I’m still trying to shake off the lager induced headache I woke up with this morning after a thoroughly magnificent night at the BBC Radio World Music Awards last night. Now, the gig took place at the Brixton Academy which these days is sponsored by Carling. As a result you’re kinda forced to drink their product, hence I was reminded why I gave up drinking draught lager around the age of nineteen because most of it is utter pish. Carling included.
Still, it was worth it for a fantastic night of extraordinary music. One of my all-time music heroines Souad Massi opened the show and is always a tough act to follow. But just about everyone else managed it (save perhaps for a curious German/Ukrainian DJ in a funny hat who, admittedly, tore the place up with a coruscating souped up ‘Hava Nagila’). Highlights included the Armenian Navy Band (look in an atlas to see why this is an extraordinary achievement in itself), Nitin Sawhney, the outstanding Romanian gypsy brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia and, top of the bill, top of the shop and top of the pops, Amadou and Mariam from Mali, who produced a stunning set of African blues so brilliant that I would have stopped people in the street outside to tell them how great they were had I actually been able to speak.
The show goes out on BBC4 tonight at 7.30 (Saturday), and on Radio 3 on Monday at 7.30. Tune in, for Amadou and Mariam if nothing else.