The legendary Senegalese percussion maestro Doudou Ndiaye Rose was every bit as much a poet as a musician. An unrivalled virtuoso when it came to drumming techniques, Rose possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of music and appeared to be able to transcribe just about everything he saw, heard and felt into rhythm. Rose, once dubbed “the Jimi Hendrix of the drumskin”, will be remembered as one of the greatest African musicians of the 20th century. This revered and respected percussionist certainly earned his official title of "Chief Drum Major of Senegal."
The call of the groove was so strong and persistent that Sia Tolno finally listened to it. On her fourth album, African Woman, put together with afrobeat veteran Tony Allen, the Guinean winner of RFI’s Prix Découverte 2011 dares to tackle a male musical stronghold.
Ever-popular Charles Aznavour has announced his retirement time and again, but he’s never managed it. The veteran star, who was elected Artist of the Century by CNN and The Times in 1998, has released a boxed set of 90 greatest hits and celebrates his 90th birthday on Thursday 22 May with a live performance in Berlin.
The astonishing Yann Tiersen has once again got himself noticed with a fifth, variegated album, Infinity. The Breton multi-instrumentalist, who took a while to shake off the legacy of “Amélie Poulain”, made a move into noise, then post-rock. With his new foray into experimental music, he told us why he turned to the UK and about his love for electronic violins.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to keep things in the family, especially when it involves kora virtuosos in the shape of Malian master Toumani Diabaté and his talented son Sidiki, the Bamako-based rap star. Their kora kinship, inspired by 72 generations of griots, serves up a superb sound.
Two years after Haïti debout, the singer-guitarist Bélo, winner of the RFI Découvertes Award 2006, has released a fourth album Natif natal. In Port-au-Prince, RFI Musique met up with a young man who hasn’t lost sight of his artistic ideals.
Following exile in the UK and several trips to Africa, Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains are back with a new album. The only Gallic group to feature on the British label Domino (Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys) has released Piano Ombre, serving up soft pop with an electro edge and a touch of Africa, mixed by Ash Workman of Metronomy fame.
For her third album, Mokte, mostly recorded at the Moto Records studio in Yaoundé, Kareyce Fotso takes on the languages and rhythms of eight regions in Cameroon. From Yaoundé, she champions a deep, cultural revolution to spur individual and collective destinies.
Despite being imbued with the influence of current events and their tragic character, Now, the fifth album by the Central African musician Bibi Tanga, is not just a work of circumstance. Nor is it a simple afro-funk album. Beyond words and labels, the Banui-born singer-bass player who now lives in France succeeds in channelling and distilling his influences.
With his 20th album, Le Fou, "Cajun King" Zachary Richard, creator of the hit Travailler, c’est trop dur, appeals to a French public once again. The spiritual ecologist fervently defends the French spoken in Louisiana, set to a happy groove. RFI Musique met up with a musician keen to perpetuate his ancestors’ language: a militant musician bursting with poetry.