Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Manu Dibango: Dibango the Giant

Global music often works best on the dance floor where, free from ghetto-izing labels and strict radio formats, it can cross over and capture the imagination of anyone with open ears.No one knows this better than Manu Dibango, one of the giants of modern African music, whose hit 'Soul Makossa' became a dance-floor favorite more than two decades ago.Despite his classical training and his jazz sensibility, the Cameroonian master has spent much of his career tailoring his Afro- funk sound for dance clubs. He's collaborated with riddim twins Sly & Robbie, studio wiz Bill Laswell and Working Week's Simon Booth, who produced Dibango's brilliant 1991 album Polysonik, an African-flavored fo...
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Music Feature: Tarig Abubakar and the rise of African music in Toronto

On a cool June night in 1988, Tarig Abubakar found himself walking along a desolate highway near Montreal’s Mirabel Airport, a bewildered stranger in an even stranger land. The Sudanese-born musician had just arrived on a flight from the motherland seeking to start a new life in Canada. But, without a friend or relation to greet him, his luggage lost in transit and with only $10 in his pocket, he was a lost soul. Four Haitians spotted him—a weary black figure dressed in a disheveled white suit—and offered him a ride. When they learned his circumstances and that he had no destination, they took him to Ballatou, an African music club in downtown Montreal. Being English-speaking,...
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Joseph Kabasele - Le Grand Kallé: His Life, His Music

Congolese music is characterized by sweet melodies and Latin rhythms. Kabasele gave birth to that sound. This two-CD set reflects the enormous influence he had at home and throughout Africa. Determined to create a non-colonial style, Kallé, as he became known, formed African Jazz in 1953 and began incorporating Afro-Cuban styles like the rumba and cha-cha, giving them a distinctly Congolese spin. Over the next 15 years, Kallé’s band—which featured big names like guitarist Dr. Nico, saxophonist Manu Dibango and singer Rochereau—recorded hundreds of popular recordings. Many are included here, including Baila, boasting Kallé’s appealing tenor vocals, and Table Ronde, with its cascading guitars....
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Rokia Traoré - Beautiful Africa

A genuinely boundary-busting artist, Traoré doesn’t follow in the footsteps of fellow Malian singers like Salif Keita or Oumou Sangaré. Thoroughly modern, she bridges songs in English, French and her native Bambara with rock instrumentation and offbeat collaborations. On her 2003 album, Bowmboï, Traoré recorded with the Kronos Quartet. For her latest, the statuesque singer has teamed up with PJ Harvey’s producer John Parish for a sound that is rock-tinged, yet distinctly African. The album features as much Gretsch as n’goni, the traditional Malian lute, and Traoré isn’t afraid to add some distorted lead guitar. Striking dynamics abound throughout, from the whisper-to-a-scream Kouma to the sp...
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Feature Article: Africa's Cult Musician - Fela Anikulapo Kuti

When one of Africa’s most celebrated musicians receives visitors at his home in the Nigerian capital of Lagos, he lounges in little more than a striped bathing suit, which tends to slip down in the back. But when Fela Anikulapo Kuti jumps on stage to perform, his costume is a study in flamboyance. He wears a blue jump suit and pants embroidered with saxophones. His act is equally colorful. He sways his saxophone and waves his arms to keep his 27 musicians in line. Between blasts of his multicolored sax, Fela sings in pidgin English the provocative lyrics that have aroused the ire of the military government of his native Nigeria—and which have won him the title of the Afrobeat King, as critic...
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