A N D E M S E M A J - E M A J
MUSIC | Previews
5 OF THE BEST
WORLD MUSIC GIGS AT CELTIC CONNECTIONS
Amadou & Mariam With their deft fusion of West African blues and Western pop, this Malian husband-and-wife duo have become world music superstars. While their studio albums can suffer from over- production and a surfeit of guests, live shows remain powerful and joyous. The blind couple’s innovative new show Eclipse is performed in complete darkness, inviting the audience to experience the music through sound, vibration and scent. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Wed 22 Jan.
Alkinoos Ionnadis with Karine Polwart The lyrical Greek-Cypriot folk hero teams up with Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart. Old Fruitmarket (with Papon), Glasgow, Thu 23 Jan.
Fresh from his 80th birthday concert at London’s Barbican Centre in November last year, ‘The Lion of Africa’ shows no sign of slowing down. The Cameroonian saxophonist (pictured) scored a massive global hit in 1972 with ‘Soul Makossa’, and continues to innovate, blending afrofunk with rhumba, disco and reggae. Old Fruitmarket (with Debademba), Glasgow, Sun 26 Jan. The Music of AR Rahman with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
The world’s biggest-selling recording artist, perhaps best known here for his Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, AR Rahman makes his Scottish debut, joined by choral students and Indian instrumentalists. Rahman’s oeuvre spans Bollywood scores, blockbuster themes and slick MOR pop. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Thu 30 Jan.
KM Hindustani Ensemble with Lewis Psalm Singers The Gaelic language Lewis Psalm Singers show the similarities between their worship-based singing, and ancient Indian choral styles of raag singing, in this performance with the Hindustani Classical Music Ensemble. The HCME study at the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, founded by AR Rahman. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Sat 1 Feb. (Stewart Smith)
70 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014
SOUL COMEBACK BOBBY WOMACK Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Mon 27 Jan, part of Celtic Connections
Every great artist who has endured periods in the musical wilderness is deserving of a comeback story, and Bobby Womack’s is full of more twists and turns than most.
After a decade on the fringes of making music, and years of struggle with poor health, Womack was invited by Damon Albarn to make a guest appearance on the 2010 Gorillaz album Plastic Beach. Revitalised by the collaboration, and suddenly back in demand, Womack went on to record his first album of new music in nearly 20 years, 2012’s critically acclaimed The Bravest Man in the Universe.
It was a title that took on deeper meaning with further context as that year Womack was successfully treated after a colon cancer scare. At the beginning of 2013 he revealed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. That Womack continues to record and play gigs is of little surprise given his reputation as one of soul music’s survivors.
After being ostracised by many of his peers at the age of just 21 when he married Sam Cooke’s widow – almost scuppering his career before it had even started – Womack went on to record a slew of classic albums including Communication, Across 110th Street, Facts of Life and The Poet in a ten-year period. He is currently preparing the follow-up to The Bravest Man in the Universe, an album that will feature cameos
from Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Snoop Dogg, and is set to collaborate on new material with rapper Rick Ross. Womack, who was possibly the most surprised of all at the unexpected welcome he’s been given, remains an enthusiastic and timeless performer more than 60 years after starting his career. (Rachel Devine)
PSYCH FOLK CATE LE BON Broadcast, Glasgow, Wed 12 Feb
Cate Le Bon’s otherworldly alto is a voice to conjure with. To date, it has graced albums by sleek electro pop outfit Neon Neon and national treasures Manic Street Preachers, but it is her own spellbinding and somewhat unsettling solo work that takes the honours. Just as PJ Harvey distilled her Dorset upbringing into visceral vignettes, so Le Bon channelled her elemental experiences growing up in rural Wales into her psych folk debut Me Oh My – ‘we’d go off walking through the fields with our pet goats in tow’ is her recollection of a regular Saturday morning with her sisters. Her next album Cyrk was inspired by a trip to Eigg to play Fence Records’ Away Game festival. ‘In my mind, the whole album takes place on Eigg,’ she says. ‘It just felt like one of the most beautiful places I’d ever been to.’
Le Bon now resides a long way from the Welsh and Scottish countryside, having relocated to Los Angeles a year ago to record her entrancing third album, Mug Museum. But even in such a vast, sprawling metropolis, Le Bon finds she can still revel in the outdoors. ‘One of the things I love most about the city is that there is so much nature everywhere. The sea is close, the mountains are close, the desert . . . it’s really extraordinary how beautiful it is, even though it’s this big mess.’ (Fiona Shepherd) ■ Mug Museum is out now on Turnstile. See album review on list.co.uk.