:: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 ::

World Music Awards

A very entertaining night at the Radio 3 World Music Awards at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. Left the camera at home given the televised broadcast nature of the event, there were announcements against using flash photography, not that that stopped quite a few people.

Host Benjamin Zephaniah was be-kilted, wearing the traditional Zephaniah tartan, a clan of militant reggae fans from the highlands.

The event might conjure up images of nice middle class people clad in multi-coloured woolies but it was a lot more diverse than that. Each artist seemed to have their own following and hardcore fan base present. Most extraordinary was Iraqi singer Kazem (Kadim) Al Sahir, whose swoonsome good looks had the clusters of ten or twenty Iraqi's (and Iraqi-Scots) dotted around the hall literally screaming beatlemania style. A bunch of very excited teenagers behind me were screaming, waving Iraqi flags and holding up a big banner marked 'we love you Kazem!'. Things got even hotter when Kazem followed up his Middle East and North Africa category award with the Audience Award, which he walked away with. Kazem, pressed by the host, revealed where he has the melody to one of his songs literally tattooed on his heart in case a friendly American bomb destroyed his house.

More to my musical taste were crazy Belgian musicians Think of One who arrived in a truck with what looked like a boat stuck on the back, and made their way to the stage through the audience playing up a storm. That was enough to persuade me to part with a few quid for the album.

Daara J

Other highlights were energetic Senegalese rappers Daara J who eschew gangsta stylings and keep it positive. Even the Senegalese government have roped in the band to encourage voter turnout, something the UK government might want to look at as host Benjamin Zephaniah pointed out. Senegal is second only to South Africa as a base for African hip-hop and Daara J talk of rap as an African musical form coming home. Daara J appeared with Malian singer, Rokia Traoré who appeared earlier with her musically sophisticated and accomplished band.

There was a dissappointing no-show from Buena Vista legend Ibrahim Ferrer, who was stuck at home on doctor's orders suffering from bronchitis. Get well soon dude. I enjoyed the clip from Poland's Warsaw Village Band, although the acceptance speech about Polish 'identity' struck a slightly jarring note. Uzbekh singer Sevara Nazarkhan encorporated some celtic harp into her act. Brazilian 'superstar dj' DJ Dolores kept the up-for-it crowd entertained at the break with his world dance music.

Ojos de Brujo's singer

The night closed with Catalan collective Ojos de Brujo who defy description. Well they descrive themselves as hip-hop flamenkillo. Three drummers/precussionists dub-bass, spanish guitar, a dj, singers and a dancer (I've probably missed someone out). They also had a partisan crowd from Edinburgh's large Spanish contingent. The sound could have been better but you could see they are an awesome live act.

:: Alister | 11:43 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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