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  • LIFESTYLE

    The man who put the funk into Congolese music

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 07/07/2015

    » Congolese music is one of the cornerstones of African popular music. This irresistible dance music is loved across the African continent, and its biggest stars, like the late great icons Franco and Tabu Ley Rochereau, were mobbed wherever they played. Musically, the genres that have emerged from the Congo region, including Congolese rumba and all the various dance style from soukous to ndambolo, have been hugely influential on the popular styles in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe and many other African countries.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Three is the magic number

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 30/01/2018

    » This week World Beat considers three stringed instruments from Africa: the valiha from Madagascar, kora from West Africa and oud from North Africa (which may have originated in what was Persia). All these instruments are plucked and 10 years ago, a bright spark in the music business thought it would be a good idea to bring together three master pluckers of these three instruments to see what music they might create. The result was the 3MA project release back in 2008.

  • LIFESTYLE

    March of the brass bands

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 25/08/2015

    » Military marching bands brought Western music to Asia, beginning a process of cultural fusion and interaction that continues to this day. Christian religious music came along at the same time, often in the form of hymns, but I'm not sure that hymns had the same impact as the dramatic, crashing sound of brass instruments played by marching musicians.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Gone but not forgotten

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 10/05/2016

    » This week World Beat pays tribute to two giants of popular music who passed away recently: Congolese music icon and singer Papa and Prince, the tiny guitar wizard and musical genius from Minneapolis in the USA.

  • LIFESTYLE

    All eyes on the 'highlife'

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 04/08/2015

    » The great Ghanaian bandleader ET Mensah and his band The Tempos Band visited the Guinean capital Conakry in 1958. At that time, Mensah was probably the most famous bandleader in Africa, an icon of the "highlife" music he helped create and popularise. His arrival in Conakry created an impression on local musicians, particularly on the new African bands that were emerging in Guinea — from that time onward they added highlife to their music.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Forged in the canyon

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 27/08/2013

    » The Tuareg-Berber band Tinariwen from northern Mali is one of the most popular bands to have emerged from the desert regions of West Africa. After gaining recognition from their performances at the Festival of the Desert in 2001 in Mali, the band started to perform in Europe and North Africa to great acclaim. After a stunning recording debut with The Radio Tisdas Sessions, the band has gone on to release a further four popular albums, the latest of which, Tassili (Anti, 2011), won a Grammy award for Best World Music Album last year, and reached the World Beat desk this week.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Southeast Asia's kaleidoscope of sounds

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 23/04/2013

    » The Asean Economic Community (AEC) is due to open the markets of 10 countries in Southeast Asia in 2015 and much has been written about how best to prepare to take advantage of the opportunities the economic union will bring.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Solid Isan grooves

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 20/11/2012

    » Bangkok Paradise, the live show and DJ event set up by local DJ Maft Sai and his UK-based partner DJ Chris Menist, returns later this month with another night of molam-inspired music. Those lucky enough to have caught the last event, a reunion of Wong Dontri Molam Theppabutr _ one of the greatest molam bands of all time _ supported by singers Pimpa Petchpalangchai and Isan luk thung legend Saksiam Petchchompu, will want to check out the new event, which will feature the debut live performance of a new molam band put together by Maft, The Paradise Bangkok International Molam Band.

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