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  • LIFE

    Eclectic music to soak in

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 08/06/2021

    » I once spent several weeks travelling around Southern Italy, camping in Puglia and Calabria.

  • LIFE

    Can I interest you in South American psychedelics?

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 25/05/2021

    » The Caribbean is in the spotlight in this week's column, with two new and contrasting albums from different parts of the region featuring.

  • LIFE

    Riding the clog dancing wave

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 11/05/2021

    » People have been wearing wooden footwear for centuries.

  • LIFE

    Zamrock shines decades later

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 27/04/2021

    » Zambian rock and popular music, often dubbed as Zamrock, has featured several times in the column over recent years.

  • LIFE

    A smoother blue from North Mississippi Allstars

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 13/04/2021

    » In 2014, I wrote a review about the unique sound of blues rockers North Mississippi Allstars (NMA), whose music is rooted in the "fife and drum" culture of North Mississippi. Unlike in the Mississippi delta, which has a distinctive brand of guitar-driven blues, North Mississippi African-American hill country musicians use fifes (a small shrill flute used in 19th-century military bands), fiddles, banjos, tambourines, snare drums and a huge bass drum to create their local sound.

  • LIFE

    Tale of the tape

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 30/03/2021

    » Lou Ottens, inventor of the humble cassette tape, died on March 11. He was 94. Ottens was a Dutch design engineer who worked as a product development officer for Philips. Before the cassette tape, he created the company's first portable tape recorder (reel-to-reel) and it was his irritation with the lack portability and clumsiness of reel-to-reel tape recorders that led him onto a path to the cassette tape. From 1963 to the late 1980s, 100 billion cassette tapes were sold.

  • LIFE

    Ambuya!'s back baby!

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 16/03/2021

    » Piranha Records, a Berlin-based independent record label, was founded in 1987 to produce and distribute mainly African, Gypsy and Jewish music. The label expanded its roster to include various projects by 3 Mustaphas 3 bass player and crooner Colin Bass. His work with Sundanese (West Javan) musicians, under his Asian moniker Sabah Habas Mustapha, produced several excellent albums and one much-covered popular love song, Denpasar Moon.

  • LIFE

    No ordinary wedding singer

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 02/03/2021

    » In 2016, World Beat featured an album, Bahdeni Nami (MonkeyTown Records, Germany), by the prolific Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman.

  • LIFE

    Of khaen and men

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 16/02/2021

    » Thai Country Living, a short film documentary released in 2020, is a delightful sojourn into the rural life of khaen maker Suman "Chang Bour" Tapkham, his family and village in the peaceful backwaters of the Isan region.

  • LIFE

    Old classics revived with high-tech edge

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 02/02/2021

    » The Penguin Encyclopedia Of Popular Music released in 1991, edited by Donald Clarke, has more than 3,000 entries on rock, rock'n'roll, folk, soul, R&B, gospel, country and swing, and a whole host of lesser-known genres. Musicians, songwriters and producers are all in this tome.

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