Music

Globe Surfing

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Review of 'Philtre' by Nitin Sawhney

When Nitin Sawhney released his debut album Spirit Dance in 1993 'Asian underground' was, well, underground. Much of Britain's music press was about to be overrun with a bout of 'retro-obsession'. 'Indie-pop' and 'cool Britannia' were dawning and Sawhney's boundary-defying tunes didn't really fit the NME's remit. Asian and 'cool' didn't really go together back then.

Times Square It is a-Changing

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Review of 'Where the Humans Eat' by Willy Mason

My 17 year old daughter said to me one day a few weeks ago, 'Listen to this Mum, I think you'll like it'. So I listened to this song through one ear phone of her pink mini ipod (she insisted on this description!) while she listened to the other one. She was right, I was listening to a young voice singing contemporary poetry of protest, and it was fresh original and challenging. The song was 'Oxygen' by Willy Mason.

'We can be stronger than bombs if you're singing along and you know you really believe...'

An Intoxicating Soul Man

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Review of 'Get Lifted Live' by John Legend

You probably know more about John Legend than you think. Check the notes of many of the biggest soul and R&B albums of the past decade, and there's his name. As pianist and vocalist on Lauren Hill's 1998 track 'Everything is Everything', vocalist and co-writer on Alicia Key's multi-platinum 'You Don't Know my Name', co-writer, pianist and vocalist on Talib Kweli's prolific The Beautiful Struggle and vocalist, pianist and co-writer on the Kanye West's smash hit of last year, College Dropout.

Music Will Free Itself

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Review of Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble, Touring

Gilad Atzmon is arguably the most outstanding artist to emerge on the British jazz scene in recent years. He can hardly be described as new, having recorded nine albums in the past decade, as well as performing with musicians as diverse as Ian Dury, Paul McCartney, Sinead O'Connor and perhaps most bizarrely, Robbie Williams. It is in recent years however that his star has shone most brightly - firstly with the release of the 2003 BBC Jazz Album of the Year Exile, followed last year by the widely acclaimed Musik.

Mesmerising Beats

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Review of 'Peace Not War volume 2', Various artists

Peace Not War volume 1 generated over £50,000 for anti-war and peace groups across the world.

Hopefully Peace Not War volume 2 will raise this and more. Yet it seems to me that this compilation, which targets the youth market specifically, has a greater potential.

Music of the Year

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The best CDs of the last twelve months.

Extraordinary Mix

Acoustic jazz undertones, languid sensual vocals, African beats, clapping hands and the Moscow Orchestra - not what you'd usually expect of a hip-hop album. But MC Solaar's latest, Mach 6, is no ordinary album.

East Meets West

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Review of 'Tékitoi?' by Rachid Taha

One of the most exhilarating things about the global justice movement is the opening up of different worlds and stepping into them through music.

Taha's world is very different to ours and on first listening to his music we had to sit down and rest! The fusion of rai (north African/French modal music), Middle Eastern music, rock, punk, hip-hop and American funk and soul combined a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar sounds. Rachid's friend in the accompanying DVD describes how because his music comes from elsewhere it disrupts the system.

Everybody Knows

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Review of 'Real Gone' by Tom Waits

Tom Waits has been obscure and surreal in his critique of society, but not any more; this album is a damning indictment of the US at war. Real Gone is a celebration of resistance to the corruption endemic in capitalism - and to the ultimate corruption and barbarity of war.

The Revolution will be Personal

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Review of 'The Beautiful Struggle' by Talib Kweli

When it comes to lineage, Talib Kweli is pretty much hip-hop royalty. As one half of the Black Star movement (with Mos Def) and a predominant part of the Rawkus label, Kweli has been contributing to the definition of hip-hop for years. Respected in more 'conscious' hip-hop circles, Talib Kweli has so far failed/refused to capture the attention of top 40 radio.

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