New Internationalist

Articles by Louise Gray

Why Angelique Kidjo can't abide world music

Louise Gray speaks to the Grammy award-winning singer from Benin who refuses to be ‘put into a little box.’

  • April 1, 2014
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Thatcher was bad, but her toxic ‘children’ are worse

Despite pre-ordering celebratory music years in advance, Louise Gray has found herself wondering what there is to revel in after the Iron Lady’s death.

  • April 12, 2013
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VIDEO: Going Gangnam for Ai Weiwei

Louise Gray on the pop phenomenon that’s brought Anish Kapoor and Amnesty out dancing.

  • November 23, 2012
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All aboard the Pussy Riot bus!

Campaigners will take to Moscow’s streets later this week to demand that the punk band’s members be released from jail.

  • March 26, 2012
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Excitement, exhilaration, emotion: music’s power to move its listeners.

We generally assume music is used for the good – but occasionally this is not so… Plus win a free copy of the No-Nonsense Guide to World Music.

  • December 9, 2011
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Viscera

The new album by Norwegian artist Jenny Hval is astonishing - as much about poetry and story-telling as performance, says Louise Gray.

  • July 1, 2011
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Jamm

By Cheikh Lô

  • November 1, 2010
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Rara in Haiti

By Street Music of Haiti

  • November 1, 2010
  • 0

The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan

By Various Artists

  • November 1, 2010
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Oi! A Nova Musica Brasileira!

By Various Artists

  • November 1, 2010
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Chicks on speed

Naked art-piles, wireless guitar shoes, and jackets that turn into tents…
Also: a controversial comedy about farmer suicides (yes, that’s right) from Indian filmmaker Anusha Rizvi, and a special focus on a new generation of exciting and talented

  • October 1, 2010
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Gift

By Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson

  • September 1, 2010
  • 0

Road to Damascus

By Syriana

  • September 1, 2010
  • 0

Jerusalem: the City of Two Peaces

By Jordi Savall

  • July 1, 2010
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Ayobaness! The Sound of South African House

By Various Artists

  • July 1, 2010
  • 0

Homeland

Laurie Anderson is no stranger to the political landscape.

  • June 1, 2010
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Assume Crash Position

By Konono No 1

  • June 1, 2010
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Ten days to save Neak Ta

Young Cambodian artists are being mentored as they explore the links between their traditional music and modern works – but they need our help.

  • April 8, 2010
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Genuine Negro Jig

Hoe-down fiddles, the rhythmic rattle of spoons and kazoos with some banjos marking time, and you could be – where? A fictive Appalachian town? Some 1930s travelling music show?

  • April 1, 2010
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Empire and Love

Folk music, as Empire and Love shows so well, is a music that has a grounding in both past and present, both populist and political.

  • April 1, 2010
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Checkpoint 303 - crossing boundaries



The politically engaged group refer to their work as ‘Free tunes from the Occupied Territories’, as Louise Gray discovers.

  • March 31, 2010
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Turn up the volume!

New to the website this month: a chance to listen to the albums we review.

  • March 17, 2010
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Ali & Toumani

An intimate album with the space for real spontaneity

  • March 1, 2010
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Tsikaya: Músicos do Interior

Assembled under the artistic directorship of Victor Gama, Tsikaya is a superb example of how music is rooted in the society it comes from.

  • March 1, 2010
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Melody makers

Look beyond Simon Cowell and Madonna for a money-raising charity record with a difference.

  • February 5, 2010
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The Best of 2009

The best books, music & films of 2009 as reviewed by NI.

  • January 1, 2010
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Makan

An elegant album, stripped bare to its poetry. Bass notes on the oud ground the songs wonderfully and Jubran’s voice is sinuous and expressive, full of colour tones.

  • January 1, 2010
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Stereocanto

Low whistle, hornpipes, kaval (this is a traditional Balkan flute) and practice chanter (and this a part of the Scots bagpiping set-up) are just a few of the instruments employed by Fraser Fifield on Stereocanto.

  • January 1, 2010
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The Sky and the Caspian Sea

Mysterious and opulent in its songs, The Sky and the Caspian Sea is a début album that exudes confidence and poise and promises the start of a great future.

  • December 1, 2009
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Sarabah – Tales from the Flipside of Paradise

Hiphop fans make a virtue of telling it how it is. Well, there’s no-one out there who tells it better than Sister Fa.

  • December 1, 2009
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Sleepwalking through the Mekong

It’s a dance record galvanized for the groove; it’s a John Pirozzi film that takes a serious responsibility for the band’s material and details commitment to Cambodian heroes.

  • November 1, 2009
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Between My Head and the Sky

‘It’s me. I’m alive.’ Yoko Ono, startling and challenging as ever.

  • November 1, 2009
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Rishte

An album with a range of references stretching from a lazy Delta blues to the yearnings of Urdu devotionals. By Najma Akhtar and Gary Lucas.

  • October 1, 2009
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Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast

Guitars blast, synthesizers go mad and a group of gospel harmonizers strain for the heavens as sitar strings twang. By Cornershop

  • October 1, 2009
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There'll be swinging, swaying and records playing and dancing in the streets

The name of Margaret Thatcher is humming loudly over the broadband connections these days. Confused? Let Louise Gray and Chumbawamba explain.

  • September 15, 2009
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Also worth a mention...

CDs that didn’t quite make a full review, but are still worthy of a mention.

  • September 1, 2009
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The Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revival

Starting where founding father of afrobeat Fela Kuti left off, this album features energetic tracks of sweaty inventiveness.

  • September 1, 2009
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Siwan

For all its ancient antecedents, Siwan is a very modern album and a joyous meditation for that.

  • September 1, 2009
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Within My Walls

An odd title, given the political geography of Israel/Palestine, this album projects a vision of multicultural music that seems to have little space for Palestinian musicians.

  • July 1, 2009
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House of Hunger

An album that is very much the sound of a modern-day freedom fighter.

  • July 1, 2009
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Zimbabwe's 'banned band' - Comrade Fatso and the new chimurenga*

'We'll only stop playing when we have the last despot hanging from our guitar strings.' Louise Gray on a brave artist who's staying put in Zim and making musical 'food for freedom fighters'.

  • June 3, 2009
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Seya

Accompanied by a wide range of sound for this latest outing – jazzy horns, strings and the kamele ngoni (harp) played by trusty sidekick Benego Diakite – Seya is an album that simply flows.

  • June 1, 2009
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Gurrumul

Listeners familiar with the harder sounds of Yothu Yindi are in for a surprise. The 12 songs on Gurrumul display an altogether softer side of their author.

  • June 1, 2009
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Easy Come, Easy Go

Subtitled ‘18 Songs for Music Lovers’, Easy Come, Easy Go is a double album containing a wide choice of songs: from Brian Eno’s ‘How Many Worlds’ to Dolly Parton’s ‘Down from Dover’

  • May 1, 2009
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Better Times Will Come

An album loaded with the instrumentation - fiddle, steel guitar, banjo and mandolin - of American roots music.

  • May 1, 2009
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Très Très Fort

Congo’s amazing disabled rhythm-maestros Staff Benda Bilili

  • April 1, 2009
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Africa to Appalachia

Sissoko’s warm-toned vocals and fluid kora work, counterpointed by Stone’s banjo-picking make for a wonderfully expansive sound on Africa to Appalachia

  • April 1, 2009
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Make Room

Funked-up Hebrew rap, full of asides about booze, girls and – this is one you wouldn’t find with Enimem – gefilter fish.

  • March 1, 2009
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Never Mind the Balkans

Pashm’s band – a judicious mixture of Greek, Jewish and Balkan musicians – belt along with brass, baglamas, woodwind and lyres at their disposal.

  • March 1, 2009
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Waitless

Waitless by Empty Boat

  • January 1, 2009
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Mother-Earth! Father-Sky!

Mother-Earth! Father-Sky! by Huun-Huur-Tu featuring Sainkho

  • January 1, 2009
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Deserted Villages

Made in tandem with the Albanian accordionist / composer Dasho Kurti, the 11 songs on Deserted Villages offer a broad palate, and not all of it mournful.

  • December 1, 2008
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Gomidas Songs

Certainly some of these songs may have once been heard over fields and cradles rather than concert halls, but their translation from private to public music is a beautiful one.

  • December 1, 2008
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In the House of Mirrors

New instrumental album by Hector Zazou and Swara

  • November 1, 2008
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Everything that Happens Will Happen Today

The second album by David Byrne and Brian Eno

  • November 1, 2008
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Big Blue Ball

Peter Gabriel threw open the doors of his Real World studios in rural England and invited an enormous bunch of musicians – Sinead O’Connor, Marta Sebestyen, Papa Wemba, Guo Yue are just a few of them – to come and jam.

  • October 1, 2008
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Hear, O Israel: A Prayer Ceremony in Jazz

17-year-old rabbi’s son – and fledgling composer – Joseph Klein lured one of the greatest names in jazz (Herbie Hancock) to join in performing a jazz prayer ceremony.

  • October 1, 2008
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Umalali

The Garifuna Women’s Project from Central America

  • September 1, 2008
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Alive

Chinese Mongolian ‘Björk’ steps into Tibet controversy

  • September 1, 2008
  • 0

Maldito Tango

This collection of prowling, lunfardo slang-inflected songs concentrates on an imagined lowlife of Buenos Aires.

  • August 1, 2008
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Virtual Leisure

The début album from the Israeli-born, London-based performance artist Anat Ben-David, is based on a grim paradox, leisure doesn’t exist – it’s virtual

  • August 1, 2008
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Mr Love & Justice

Bragg tempers the unfashionable humanity of his songs with a sad acknowledgement of current realities.

  • July 1, 2008
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Mariza Box

For anyone interested in the past, present and future of this uniquely Portuguese melancholy, the Mariza Box is a handsome object containing Mariza’s three solo albums.

  • July 1, 2008
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The Boy Bands Have Won

A yowl of fury against the Pop Idol-type mediocrity that seems so often to fuel cultural commerce these days.

  • June 1, 2008
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Daniel Variations

Steve Reich’s tribute to murdered journalist Daniel Pearl

  • June 1, 2008
  • 0

African Scream Contest

African Scream Contest: A cornucopia of Afro-trance music.

  • May 1, 2008
  • 0

The Bairns

Out of Britain’s blustery Northumbria comes Rachel Unthank and her Winterset trio.

  • May 1, 2008
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Kül & Ashes

Beautiful music from trained earthquake engineers

  • April 1, 2008
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Import Export à la Turka

Turkish sounds from Germany

  • April 1, 2008
  • 0

Cien Años

Cien Años

  • March 1, 2008
  • 0

Che Guevara: Lucha por la Vida

Che Guevara: Lucha por la Vida

  • March 1, 2008
  • 0

Soul Science

Fusion of West African proto-blues and Western electric guitar

  • January 1, 2008
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Kala

Sri Lankan artist from West London

  • January 1, 2008
  • 0

The Best of 2007

Music, Books, Films

  • January 1, 2008
  • 0

Afriki

by Habib Koité & Bamada

  • December 1, 2007
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Fucking Cowboys

by Gnawa Diffusion

  • December 1, 2007
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Comicopera

Comicopera by Robert Wyatt

  • November 1, 2007
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Bole2Harlem Volume 1

Bole2Harlem Volume 1 by Bole2Harlem

  • October 1, 2007
  • 0

Maskarada

Maskarada by Taraf de Haïdouks

  • October 1, 2007
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Shtetl Superstars

Jewish music

  • July 1, 2007
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Amam Imam

by Tinariwen

  • June 1, 2007
  • 0

Folk Songs for the Five Points

History of a city shaped by immigrant memory and musical culture

  • May 1, 2007
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Segu Blue

West African Bassekou Kouyate and Mali’s first traditional lute quartet

  • May 1, 2007
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Volk

Volk by Laibach.

  • January 1, 2007
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Burlesque

Burlesque by Bellowhead

  • January 1, 2007
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Plague Songs

Plague Songs by various artists

  • December 1, 2006
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Queer Noises: From the Closet to the Charts 1961-1978

Queer Noises: From the Closet to the Charts 1961-1978 by various artists

  • December 1, 2006
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Everything Must Change

Everything Must Change by Orange Blossom

  • November 1, 2006
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Between the Desert and The Sea

Between the Desert and The Sea by El Tanbura

  • November 1, 2006
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Savane

Savane by Ali Farka Touré

  • October 1, 2006
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Care in the Community

Care in the Community by Babar Luck

  • October 1, 2006
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RAN (Remote Area Nurse)

RAN (Remote Area Nurse) by David Bridie

  • September 1, 2006
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Lagos Stori Plenti

Lagos Stori Plenti by Various Artists

  • September 1, 2006
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Introducing Etran Finatawa

Introducing Etran Finatawa by Etran Finatawa

  • August 1, 2006
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Ok-Oyot System

Ok-Oyot System by Extra Golden

  • August 1, 2006
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Rise Up

Rise Up by Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited.

  • July 1, 2006
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Ama

Ama by Yungchen Lhamo

  • July 1, 2006
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Live in Ramallah

Live in Ramallah by West-Eastern Divan Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim.

  • June 1, 2006
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Sprinting Gazelle

Sprinting Gazelle by Reem Kelani

  • June 1, 2006
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Balancê

Balancê by Sara Tavares

  • May 1, 2006
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Not Alone

Not Alone by various artists

  • May 1, 2006
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Fonotone Records, Frederick, Maryland

Fonotone Records, Frederick, Maryland by various

  • April 1, 2006
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My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Brian Eno & David Byrne

  • April 1, 2006
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LDA v The Lunatics

LDA v The Lunatics by Los De Abajo

  • January 1, 2006
  • 0

Songs of the Volcano

Songs of the Volcano by Papua New Guinea Stringbands with Bob Brozman

  • January 1, 2006
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Tierra que Anda

  • December 1, 2005
  • 0

Ceasefire

  • December 1, 2005
  • 0

Culture for Pigeon

Culture for Pigeon by Tracy + the Plastics.

  • October 1, 2005
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Invisible Fields

Invisible Fields by Iarla Ó Lionáird

  • October 1, 2005
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You've Stolen My Heart

You’ve Stolen My Heart by The Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhosle.

  • September 1, 2005
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Zaboum!!

Zaboum!! by Mina Agossi

  • September 1, 2005
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In the Heart of the Moon

In the Heart of the Moon by Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté

  • August 1, 2005
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Chávez Ravine

Chávez Ravine by Ry Cooder

  • August 1, 2005
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La Juderia

La Juderia by Yasmin Levy

  • July 1, 2005
  • 0

Björk: Army of Me

Björk: Army of Me by Various Artists

  • July 1, 2005
  • 0

Naked

Nakedness, for dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, is something akin to a state of absolute truth.

  • June 1, 2005
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I Am A Bird Now

As an androgynous performance artist who sprang out of New York’s club scene, Antony (he lost the surname a long time ago) may seem an unlikely pretender to the tones of Nina Simone, the British-born singer is making an excellent go of it.

  • June 1, 2005
  • 0

Seven Gates

  • May 1, 2005
  • 0

Step Forward

  • May 1, 2005
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From Croydon to Cuba... An Anthology

From Croydon to Cuba - An Anthology by Kirsty MacColl

  • April 1, 2005
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The Eternal Road

The Eternal Road by Kurt Weill

  • March 1, 2005
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Congotronics

Congotronics by Konono No 1

  • March 1, 2005
  • 0

Sciopero (Strike)

Sciopero (Strike) by Yo Yo Mundi.

  • December 1, 2004
  • 0

The Rough Guide to Rebétika

The Rough Guide to Rebétika

  • December 1, 2004
  • 0

Mapou

Mapou by René Lacaille

  • November 1, 2004
  • 0

Spirit of Mambesak

Spirit of Mambesak by Black Paradise

  • November 1, 2004
  • 0

Hymns of the 49th Parallel

Hymns of the 49th Parallel by kd lang

  • October 1, 2004
  • 0

Bebel Gilberto

Bebel Gilberto

  • October 1, 2004
  • 0

Out of the Reeds

Out of the Reeds by Pharaoh's Daughter

  • September 1, 2004
  • 0

The Weeping Meadow

The Weeping Meadow by Eleni Karaindrou.

  • September 1, 2004
  • 0

Attac! Another World is Possible

Attac! Another World is Possible by Various

  • August 1, 2004
  • 0

List of Lights and Buoys

List of Lights and Buoys by Susanna and the Magical Orchestra

  • August 1, 2004
  • 0

Aïwa

Aïwa by Aïwa

  • July 1, 2004
  • 0

Trampin'

Trampin' by Patti Smith

  • July 1, 2004
  • 0

The Rough Guide to African Rap

The Rough Guide to African Rap by Various Artists

  • June 1, 2004
  • 0

Egypt

Egypt by Youssou N'Dour

  • June 1, 2004
  • 0

Mirrors

Mirrors by Kev Carmody

  • May 1, 2004
  • 0

Liberation

Liberation by Trans Am

  • May 1, 2004
  • 0

Care-charming Sleep

Care-charming Sleep by John Potter and The Dowland Project

  • April 1, 2004
  • 0

Favourites: 60 Years On

Favourites: 60 Years On by Chico Buarque.

  • April 1, 2004
  • 0

Unearthed

Unearthed by Johnny Cash

  • March 1, 2004
  • 0

BourgieBohoPostPomoAfroHomo

BourgieBoho-PostPomoAfroHomo by Deepdickollective

  • March 1, 2004
  • 0

Defixiones, Will and Testament, Orders from the Dead

Defixiones, Will and Testament, Orders from the Dead by Diamanda Galas

  • February 1, 2004
  • 0

Bowmboï

Bowmboï by Rokia Traore

  • February 1, 2004
  • 0

Specialist in All Styles

Specialist in All Styles by Orchestra Baobab

  • December 1, 2002
  • 0

Liberté

Liberté by Kad Achouri

  • December 1, 2002
  • 0

Yusa

Yusa by Yusa

  • November 1, 2002
  • 0

Nommo

Nommo by Slovo

  • November 1, 2002
  • 0

Live at Town Hall, New York City, September 19-20, 2001

Live at Town Hall by Laurie Anderson

  • September 1, 2002
  • 0

London is the Place for Me

London is the Place for Me by various artists.

  • September 1, 2002
  • 0

Concert for East Timor

Concert for East Timor by various artists

  • August 1, 2002
  • 0

Scattered People

Scattered People

  • August 1, 2002
  • 0

Mali Music

Mali Music by Afel Bocoum, Damon Albarn, Toumani Diabaté and friends.

  • July 1, 2002
  • 0

Bininj Manborlh

Bininj Manborlh by Nabarlek

  • June 1, 2002
  • 0

The Rough Guide to Bollywood

The Rough Guide to Bollywood

  • May 1, 2002
  • 0

Sharp Focus on Robert Lepage

Sharp Focus on Québecois director Robert Lepage.

  • May 1, 2002
  • 0

Digdig

Digdig by René Lacaille and Bob Brozman.

  • May 1, 2002
  • 0

This Side of Paradise

This Side of Paradise by Nigel Parry

  • August 1, 2001
  • 0

Stay Human

Stay Human by Michael Franti & Spearhead

  • August 1, 2001
  • 0

Rwanda 94

Rwanda 94 by Groupov

  • July 1, 2001
  • 0

Yellala

Yellala by Eyuphuro

  • July 1, 2001
  • 0

Ayeshteni

Ayeshteni by Natacha Atlas

  • June 1, 2001
  • 0

Cruzando el Río

Cruzando el Río by Radio Tarifa

  • June 1, 2001
  • 0

Art against nationalism

Louise Gray on artists against the extreme right in Austria.

  • June 1, 2001
  • 0

Little Sparrow

Little Sparrow by Dolly Parton

  • May 1, 2001
  • 0

Talk Normal

Talk Normal by Laurie Anderson

  • May 1, 2001
  • 0

Manifesto

Jara’s songs have aged well. With minimal ornamentation (some percussion here, some panpipes there), his voice conceals in its light tenor a conviction and humanity that is undiminished through time or language.

  • April 1, 1999
  • 0

About Louise Gray

2013-01-08 Louise Gray profile.jpg

Louise Gray is a music columnist for New Internationalist and the author of the No-Nonsense Guide to World Music. She writes regularly for The Wire and many other music and art publications. Find our more at her website.

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