ARTICLES & REVIEWS

A selection of recent and not so recent (mostly) music writing.

WOMAD: Vincent Ségal and Ballake Sissoko

First published on The Arts Desk, 2 August 2011
Late on Friday night, on the more intimate Charlie Gillett Stage, there was an unusual cross-cultural treat: Ballake Sissoko is one of Mali’s most accomplished kora players, not as well known as his Bamako next-door neighbour Toumani Diabate and more firmly rooted in Manding musical tradition, but

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Terry Riley

Review of Terry Riley gigs in Bristol,  October-November 2010
First published in The Arts Desk 6 November 2010
Terry Riley is one of the great unsung heroes of contemporary music, the Ur-minimalist who shaped the creative paths of John Adams, Peter Townshend, Mike Oldfield, and Philip Glass to name just a sample of the wide range of

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Bellowhead Live

First published in The Arts Desk, 12 November, 2010
Bellowhead are 21st century genre-busters: punk music-hall madness born out of British folk, seasoned with a Zeitgeist-friendly dose of multicultural spice. Sound gimmicky? Well, not at all, as Bellowhead’s greatest quality, apart from being an outstandingly enjoyable live act, comes from the way they ride their eclecticism

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“Dylan in America”

Sean Wilentz
Bob Dylan in America
The Bodley Head  £20.00
390pp
Published 7 September 2010
Review first published in The Arts Desk, 15 September 2010
Capturing a ‘shape-shifter’ – as the Irish musician Liam Clancy described Bob Dylan – is not a simple task, as the object of the hunt is by definition elusive. Sean Wilentz’s multi-dimensional series of

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Le Misanthrope

Molière in a version by Tony Harrison
Review originally published in The Arts Desk on 10 October 2010
When Tony Harrison created his version of Molière’s “The Misanthrope” in the early 70’s and transposed the 17th century comedy classic to the present-day, he managed, with his characteristic and brilliant combination of savagery and wit, to make the

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Omar Souleyman

 
First published in The Arts Desk 27 August 2010
http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2087:omar-suleyman-new-world-music-sensation&Itemid=29
OMAR SOULEYMAN: NEW WORLD MUSIC SENSATION
The world music scene is hungry for new sensations – and Omar Souleyman, about to hit London and the Shambhala Festival well deserves to be one of them.  In the early 80’s the hunger for the exotic focused on anything that came

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“Boogaloo”

Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music
By Arthur Kempton
Review by Mark in the TLS November 2003
“Can blue men sing the whites?” was once a standby rock’n’roll wisecrack. The witty phrase evokes something of the curious and psychologically complex malaise that runs though the history of American and much British popular music: the white musician’s romance

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“No Direction Home” by Martin Scorsese

Published in the TLS July 2006
Bob Dylan, master “shape-shifter” as Irish singer Liam Clancy dubs him in Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home”, was bound to be a recalcitrant subject, even in this authorised and long-awaited portrait. He is very present, parched skin and all, throughout the three and a half hour-long documentary, shot in chiaroscuro

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Music and Place

Originally published in Resurgence July-August 2009
Back in the late 1970s, when rock music had become a little too pompous for its own good, the adventurous aficionado had, very broadly speaking, two ways out – both of them in their different ways about getting back to basics: the do-it yourself three-chord frenzy of punk – an energy-fuelled

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Alan Lomax: The Haiti Recordings

Originally published in June-July 2010 issue of fRoots
When Bob Dylan first hit Greenwich Village in the early 1960’s, he was not just keen to see Woody Guthrie. He also wanted to hang out with the shakers and movers of the folk revival which had been sweeping through America with growing intensity. One of the key people he

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Alan Lomax and Nik Cohn reviews

Jelly Roll Morton
The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax
Rounder 11661-1888-2 BK01
(2005)
Triksta Life and Death and New Orleans Rap by Nik Cohn
Harvill Secker (2005)
£12.99
Originally published in the TLS, 12 July 2006.
There is something about the Deep South, , l’Amérique profonde, which exercises a seductive fascination on the white imagination. Not least the Louisiana

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