My World: Yann Tiersen

My World: Yann Tiersen

This feature originally appeared in Songlines #117 (May 2016) p74. Download a pdf here. Alexandra Petropoulos speaks to the French composer and musician Yann Tiersen, ahead of his dates at London’s Barbican, about his Breton roots and how the natural world is the inspiration behind his current project (Photo: Katherine Rose) For some, music is … Continue reading

Syrian refugees reveal their heartache through music

Syrian refugees reveal their heartache through music

This feature originally appeared on The Guardian on February 1, 2016. View original post here. Homesick and heartsick residents of Jordan’s vast Zaatari refugee camp sing of their sadness at exile Just a few kilometres east of Mafraq, Jordan, the Zaatari refugee camp stretches over five sq km towards the Syrian border. Originally established as a … Continue reading

Songs of the Syrian refugees

Songs of the Syrian refugees

This feature originally appeared on the Songlines website. In a place where freedom of speech easily gets you arrested, refugees have daringly turned to music and poetry in order to express their feelings. Alexandra Petropoulos reports With his brow furrowed in concentration, Abu Abdullah rhythmically strums his oud, exploring the core of a melancholic melody. … Continue reading

DakhaBrakha, October 1

DakhaBrakha, October 1

DakhaBrakha Village Underground, London, October 1 I’m always a bit apprehensive when finally seeing a band everyone’s been raving about – will they really live up to the hype? I missed the Ukrainian ‘ethno-chaos’ quartet DakhaBrakha at last year’s WOMAD, a performance that seemed to be the highlight of the festival for many. And now, … Continue reading

Rainforest World  Music Festival, August 7-9

Rainforest World Music Festival, August 7-9

Rainforest World Music Festival Sarawak Cultural Village, Borneo, Malaysia, August 7-9 This festival, tucked within the lush surroundings of the Sarawak Cultural Village in Borneo, has been well written about in these pages, but this year I finally had the chance to experience it myself. And there’s a reason the Rainforest World Music Festival has … Continue reading

My World: Sola Akingbola

My World: Sola Akingbola

This feature originally appeared in Songlines #112 (November 2015) p78. Download a pdf here. Alexandra Petropoulos speaks to Jamiroquai’s percussionist about his Yoruba roots and his respect for musicians who are rooted in their tradition but are always looking forward in their expression of it (Photo: Maruska Mason) Sola Akingbola’s musical history is one full of … Continue reading

Manana: Cuban Connections

Manana: Cuban Connections

This article originally appeared in Songlines #112 (November 2015) p11. Download a pdf here. New festival to come to Santiago de Cuba encourages dialog between Afro-Cuban folkloric music and electronic community (Photo by Harry Follett) When Harry Follett moved to Santiago de Cuba, he met Cuban musician Alain Garcia Artola and together they set up a … Continue reading

Iness Mezel – Feminine Alchemy

Iness Mezel – Feminine Alchemy

This feature originally appeared in Songlines #111 (October 2015) p38. Download a pdf here. French-Algerian singer Iness Mezel dives into the magical world of Berber traditions and beliefs and tells Alexandra Petropoulos  how this helped inspire her new album full of feminine strength Allow yourself a moment to drift into an imaginary world, one full … Continue reading

Who’s Touring – September/October

Who’s Touring – September/October

In the current issue of Songlines (October 2015, #111), we choose a selection of forthcoming tour highlights. You can see the full list here, but here were my selections: Kiran Ahluwalia The Indian-Canadian ghazal singer returns to the UK A reflection of her life – she was born in India, raised in Canada and is now a resident of … Continue reading

Songlines Essential 10: Song Collectors

Songlines Essential 10: Song Collectors

In the current issue of Songlines (October 2015, #110), we selected the essential list of ten Song Collectors. You can read the full piece here, but here were my choices: Dom Flemons Prospect Hill (Music Maker, 2015) Nicknamed the ‘American Songster,’ Flemons has devoted a large part of his career to the study of the African-American song tradition. For his … Continue reading