“Gaza Calling”

With Middle East talks more or less on track, the Palestinian-Tunisian outfit Checkpoint 303 have released a new tune to the web called “Gaza Calling”. As a reminder, Gaza has been the subject of an air, land and sea blockade by Israel since Hamas took over there and following repeated missile attacks from the territories.… Read More »

Taraf de Haidouks live on French radio

Romania’s Taraf de Haidouks will be making a special appearance on the France Inter radio show “Le Pont des Artistes” on Saturday Nov 24. What’s the big deal? The release of a new album, called “Maskarada”. Over the years, countless musicians have taken their inspiration from Central European gypsy music. So now this Balkan big… Read More »

Last minute: African rap in Norway

In terms of diversity and colour, nothing beats African rap. We just got news that the South African band Black Noise will be appearing in Oslo, Norway on October 17 as part of the Oslo Celebrations. More specifically, they will be providing music, DJing and capoeira for an African fashion show at the Georg Sverdrups… Read More »

Uman adds hip-hop to ragga stylee

We just heard the first single from Original Uman’s album “L’aventure c’est l’aventure”. Uman made a mark for himself first with la Puta Madre and later as a toaster. The single “184 centrimetres” is a Hip-Hop workout in French with notes of accordion. The rest of the album promises “Jamaican rhythms”, with the label making… Read More »

Koçani Orkestar announce French dates

Macedonia’s incredible Koçani Orkestar have just announced a series of dates in France. YouTube has a video of them playing “Siki Siki Baba” with Zach Condon. It’s chaotic, but fun. Check it here.

Pascal Schumacher European and Australian dates

We saw the Pascal Schumacher Quartet again just before the summer. What can we say? They are still as tight, bright and melodious. So they are STILL our n° 1 hot ticket in jazz. Since then, they have released a new album of cool jazz called “Silbregrau” on the Igloo label. Click through for the… Read More »

Mamadou Konte remembered in Marseilles and Paris

As mentioned below, the death of Mamadou Konte was a great loss to African music (and indeed the US and European music fans that enjoyed the acts he promoted). The company he created, Africa Fête, is however continuing. On September 9 and 15 next, they are putting together a special homage to Konte with a… Read More »

Fela Kuti son kicks up a live storm

Reviews of the Seun Kuti live shows with Egypt 80 in North America have been very good, with reviewers again welcoming the arrival of a massive Afro-Beat band led by the son of the iconic Fela Kuti (not that anyone has forgotten his other son Femi yet). “The band was the most important thing in… Read More »

RIP: Mamadou Konte

Although largely unknown to the general audience, African rap has lost one of its most important players. Mamadou Konte founded the Africa Fête festival in France in the late seventies, later bringing it to the US and Canada. He also set up a label in Senegal that was responsible for uncovering Positive Black Soul and… Read More »

Checkpoint 303: Free music from occupied territories

Apart from the Chehadé brothers, I had never really thought about Palestine as a source of music – and certainly not electronic music. Mea culpa. Checkpoint 303 are a Franco-Palestinian-Tunisian collective that create electronic music using field recordings of life in the occupied territories. Although not overtly political, the sounds they use are often of… Read More »