Editor-in-chief Simon Broughton Publisher & Managing Director Paul Geoghegan Editor Alexandra Petropoulos Assistant Editor & Reviews Editor Olivia Cheves Art Director Juliet Boucher Sub Editor & Online Content Writer Spencer Grady Advertisement Manager James Anderson-Hanney Online Content Editor James McCarthy News Editor Russ Slater Listings Editor Tatiana Rucinska World Cinema Editor John Atkinson Marketing Manager John Barnett Marketing Assistant Emma Coull Cover Image Jeremy De Luna Contributing Editors Jane Cornwell, Mark Ellingham & Nigel Williamson Subscriptions Director Sally Boettcher Editorial Director Martin Cullingford CEO Ben Allen Chairman Mark Allen SUBSCRIPTIONS UK: 0800 137 201 Overseas: +44 (0)1722 716997 subscriptions@markallengroup.com ADVERTISING +44 (0)20 7501 6683

We didn’t start the fire

Music is a universal language. This o -repeated adage is a lovely thought – that no matter the linguistic, cultural or political barriers between us, we humans can connect via a vocabulary of beats, bass and melodies. This issue’s cover stars Ibibio Sound Machine not only embody this idea – their upbeat Afro-funk gigs get audiences dancing, whether they understand the lyrics or not – but they also follow this thought through to its next logical progression. A er making a name for themselves singing mostly in the Ibibio language of south-eastern Nigeria, their latest album Electricity sees them adding more English into the mix, but English that is heavily influenced by Ibibio. Allowing the tonal characteristics of the African language to dictate the pitch and rhythm of their English lyrics, they have taken that ‘universal language’ and created an open conversation of cultures. (Read more on p24.)


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As Gerald Seligman says in his Soapbox (p89), ‘sometimes cultures suddenly catch fire. There is a flash of creativity that builds, spreads, sustains itself… It o en sparks when contrary elements impact one another unexpectedly.’ This perfectly describes the origins of Congolese rumba – Cuban music brought to the Congo in the 40s and 50s collided with African rhythms, igniting a wildfire that spread across the African continent and beyond (see p40). Or perhaps it is the spark conjured between the striking of English folk against the flint of improvisation that makes Knight & Spiers’ music so intriguing (see p34). However these cultural meetings manifest, there are countless bonfires of creativi found within these pages, so grab some marshmallows and tuck in!

Alexandra Petropoulos, editor

There are countless bonfires of creativity found within these pages

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PS Don’t forget to book tickets to our Songlines Encounters Festival, making its welcome return to London’s Kings Place this May, see p20



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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 info@songlines.co.uk www.songlines.co.uk

© MA Music Leisure & Travel Ltd, 2022. 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 privacypolicy.markallengroup.com. This will explain how we process, use and safeguard your data. ISSN 1464-8113. Printed by: Pensord Press Ltd, Blackwood, NP12 2A Record trade distribution Songlines 020 7738 5454 Newstrade distribution Marketforce 020 3787 9101

Charlie Cawood Charlie is a composer and multiinstrumentalist who performs with cult psychedelic octet Knifeworld and classical/ choral ensemble Mediaeval Baebes. He catches up with tonkori player OKI (p81).

Lucy Hallam Lucy is a Paris-based writer and musician, with a particular interest in participatory music and music in advocacy. This issue she speaks to cover stars Ibibio Sound Machine about their new album (p24).

James Catchpole James is a freelance music writer who has been based in Japan for 24 years. He currently hosts the all-genre OK Jazz Podcast on KOL Radio. This issue he dives into the history of Congolese rumba (p40).

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 fits into the landscape; it’s about politics, history and identi . 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.