Buena Vista Social Club, Cesaria Evora, Manu Chao . . . ‘world music’ covers a huge variety of styles. The BBC RADIO 3 WORLD MUSIC AWARDS come to Edinburgh this month, and Jan Fairley discovers that hip hop and rap will be part of the mix

ore than a miracle. It‘s more than a miracle.’ Ibrahim I‘errer told me after he won the Latin (irammy for Best New Artist in 2000. aged 72. It wasn't just that he had v- in the space of five years »- gone from being a pensioned-off singer shining shoes for extra money to mega-stardom. but that he'd done it at his age with the classic (‘uban music he‘d been singing all his life. In 1998 he and Ruan (ion/alex. (‘ompay Segundo and the other veterans of the Buena Vista Social (‘lub had won their first (irammy for the original album immortalised in Wim Wenders’ l‘)‘)7 romantic documentary of the same name.

Last month. when I‘errer won his third (irammy. Best 'I‘ropical Latin award for his latest solo album BIN’IHM‘ II(’I'III(HIU.V. the ['8 government barred him from going to I.os Angeles to receive it. As the Bush administration places ('uba within the so-called ‘axis of evil‘ (it even lined album producer Ry (‘ooder Sl()().()()() under the ’I'rading with the linemy Act). I’errer‘s presence was deemed ‘detrimental to the interests of the l.'nited States'. As lierrer said at a press conference in Havana: ‘I am not a terrorist. I couldn't be one. I am a musician.~

As crazy as it is to imagine that this eternally wiry. griulc-haired man in his trademark beret could bring anything but joy to American audiences. it‘s clear that to allow prominent ('uban musicians into the [TS when they happily support their own country‘s stand against the ~15— year American economic blockade could be seen as poor PR given Bush‘s need to win the anti- (‘astro vote in l’lorida in the forthcoming presidential elections. Let‘s not forget that the 2()()() elections hung in the balance in Miami. Ilopefully Britain won‘t turn back I‘errer and his wife ('achi’n when they arrive in Iidinburgh for the BB(' Radio 3 World Mtisic Awards on 9 March. That night licrrer will be presented with

18 THE LIST 7- 7T”, Ma' Puff-'-

the Americas prize and will sing a few of his magic songs. And he won't be the only potentially controversial figure invited: the Middle Iiast prize has been given to one of the

finest voices of the Arab world. Iraqi singer

Ka/em Al Sahir. now resident in (‘anada but a superstar back home where he has sold over three million records.

After the first two years of the Po” Winners” ('oncert being held in London. Radio 3 is bringing it to Iidinburgh with a fine list of winners. Having been a member of the judging panel and sworn to secrecy over how final