Madonna eyes Carthage appearance … but wants germ-free stage

Madonna
Updated 19 May 2017
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Madonna eyes Carthage appearance … but wants germ-free stage

JEDDAH: American pop star Madonna is in talks with the organizers of the International Festival of Carthage to perform at the annual Tunisian music extravaganza.
Nessma TV reported that both sides have agreed on $450,000 payment for the 58-year old singer, but she had a very specific, unusual condition — she asked the festival management to provide a certificate stating that the places where she will stay and perform are both free of any contagious diseases.
The 53rd edition of the Carthage festival will be held from July 13 to Aug. 19. It will feature 19 performances, including one by Turkish artist and actor Halit Ergenç, who acquired widespread popularity in the Arab world through his role as the magnificent Sultan Suleiman in the Hareem Al–Sultan show.
French singer Charles Aznavour will be paid 800,000 Tunisian dinars ($331,500) for performing at the fest, reported Nessma TV.
In the past, the festival has played host to Youssou N’Dour, Dalida, James Brown, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Alpha Blondy, Joe Cocker, Serge Lama and Gérard Lenorman. It has been the venue of several plays, folk dances and ballet performances.


Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 22 May 2018
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Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster, one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.