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  • News & article

    It's a transglobal affair

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 10/09/2019

    » The summer festival season in Europe, North America and Japan draws to a close this month as bands rest up from touring and take a break before the end-of-year festive season. Those bands that have put out summer releases hope that their albums reach the various charts and get decent airplay; others, meanwhile, have waited for the end of the season to release their new music, so we have a mixture of hot releases from the summer and new ones just released.

  • News & article

    Keeping a culture alive

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 25/06/2019

    » How do you make folk music relevant in these postmodern times? Traditional music is under threat everywhere you look, as are minority languages, arts and crafts and the habitat and environment that helped create them.

  • News & article

    Global genius honoured

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 14/05/2019

    » The summer festival season kicks off in Europe, Japan and North America early next month, with many bands from developing countries joining the festival circuit. There are lots of festivals that celebrate musical diversity, which is, I believe, important in these times of rising intolerance and xenophobia.

  • News & article

    Twenty-five years of musical magic

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 19/03/2019

    » This year is the 25th anniversary of the World Beat column. It began all the way back in February 1994. That's right, in the last century. We survived the millennium and have forged ahead into the 21st century.

  • News & article

    All there at the square

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 05/03/2019

    » Busy Victory Monument, with its buses, taxis and motorcycles, is one of Bangkok's few traffic circles (or roundabouts, as we call them where I come from). It's a busy intersection of roads that lead to all points on the compass.

  • News & article

    Mesmerising molam

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 09/05/2017

    » Twenty-five years ago I joined a team from the Japan Foundation on a tour of Isan to meet and talk to molam artists, as part of a project on Lao music in the region. We met up with the then-president of the Molam Association, National Artist Kane Dalao, and his two female molam partners, Boonpeng Faiphewchai and Chaweewan Damnoen (both later awarded national artist status), and joined the trio as they performed concerts in villages for social ceremonies like weddings in and around Khon Kaen.

  • News & article

    Summer's here and the time is right

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 07/06/2016

    » The European world-music-festival season is in full swing as bands head to stages across the continent, while at the same time, the festival circuits in North America and Japan are also busy as people take advantage of the long days of summer to get out and enjoy some music.

  • News & article

    Sounds celebrating Mandela centenary

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 24/07/2018

    » This month World Beat joins the international celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, anti-apartheid activist and visionary leader. Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, and passed away on Dec 5, 2013, having served 27 years in prison for his resistance to the racist apartheid system then operating in South Africa.

  • News & article

    How world music fared in 2016

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 03/01/2017

    » The Merriam Webster dictionary named "surreal" as its word of the year for 2016. It's a relatively new word that was only included for the first time in 1967, which was around the time "psychedelia" emerged as a style of rock music; think of Jimmy Hendrix's guitar pyrotechnics from the time as an example. Psychedelic rock took off and rapidly split into subgenres like psychedelic soul and the whole Funkadelic/Parliament movement that brought psych guitars to the funk groove.

  • News & article

    Prince Buster tribute: don't call me Scarface

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 20/09/2016

    » 'Al Capone's guns don't argue" declares the singer, Prince Buster, at the beginning of the classic ska track Al Capone. Then in comes the drums, the choppy guitar on the afterbeat, not the downbeat, punchy brass and the chukka-chukka rhythm vocalised by the band. Welcome to the ever-popular world of ska music, one of Jamaica's most potent musical exports, and the forerunner of rocksteady and classic roots reggae, the latter of which would take the world by storm and elevate Bob Marley to global stardom.

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