The Worldmusic Blog (Seckou Kouyate)

Mid-March Round-up (15/3/12)

Tagged with: Glyn Phillips world music Andy Kershaw No Off Switch Rachel Harrington Knock Outs Julaba Kunda Sensational Space Shifters Dub Colossus Spiro Putumayo Bombino Roberto Fonseca Flavia Bittencourt Soundway Leilia Ceu Rough Guide Sefiroth Omi

"Best autobiography I've ever read. Bar none"

Just a few quick observations and round-ups of what's going for me recently.  

Just finished reading Andy Kershaw's autobiography "No Off Switch".  

I'll put this as simply as I can: Best Autobiography I've Ever Read.  Bar None.  Thoroughly recommend it.  Nuff Said.  

I'm looking to write a review of it when I get a moment or ten and I'll expand my thoughts in that, so watch this space . . . 

[* The FULL REVIEW of ANDY KERSHAW's "NO OFF SWITCH" can now be found here:]

Saw the American Country band Rachel Harrington and the Knock Outs a couple of nights ago (currently on tour round the UK) -

a fabulous all-girl outfit with great musicianship, harmonies and some classy pen(wo)manship from Harrington.  


(see Review here:

And a few weeks previously saw the brilliant Julaba Kunda featuring the Scottish fiddler Griselda Sanderson and the Gambian fiddler Juldeh Camara, alongside Senegal's Amadou Diagne.  

Catch 'em while you can - before Juldeh gets too tied up in Robert Plant's new band the Sensational Space Shifters this summer . . .

(Review of Julaba Kunda here:

On my car's CD player for the last few weeks:

"Dub Me Tender" - the remix versions of Dub Colossus's Award Winning album "Addis Through The Looking Glass."  

I still prefer the original, but the remixes are great music for chilling out to when driving.  

(For a review of the original click here:

Previous to that a sampler of tracks from Spiro's "Kaleidophonica" album, Putumayo's "Latin Beat" compilation and Bombino's "Agadez" were all getting me from A to B when driving.

However, I spend most of my time sitting at my computer and these are some of the albums, artists and tracks that have been on constant rotation on my iTunes...

Soundway's wonderful compilation "The Original Sound of Cumbia: The History of Colombian Cumbia & Porro As Told By The Phonograph 1948 - 79", a must for all you colombiphiliacs out there,

Galician female vocal outfit Leilía and their new album "Consentimento" (on the Spanish Fol label) - the ladies in the groovy hats below!

Brazil's Ceú and her new album "Caravana Sereia Bloom"

and the really most excellent compilation: "The Rough Guide To The Music Of New Orleans" from World Music Network.  

(You can read my review of that last one here:

Other interesting things to drop on my digital doormat have been:

some great old Afro Jazz from Nigeria's Monomono and Trinidad's Black Truth Rhythm Band, 

Rocky ratafolk from the EP Scecchendaun from Italy's Colletivo Mazzulata, 

American folky-pop from Girlyman,

and some tasty ska and reggae from the UKs Chain SkaBrassika (EP "South East Beats").

Also flying in have been the Rough Guides to Celtic Women and Psychedelic Africa* (just two of many World Music Network releases this year),

The Sefiroth Ensemble's new EP ('Arboles Lloran Para Lluvia')*,

BraAgas's new album "Fuerte" (including a couple of versions of the classic "Chaje Sukarije")

and the album "Siempre Pa'lante" from a feisty salsa combo from Denmark called Jorge Cordero and the Gran Daneses.

[* Reviews for these two albums here]:

I've also been enjoying some mad mashups and remixes from the likes of Cafe de Calaveras & Add On de Bass who take on Pastor Lopez's "Mentirosa" in a moombahton style, Birmingham's G-Corp and Nuff Wish's delightful mash-ups of Marley and Whitney, Bobby Blue, and Michael Jackson with Adele.  

And what about Rude Hi-Fi's Barriobeat Jungle Reggae remix of "Lascia Che Sia" featuring Amparo Sanchez?  Or his Dubwise DnB version of "Jungle Reggae Party" featuring Lucky Hernan?

Also liking the Capt Cumbia remix of Chaka Demus and Pliers's "Slim Thing" and an unknown remix of Amy Winehouse on "Sweet Guitar" featuring Italian reggae supremo Alborosie with shades of Dawn Penn.  Lush.  

And how can I leave out Capt Cumbia's "Under Mi Serbie (Under Mi Sensi -Soundclash Edit)" - a mad electro-balkanic-cumbia dancehall mashup featuring Mr Vegas vs Boban Markovic vs the Amsterdam Klezmer Band!  Excellent.

On the jazzy, bluesy side I've got to mention Cardiff's Ecklectic Mick who specialises mostly in electro-swing remixes - but here has taken a little detour.  Firstly mixing jazz with Indian music, notably his gentle mash-up of that old standard "Sweet Georgia Brown" - although you can also check out his softswing treatment of it too; and then a fabulous remix of Howlin' Wolf's "Spoonful" (mixing in "Rosie/Be My Woman" along the way).

However top of the mash-up list these past few weeks has been the ever-reliable Fissunix and his deliciously creamy mash of Alicia Keys and Chic in "Good Times Fallin".  Lushness personified.  

Worth checking out his full-on and imaginative Beatles mashups too: "Beautiful Prudence" (with Christina Aguilera), "End of the Walrus", "Owner of the USSR" and "Don't Let Me Down On The Dancefloor", as well as his Zeppelin mash-ups like "HitzBreaker" (Heartbreaker sounding like it's been re-recorded inside a beehive the size of a small city!  Intense).

Loving also Diabel Cissokho's "Allah Lako",

Escalandrum's latin jazz tango treatment of "Adios Nonino",

"Cheerleader" by Jamaica's Omi

and finally, the new afrocuban jazz album "Yo!" by Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca - this is fantastic and definitely getting an in-depth review very soon!  [Oh, and here it is!]:

All this and I've been working on some lyrics in English for Brazil's sublime songstress Flavia Bittencourt for her new album...

Busy boy indeed!

WorldBeatUK (16th Show) - Broadcast Notes (15/6/11)

Tagged with: WorldBeatUK Glyn Phillips Battlefield Band Rachel Harrington Tanja Tzarovska Perunika Trio Nisos Max Pashm Quiné Kerieva Krar Collective Samuel Yirga Krosscolor Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars Cumbancha Brassafrik Barriobeat Saa Andrew Dartington Home

WBUK16 (15/6/11) - SHOWNOTES

1 "Intro-Mat"by Matchatcha from the album "Nyekesse" (Melodie)

Hi there!  You're listening to WorldBeatUK on Rhubarb Radio - I'm Glyn Phillips and I've got two hours of great music lined up for you this evening -including: electroswing from Italy, acapella from Bulgaria, Greco-Turkish fusion from the Czech Republic and americana from, well, America!

There's also a Macedonian chanteuse who sings in English, a British gypsy who sings in Roma, a Portuguese percussionist steeped in Mozambican rhythms,  electrified Ethiopian harp, dancehall reggae from Sierra Leone via Canada, soukous from Sierra Leone via the USA and more latino-balkan fusions than you can shake a brass band at!

If that wasn't enough, I've some drum'n'brass afrofusion from Belgium, wonderful ethiojazz from Addis Abbaba, a focus on the music of South America's only English-speaking country Guyana (both jazz and reggae) and the UK's Ska Cubano and DJ Max Pashm jump aboard the Orient Express!

But before all that, welcome to the show and straight up I’m previewing a forthcoming new album from Scotland’s famous folkers - and torchholders for over four four decades for Caledonian Celtic music - The Battlefield Band.  

The Battlefielders have recently recruited a new member, multi-instrumentalist highlander, Ewen Henderson and is mostly, as you would expect, traditional Scottish folk music.  And very good it is too, although they also do an interesting reinterpretation of an Otis Redding Soul classic, “That’s How Strong My Love Is as well as tunes from Ireland and Brittany.  

The album, called “Line Up” is due to be released on July 25th this year and is on the Temple Records label  This is the opening track - a medley of three tunes: “Raigmore”, “Long Run” and “The Clansmen Mourning”:

2 “Raigmore / Long Run/ The Clansmen Mourning” by the Battlefield Band from album “Line Up”) -

The term ‘americana’ has gained a lot of credence recently as a catch-all for american folk music both modern and traditional.  And there’s nothing wrong with that; like terms such as ‘world music’ and ‘salsa’ and ‘jazz’, it’s a useful thumbnail label when approaching an unfamiliar and vast musical territory, or equally for beginning to market and promote complex musical and cultural developments to people who otherwise might run a mile.  

Oregon-raised Rachel Harrington’s music can be said to encompass many aspects of ‘americana’ - from traditional folk tunes brought over from Europe and American country laments, to gospel, bluegrass and modern acoustic tales. 

Rachel (who by the way has a loyal following over here in the UK due to her acclaimed live performances and is also a close friend of Lindisfarne’s Rod Clements) sings, plays guitar and also guitjo - yes, that’s right, a guitjo: a cross between a guitar and a banjo!  I actually own one - I can’t play it, but it makes me feel good just knowing I’ve got one!   

This is from her first album “City of Refuge” (Skinny Dennis Records) - a jaunty little tune to get you tapping your feet, called “Truman”.

3 “Truman” by Rachel Harrington from the album “City of Refuge” (Skinny Dennis Records)

Incidentally the album that the last tune was taken from - “City of Refuge” - has been described as “a homage to the people who have slipped through the cracks of modern music: dreamers, thieves, drunkards, sinners and good-old fashioned romantics”.  You can find out more about Rachel Harrington at her website:  

Rachel’s got a new album out at the moment called “Celilo Falls” (Skinny Dennis Records) and from that I’ve chosen a track called “House of Cards”:

4 “House of Cards” by Rachel Harrington (Celilo Falls)

Macedonian singer/songwriter, Tanja Tzarovska, released her latest album “No Record of Wrong” last month.  It’s sung entirely in English, has some covers of tunes by people like Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen, etc, but also has elements of East European music floating through it, like a scent caught on the wind.  This track is called simply “Home”.

5 “Home” by Tanja Tzarovska from the album “No Record of Wrong” (Amaris River/Cadiz Music)

To the east of of the mountainous state of Macedonia, lies Bulgaria and from there we come across a wonderful tradition of choral acapella groups - especially all-female ones.  Going back in the 80s and 90s Bulgarian and East European female groups were all the rage in world music circles (think Trio Bulgarka for instance), but you don’t hear them so often now, but here’s your chance to see what all the fuss was about.  

This is a young Bulgarian group called Perunika Trio.  Their name stems from the Slavic god of Thunder, Perun and his beautiful young wife Perunika, so beautiful that the Slavs named the Iris after her.  The Perunika Trio are well named - and that’s all I’m saying on that point.  

Musically, they perform perfect harmonies and hauntingly evocative pieces from the great slavic traditions of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Russia.  The girls are based in London now, but that doesn’t detract from the sonic pictures they create of the great plains, vast forests and mountain ranges of Eastern Europe.  

They are on extensive tour of the UK this Summer so look out for them - I shall be looking forward to hearing them at the HOME Festival at Dartington, Devon (Fri 24th and Sat 25th June).  This is from their album “Introducing… Perunika Trio” and it’s a track called “Rekoh Ti, Tsone”:

6 “Rekoh Ti, Tsone” by the Perunika Trio from the album “Introducing… Perunika Trio” (World Music Network)

And of course, south of Macedonia and Bulgaria lie Greece and Turkey and it’s from here and Asia Minor in general that the next band draw their inspiration.  Nisos are a relatively new band formed originally by clarinettist and composer Nikos Koulouris and percussionist and kaval player Tomas Rossi.  The name Nisos means 'island' in Greek and refers to the physical and cultural isolation of where the band currently resides in the Czech Republic, far away from their homelands.  

However, they carried their passion for the Greek and Byzantine music and culture of Asia Minor with them and have since added lyricist and  vocalist Sofia Prusali as well as members who play bouzouki, saz, ney, oud, bass, and Cretan Lyre and Cretan Lute.  Their professed aim is to speak to the heart by the means of music, regardless of the language.  You be the judge.  This track is called “Piji” from their album “Nisos”:

7 “Piji” by Nisos from the album "Nisos"

A final geographical link now in my Eurasian chain: the engine’s steaming, the luggage is firmly strapped onto the racks and the guard’s got his whistle to his lips!  All aboard!  This is the Night Train to Istambul!!

8 “Istambul (Not Constantinople) (Max Pashm remix) - Ska Cubano - “Ajiaco! the Remix Album”

Well, I enjoyed the ride anyway!  That was a 21st Century version of the 1930s classic “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”, here performed by Ska Cubano but given a remake-over by veteran British remixer Max Pashm, who I’m also looking forward to seeing at the Home Festival in Devon in a couple of weeks.

Now then, from Portugal, Joaquim Teles aka Quiné is a percussionist and composer.  This next track is from his 2008 debut solo album called “Da Côr Da Madeira” which loosely refers to ‘wood-coloured music’, in which Quiné uses the Timbila (a Mozambican xylophone) amongst other organic woody sounds to take us on a percussive fusion journey from Portugal to Mozambique.  Also on the album are the flautist Paulo Marinho and a quartet of backing vocals.  This is called “Maputos”

9 “Maputos” by Quiné from the album “Da Côr Da Madeira” (Quiné - 2008)

Don’t forget you’re tuned into Rhubarb Radio transmitting from theCustard Factory in Birmingham, England.  My name’s Glyn Phillips and you’re listening to WorldBeatUK a weekly journey around the globe in search of the best in world music and the sorts of sounds you wouldn’t normally come across on the radio.  Don’t forget to join me every Wednesday 7-9pm as I take you around the world in weighty grooves. 

Now, over the last couple of weeks I’ve mentioned the Celebrating Sanctuary Festival to be held in London on 19th June on the South Bank as part of Refugee Week, and I’ve ben playing music from some of the musicians taking part in that.   Well, to round off my focus on that I’ve got a couple of tracks lined up.  

First off is one of the new voices of the UK Roma scene, Kerieva who I understand is of mixed Irish Romany and Manouche gypsy descent.  You can find out more about her and the issues she’s passionate about as well as her music at these two sites: and  

Kerieva often sings in Romany and this one’s no exception.  It’s from her 2010 album “Stand Aside” on Rala Records and besides Kerieva on vocals, strings, guitar, tacaneo, palmas, harmonium, accordion and Irish harp, the album features Indo-jazzer Arun Ghosh on programming, keys, and clarinet, Rastko Rasic on drums and Dr Das on bass.  This is called “Ceraina” (Chera-INa)

(1)   10 “Ceraina” by Kerieva from the album “Stand Aside” (Rala Records CD001 June 2010)


(2)   11 “Gurugenya” by the Krar Collective from the album

And that last track was also by a group playing at the Celebrating Sanctuary Festival in London this weekend, the Krar Collective, originally from Ethiopia and now based in London.  The krar refers to the Ethiopian harp played there by Temesgen Taraken and with the traditional kebero drums played by Amare Mulugeta and vocals by Genet Asefa.  That track was called “Gurugenya”.

And from that funky and electrified, but still quite traditional Ethiopian performance to some right on the money Ethiopian jazz with a dub sensibility.  

This is the excellent young Ethiopian pianist Samuel Yirga, who’s part of the brilliant Dub Colossus who I’m very excited about indeed (and have been booked for this year’s Womad at Charlton Park).  Samuel’s due to release an album in his own name later on in the year called the Habasha Sessions, so here’s a little taster of how it might sound.  This track is called “Habasha Diaspora (Addis Piano Mix)” and I’m majorly loving it!  You’ve been told!

(3)   12 Habasha Diaspora (Addis Piano Mix) by Samuel Yirga


(4)   13 “Jazz” by Colgrain Whyte

And from one piece of great ethiopian jazziness to a slice of Guyanese jazz pan heaven.  That last track was by a steelpan jazzman by the name of Colgrain Whyte who hails from Guyana in South America.  

Now Guyana’s one of those countries that many people are not sure where exactly it is or really anything about it.  You could be mistaken for thinking it’s in the Caribbean, but it’s actually far away on the Northeastern coast of South America facing the North Atlantic and sandwiched between Venezuela, Brazil and the former Dutch colony of Suriname.  

But it seems to look towards the English-speaking Caribbean islands rather than it’s Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch-speaking neighbours for cultural influence.  And so soca and reggae are very much in evidence in this large English-speaking outpost as well as indo-guyanese chutney music.

The next track is by Eze Rockliffe also from Guyana and it’s a lovely piece of laid-back reggae from a singer who’s been gently rocking it since the 1970s at least.  This track is called “Suki Bajendo”.

(5)   14 “Suki Bajendo” by Eze Rockliffe


(6)   15 “No Love” by Tennicia 

And at the other end of the age range to Eze Rockcliffe, in the last of my trio of Guyanese musical treats, that was the lovely young singer, Tennicia and a reggae number called “No Love”.  

All three of these artists, jazzpan player, Colgrain Whyte, and singers Eze Rockliffe and Tennicia are on Guyana’s own Krosscolor label and agency and you can find out a bit more about them and other artists at

Ok, ready for some soukous?  But this time from Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars.  They’re in the UK at the moment and you can catch them on Sunday 19th June at the Africa Oye Festival in Liverpool and also performing in Hull as part of the Refugee Week celebrations there on Wednesday the 22nd June - that’s if you’re not listening to me on my next show!

This is from their last album “Rise and Shine” on the Cumbancha label and a track called “Tamagbondirsu” - get yer dancing shoes on kids!  It’s time to soukous!!

(7)   16 “Tamagbondorsu” by Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars from the album “Rise and Shine” (Cumbancha)


(8)   17 “Djamaa” by Brassafrik from the album “Brassafrik” (A-Shams)

That was a track called “Djamaa” by the Belgian-based afro-fusion band Brassafrik from their eponymous album on the A-Shams label.  With a four-piece African percussion core led by the tama and djembe player Babs Jobo and trombonist Stefaan Blancke heading the 6 piece brass section they create explosive skin and horn dance music.  

They’ll also be in the UK this summer - certainly at the Durham International Brass Festival (4-8th July) and you can find out more about them at

Returning to Sierra Leone for a moment here’s another African refugee making music in a foreign land.  This time it’s Saa Andrew Gbongbor a young singer who fled Sierra Leone, spent time in a refugee camp in Gambia and eventually being rehoused in a small Canadian town in New Brunswick.  

Saa like so many people around the world has been very influenced by the music of Jamaica and prefers to play a form of dancehall reggae.  This is his tune “Butunneh Banda” from the album of the same name.

(9)   18 “Butunneh Banda” by Saa Andrew from the album  (Butunneh Banda)

OK we’re heading into the last furlong of the show, so let’s get the party started!  A couple of tracks by a remixer whose work I’m really loving at the moment.  

This is Rude Hi Fi of Barriobeat fame and a catchy little bit of latinobalkandubrap-ting-and-ting called “Niente Minkia Cacata!” - just grab yourself a dance partner, hold ‘em close, very close and start rocking it, y’hear!

(10)   19 “Niente Minkia Cacata!” (ft Rude Hi Fi & Don Skal by Barriobeat)


(11)   20 “Santo Precario” (Balkan Cumbia remix) by Barriokatz/Fat Kat Disco (Barriobeat).

Yeah, yeah, wasn’t that a groove?!  Barriobeat’s Balkan Cumbia remix of “Santo Precario”.

Don’t forget you can hear Brummie Ska band the Heels this Sunday 19th June at the Leamington Peace Festival which is a free one-day festival 11am-6pm at the Pump Rooms in Leamington Spa near Warwick.

This is the last one -  those Italian electro-retro cool-cats Mixer Pirillo and the Sweet Life Society want you to swing it babies!  This is “Artichaut (Chinese Man)”.  Enjoy and see y’all next week!

(12)   21 “Artichaut” (Chinese Man) mixer Pirillo edit by The Sweet Life Society