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.

Mike Stevens & Okaidja Afroso - Where’s the One?

What do you get when you pair a versatile harmonica player from Sarnia, Ontario with a gifted singer and multi-instrumentalist from Ghana? The spirited duo known as Canadafrica. On their first album together, Stevens, a Son House devotee who’s married blues harp with bluegrass, and Okaidja, a former member of the Ghana Dance Ensemble who emigrated to Portland, Oregon to work with master drummer Obo Addy, cook up a tasty roots stew. There are folk and bluegrass flavors on Like a Little Bird and You Ain’t No Good, and numbers like Abifao and Dagarti benefit from the African spice of Okaidja’s percussive workouts. Some are message songs: Just a Boy, which has the hypnotic pull of Ali Farka Tour...
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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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Feature Article: A vital and vibrant beat - African music in Canada

Nadine McNulty remembers well the day that K’naan appeared at Toronto’s Afrofest. The year was 2000 and McNulty, as artistic director, had booked the then-unknown Somali-Canadian rapper to appear in the afternoon on the main stage at the popular outdoor festival. Rain showers failed to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm for K’naan, who performed with just one backup vocalist and a tape playback. Recalls McNulty: “It was drizzling and here was this young guy just kicking it in front of this sea of umbrellas. It’s amazing to see how he’s now taken the world by storm.”K’naan, this year’s Juno Award winner for Songwriter and Artist of the Year, is a major Canadian star and international crossover act...
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Angélique Kidjo - Õÿö

This African diva has won a Grammy Award for her global sound, but her eighth album pays tribute to the music that inspired her childhood—much of it American r&b. Angélique teams up with John Legend on Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” and with Dianne Reeves on Aretha Franklin’s “Baby, I Love You.” Whether caressing Otis Redding’s “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember” in the Nigerian language of Yoruba or belting out James Brown’s “Cold Sweat,” she proves herself one soulful, funky mama.
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