Glasgow: The Ferry, Sun 26 Oct.
Over the next couple of weeks, Commonwealth Edinburgh 97 brings a splash of bright, warm and exotic music to the Capital, especially with the truly wonderful Pan African Orchestra, playing the Usher Hall on 27 October.
Scotland Africa Glasgow 97’s celebration of the Commonwealth leaders' conference, also has a wealth of fine performers. We're spoiled for choice, so why not try Tarika for starters. If you have not seen the band on their previous visits to Scotland, you won’t be disappointed. Their music is infectiously danceable, accessibly melodic and relentlessly happy, but it is also an intelligent and remarkably contemporary, creative reworking of the various ethnic influences that have created the distinctive culture of Madagascar.
Like the plethora of distinct animal species that have evolved on the singular Indian Ocean island, Malagasy musical instruments are rare creatures. Some are hybrids, often Heath Robinson affairs based on various zither forms. Tarika continues that tradition, producing an unmistakable sound using their valiha, marovany, kabosy and jejy voatavo to underpin their smiling vocal harmonies.
Hanitra (pronounced 'Anch') Rasonaivo is the driving force behind the band’s increasing worldwide success. A university graduate who majored in five foreign languages, she gave up interpreter’s posts in the
Gail Thompson's Jazz Africa
Glasgow: Old Fruitmarket, Sat 25 Oct.
occasional enterprisin'; attempt to rectify that ornisswn, he: banded together as the Jan Tj‘iiifliif} Collective, and officially |aiitt<h Gary Crosby's (‘Xfidlf‘lit ’tuintet, Troop (see jd/Z listings for detailsi
As it happens, the bassist]s otitfit all she set up I.‘iusic'.'.i.:rks, a tentie for
Tarika: a highlight of Scotland Africa Glasgow 97
Malagasy Consulate and the American Embassy, taking an economic risk.
'Jobs are not easy to come by in Madagascar, but I was determined to do it,’ she says. 'I even dragged my sister in — she quit from the National Post Office. People thought we were crazy, going off to play in a band that used instruments made from old bicycle wheels.’
Some line-up changes, a couple of early albums and years of international touring have tightened and enlarged the band’s sound. Their latest album Son Egal - produced by Simon Emmerson, of Baaba Maal and Afro-Celt Soundsystem fame - tackles the serious subject of colonialism and translates it through songs, as much for their audience at home as in Europe and America.
’France colonised our island, throwing out the last queen in 1897,’ says Rasonaivo. ‘Half a century later, the French put down a popular uprising by using imported soldiers trained in their West African colonies, especially SenegaL'
Known as Tirailleur Senegalais, they were brutally successful, leaving a legacy of fear and distrust that the new album attempts to redress. It features guest Senegal musicians and, looking back to 1947, lays the ghost of that dark episode in the country's history.
'It's an important message, and though I’m doing it because that's what I want, people also really like the album,’ says Rasonaivo. 'Through it, audiences are being introduced to a subject that’s been taboo for 50 years.’ (Norman Chalmers)
career as a saxophonist nI‘r-ctwely halted by problems With her t'aria! :iiusc'les '.‘/iil( h prenanted her from. playing Urideterred by the setback, she set In about fiiirlinr; other means of expressmr; it; her music, and maintaining her invohenient in jazz To the latter end,
Gail Thompson: one of the UK jazz scene's more colourful figures
Scottish audiences rarely get much chance to check out the happenings on the London jazz scene While the likes of Courtney Pine and Guy Barker appear regularly for Assembly Direct, much of the action only gets north of the border
arrive in Scotland :it the !'II>'I‘.v'.~'.iIdlt‘ '-.'.':‘i'i\'e of another outbreak of (tr-riter'iporary Lendon talent in Glasgow, («cutesy of the Scotland/Atrirt‘i ‘.'.~:-r_-i.:i;r‘.': The bil includes gigs by lvlanu Dlii'c‘illfjf) and trumpeter Byron Walk-n, but arguably the most intriguing (if all is the Szmtish debut of Gail Thompson's excitnir; Ian Africa
Thompson is one of the UK jam ‘}(~.-.":i"S more colourful figures and anyone wha doubts her spirit need only cor‘isrrler her reaction to what narciild have Ill-en a ralainity for most niiisizians She made
her Initial impart as a baritone saxophonist, \.'/orkinr_; her wav through NYJO and into the ranks of the
celebrated Jazz Warriors twin-re Crosby
was a hand-mater, (nly tn find lit-r
teaching and (levelopinq inLiSiciians which has been a major success story, but the ‘orriier has been achieved through her tontinuinc; COiiimitment to Ctiiiiposrtzon, and to conducting her own band
The iii-ass: she has ‘."/l|ii(.‘ll for Jan Africa is rooted in a four-month expedition through Africa in 1989, a trip which took her south from it"‘iorocco to Kenya, taking in thirteen cOiintries on the Way The Vibrant music which came out of that experience wrli be interpreted by a stellar band, and should light up this soiiihre northern venue in exuberant style i'Kenny Llathieson) a: For information on Scotland/Africa G/asqoi'x 97 events, see jazz, folk and theatre lisf'nr's
Edinburgh: Reid Concert Hall/BBC Scotland, Thu 30 Oct—Sun 2 Nov.
Following on from the success of last year’s first and rather experimental Musmaltalia, another not-quite-so-mini weekend of Italian contemporary music is scheduled to take place in Edinburgh. Seven concerts, over 60 performers -- Scottish and Italian — and 42 pieces of music add up to a fascinating showcase which brings, in a unique way, the best of modern Italian music to Scotland. Under the direction of Italian-born, Scottish- resident freelance conductor Gualtiero Pedriali, each programme has its own distinctive identity.
The ’serenade’ may conjure up images of Don Giovanni-type figures spending their evenings singing, of romance and passion outside their lovers’ windows, but Musicaltalia embraces the modern version. A multi- media prOJect, entitled 'Serenade', taking place at BBC Studio 1 in Queen Street on Sat 1 Nov, features Schoenberg's Serenade alongSide four post-war, avant-garde Italian serenades inspired by the Viennese master.
'It should be quhe something,’ says Pedriali, 'as the Orchestra della Toscana Will be seated on the main stage to play the Italian pieces, but the Hebrides Ensemble VJ!“ play the Schoenberg from the balc0ny’
COmplementary tO this Will be a photographic event directed by DaVid Williams. 'His class at the Art College have been shooting pictures of Edinburgh at mght,’ Pedriali explains. 'We've selected the best and put them together with shots of Vienna in the 205 and Italy in the 505, and they‘ll be projected overhead while the serenades are being played. It promises to be magical and really atmospheric.’
Another thread running through the festival is the duel. ’We have Monteverdi's // Combattimento Di Tancredi' e C/orinda, but in a reviSion by Berio,’ the conductor says of a concert on Fri 31 Oct 'It actually opens a programme of music all reinvented by Berio. For instance, there’s his Cries Of London which are in a kind of folk idiom he invented, and maybe some Beatles songs — if he gives his permission'
Presented in assooation with the Italian Cultural Institute and ECAT, Ivtusicaltalia Will also include introductory talks and, of course, that great Cultural feature, Italian food and drink. (Carol Main)
Musicaltalia composer Luciano Berio
23 Oct—6 Nov I997 THE “ST 41