Music
Connected: a new kind of Utopia
Edition 60: Autumn 2012
Baaba Maal’s summer festival at the Southbank Centre in London was a triumph, says Emma Gregg.
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The barefoot diva takes a bow
Edition 57: Winter 2011/12
Cape Verde’s veteran songstress, Cesária Évora, recently announced her retirement at the age of 70. Emma Gregg reflects on a remarkable career.
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Sweet fusion
Edition 54: Spring 2001
AfroCubism, the crack team of Malian and Cuban musicians who brought the house down at the 2010 London Jazz Festival, will be back in London this summer. Don’t miss them, says Emma Gregg.
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Spirit of independence

Edition 52: Autumn 2010

To celebrate the musical energy of post-colonial Africa, an independent French label has released a caseful of sparklers. Emma Gregg cracks it open.

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Musical journeys: Cape Verde

Edition 47: Summer 2009

Emma Gregg explores the traditions of a nation that should appear on every music-loving traveller’s wish-list.

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The songbird returns

Edition 46: Spring 2009

Mali’s top female vocalist, Oumou Sangare, is back with a glorious new album, says Emma Gregg.

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Memories of Mama Africa

Edition 45: Winter 2008/9

In November, African music fans mourned the loss of Miriam Makeba – easily the most influential female singer Africa has ever produced.

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The 10 best albums of 2008

Edition 45: Winter 2008/9

It’s been a great year for African music in the UK, with the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards honouring a host of the continent’s rising stars and Damon Albarn’s Africa Express gathering steam in Liverpool and London. Here Emma Gregg selects the pick of the year’s most enjoyable new releases.

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Voice of a rebel

Edition 44: Autumn 2008

It takes strength to speak out in present-day Zimbabwe, but Chiwoniso Maraire – whose messages deal with social responsibility and awareness – refuses to hold back, says Emma Gregg.

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Nomads at the crossroads

Edition 43: Summer 2008

Standing up for inter-ethnic harmony in Africa, Etran Finatawa present a compelling message to the continent, says Emma Gregg.

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Island blues with a hint of a smile
Edition 42: Spring 2008
In Cape Verde, where traditional music is gloriously melancholic, a new generation of young female singers is blowing away the cobwebs, says Emma Gregg
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21st century griot
Edition 40: Autumn 2007
Habib Koité’s first studio album in six years is a delight, says Emma Gregg.
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The Lion keeps on roaring
Edition 39: Summer 2007
African jazz veteran Manu Dibango has been making music for half a century, and his sound is as confident as ever, says Emma Gregg.
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Desert heroes

Edition 38: Spring 2007

Tinariwen are well on the way to international success, says Emma Gregg. But will they stay true to their freedom-fighting ideals?

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10 best albums of 2006

Edition 37: Winter 2006/7

The loss of Ali Farka Touré, one of the continent’s most inspirational creative forces, made 2006 a sad year for African music fans. But this was also a year which brought us a feast of live performances – among others, Souad Massi, Toumani Diabaté, Salif Keita and the electric Malian duo Amadou et Mariam were all on tour – and a fine crop of new releases. Here we single out our top ten.

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A taste of Bamako
Edition 35: Summer 2006
Toumani Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra, UK tour, May 2006
Decked out like a dressed-up Dogon village, Le Hogon is one of Bamako’s swishest clubs. In a city that’s bursting at the seams with live music venues, some of which offer little more a couple of crackly speakers on a concrete platform, it draws a discerning crowd.
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Soul rebels
Edition 34: Spring 2006
Amadou and Mariam, Emmanuel Jal and Souad Massi, UK tour, February 2006
Every concert-going African music fan knows that if you turn up early, you’ll have the venue almost to yourself. Some people may saunter in during the first act, but most make a point of propping up the bar until moments before the headliners hit the stage. The African Soul Rebels tour was different. Here were three acts, each dynamic enough to hold our attention from the first note.
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Return of the king
Edition 33: Winter 2005/6
Salif Keita’s last album, Moffou, marked a dazzling return to form. His latest, M’Bemba, recorded in his own custom-built studio in Bamako, is even more bewitching, says Emma Gregg.
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New Releases - Autumn 2005
Edition 32: Autumn 2005
Check out some of the great new releases on offer for Christmas.......
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The difference a day makes
Edition 32: Autumn 2005
Live 8 and Africa Calling, July 2005
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Heavenly harmonies
Ladysmith Black Mambazo UK tour, Winter 2004
Ladysmith Black Mambazo are no longer just the musical messengers of a downtrodden people. They’re a commercial powerhouse ‐ they’ve sold over 1.3 million albums in the UK alone, and are officially the most successful African act of all time.
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New Releases: Spring 2005
New African Music Releases, reviewed by Emma Gregg. Including Mbilia Bel, Manu Dibango, Rachid Taha and Issa Bagayogo...
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