World music matters-logo

World music matters

RFI France

World Music Matters is RFI's weekly rendez vous with musicians making global beats.

World Music Matters is RFI's weekly rendez vous with musicians making global beats.
More Information




RFI France


World Music Matters is RFI's weekly rendez vous with musicians making global beats.




Senegal's Natty Jean imagines brighter days for west African youth

Our guest on this week's edition of World Music Matters is Senegalese reggae artist Natty Jean. After years working with the French reggae band Danakil, he's carving out a successful solo career here in France. He talks to RFI about his second album Imagine and the disenchantment with Senegal's politics that inspired it. Natty Jean released his debut album, Santa Yalla, back in 2012 as President Macky Sall swept into power, carrying the hopes of a young generation ready for change. But he...


Edgar: new voice of rap from Brazil favela

Brazilian rapper Edgar hails from the favelas, using recycled materials to make his clothes and MPCs to make music. His debut album Ultrassom (Ultrasound) delivers a dystopian view of Brazil's future, yet brims with poetry. He recently gave his first concert abroad at the Mama Festival in Paris and talked to RFI about how music keeps madness at bay and his fears over the country's swing to the far right. The poor shanty towns known as favelas around Rio de Janiero and São Paolo have produced...


Bongeziwe Mabandla: a modern 'miracle' from South Africa

Bongeziwe Mabandla sings a distinctive Afro-folk in his native Xhosa language. Just 30, he's fast becoming one of the strong voices shaping the South African scene. A finalist in RFI's Discoveries Awards in 2011, he's now released his second album Mangaliso meaning miracle in Xhosa. Mangaliso "is really about my realisation about the beauty of life, the gift of life and how precious life is," Mabandla tells RFI ahead of a concert at the MAMA festival in Paris. "When that happened, when I...


Salif Keita: 'Golden voice of Africa' prepares release of final album

This week's edition of World Music Matters features Malian singer-songwriter Salif Keita. Known as the "golden voice of Africa" he's also devoted much of his life to helping people who, like him, have albinism. His new album Un Autre Blanc - another white man - is released on 26 October on Naive records. After a 50-year career in music, he tells RFI it will be his last. Keita gives a free concert in the town of Fana, Mali, on 17 October in tribute to five year-old Ramata Diarra, a young...


Winston McAnuff & Fixi: Big Brothers

Jamaican reggae artist Winston MacAnuff and French accordeonist and pianist Fixi seem worlds apart. But with their third joint album, Big Brothers, they prove once again that there's strength and excitement in difference. The charismatic duo talk to RFI about working class instruments, Calais migrants and doing the cha cha cha on top of a van through the streets of Kingston. Follow Winston MacAnuff & Fixi on facebook In concert at 104 Paris, 5 December


Jazz allowed Jowee Omicil to 'speak many languages'

Jowee Omicil is a free-form multi-instrumentalist born in Montreal to Haitian emigrants. His new album Love Matters blends African rhythms, melodies by Bach and Mozart, and pays tribute to jazz greats like Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. "We don’t have no boundaries," he tells RFI. "Those lines, like Hugh Masekela said, those lines were handmade and we’re trying to eradicate those frontiers with the music again, we’re trying to unite." Omicil is the son of a pastor. His dad encouraged him...


Madagascar's Kristel takes Europe by storm

Hurricaine Kristel swept into Paris this week. The pop-rock band from Madagascar is fast becoming the voice of a young generation ready for change and opportunity. RFI caught up with the explosive frontwoman, Christelle Ratri, in concert at La Bellevilleoise in the capital to talk about rock music and her band's debut album Irony, co-edited through the RFI Talent programme. 23 year old Christelle Ratri formed the pop-rock band Kristel in 2014 with guitarist Ben Kheli (her brother) and...


Sudan's forgotten musical heritage revived with violins and synths

Hugely popular across the African continent in the 70s and 80s, the music of Khartoum was almost extinguished in 1989 when the hard-line religious government took over. Now that rich musical heritage is available on a new compilation - Two Niles to Sing a Melody: The Violins & Synths of Sudan. Its producer, music collector Vik Sohonie, tells RFI about the golden age when singers like Mohamed Wardi packed out a 60,000-seat stadium in French-speaking Yaoundé. The 16-song compilation features...


Soweto's BCUC: psychosomatic flows grow on you

BCUC aka Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness from Soweto in South Africa have an explosive live sound they've called Africa Ngungungu. They initially struggled to find a public for their 20 minute long trance-inducing songs but now with two albums recorded and produced in France, their high energy cocktail of tradtional percussion and hip hop is packing concert halls. RFI met three of the band members before a sell-out concert at Jazz à la Villette festival in Paris. BCUC formed in 2003 in...


Mali's Fatoumata Diawara has a lot to say

Seven years after her acclaimed debut album Fatou, the Malian singer songwriter and actress Fatoumata Diawara has released Fenfo meaning "something to say" in her native Bambara language. The Paris-based star talks to RFI about taking pride in African heritage, sexuality and why it was time to forgive her parents for the past. "Fatou was about introducing myself, telling people who I am," Diawara told RFI. "Fenfo is telling people what I've become." For a start she's become a mother and is...


Cape Verdean Carmen Souza and the Creole connection

Singer Carmen Souza was born to Cape Verdean parents in Portugal. Her latest album Creology mixes the Creole language and rhythms she learned at home with the jazz she's learned to love in Europe. She talks to RFI about conveying the joy of Creole culture and having fun imitating instruments with her unusual, beguiling voice. Creology is Souza's eighth album and was co-written with her mentor and longtime musical partner Portuguese bass player Theo Pascal. They’ve worked together since her...


Susheela Raman: making Ghost Gamelan 'like sculpting metal'

Susheela Raman releases her seventh album Ghost Gamalan. The songs were written in the UK but a fortuitous meeting with gamalan musicians while on holiday in Indonesia transformed the project. Raman and guitarist/producer Sam Mills talk to RFI about the funny things gongs do to your brain and getting under the bonnet and tinkering around with all of that new sound. Travel has long been a source of inspiration for Susheela Raman, an Anglo-Indian singer-songwriter raised in Australia. "Sam and...


South Africa's Laurinda Hofmeyr sets francophone African poets to music

After setting the poetry of Afrikaans writers like Breyten Breytenbach to music to great acclaim, South African singer and composer Laurinda Hofmeyr has turned her talents to poets from French-speaking Africa. Backed up by Congolese vocalists from Cape Town, she talks to RFI about the Afrique Mon Désir (the longing for Africa) project and recently-released album. The album brings to life the pain, visions, and longing of some of the most respected francophone and Afrikaans poets. Pride of...


South Africa's Sam Tshabalala releases Back and Forth

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Sam Tshabalala is a former member of the Malopoets - a leading South African anti-apartheid band in the 70s and 80s. After close to three decades living in exile here in France he recently returned to his native South Africa to record Back and Forth with other ex-Malopoets and musicians from the younger generation. He talks to RFI about going back to his roots. Tshabalala's journey started at home, in South Africa, with the Malopoets, the first black group to...


Dafné Kritharas sings 'jewels of the Aegean'

Our guest in this week's edition of World Music Matters is young Franco-Greek singer Dafné Kritharas. Definitely one to watch, she talks to RFI about her new album Djoyas de Mar, a captivating reinterpretation of Greek rebetiko and Jewish-Spanish songs written in the 1920s and 30s. Songs of love ... and exile. Djoyas de Mar means jewels of the sea and these particular gems are Greek and Jewish-Spanish songs of the Aegean. It was here, in the 1920s and 30s, that a form of Greek blues known as...


Etenesh Wassié: the blueswoman and 'hurricaine' from Addis

Ethiopian vocalist Etenesh Wassié began her career in Addis aged just 15 singing in traditional music venues known as Azmari Bet. She's now building a successful career in Europe singing azmari songs and working, notably, with French musicians. Her second album Yene Alem is out in June. Wassié was introduced to European audiences thanks to Francis Falceto, producer of the influential Ethiopiques compilations of Ethiopian music. "I met her in the 90s after the end of the revolution when the...


Yiddish Glory album breathes new life into lost Soviet Jewish WWII songs

As war raged through Europe, a group of Soviet Yiddish scholars began recording stories, poems and songs by Jewish men, women and children living - and dying - in Nazi-occupied Soviet Union. Never published, they were rediscovered in Kiev in the late 90s. Now these moving, stirring and sometimes slapstick songs have been brought to life through an international recording project. The 18 songs on Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II have not been heard for over 70 years. "Every...


Lekhfa: alternative music for Egypt's connected generation

Maryam Saleh, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and Maurice Louca are established solo artists on the alternative Arabic music scene. Together as Lekhfa they draw on Egyptian shaabi, pop and psychedelia to produce an off-kilter sound. Their new, eponymous album uses the edgy dystopian poetry of their contemporary Mido Zoheir to remarkable effect. "The name [Lekhfa] literally means 'to make something invisible'," Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, the band's vocalist and composer, told RFI. "It was more of a joke at first...


Senegal's Alune Wade serves up classy African Fast Food

Senegalese bass player, composer and singer Alune Wade began his professional musical career as guitarist to Ismael Lo. He's played alongside big names like Youssou Ndour, Cheick Tidiane Seck, Oumou Sangare, Blick Bassy, Joe Zawinul... The jazz-inspired African Fast Food is his latest, and third, solo project: a huge canvas which includes tributes to both Miles Davis and a religious leader of the Mourid Brotherhood. Alune Wade's father was an officer in the Senegalese army and conducted a...


British bard L.A. Salami muses on terrorism, Brexit and the lost generation

Our guest on this week's edition of World Music Matters is British singer-songwriter and storyteller L.A. Salami. As he embarks on a European tour with his latest album The City of Bootmakers he talks to RFI about unpicking the "Isis crisis" and why Bob Dylan still rocks. London singer-songwriter Lookman Adekunle Salami is of Nigerian descent but his musical roots are firmly Anglophone and mainly from the 60s and 70s. "For me it's the most ambitious period of music.. stuff in the charts the...