Collaboration of the Exotic; ALAN NICHOL Has All the News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 6, 2009 | Go to article overview

Collaboration of the Exotic; ALAN NICHOL Has All the News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region


Byline: ALAN NICHOL

CONTINUING last week's African theme, The Sage has another visitor this week who could easily have slotted in to the excellent African Soul Rebels bill.

Singer/guitarist, Daby Toure, is originally from the same region of west Africa as international star, Baaba Maal.

He was born in Mauritania but moved to Paris in his late teens, working in several bands there.

He has toured with Peter Gabriel, one of the first westerners to recognise his talent, but recently he joined forces with an American bluesman who also happens to live some distance from his birthplace.

Skip McDonald, better known in his recording guise as Little Axe, was originally from Dayton, Ohio but decided to relocate to London many years ago.

The pair have just finished a six-track mini-album, Call My Name, to coincide with this eight-date UK tour - sadly, McDonald is not playing the four northern shows of which the Sage is the first.

The coming together of two independent spirits has proved to be a comfortable process, as Toure explains: "Skip would play me a rhythm and quickly establish a groove, the way a traditional musician from Mauritania or Senegal does. It's a natural thing, it just happens."

The result is a mix of traditional and modern, acoustic and electric, and there are distinct traces of their unique backgrounds. Plenty of African influences, as you might expect, but English lyrics and French and African dialects, too.

Toure's impressive vocal work is best showcased on the Lost Voices track. As he puts it: "The music I play is based on exploration, on original compositions. I get up in the morning, I pick up my guitar and I start working. I don't know where I'm going to go."

You can catch him at the Sage's Hall 2 next Thursday.

SHORTLY before that, on Tuesday, the same venue plays host to Noah & the Whale, a nu-folk/pop four-piece band from Twickenham.

The band has core members Charlie Fink (vocals/guitar), Doug Fink (drums), Tom Hobden (fiddle) and Urby Whale (bass) but has often drafted in other members like Laura Marling, Emmy The Great (recently at the Cluny) and Wendy Jane to add vocal colour. …

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