30 April 2020

Podwireless 213 May 2020


(This playlink is to Mixcloud streaming:  you can also download the podcasts from Podomatic )

1. (Sig) English Country Blues Band : The Italian Job from the CD Unruly (Weekend Beatnik) ghostsfromthebasement.bandcamp.com

2. Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn : Four Seasons Medley from the CD Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn (Smithsonian Folkways) folkways.si.edu

3. Najma Akhtar : Death Don't Have No Mercy from the CD Five Rivers (Last Minute Productions) najmaakhtar.com

4. Joan Shelley : Cycle from the DL album Live At The Bomhard (Joan Shelley/ No Quarter) joanshelley.bandcamp.com

5. Charlie Dore : Terrible Lie from the CD Like Animals (Black Ink Music) charliedore.com

6. Eliza Carthy & Ben Seal : The Lute Girl from the CD Through That Sound (My Secret Was Made Known) (Hem Hem) eliza-carthy.com

7. Aynur Doğan : Govend E from the CD Hedûr – Solace Of Time (Dreyer Gaido) dreyer-gaido.de

8. Damir Imamovic : Adio Kerida from the CD Singer Of Tales (Wrasse) wrasserecords.com

9. Trio Tekke : The First Day from the CD Strovilos (Riverboat) worldmusic.net

10. Victoria Spivey : Dope Head Blues from the CD Rough Guide To Blues Divas (World Music Network) worldmusic.net

11. Charley Patton : Prayer Of Death (Part 1) from the CD Rough Guide To Spiritual Blues (World Music Network) worldmusic.net

12. Raphael Callaghan : Poor Me from the CD Blue Lies (Blue Cee) raphaelcallaghan.com

13. Pete Morton : Immigrant Child from the CD A Golden Thread (Further) petemorton.com

14. Ultan Conlon : Moments In Time from the CD There's A Waltz (Dark Side Out) ultanconlon.com

15. Sproatly Smith : The Thistle Doll from the DL album A Trip Of Hares (Weirdshire) sproatlysmith.bandcamp.com

16. Elle Osborne : Birds Of The British Isles from the CD If You See A Rook On Its Own, It's A Crow (9th House) elleo.com

17. Albin Paulus : Weiss Der Geier from the CD Pur (Non Food Factory albinpaulus.com

18. Tom Kitching : Old Molly Oxford from the CD Seasons Of Change (Talking Cat) tomkitching.co.uk

19. Pharis & Jason Romero : Old Chatelaine from the CD Bet On Love (Lula) pharisandjason.com

20. The Lowest Pair : Cast Away from the CD The Perfect Plan (Delicata/ Thirty Tigers) thelowestpair.bandcamp.com

21. The Magpies : No More Tears from the CD Tidings (The Magpies) themagpiesmusic.com

22. Edikanfo : Daa Daa Edikanfo from the CD The Pace Setters (Glitterbeat) glitterbeat.com

23. Deep Cabaret : Real Reality from the CD Matchless (Deep Cabaret) deepcabaret.co.uk

24. Katie Spencer : Incense Skin from the DL album Live At Acoustic Roots (Katie Spencer) katiespencerofficial.bandcamp.com

25. Findlay Napier, Gillian Frame & Mike Vass : Mormond Braes from the CD The Ledger (Cheery Groove) findlaynapier.com/theledger

26. The Henrys : Dogwood from the DL album Paydirt (The Henrys) thehenrys.bandcamp.com

27. Mike Cooper & Scot Ray : The Dark Side Of Glowing Fish from the DL album Dua Kepala Kelapa (Mike Cooper) mikecooper.bandcamp.com

28. Geiger Von Müller : Wings From Angel James from the CD Ruby Red Run (Geiger Von Müller) geigervon.bandcamp.com

29. Varo : Streets Of Forbes from the CD Varo (Varo) varodublin.bandcamp.com

30. Spilar : Germaine from the CD Stormweere (Trad) spilar.be

31. The Rude Mechanicals : Leeds Polka/ The Redowa from the CD Sergeant Early’s Dream (Rudemex) rudemex.co.uk

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14 April 2020

Jarabi – West African women on cassette


(This playlink is to Mixcloud streaming:  you can also download the podcasts from Podomatic )

Warning! Sensitive folkies used to manicured digital recordings by polite UK folkettes and musicians with conservatory training may be in for a bit of a shock here. These aren’t. You may find the Marmite theory at play. Me, I love my Marmite, and hopefully many of you will too!
The women singers – djeli mousso – of West Africa, particularly Mali and Guinea from which the majority of those featured here came, are famed for having some of the most startlingly powerful voices on the planet, often singing praise songs or social commentary. The musicians – mostly uncredited and thus unknown to me – who accompany them are some of the funkiest. Whether playing traditional instruments like the kora, balafon or ngoni, or adapting western electric guitars, keyboards and drum kits, what they aren’t doing here is apeing internationally homogenised pop, rock or hip-hop. They’re before, above and beyond all that. This really is local music from out there.

Introduced to all this initially by the blessed Lucy Duran, I started going to West Africa in the mid 1980s and bought local cassettes from market stalls at every opportunity. Even when I stopped being able to visit, I used to make regular trips to Paris and would make a beeline for the music shops (and quite often cloth shops and groceries who sold cassettes too) in the Barbés area where the West African immigrant community was concentrated.

These tapes were never hi-fi. Indeed many of them were probably bootlegs with cheaply reproduced inserts – that was the way of the local market. Bootlegging operations would turn them out en masse on high speed K7 duplicators; some stalls would simply hold an original tape and run off copies on ghetto blasters. So the sound of distortion from over-recording and massive compression from auto-level limiters became as characteristic of the music as the huge vocal echo that many producers and singers loved. But your ears tuned to it, just like they did to country blues music on scratchy pre-war 78s, and when this music occasionally turned up on CD releases from original masters*, it sometimes sounded ‘wrong’ as it was too clean!

The one exception here is the final track of Kandia Kouyaté singing with the Sidiki Diabaté Ensemble (featuring a young Toumani Diabaté as the other kora player and Bouraima Kouyate on balafon) which Lucy Duran and I produced in London in 1987 during a UK tour – in the course of which they wowed the Bracknell Folk & Roots Festival, thus proving conclusively that adventurous folkies could like Malian Marmite too!

When I left London a decade ago I packed up my hundreds of accumulated local cassettes and donated them to the British Library National Sound Archive. But before I did, I digitised a selection of favourite tracks to burn onto a pair of CDs for my in-car entertainment. So here they are, in Podwireless form. Enjoy!

*With a bit of hunting you’ll find some of these great singers on European CDs, particularly on French labels and UK-based ones like Stern’s.

The times in brackets are the approximate start location on the podcast.

  1. (0’00”)  KAGBE SIDIBE: Patron
  2. (5’55”)  SADIO KOUYATE: Sirifi
  3. (12’29”)  DJENE DOUMBIA: Kobena Touma
  4. (20’09”)  SANDALY & NMAWA KANTE: Foudou
  5. (26’39”)  KANDIA KOUYATE: Ouale Gnoumandon
  6. (31’09”)  KADE DIARA: Abeni
  7. (40’36”) AMI KOITA: Lolan
  8. (45’37”) DIALOU DEMBA: Boloka Traore
  9. (54’23”) COUMBA SIDIBE: Yali Djamou
  10. (59’17”) TATA BEMBO KOUYATE: Kadiatou Traore
  11. (1:07’02”) BINTOU SIDIBE: Samba Diah
  12. (1:12’12”) MAA HAWA KOUYATE: Nanfule
  13. (1:21’25”) FATIMA SAMOURA: Saya
  14. (1:26’27”) FANTA SACKO: Jarabi
  15. (1:31’33”) KAGBE SIDIBE: Morodjan
  16. (1:37’08”) YAKARE DIABATE & OUSMANE SACKO: unknown title
  17. (1:40’39”) DJENE DOUMBIA: Maniamba
  18. (1:47’42”) AMI KOITA: Sanou Djoube
  19. (1:53’02”) HADJA SOUMANO: Mandin Kono

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Podwireless is available for free: it’s a labour of love and public service netcasting. If you would like to make a voluntary contribution to its running costs, see the Tip Jar at the top of the column on the right!

And see the FAQ