Bad teeth

Youssou N'Dourby Bram Posthumus

One of the worst things that has happened to Africa, musically speaking, is We Are The World. Saccharine lyrics, simple melody and yes, of course, that earworm refrain. It sticks in memory but rather like any ditty written for soap advertisements.

We Are The World. Africa has several inexplicable love affairs with Continue reading


Six times Amazon: Songs of the Forest

The indigenous people in Brazil are largely seen as exotic creatures. There are Indians who adapted to modern civilization. But those how live remotely want to maintain their identity. They fight for their rights as you can read in the article about Belo Monte. Modern people tend to see their life style as the only right one. But why not learn from the indigenous? This is what the music group Mawaca coming from São Paulo did. They not only learned songs from them but they had a true musical exchange. In this article (including the documentary Mawaca – Cantos da Floresta) Brazilian journalist and photographer Eduardo Vessoni gives a report of Mawaca’s encounter with six indigenous groups in 2011.

Ikolen-Gavião indians atJi-Paraná, Rondônia (photo: Eduardo Vessoni)

Ikolen-Gavião Indians at Ji-Paraná, Rondônia (photo: Eduardo Vessoni)

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Improvisation in Pyongyang?

by Aad van Nieuwkerk

Frank van der Kooij gets an award

Frank van der Kooij gets an award

Some years ago, by the end of 2010, Dutch Radio 6 – the national radio station for Jazz & Soul music – aired a program about an amazing visit three horn players and a journalist paid to North Korea, in the spring of 2009.
They went there to partake in the 26th April Spring Arts Friendship Festival in Pyongyang, which was – this year it is off schedule because of the country’s war rhetoric –  annually organized in honor of the late Kim Il Sung, the Great Leader of North Korea.

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This means war!


by Ninja Kors

You’re probably thinking that the picture I chose for this blog post is a funny mistake. That I meant to post some dark and aggressive photo of some part of the world that is on fire – that is to say: more than other parts – and that I accidentally used a picture of harmless Ernie instead. That would have been funny indeed but sadly, no. Regrettably, it really does mean war.
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Belo Monte and Xingu – Brazilian contradictions

by Magda Pucci

In February the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, approved the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant in Xingu River that will flood 18,000 kilometers and reach 12 indigenous lands. Dilma (as the Brazilians call her) made Raoni, chief of the Kayapo people, cry as he was trying to stop this big project since 1989.

The major complaints are about the environmental problems and the neglect of the rights of the indigenous population  that lives in Xingu area – an indigenous reserve demarcated in the sixties by the Villas-Boas Brothers. Last week, Xingu, the movie was released in Brazil after an avant première in Berlin and in Manaus Cinema Festival.  Xingu is an indigenous reserve demarcated in the sixties by Villas-Boas Brothers.  The movie will tell the adventures of brothers Claudio, Orlando and Leonardo Villas-Boas during an expedition to protect the Indigenous peoples – which culminated into the creation of the Xingu National Park. Surely, the movie will heat up the discussion over the Belo Monte Plant.  Continue reading

Religion and the taboo on female chant

by Charlie Crooijmans

Since June 2007 the people of Gaza are being confronted with strict morality rules of the Hamas, a fundamental Islamic movement, who governs the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories. For example, it is forbidden to participate in the New Star, a talent show broadcast on Palestinian television. This is annoying for pop singers who wants to be heard outside of Gaza. But the situation of the female singers is more than annoying. A female singer is being seen as equal to a prostitute. If they want to sing, they can do it quietly at home in front of the family but not publicly. As we already saw in Afghan Star, the documentary, it can be quite problematic for women to sing in public in Afghanistan, but it doesn’t seem to be any better in Gaza, Iran or orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

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The meaning of Tinariwen

by Bram Posthumus

Dakar – Mali looks like two countries, at least for the time being. One part, in the South, lost its elected government in a coup d’état on March 22, in which president Amadou Toumani Touré was chased from the power he was going to relinquish anyway in April. The soldiers have since agreed to hand power back to a civilian interim leader, before presidential elections are held. In theory.

The other part, in the North, has seen the departure of the Malian army, handing most of the territory to an armed Tuareg rebellion. This is an old phenomenon. Tuaregs tolerate others on their patch but they don’t like people interfering with their lives. This the French found out, who were faced with an armed rebellion as far back as 1894 and again in 1916.

Taking its cue from the former colonial power, the Malian government continued crushing Tuareg uprisings, for instance in 1963. Here’s the video of the Tinariwen song dealing with that event:

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