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Mouse On Mars: always the new thing

16 THE LIST 12—26 Apr 2001

Jamaican cinema is about as prolific as the Dalai Lama's dating advisor. but in 1972 a little film came out from those shores that rocked the world of the reggae-starved British public and whose publicity poster made its way onto many a sweet sensimillia-stained student's room wall. It also made an international star of Jimmy Cliff. singer. actor. lover and (iod- given clotheshorse. The film was. of course. Perry Men/,ell's The Harder They Come.

The film told the familiar story of a country boy who goes to the Big Smoke in this case Kingston for a taste of city life and ends up having a big chunk taken out of him. It is remarkable for many reasons; despite the cliched premise. the film succeeds in being a fusion between neo-realist cinema and Hollywood gloss. Shantytown life is shown in unflinching detail before we are dovetailed

into Warholian images of

humorous ostentation as Cliff's character steps into gangster mode for the second half of the film. The dichotomy works. as does the fantastic soundtrack that along with Cliff includes The Maytals. The Melodians. Scotty and Desmond Decker. Almost 30 years after this wonderful film wowed audiences around the world His Royal Highness Sir Jimmy Cliff

The film succeeds in being a fusion between neo-realist cinema and Hollywood gloss.

is coming to Scotland to introduce a new print and discuss the legacy and intricacies of the film. Yes. Jamaica‘s finest is coming to our miserable frozen cities to reintroduce us to a great film and possibly the high water mark of his career. Relax my brother. you know it is going to be sweet. (l’aul Dale)

Jimmy Cliff introduces and discusses The Harder They Come at Belmont Cinema, Aberdeen, Fri 27 Apr; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Sat 28 Apr; Glasgow Film Theatre, Sun 29 Apr.

Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal’s latest visit to Scotland finds the Senegalese star returning to his roots with an acoustic band and a new album. i’l/Iissing You. whose soundscape is emphatically West African. ‘l‘ve played the Western acoustic guitar for many years and I‘m lucky to have a lot of different styles.’ Maal says. ‘But hip hop or reggae music. or whatever it is. I can feel the traditional African music at

the source of them all.~

A highly educated man. Maal has studied in Dakar and Paris. and juggles his international performances with his role for the United Nations. speaking out on HIV/Aids in Africa (‘The music is the first step; the second step is to ask what you are bringing to society') His successes have defied adversity since the moment he tackled the caste prejudices of his provincial background. ‘People couldn't understand someone who was good at school wanting to take music as a profession: especially when I wasn‘t a Griot.‘ he says.

And perhaps it is the instinct for seeing beyond stereotypes which has made this spokesman for a continent sharper than most of his contemporaries with the eternal world music conundrum: the conflict between culture and the market place. ‘Sometimes I'm afraid to lose the purity of the African tradition. because you want your album to be commercial. and if you don't know what you are doing. all these things are shining in front of your eyes.‘ he says. (Ninian Dunnett)

Baaba Maal plays the Queens Hall, Edinburgh Fri 27 Apr and The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Sun 29 Apr.