For a dozen years, a music festival that highlights the music of Africa has been held near Timbuktu, Mali. This year, a nationalist uprising and ongoing battles made the Festival au Desert impossible. A new recording from the most recent event helps fans continue to celebrate the music.
Yirga finds his way into Ethiopian standards, displays his flair for jazz over solo and ensemble pieces, and performs effortless homages to vintage soul. He holds everything together with voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor.
For decades, San Francisco DJ Cheb i Sabbah has explored numerous fusions and reconfigurations of North African, Middle Eastern and Indian music styles. He's now in the midst of a health crisis, and many of his musician friends are lending support through a benefit album.
Congolese guitarist Franco is not well-known in America, despite being one of Africa's greatest pop artists. That might change, now that the the African guitarist and band leader's tracks have been released on two albums, Francophonic Vol. 1 and 2.
Critic Milo Miles reviews the reissue of The Explorer Series featuring music from around the world that was originally released from 1967 to 1984. The Explorer Series is now being re-released by region. The first is 13 CDs from Africa (on the Nonesuch label).
Commentator Milo Miles recommends three music books that might make suitable last minute gifts. “The Rough Guide to World Music,” (Penguin) “The Rough Guide to Reggae,” (Penguin) and “Portrait of The Blues.” (DaCapo Press). Miles is former music editor of The Boston Phoenix. He writes about music for The Village Voice and The New York Times.
World Music critic Milo Miles reviews guitarist Ry Cooder's two new collaborations: with Indian musician V.M. Bhatt ("A Meeting by the River" -- Water Lily Acoustics label), and with African Guitarist Ali Farka Toure ("Talking Timbuktu" -- on the Hannibal/World Circuit/Rykodisc label).
World music commentator Milo Miles reviews the career of the Afropop pioneer. Dibango grew up in Cameroon, played jazz in Paris, and later returned to his home country. He performs in a wide range of styles, from soul to smooth jazz.
Roberts helped popularize what is now called world music. His interest, particularly in African music, developed while he worked for a news agency in Kenya. Roberts was surprised to discover American influences in some of the songs he recorded, which led him to reject any notion of a pure, national music.