decisions vvere made. I can say innovation and musical vvork in the last year played a huge part. Winners include L'zbekistan‘s qttit‘kily llittatious Sevara Nazarkhan. a pop princess back home vvhose effortless mix of traditional songs and instruments with contemporary Western production won the heart of Peter (iabriel’s Real World label alter she sent him a demo cassette and turned up on spec at the Reading Womad liestival. Then there‘s DJ Dolores from Bra/il’s north east (‘Bra/il‘s a kind of macho place so it‘s provocative to use a female name.‘ says llelder Aragao de Mela) vvith ()rcliestra Santa Massa. The Warsaw Village Band are a youthfttlly riotous six—piece vvhose ‘hardcore folk‘ transforms moribund Polish music for the let century. And vvhile Belgium may seem completely off the vvorld music map. the potent versatility of Think of One has exploded them onto the scene. Winning the (‘ritics’ Avvard. new generation Mali will surely be present in the vivacious form of the talented and beautiful Rokia 'l’raore. (liven that Traore is sampled on two songs by Senegalese rappers l)aara .I. there may be lirevvorks.
WINNER. AFRICA: DAARA J
My hunch is that tvvo groups will seize the imagination of the night the African \vinners. l)aara J. who are rappers from Senegal. and the liuropean vvinners. Barcelona‘s ()jos de Brujo. To my mind ()jos de Brujo are the best group in liurope. if not the vvorld. at present: they go dovvn a storm as mttch at rock festivals as any ‘vvorld‘ event. Both they and l)aara .l have dynamically grafted hip hop and rap onto very different roots.
Take l)aara .I. who claim to ‘have more to rap
about than hitches and bling—bling’. The title of
their latest disc. ‘Boomerang'. brilliantly conjures tip how they conttect all sides of the black Atlantic the cultural and historical triangle rooted in colonial slavery. Their belief is that both in Africa and brought tip in America. rap has come full circle. A boomerang is an object that comes back to you when you throvv it. It’s a triangular item and we talk about triangular music. We‘re saying that rap was born in Africa. from a music called ‘tassu‘ which has been performed for centuries. Africa is the true
Ibrahim Ferrer (opposite page, main picture) is winner in the Americas category. Barcelona-based Ojos De Brujo (above) and Brazilian DJ Dolores (below, in glasses) are also category winners
ancestor of rap. and had to travel on the slave ships to gt‘ovv in the plantations of the Americas before coming back home via liurope.‘
Pulsating with life (and actually into a cool version of their ovvn bling—bling) singer l’aada l‘reddy. rapper .\'dongo l) and DJ Alhadji Man explain they chose the name l)aara .I because it means “‘School of life" and with every production vve \vant to give an education to our listeners.‘ Theirs is a fresh blend of Senegalese music shot through with a vvealth of influences from rap to reggae. R&B to (‘uban salsa \vitli irresistible soulful melodies sung in Senegalese Wolof. l‘rench. linglish and Spanish. (‘oming from middle-class l)akar families. l)aara .l have had to persuade their parents that even though they were not of the griot musicians' caste they could be musicians and overthroyv perceptions that rap has to be couched in the language of gangstas and gun-related crime. “We had to convince [people] you could be a rapper and still abide by your roots. l’or us it is important to get our inspiration from African music and the African lifestyle.‘ ln Senegal hip hop has been part of the recent democratic struggle: in their ragga-inﬂuenced song 'lixodus' l)aara .I speak of political and economic struggle and \yhy young people leave Senegal for a better life in the West. They do this knovving that today the lirench are repatriating young. illegal African migrants vvhile the Spanish see their bodies \vashed tip on the beaches of the southern coast daily.
WINNER, EUROPE: OJOS DE BRUJO
The hottest group of the night vvill undoubtedly be the electrifying ()jos de Brujo. ‘The Wizards liye‘ have emerged frotn the Barcelona collective. liabrica de ('olores. which has spavvned tvvo key Spanish groups of the moment
Macaco and ()jos. When I first asked ()jos hovv many there were in the group. they told me: ’As many as fit in a transit van.’ \ovv. dtte to the success of both groups. that free flovving ensemble has gelled into a hyper—dynamic nine- piece. At their centre is the vvildly extraordinary Marina Abad. as striking to look at in her gypsy thrift-shop chic as to hear. singing and rapping in (iypsy slang. ()jos‘s approach to music and life comes directly out of their ovvn stories. With a background in an I l-vvonian street theatre group that \vittily challenged female stereotypes. Marina met members of the collective while she
’.‘..i' ;“ -'- THE LIST 19