Thursday 25 February 2021

FATOUMATA DIAWARA - BBC Radio Session: 2018 (Flac)


Using the tools available via my home stereo equipment and those online, audio editing programmes and the means to record digitally (without cassette tapes, mini discs and cd recorders, remember them!) I began recording radio programmes for the first time in some fifteen-years during 2017. It took a bit of trial and error to get recordings that I was satisfied with. As touched on in a previous post, an indoor aerial was insufficient for the job and I invested in an FM outdoor aerial which provoked some interest amongst the neighbours. This neat piece of kit enabled some strong FM signals to be captured and I have decided to pass some of the fruits of these on to you.

BBC Radio 3 FM:

During the time I begun experimenting with recording digitally I discovered that BBC Radio 3 were trialling the use of lossless FM broadcasts.

During the proms broadcasts, all other programmes were available in compression free FM Stereo. This was of interest to me as I had been searching and testing the BBC radio schedules for programmes to record. I had spotted that contrary to most opinions Radio 3 wasn't just for classical music and there were other types of music being broadcast, primarily on 'The Late Show' and 'World On 3'.

The latter programme was eventually dropped in an overhaul of the radio schedules, taking its place was 'Music Planet' with the same alternating DJ's - Lopa Kothari & Kathryn Tickell, fronting the new look programme. Essentially because of the new compression free FM broadcasts it seemed an ideal programme to record. 

The trial ran from mid July 2017 through proms season to the first week in September taking in the renowned Womad, Latitude and Edinburgh festivals. That particular year Radio 3 devoted a large portion of the schedules with live broadcasts and interviews from the Womad festival. Find an example here: LINK

I became a regular listener to the show at this time and have some excellent sessions and live performances from the likes of: Oumou Sangare, Toots & The Maytals, King Ayisoba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Afro Celt Sound System, Nooran Sisters & Martin Simpson.

This particular show comes from a year later, unfortunately the compression free broadcast experiment wasn't repeated and nearly four years later hasn't been put into practice. While FM through the air broadcasts remain it seems unlikely that it will become the norm although with better broadband facilities in the UK its time may eventually come.


Fatoumata Diawara in session

Presented by Lopa Kothari and featuring a specially recorded studio session by the Malian singer and songwriter Fatoumata Diawara, performing material from her new album Fenfo. 

DJ and broadcaster Alex Jordan reports from Kingston, Jamaica for this week's Road Trip with music ranging from classic ska and rocksteady to contemporary dancehall. 

Plus we have the new release from Thabang Tabane (South Africa) and the latest discovery from BBC Music Introducing.

Music Planet BBC Radio 3 FM
with Lopa Kothari  
Friday 20 July 2018 / 11pm-1am

t1 from BBC i-player, the remaining tracks are from the live FM broadcast

best of: 29 July 2018 broadcast

01. Eliana Cuevas - El Manantial | Golpes y Flores (Inakustic) * i-player recording, missed the beginning of the programme
02. Fatoumata Diawara - Don Do (Studio Session)
03. Orlando “Cachaíto” López - Redencion | Cachaito (World Circuit)

04. Road Trip from Kingston, Jamaica:
a Bob Marley & The Wailers - Simmer Down (Coxsone)
b The Kingstonians - Singer Man (Song Bird)
c Wayne Marshall - Glory to God (ft. Tessane Chin & Ryan Mark) (Kingston Hills Entertainment)
d Amindi K. Fro$t & Tessallated & Valleyz - Pine & Ginger (Big Beat)
e Chronixx - Likes | Chronology (Soul Circle Music)

05. Mélissa Laveaux - Nan Fon Bwa | Radio Sywel (No Format)
06. Fatoumata Diawara - N'Terini (In Session)
07. Fatoumata Diawara - Fenfo (In Session)
08. Waaju - Maroc (BBC Music Introducing)
09. Miriam Makeba - Kilimanjaro (Mixtape) | Lovely Lies / Kilimanjaro (London)
10. Fatoumata Diawara - Sinnerman (In Session)
11. Fatoumata Diawara - Kanou Den Yen (In Session)
12. Thabang Tabane - Nyanda Yeni | Nyanda Yeni (single) (Mushroom Hour Half Hour)

running time: 80:19


01. Eliana Cuevas – El Manatial | Golpes y Flores (Inakustic, 2017)

Eliana Cuevas was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. In 1996 she moved to Canada and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. Her latest album, Golpes y Flores is her sixth and has been described as a love letter to her troubled homeland. It won

the award for ‘World Solo Artist of the Year’ at the 14th Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2018.

The drumming and percussion on this track immediately draws you into the song and blends perfectly with her lilting vocal melodies.

Fatoumata Diawara - In Session for BBC Radio 3,  June 6, 2018

02. Don Do, 06. N’Terini, 07. Fenfo, 10. Sinnerman & 11. Kanou Dan Yen

Fatoumata Diawara was born in the Ivory Coast to Malian parents. As an adolescent, she was sent back to their native Bamako in Mali to be raised by an aunt. She moved to France to pursue acting and later took up the guitar and began composing her own material, writing songs that blend Wassoulou traditions of southern Mali with international influences.

She sings primarily in Bambara, the national language of Mali. Her second studio album, Fenfo (Something To Say) was released in 2018 on Wagram Music/Shanachie Records. This promotional session ostensibly to promote the album saw her appearing solo. As often happens with BBC sessions, the artist often opts to add something different to their performance and not content with appearing solo with her guitars and effects pedals, Fatou provides a version of Sinnerman, itself made famous by Nina Simone’s extended cover and by several versions from Bob Marley, Peter Tosh & Bunny Wailer.

Diawara is regarded as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music, her new album is boldly experimental yet respectful of her roots, it’s a record that defines her as the voice of young African womanhood – proud of her heritage but with a vision that looks confidently to the future and a message that is universal. DJ Lopa Kothari discusses the themes and meaning of the selected songs for this session with Fatou in the short interview.

03. Orlando ‘Cachaito’ Lopez – Redencion | Cachaito (World Circuit)

‘Cachaíto’ was a Cuban bassist and composer, who gained international fame after his involvement in the Buena Vista Social Club recordings. In 1996 he was hired by Juan de Marcos González for his Afro-Cuban All Stars, signing to World Circuit, and at the same time becoming a member of the resulting Buena Vista Social Club project and appearing in Wim Wenders' documentary Buena Vista Social Club.

Cuban bassist Orlando "Cachaíto" Lopez, gained international fame as the bassist with Buena Vista Social Club. More importantly, Lopez's fluid, supple playing accompanied six decades of exceptional Cuban music-making - jazz, classical, mambo, salsa and fusion. In 1996 the young Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González hired Lopez as part of his Afro-Cuban All Stars. This large band was signed to the British label World Circuit. When the World Circuit boss Nick Gold turned up in Havana with the American guitarist Ry Cooder later that year, they initially hoped to record Cuban and Malian musicians playing together. Visa problems sabotaged this project, so they employed González to put together a band of veteran Cuban musicians. He brought Lopez in on bass and the resulting sessions were called Buena Vista Social Club.

World Circuit's 1997 Buena Vista CD proved a phenomenal - and unexpected - hit, selling over eight million copies and setting almost all the album's participants up with solo careers. Lopez was the only musician from the original sessions to play on all the following albums by the Buena Vista alumni.

After a career spanning some 60 years, Cachaíto made his debut solo album in 2001 the producers recorded Lopez's bass as the lead instrument, pairing him with musicians from across the globe and pushing his sound until it took on elements of dub reggae, ambient jazz and hip-hop. While the album was critically acclaimed, it proved too challenging to be a large seller.

04. Road Trip To Jamaica

featuring Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Kingstonians, Wayne Marshall, Tessellated & Chronixx

The road trip series is a regular spot on the Music Planet programme. A different country is selected and a resident discusses the local music scene and presents some tracks that give an idea of either the history and/or current styles of music. It’s an impossible task to select five tracks that encompass the history of Jamaican music, so we move rapidly from ska and early reggae’s past into the future with today’s newest dancehall and reggae rebel frequency artists. I can strongly recommend the Chronixx album 'Chronology' and if you are wondering what the rebel frequency is about see the new John Masouri book 'Rebel Frequency: Jamaica's Reggae Revival.'


05. Melissa Leveaux – Nan For Bwa | Radio Sywel (No Format) 

This track is from Haitian-Canadian singer-songwriter Mélissa Laveaux’s new album ‘Radyo Siwèl’. It was conceived around the songs sung during the American military occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1936. Through her music Mélissa proudly explores her roots and brings back to life the stories, the songs, the crafts and the dreams of Haitian folklore and Voodoo culture.


08. Waaju - Maroc (BBC Music Introducing)

BBC Music Introducing is BBC Radio's platform supporting unsigned, undiscovered, and under-the-radar UK talent. It gives artists the opportunity to be played on BBC local radio and nationally. Tonight’s selected artist was Waaju, a London-based groove-centred world jazz ensemble that encapsulates many influences from West African music, with a particular focus on the music of Mali. The band plays the original music of drummer & percussionist Ben Brown which combines the exceptional spirit of the likes of Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangare, Tinariwen & Baba Sissoko with the spontaneity of jazz harmony & improvisation - resulting in an undeniably energetic performance!


09. Miriam Makeba - Kilimanjaro | Single B-side 1956 (London)

Miriam Makeba gave a voice to millions of oppressed fellow South Africans suffering from apartheid. She was banned from the country by the white government regime, who revoked her citizenship. Her voice continued to sing and protest against the regime putting South African music on the map from exile in Guinea.

12. Thabang Tabane - Nyanda Yeni | Single (Mushroom Hour Half Hour) 

Son of the late, legendary Dr Philip Nchipi Tabane and heir to the malombo sound that he originated and pioneered in the early 1960s, Thabang has been touring the world, playing with his father’s band and other South African luminaries since he was 8 years old.

Emerging into his own with his debut solo album, Matjale, this energetic percussionist carves a driving, joyous and worldly version of the malombo genre that takes in his continental travels. The album brims with ambition and an appetite for life. Employing brisk tempos, nimble basslines and intersecting polyrhythms, Thabang crafts songs cognisant of the hardships of life, but chooses to deliver them with an irrepressible optimism.

Expanding the parameters of what is essentially an artform patented by his father, Thabang and his cohorts infuse the sound
with a modern sensibility. His reverence for the vibrational resonance and drive of the bass guitar, not to mention his explosive bursts of hand drumming, gives the album an undeniable, cathartic exuberance. 

This was the first single taken from the upcoming album, 'Matjale' scheduled for release on 14 Sep, 2018.

If you have made it to the bottom of this post well done it's a bit lengthy but for good reason. 

If you are tired of listening to your usual favourite kind of music, give this a try it may set you off onto a different musical route. 

The artists that appear on this programme go virtually under the radar of the mainstream. When was the last time you picked up a copy of a music magazine and saw an African artist smiling back at you. Never! Well that's more than likely. 

There is an abundance of artists in Mali, as an example of one African country, setting the music scene alight. I've spotlit Fatou Diawara but there are numerous more, Tinariwen, Songhoy Blues, Mokoomba, Oumou Sangare & Tamikrest are also particular favourites of mine.  

Give this recording a listen and leave a comment if anything in particular has changed your musical outlook.

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