BLACK STAR lINER
Mercury Music Prize nominees
fast lane to this year's Edinburgh Mela. Words: Mark Robertson
'we ARE MUSICAL PIMPS - we NEED the car to go with our musical aspirations.‘ says Clioque Hosein.
self-proclaimed mouth and trousers of
Black Star Liner. ‘The car is a good laugh.’ he adds. ‘People crash trying to get a look at it.‘
Musical pimps they may be. but their welding of found lyrics. breakbeat. bhangra and spacey electronics to a rattling dub reggae framework has not gone unrecognised. Their album. Bengali Bantam Your/I I:‘.t'p('riwz(‘('. is among the nominations for this year's Mercury Music Prize.
The Mercury shortlist is now proving itself to be incredibly formulaic. with most musical genres diligently represented and the occasional curveball thrown in. livery year an ‘Asian Underground’ group — the unrepresentative moniker placed on anyone of that heritage making
The word Mela is Sanskrit for
non-traditional music — has been shortlisted. (‘ornershop and Asian Dub Foundation being among previous nominations. Hosein remains unperturbed. however. ‘There are more Asian people in the country than there are Welsh. so the Stereophonics and the Manics. for me. are the token entries. They should have a Mercury
twelve shittiest albums of the year. If
they did. perhaps we‘d get in there too — all the best artists are loved and hated.‘
The ethic behind Hosein‘s music is the idea that recycling is innovating and everyone is fair game. This is taken to its logical extreme in his lyrics: ‘Why write new ones when someone‘s got good ones already."
Hosein combines elements of other
people's phrases to create a whole new lyric. 'We‘re just following the heady traditions of licho and the Bunnymen.‘ he laughs. ‘Mac would always be singing Doors lyrics over
'They should have a Mercury twelve shittiest albums of the yeanlfthey did, perhaps we'd get in there too.’
their songs and. anyway. I think it's fun.‘
An often laid-back experience on record. Black Star Liner live is a different beast entirely. ‘lt's not about recreating the studio recordings. If we wanted to do that we‘d just sit on stage in comfy chairs and play the CI) to you and talk you through it.‘
They appear on the Mela bill with the self-proclaimed ‘King of Bhangra' Malkit Singh. ‘We are the filthy leather
jacket that he fears.‘ says Hosein.
Despite being the snotty-nosed upstart cousins to much of the programme. llosein and his cohorts will undoubtedly make a lasting impression. Perhaps if those folks at Mercury have any sense. we may see them get some silverware to rest on the dash of their pimp-mobile. (Mark Robertson)
Black Star Liner play the Edinburgh Mela, Medowbank Stadium on Sat 4 Sep, 7pm.
'gathering'. It's an appropriate tag for a hugely diverse festival that brings together over 300 performers - musicians, dancers, actors, circus acts and magicians — representing eleven countries and four continents.
24 THE lIST 26 Aug—9 Sep 1999
Attractions this year include a carnival procession with puppets, dancing and samba drums; the world premiere of a specially commissioned new work by Colin Blakey, performed by a 70- piece band; and a host of multi- mediaactivities for children. The
music on offer ranges from bhangra and breakbeats to a massive ceilidh on the final night. Along the way there'll also be a truly international range of visual arts events, including dance performances and a fashion show. Something, in
short, for everyone with an open mind and energy to spare. (Hannah McGill)
The Edinburgh Mela 99 is at the Meadowbank Centre, Sat 4-Sun 5 Sep. For further details call 557 1400 or look up www.cdinburgh-melaxomlt