Archive for December, 2017

Babel Med 2018 Cancelled

Babel Med 2018 Cancelled

21st December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on Babel Med 2018 Cancelled

The annual world music and jazz expo in Marseille, Babel Med, has been forced to cancel its next and 14th edition, due to a 80% cut in funding from the Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur region.

The shock announcement was made following the withdrawal of support from its principal partner – just three months before the event was due to take place (March 15-17 2018). Over the last 13 years Babel Med has seen over 180,000 spectators and 26,000 music industry professionals who gather at the event every year to discover new bands, network and do business.

This is huge blow not just to the cultural sector of the region – 30% of the artists programmed at Babel Med are local – but to the wider world music community. Besides the immediate loss of jobs, the cancellation will also have a big economic and cultural impact on the city and the global world music industry.

Zone Franche, France’s world music professional network organisation has launched a petition, please sign and show your support:

Win flights to Morocco and tickets to the Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival!

Win flights to Morocco and tickets to the Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival!

8th December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on Win flights to Morocco and tickets to the Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival!

Courtesy of the Moroccan Tourist Board, we have a pair of return flights and full festival passes to the Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival in 2018 to give away!

The colourful world of the Gnawa is awash with rumours of spirits and mystery, and recent years have seen it grow out of the hidden courtyards and onto the world stage. In the January/February (#134) edition of Songlines, Andy Morgan travels to Morocco to meet the masters and tap into its brotherhood.

In June this year, Essaouira’s now world-famous Gnawa and World Music Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary. Tens of thousands of Moroccans crowded into Place Moulay Hassan to see some of the greatest Gnawa maalem (masters) fusing their art with the music of Carlinhos Brown, Ismaël Lô, Lucky Peterson and others.

We’re delighted to offer one lucky winner a pair of return flights and full festival passes to the 2018 edition of the festival.

Click here to enter the competition.

The Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival takes place June 21-24, 2018. For more information, visit

Terms & conditions: The tickets are for two people travelling together and must be used specifically for travel to the 2018 Essaouira Gnawa and World Music Festival (June 21-24). Flights are for London-Essaouira-London in economy class and always subject to availability. The tickets are non-transferable and have no cash value. Travel must originate in the UK. This prize is non-negotiable, non-refundable and does not include insurance, accommodation, transport to and from the airport and any sustenance during the stay. Reservations for the flights must be made at least 60 days before departure. See p19 for our standard competition rules and deadline.

Culture Ireland: Music from Ireland 2018 – Bonus CD

7th December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on Culture Ireland: Music from Ireland 2018 – Bonus CD

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 10.15.16

This bonus CD is exclusively available with the January/February (#134) edition of Songlines

This year Showcase Scotland, Celtic Connections’ industry event, has selected Ireland as the spotlight country. Given Irish artists’ long-standing participation at the Glasgow festival, it’s appropriate that a new generation of emerging Irish artists take centre stage as Celtic Connections celebrates its 25th anniversary. This compilation, specially compiled for Songlines, celebrates the diversity and artistry of young musicians working across the folk and traditional genres, stretching boundaries and producing the new, unmissable music of today.

The Showcase Scotland participation at Celtic Connections is part of Culture Ireland’s special GB18 programme: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain, a year-long programme of activity presenting Irish artists across Britain and celebrating our cultural links with Ireland’s nearest neighbour.

This 12-track CD features many of Ireland’s top emerging artists.



1. Daoirí Farrell – ‘Pat Rainey’,  True Born Irishman (2016)

2. Wallis Bird- ‘Change’, Home (2016)

3. Aoife Scott- ‘All Along the Wild Atlantic Way’, Carry the Day (2016)

4. The Young Folk – ‘Home’, First Sign of Morning (2016)

5. Lorcán Mac Mathúna – ‘A Grey Eye’, The Arrows that Murder Sleep (2015)

6. NOTIFY- ‘In Continuum’, InConcept (2015)

7. Aoife Scott – ‘Down by the Shelleybanks’, Carry the Day (2016)

8. NOTIFY – ‘The Aud’, Previously unreleased (2017)

9. Daoirí Farrell – ‘Van Diemen’s Land’, True Born Irishman (2016)

10. The Young Folk- ‘First Sign of Morning’, First Sign of Morning (2016)

11. Wallis Bird – ‘Seasons’, Home (2016)

12. Preab Meadar – ‘Séadnadh Mór (The Lion and Fox)’, Preab Meadar (2014)

These artists perform at Showcase Scotland (January 31- February 4 2018) during Celtic Connections (January 18- February 4) as part of Culture Ireland GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain

Top of the World albums: Songlines #134 (January/February 2018)

6th December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on Top of the World albums: Songlines #134 (January/February 2018)

Here is our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the January/February 2018 issue of Songlines. Tracks from each of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with issue #134.

To buy the new issue or to find out more about subscribing to Songlines, please visit:



La Chiva Gantiva
An album of kick-ass cumbia, fiery combinations of rock and hip-hop, crowd-pleasing anthems and impassioned raps, as heard on this opening track. You’ll be dancing along in no time.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca & Tamer Abu Ghazaleh
Five stars for this innovative album with influences from all sides of Arabic music, from Sufi music to electro-chaabi.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Boubacar Traoré
Dounia Tabolo
Recorded in a studio deep in Louisiana, this album features some talented guests including Cedric Watson and Leyla McCalla, who help make Traoré’s blues more profound than ever.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Echo in the Valley
Washburn’s striking voice takes the lead here while the duo’s banjos provide atmospheric accompaniment.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Belem & the MeKanics
Belem & the MeKanics
A splendidly eccentric album from this duo and their unusual mechanical band of marvels. This track showcases the elegiac quality of the accordion, sonorous cello and Walter Hus’ musical machine.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino
An album that sees the pizzica superstars set about combining homegrown sounds with multicultural influences.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



XL Recordings
This excellent second album from the French-Cuban sisters features captivating vocals (that particularly shine on ‘Valé’), sophisticated use of samples, giant Yoruba beats and theatrical presence.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Kapela Maliszów
Wiejski Dżez
Unzipped Fly Records
Talent runs in the family as this father and his children perform wild mazurkas, polkas, haunting dances and original tunes in an album of music rooted in vanishing Polish traditions.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Laissez Passer
The bouncy and catchy title-track has clear desert influences and is named after the temporary travel documents given to those living in Israeli-occupied Syrian territory, the Golan Heights.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Maya Youssef
Syrian Dreams
Harmonia Mundi
The virtuosic ability of qanun player Maya Youssef is clear both on this track and on the entire dream-like album, which she describes as her ‘personal journey through the six years of war in Syria.’
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

Pick up the January/February 2018 issue of Songlines to enjoy our Top of the World cover-CD, which contains tracks from each of the albums above. This issue also includes an additional bonus CD: ‘Culture Ireland: Music from Ireland 2018′. To find out more about subscribing to Songlines, visit:

Introducing Songlines issue #134 (January/February 2018)

Introducing Songlines issue #134 (January/February 2018)

6th December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on Introducing Songlines issue #134 (January/February 2018)

The January/February 2018 (#134) issue of Songlines is now on sale!

Our cover feature this issue is about Gnawa music from Morocco – from its spiritual healing roots to becoming a global festival phenomenon. Other features include our round-up of the Best Albums of 2017; an interview with Irish fiddle player, Martin Hayes and his new quartet; Italian pizzica pioneers Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino; a Beginner’s Guide to the Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem; a Spotlight on Scotland’s Blazin’ Fiddles; Introducing TootArd from the Golan Heights, plus the latest CD, book, world cinema and live reviews. 


The Top of the World CD includes tracks from Ibeyi, Boubacar Traoré, Maya Youssef and Belem & The MeKanics, as well as a guest playlist from Peruvian restaurateur, chef, writer and DJ, Martin Morales, featuring music from Ojos de Brujo, Bonobo and others.


There’s also an exclusive bonus CD from Culture Ireland featuring a selection of emerging Irish artists who will be performing as part of Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections 25th anniversary edition in January.


To buy the new issue or to find out more about subscribing to Songlines, please visit:

Trad stars align to celebrate the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2017

Trad stars align to celebrate the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2017

5th December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on Trad stars align to celebrate the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2017


On Saturday, the biggest names in Scottish traditional music gathered at the 15th MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, with Elephant Sessions, Skipinnish and Talisk (pictured) all picking up prizes

On December 2 the stars of Scottish traditional music gathered at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre to celebrate the best of traditional talent from the past year. Broadcast live on BBC ALBA and BBC Radio Scotland, the prestigious event featured performances from Elephant Sessions, The Shee Big Band, Siobhan Miller and more.

The award for Album of the Year went to innovative folk-rock five-piece Elephant Sessions for their second album All We Have is Now, while Live Act of the Year was clinched by Highland band Skipinnish. The coveted Scottish Folk Band of the Year award went to fast-rising folk trio Talisk, while Robert Robertson picked up Gaelic Singer of the Year.

The full list of winners 

Album of the Year – All We Have is Now by Elephant Sessions
Community Project of the Year – Tiree Songbook
Composer of the Year – Adam Sutherland
Live Act of the Year – Skipinnish
Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year – Siobhan Miller
Up and Coming Artist Award – 
Music Tutor of the Year – Emma Tomlinson
Gaelic Singer of the Year – Robert Robertson
Folk Band of the Year – Talisk
Dance Band of the Year – Duncan Black Band
Scottish Pipe Band of the Year – Inveraray & District Pipe Band
Club of the Year – Edinburgh Folk Club
Instrumentalist of the Year – Gary Innes
Event of the Year – A Night for Angus (Shooglenifty at Celtic Connections)
Trad Music in the Media – BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards
Venue of the Year – Tolbooth (Stirling)


La Linea Festival: First line-up announced

La Linea Festival: First line-up announced

5th December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on La Linea Festival: First line-up announced


Ana-Tijoux-©.Mário Pires

Photo: Mário Pires

The London Latin Music Festival, La Linea, will return in April 2018 with an eclectic line-up of artists

The first acts set to perform at London’s La Linea Festival, the London Latin music event which runs for ten days at the end of April, include Buena Vista Social Club frontman Eliades Ochoa, French-Chilean musician Ana Tijoux (pictured) and legendary Senegalese dance group Orchestra Baobab.

Since its inception in 2001, the festival has shone a spotlight on both emerging and established Latin acts, providing an international platform for their work. Taking place London-wide in a variety of venues including the Barbican, Electric Brixton and the Royal Albert Hall, La Linea will continue to ignite a Latin spark across the capital this April.

The first acts confirmed are:

Ariwo + Soundspecies
Eliades Ochoa
Ana Tijoux
Orchestra Baobab
La Pegatina

Click here for more information

Lo’Jo at Rich Mix, London

Lo’Jo at Rich Mix, London

1st December 2017  |  News  |  Comments Off on Lo’Jo at Rich Mix, London



photo: Fabien Tijou

Veteran French fusion group Lo’Jo will perform at London’s Rich Mix on December 6

For 35 years French outfit Lo’Jo have been breaking musical ground with eclectic combinations of instruments and cultural melting pots of sound. Their recent album, Fonetiq Flowers, was released to much critical acclaim and was a Songlines Top of the World in #132 (November 2017). Their sound is practically impossible to pigeon-hole, with influences ranging from African swing to Berber blues to Gypsy dance. This is a live experience not to be missed!

Get tickets here