I recently got asked at very short notice (well two days notice to be precise) if I could lead a musical tour around Colombia for Songlines. The answer was of course “yes!” so from September 12th until the 22nd this year I was in Colombia, passing through Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena with a group of six Songlines readers on a journey into Colombian music. It was a great trip with time spent in San Basilio de Palenque (discovering the first free slave community in Latin America), Merlin Productions (THE production house in Medellín these days, home to Puerta Candelaria and Maite Hontelé), Matik-Matik (where Mario Galeano gave an expert talk on the history of Colombian music), Plaza de Bolivar in Cartagena (a great place for watching cumbia and mapalé on the streets), on a graffiti tour of Comuna 13 in Medellín (thoroughly recommended) and a whole lot more.
Hopefully Songlines will be running another similar tour in 2017. Fingers crossed for that one. If you want to find out more about the last tour have a look at songlines.co.uk/music-travel/tours-festivals-2016/colombia.php. And if you have any questions about how this one went feel free to give me a buzz.
Here’s a photo from the trip, which is the group with Rafael Cassiani (Sexteto Tabalá) and Justo Valdez (Son Palenque):
It seems the BBC must have my number as I was asked to do a short segment on tropicália for their Sunday morning current affairs show Broadcasting House last Sunday (August 14th). You can listen to the show at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07nn832 (my chat starts just after 56 minutes).
Hey, so recently I was interviewed by BBC Radio 1 for a special they were doing on hip-hop in Rio de Janeiro. You can listen to the show at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07mvwnc. I feature in the first 20 minutes discussing how rap got big in Rio and also sharing some knowledge on Gabriel O Pensador, one of the first rappers from Rio to make an impact both nationally and in Portugal.
I’m looking forward to hosting a talk at Rough Trade Nottingham as part of Truth and Lies‘ latest event, a celebration of Brazilian music, especially those revolutionary years at the end of the 60s. The event is called Revolution & Change: São Paulo 1969 and should be fun. I’ll be talking about the history of tropicália, pulling some interesting stories and facts out of the vaults, as well as looking at its enduring impact.
The event will be happening on Friday 27th May. There will be short films, followed by my talk, then lots of killer Brazilian tunes and dancing. If you’re in Nottingham you should pop by…
You can find out more about the event at roughtrade.com/events/2016/5/2237 and facebook.com/events/1352752204740652
An article I wrote for The Wire’s regular Global Ear column, focusing on the underground music scene in Lima, has been published in this month’s issue (#379). The piece looked at the reissuing of albums from Peru’s avant-garde in the 70s (namely Miguel Flores, César Bolaños, Arturo Ruiz del Pozo and Édgar Válcarcel) as well as new artists including Pauchi Sasaki and Liquidarlo Celuloide.
The issue is available here.
Very happy to be releasing the third publication from Sounds and Colours, a new book focusing on Peruvian music and culture. As with our previous titles this one includes a CD. However, as an interesting new addition we’ve included a DVD with this one, a collection of short films made by French film-maker Vincent Moon capturing Peruvian folk music.
I wrote a number of pieces for the book, as well as curating, editing and publishing it.
You can find out more about Sounds and Colours Peru by following this link: soundsandcolours.com/issues/sounds-and-colours-peru
I was hugely honoured earlier this year to be asked to write the liner notes for a new compilation being released by Staubgold and featuring the music of Ensamble Polifónico Vallenato and Sexteto La Constelación De Colombia, two bands that formed in Colombia in 1999/2000 and whose members later started amazing projects like Meridian Brothers, Frente Cumbiero, Ondatrópica, Romperayo, Los Pirañas and La Distritofonica.
In addition to the liner notes I wrote a press release, which can be read here:
On 6th March 2014 I made a brief appearance on Monocle Radio, on their Midori House show, to promote the Sounds and Colours Brazil book. It was a slightly strange experience as I was only on-air for 10 minutes and the presenter chose to ask me some quite odd questions and didn’t pay any attention to my answers, which made it quite hard to answer as enthusiastically as I would normally.
You can listen to the show on which I appeared at monocle.com/radio/shows/midori-house/602
Recently I was asked by the great people at The Music Exchange, the finest record shop in Nottingham, to write an article for a new newspaper/magazine they were putting together to celebrate Record Store Day this year.
After much deliberation I decided the time was right to finally write about Eduardo Mateo, a musical genius from Uruguay who deserves much more praise and who I had always struggled to write about (because I just love his music TOO much).
Well, The Music Exchange have now published their newspaper and it’s available from the shop in Nottingham at the moment and will be available from record shops all over the UK on Record Store Day. It’s a free newspaper so you really have no reason not to pick up a free copy.
Have a listen to Eduardo Mateo below and revel in the man’s greatness:
Cerys Matthews now has a copy of Sounds and Colours Brazil, the book about contemporary Brazilian music and culture that I published and edited last year. On her show, Cerys On 6, she said:
“You need to get [it] if you’re a music lover or going to the football.”
So what more do you need to know? You can get Sounds and Colours Brazil from soundsandcolours.com/02-brazil
If you’d like to hear what Cerys had to say about the book in full you should listen to the show from 02:18:10. The link is bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03zjdbx