blue is his assured, elegant and long overdue debut
A few years ago a group of hoteliers got together in the pleasant but unremarkable stopover of Segou along the banks of the Niger river to work out how to get people to stay for a while in their town. Thus the Festival sur le Niger was born and this year it burst its banks
Quite possibly the most difficult festival to get to on earth, certainly the most fun, The Festival in the Desert is held at Essakane every January. Head for Timbuktu and when you have reached the middle of nowhere, keep going for a few more hours of treacherous driving up and down sand dunes and you have the festival that makes Glastonbury seem about as adventurous as a trip to the local garden centre