tue 27/02/2024

African music

New Regency Orchestra, Colour Factory review - sizzling Afro-Cuban big band

Four trombones, four trumpets and five saxophones, six percussionists – this Afro-Cuban inspired band packs an irresistible punch and it’s loud!  This is a big band sound that revives the glory days of Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie, a 1940s...

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The Meaning of Zong, Barbican review - didactic tale based on the 1781 massacre of 132 slaves

There’s a moment in the opening stretch of Giles Terera’s The Meaning of Zong where you think the former Hamilton star has written a piece about slavery that’s in much the same idiom as the hit musical. Music will indeed be a strong presence in...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 75: The Beach Boys, The Residents, Danny Goffey, Jean-Michel Jarre, black metal and Sixties psych

Welcome to the first theartsdesk on Vinyl of 2023 and it’s another whopper, over 8000 words and a range of musical styles that defies genre or categorization, from the most cutting edge sounds to boxsets of golden vintage pop. Dive in!VINYL OF THE...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 74: The Muppets, The Beatles, Decius, Black Lab, Black Sabbath, Tinariwen and more

Welcome to the final theartsdesk on Vinyl of 2022 which is topped off by two Vinyl of the Months, one there for seasonal jollies and the other for musical adventurousness. As ever, the rest runs the gamut from reissues of albums from decades ago to...

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Trans Musicales Festival 2022 review - vibrant eclecticism rules in Rennes

It’s Friday night and I’ve finally arrived at 43-year-old French music festival institution Trans Musicales. Due to some dreadful nonsense, it’s taken a 12-hour train journey, two baguettes, one short Stephen King novel, six large beers, a tumbler...

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Mandela, Young Vic review - baffling bio-musical

As bio-musicals continue to have their heyday, it makes sense for the Young Vic to throw its hat in the ring and champion a work about the hugely influential Nelson Mandela. But this new musical about the South African anti-apartheid activist and...

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Justin Adams & Mohamed Errebbaa, The Jam Jar, Bristol review - the African roots of rock'n'roll

Justin Adams has been exploring music that produces trance or near-trance states for a number of years. Along with being Robert Plant’s lead guitarist for a long while, he has followed his own path, seeking out what he had dubbed the secret heart of...

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review - expanded Afro-dreams survive a star's death

Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa dies off-screen of an undisclosed disease, suffering “in silence” notes sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), actor and role as one at the end. Lost after one, uniquely iconic full-length film, recasting and digital resurrection...

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Oslo World review - a dizzying selection of high-tech, grassroots global brilliance

The Oslo World organisers are at pains to point out that, despite the name, they are not a “world music” festival. And with good reason, really. There may have been a few familiar WOMAD veterans headlining over the week-long event – Senegal’s...

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Album: Xhosa Cole - Ibeji

“For life to exist, we need rhythm” announces Ian Parmel on the opening track of rising UK jazz saxophonist Xhosa Cole’s sophomore album. This is a view that Xhosa has taken to heart – for while his debut album was awash with echoes of John Coltrane...

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Abel Selaocoe, Bouffes du Nord, Paris review - awakening the ancestors

A tall African man stands alone in a pool of light. He has a cello and an immensely versatile voice. In a matter seconds, he holds the audience enchanted. He inhabits the stage as if it were by a campfire in the bush.The Bouffes du Nord, the Paris...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Abel Selaocoe

South-African cellist Abel Selaocoe is about to begin his third major concert in London in under a year. As the support artist for kora player Ballake Sissoko and cellist Vincent Segal at the Roundhouse in January, he received a lengthy ovation for...

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