Founding Editor Simon Broughton Publisher James Anderson-Hanney Editor Russ Slater Johnson Assistant Editor Emma Rycroft Art Director Juliet Boucher Online Content Editor James McCarthy Listings Editor Tatiana Rucinska Assisted this issue by Spencer Grady Marketing Manager John Barnett Marketing Assistant Oscar Faulkner Cover Image René Goiffon Contributing Editors Jane Cornwell, Mark Ellingham & Nigel Williamson Subscriptions Director Sally Boettcher Editorial Director Martin Cullingford Managing Director Ravi Chandiramani Publishing Director Tom Curtiss CEO Ben Allen Chairman Mark Allen SUBSCRIPTIONS UK: 0800 137 201 Overseas: +44 (0)1722 716997 ADVERTISING +44 (0)20 7501 6683

25 and counting…

It’s been a humbling experience putting together this special 25th anniversary issue of Songlines. Humbling, because of the realisation of not being alone. As someone who has spent a large chunk of their life researching obscure Colombian bandleaders from the 1950s, even more obscure Uruguayan guitarists from the 1960s, and countless small labels and local musicians everywhere from São Paulo to the heights of the Peruvian Andes, and f inding very few people who share those precise interests, it’s wonderful to f ind that I’m part of a community.

The idea behind the feature to celebrate our anniversary was simple: to f ind 25 stories, one from every year of Songlines’ life. The hard part was choosing which stories to focus on. Over the past months I’ve been speaking to contributors and digging through our archives to f ind stories that needed retelling. I hope you agree that it’s a good selection. I certainly feel like it’s a great advert for what Songlines does. Ultimately, we’re a magazine about music and people, regardless of geography, race, gender, class or any other broad description you may want to throw at someone.

In total, 47 writers contributed to this issue, and putting it together I realised how passionate they all are about music and people, and how lucky I am to get to work with them all. To our contributors therefore I would like to say a huge thank you for all

your efforts, in this issue, and prior, a thought I’m sure former editors of the magazine concur with. Thanks also to all the photographers, artists, record labels, PRs and the production team at Songlines for their continued support. We couldn’t do it without you! Also, special thanks this issue to René Goiffon whose photo of the Tartit Ensemble from 2003’s Festival au Desert in Mali adorns the cover. “The most amazing festival I ever attended,” René recalls.

One of the things that struck me while reading our ‘25 Years of Songlines’ feature (pages 28-47) was the generational nature of music, how each new generation has their own take on traditions, and how it’s always a balance between paying respect and creating something new. It’s there with Ondatrópica, Warsaw Village Band, Gaye Su Akyol, Bellowhead, the Garifuna Collective, Abel Selaocoe and classical music’s new class, and now with the many Irish artists who became a f ixture of this magazine in 2023. It will continue no doubt, and we will continue trying to capture the magic when it does.

Russ Slater Johnson, Editor P.S. We have important news relating to our covermount CD, see page 10 to get the lowdown.


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Songlines is published by MA Music Leisure & Travel Ltd St Jude’s Church, Dulwich Rd, London, SE24 0PB, UK +44 (0)20 7738 5454

© MA Music Leisure & Travel Ltd, 2023. All rights reserved. No part of Songlines may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the publishing director. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the editor or Songlines advertisements in the journal do not imply endorsement of the products or services advertised. Please read our privacy policy, by visiting This will explain how we process, use and safeguard your data. ISSN 1464-8113. Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Dowlais, CF48 3TD Record trade distribution Songlines 020 7738 5454 Newstrade distribution Marketforce 020 3787 9101

Jo Frost

Former Songlines editor, Jo is now enjoying life as a freelance journalist. This issue she

grooves to the olllam (p20), checks out a new Sam Lee doc (p11) and harks back to Bellowhead (p36) and Spell Songs (p43)

Martin Longley Marty started writing for Songlines in 2001,

and also pens for sister journal Jazzwise. He’s normally on the road, which is the case

this issue where he offers a dispatch from

Belgrade’s noisy innards (p87)

Fiona Talkington A BBC radio presenter, including 20 years with the award-winning Late Junction, Fiona is also a curator who works extensively with Nordic music. She revisits Kimmo Pohjonen’s unique charge on p37

Songlines was launched in 1999 and is the definitive magazine for world music – music that has its roots in all parts of the globe, from Mali to Mexico, India to Iraq. Whether this music is defined as traditional, contemporary, folk or fusion, Songlines is the only magazine to truly represent and embrace it. However, Songlines is not just about music, but about how the music f its into the landscape; it’s about politics, history and identity. Delivered in both print and digital formats, Songlines, through its extensive articles and reviews, is your essential and independent guide to a world of music and culture, whether you are starting on your journey of discovery or are already a seasoned fan.