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  • LIFESTYLE

    Infectious grooves, taste sensations and shadow puppets

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 08/01/2019

    » World Beat was in the field in Pak Thong Chai, Nakhon Ratchasima, this past weekend for the annual Jim Thompson Farm party, bringing to a close the six-week farm tour which is open to the public.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Revolutionary's road

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 02/04/2019

    » Poet, novelist, piano player. And that was before Gil Scott-Heron had reached 20. He wrote and recorded his best known song, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, in 1971, and from then on produced a unique and polemical body of prose, poetry and music that led him to be dubbed the "Father of Political Rap", the originator of "nu soul" and many more titles. He preferred being called a "bluesologist".

  • LIFESTYLE

    Creating a buzz

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 19/02/2019

    » Some years ago, I reviewed Colin McPhee's marvellous book, A House In Bali, about life and gamelan music (traditional Balinese music -- mainly percussive and driven by metallophones or gongs) in Bali during the 1930s. Published in 1947, the book details how a young man, after hearing some rare gamelan music on old records, journeys to Bali in 1929 to seek the music that will change his life. It is an enchanting book, well worth reading.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Magnificent molam rides again!

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 26/12/2017

    » This year's party at the Jim Thompson Farm in Pak Thong Chai, held each year at the same time -- the farm opened to the public for six weeks -- was a fun affair. The Farm Tour for 2017 is about the importance of water in the country's northeastern region, as reflected in the title, "Rushing Water -- The Life Force Of Isan".

  • LIFESTYLE

    Fruit of the loins

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 08/12/2016

    » The annual Jim Thompson Farm Tour took place last weekend, kicking off with a Fun Run at the farm site in Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima. Runners of all ages and skill level, from kids to serious joggers, lined up on the starting line at six in the morning to compete on one of the three circuits that ranged from a gentle 1.5km jog to a more serious 17km race.

  • LIFESTYLE

    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.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Rumba in the jungle

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 30/10/2018

    » Everyone knows about the famous "Rumble in the Jungle", the epic heavyweight boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammed Ali held in Kinshasa, then Zaire, in 1974. The fight was immortalised in the Academy Award-winning film documentary When We Were Kings.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Her soul is immortal

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 21/08/2018

    » Singer, composer, social activist and "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin died last week. She was 76 years old. I was spinning vinyl last week at a DJ night when the news filtered through. I didn't have any of her music with me but nonetheless let everyone know that one of the greats had gone; cue to clubbers quickly searching on their smart phones for news on the First Lady of Soul.

  • LIFESTYLE

    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.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Sounds from Soweto

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 08/03/2016

    » I first saw the all-singing, all-dancing Mahotella Queens back in the late 1980s, when they were on their epic tour of Europe, Asia, and the Americas, with their incomparable backing band, Makgona Tsohle, and leader singer, Simon "Mahlathini" Nkabinde. After years of having their movements restricted in their own country, they found themselves celebrated all over the world for their irresistible mbaqanga music, a genre they helped create in South Africa's "townships" in the 1960s.

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