could refer to the number of cultures they pillage. For the musical xenophobe, there’s a basic hip-hop, funk and dub skeleton, but the familiar terrain is embellished by forays into Indian, African and latin
notar- Global pillage
llatacha, iust run through that Trans-
“ “I u d d n u“ American territory, with some beat o n ergroun ne-up “9' poetry courtesy of storytelling rappers again, will you? There’s a core of "a" and mm, (mm m The
tour, which is myself, Alex, Mantu, Count liubula and . . . is that it? llid I say four?’ See, even if you’re llatacha Atlas, half-Arabic singer, belly dancer and fully paid-up member of Trans- Global Underground, getting your head round the number of your
collaborators can be tricky. Or maybe you just didn’t get enough sleep last night. So imagine what it’s like for an ingenue like myself who’s lust had the fortune to be swept off her feet by the euphoric pan-cultural celebration of their debut album. ilo, don’t bother ' actually; iust hear the album. Then you’ll know why there are so many ancillary masked men and part-time also-members-of-Fun-lia-Mental dabblers chopping through doors to be a part of their ethnic mesh.
The album title, ‘liream Of 100 llations’ comes from a line in their
second single ‘I, Voyager’, though it
Unorthodox Unprecedented Preacher, of course). You may have heard the single ‘Templehead’ with its ‘na na na’ chorus; you must bear ‘Slowlinger’ with its chattering phalanx of chanting kids and the mangled ‘Magic Roundabout’-isms of ‘Sirius 8’. Most of all though, it’s the energy that grips, the kind of energy and ardour that Senser punch through all their material. Is this album terrific? Is ‘The List’ still only £1.20?
‘We get record companies coming to gigs, lumping up and down like nobody’s business, thinking, “This is the best thing since I don’t know what, but what can we do with them because what are they and why are they?” ’ What? Why? Who cares? Just be glad they are. (Fiona Shepherd) Trans-Global Underground play as part of the Global Sweatbox Tour at King Tut’s, Glasgow on Sun 24.
those things quite directly and quite
; diligently and we’ve done so for many
years. We are campaign activists in the I
i real sense. not in the hype sense.‘ ‘
indeed so. Midnight Oil’s I, campaigning efforts for a wide range of i
Well, that‘s us put in our place. But the pleadings of the band‘s diehard British fans have at last coaxed them over, so we can get a proper look at a real phenomenon. And the slab of pensive, riffy rock that is their new album, Earth And Sun And Moon (their ninth), may yet reverse their fortunes in this country.
Garrett, now 40, grew up, like the rest of Midnight Oil (and INXS), in the middle-class northern suburbs of Sydney. Trained as a lawyer, he was paying off his school fees by driving a
causes are legion and legend. Garrett himself sits on the committee of Greenpeace and spent three-and-a-half 5 : years as President of the Australian ‘ Conservation Foundation. He even i
stood. unsuccessfully. for the Australian Senate under the Nuclear Disarmament Party banner.
Bet-Gar label, and carried on
truck when he saw an ad for a singer i It would be overstating matters to say ’
placed by drummer Rob Hirst and i that Midnight Oil want to motivate and s regardless.
guitarist Jim Moginie in a local empower The People — ‘that would be The wind shifted again, though, as newspaper. Before long. he found assuming that we think we're right' — winds Will, when she was
himself fronting a band that no record company would initially touch thanks to their political views. Discovering that they had greater empathy with the activist network than the nightclub scene. Midnight Oil became, as Garrett puts it. ‘drawn into their frame of reference and directed to other areas'.
But halfway through a discussion of Midnight Oil‘s lack of initial commercial achievement. Garrett suddenly stops drawing from his memory bank and changes tack.
‘lt‘s very difficult for me to bring somebody right up to speed on it, Alastair, because it's my skin now. It’s
but the band feel that they can point to
‘ways out'. ‘Whether it's picking up a even more loosely titan is usual in a
guitar or picking up a telephone. Or a field ripe with approximate
Pen- And it’s expressing another Side to : terminology. Maybe it all goes back to
the conventional, quite often Al Jolson, who certainly wasn’t one,
predictable. trendy melee of nihilist but the deﬁnition oi what does and
angSL’ Gene". quite splendidly. does not constitute ian singing has declares. never been resolved.
‘I think that when you are reaching It anyone can lay hand on heart and People With your music and your ideas claim to be an out and out iazz singer, and your ideals, and you're trying to do though, it is surely Betty Garter. it honestly, you're building a Dubbed ‘Betty Bebop’ by lionel relationship — and if they still want to ﬂatnpton back in the 40s (although build that relationship and maintain it. mainly to annoy her - she hated the then you are in an incredibly privileged nane), she has stuck Position on the Planet’ uncompromisineg to her artistic
‘rediscovered’ in the late We, and she went on to sign for a maior label, Verve, and picked up a Grammy award in 1989 to go with a sheaf of ecstatic reviews. Garter revealed that she has lost none of her on-stage presence at the Glasgow Jazz Festival in 1991 , and was invited back to that event this year. The concert had to be postponed, however, but she makes good the loss now with an appearance in the festival’s Famous Grouse off-shoot. Carter has a reputation for working with young backing tries, and her bands, like Art Blakey’s, are looked upon as a finishing school in jazz
The term ‘iazz singer’ is banded about
not as though the story has changed or
Are there not a lot of People in principals even when they threatened you tell the story differently. it‘s that
. circles, if an occasionally i showbiz. though, Peter, who have that to have her in obscurity_
tempestuous one. On this occasion, i
after you‘ve done it for more than position and misuse it? Carter’s extravagant, highly though, she is working With a stellar V etghteeh months 1 think you become it. 5 ‘Judge not and you Won't be judged!' improvised vocal style made her a big trio featuring pianist Geri Allen, bass ; for better or worse. And, uh, if you he mom, and even down 3000 miles success in the 503, but her refusal to maestro Dave Holland, and the great '
want to characterise us, l’d say our music is definitely idiosyncratic and it’s
of telephone cable. it comes a little too quickly, a little too brightly. Even a
drummer Jack lieJohnette, a ‘backing band’ which would make a major
sing in more commercial forms left her on the margins when pop and rock
authentic. Whether you like it or not’s i seasoned activist. it seem. has to began to dominate in the 60s and 70s. concert attraction in itself. (Kenn! another matter altogether. but it knows the value of discretion. Faced with such a shift in the wind, Matnieson) i certainly is authentic. What we sing 1 Midnight Oil Play The Barrowland, her response was entirely Betty Carter and The Superband play I
about, we do believe. And we activate Glasng 0" Wed 3- characteristic; she setup her own at The City Hall in Glasgow on Fri
The List 22 October—4 November l993 33