Electric Gypsyland 2

The music of the Balkans must be some of the most incendiary being played today. Outfits such as Taraf de Haidouks, Koçani Orkestar and Mahala Raï Banda play with a trademark brass sound that reaches fever pitch pretty quickly – and never comes down (think of a film by Kusturica and you won’t be far… Read More »

Aiwa: Arabic dub/electronic on the road

Created in 1998 by two Iraqi brothers brought up in France, Aiwa is one of the most exciting fusion/electronic outfits. Musically, they mix Classical Arabic sounds with heavy dub/electronic grooves and ultra-suave rap. They have released two albums “Aiwa” and “El Nar” (photo), with an album of remixes of “Aiwa” in the pipeline – more… Read More »

Dig music, build something positive

The people over at Calabash Music have had a neat idea. Despite what many people think, the US spends less than 1% of its federal budget on foreign aid. As Calabash points out, “If everyone in the United States gave up one soft drink a month we could double our current aid to Africa. If… Read More »

Return of the cool in jazz

There is something decidedly cool about the vibraphone even though it’s not the type of instrument you hang out with or stick under your arm like Chet Baker or Lester Bowie. Yet over two albums, Pascal Schumacher and his Quartet have given the vibe a new burst of interest. They combine cool school competency with… Read More »

Sex and the Single Rabbit

With a title that is sure to get lots of search engine activity, Crammed Discs have started opening their archives. The European label is known for its cosmopolitan genre-bending style such as Bebel Gilberto, the early Zap Mama and Taraf de Haidouk. In the eighties and nineties, they also had a successful electronic imprint called… Read More »

Ugandan Hip-Hop: “no bling”

It might just sound like some place on a map, but Uganda also has its “yoof”. And they have things to say – which is hardly surprising when you see the chaos they have to deal with. Like in most African countries these days, Hip-Hop acts as the pressure valve, social commentary and popular entertainment.… Read More »

See Damon Alban and Mali’s finest in London

You’ll have to move fast on this one. Damon Alban of Blur has visited Mali on several occasions, and is determined to spread the good news about its music. He is hosting an exclusive event on December 13 in South London that will bring together Amadou and Mariam, Rachid Taha, K’naan, Souad Massi and Ba… Read More »

Bebel Gilberto prepares new album

Bebel Gilberto, the daughter of Brazilian pioneer João Gilberto and Miúcha, has finished her new album which will be titled Momento. Bebel shot to fame with her debut release Tanto Tempo in 2000, after appearing alongside some of the most respected artists of our time, including Caetano Veloso and David Byrne, and cutting edge experimenters… Read More »

Univers Zero in Prague and Mexico

Prog rock never really goes away. On 1st December the European band Univers Zero will play at the “Alternativa Festivalâ€? in Prague. On 22 March 2007, they will appear at the “Baja Prog Festivalâ€? in Mexicali (Mexico). Univers Zero’s roots come from the rock and jazz scene in 70s Belgium. Extensive touring was supported by… Read More »

Fifa Street track hits virtual streets

“Fou Ho” from Sur-Choc has remained one of the most enigmatic tracks from the Fifa Street game. The tune was picked up after becoming a runaway hit in the clubs of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The makers of “Fifa Street 2005” were looking for a track with a gritty feel. Sur-Choc are one of the creators… Read More »