The over-all winners for this year’s Songlines Music Awards have just been announced! As the best magazine for World Music, I feel it’s definitely an accolade that is taken seriously in those circles. Last year my house mate Joe Driscoll (alongside sparring partner and our occasional housemate Sekou Kouyate) was nominated but lost out to Dub Collosus. The magazine have been supportive however, and one look through and you can see their name a number of times on advertised line ups, in fact they are on tour right now so please check to see if they’re playing anywhere close to you.
As I find very few blogs supporting quality World Music, I think it’s only right to post a little something about the winners. Have a listen and if you see a copy of Songlines magazine pick it up! It’s about the only music magazine I still subscribe to, to be honest (partly due to the lack of info on the artists it covers online – partly cos it’s great).
Best Artist: Bassekou Kouyate
A Malian master of the Ngoni (traditional West African lute), nominated for his album Jama Ko which was recorded at the peak of Mali’s horrific ongoing crises (some may remember that at one stage many musicians were in exile due to the banning of music by Islamic extremists in control), and is apparently his reaction towards it. Despite being at the top of many World music lists for last year, I still haven’t had a proper listen to the album yet. Maybe this is the extra nudge needed to check it out.
Best Group: Tamikrest
More from Mali, and similar to their fellow Tuareg rockers Tinariwen they play dirty desert Blues (though rather more raw for the most part). Their album Chatma for which they won the award is fantastic. I had to choose between the two groups for BoomTown Fair this year and of course it had to be Tinariwen, but who knows for next year 🙂
Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration: Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita
Saw these guys at the Womex gig in the above video. I was impressed with how well the Harp and Kora worked, beautifully interweaving between each other. It was a little too subdued for BoomTown Fair but I picked up a copy of the Clychau Dibon album and it has provided me with the perfect chill out or meditation music on a few occasions. It was a shame that Dizraeli & The Small Gods didn’t triumph in this category but these guys are definitely worthy winners.
Best Newcomer: Family Atlantica
The above video is also from Womex. Sadly I had to play elsewhere in the city that night so missed them, but they’ve been recommended to me a few times and I had considered them for this year’s festival. Despite never seeing them I love their music, a lively and hypnotising mix of Latin and traditional African vibes, I have a few tracks but not got their album as yet. They’re based in London and I’ve played on the same bill as them before so I’m sure I’ll catch them at some point this year.