Charlie Gillett – In memorium

Very sad news today, the passing of Charlie Gillett, a wonderfully warm DJ and great music lover – or perhaps just lover of great music.

Because that was the special thing about Charlie Gillett, the fact that he really seemed to enjoy the music he played. His wide ranging taste for culture crossing tunes was based on the fact that he just loved good music.

He started out, as most of us know, as a regular DJ, playing the music that he knew and loved – rock and roll. But during the late 1970s he began to be exposed to African music, and without even having much knowledge of it, managed to start playing a wide selection of world music records on his radio shows.

It didnt take him long to become an authority though, and I was always impressed by his apparently encyclopaedic knowledge which informed the links on his shows.

He wasnt a text-book DJ, not a smooth talker or witty one line dropper, rather he conversed, with warmth, passion, and enthusiasm, with his guests and his listeners. His shows were all the more charming and wonderful for that.

So my sympathies are with his family and friends, and I hope for the rest of us that we shall see his like again, but I doubt it.

The World Service have been playing some of his archived ‘World Music Classics’ shows, which are always worth a ‘listen again’.


World music in Grimsby

Baka beyond are playing tonight as a five-piece, should be excellent. St James’ church, 7.30, tickets are £12 on the door.

It will be a shame if there are any empty seats, get along if you can – although I know there is some serious competition with Hayseed Dixie playing just down the road.

If you’re interested in the band, or the people that have inspired them, and provided much of the material for the albums and songs which have flowed over the last couple of decades, visit their youtube channel.

Here’s a good one as a taster, got to love that Yelli….

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6 Music petition – please sign it

I’ve written before about my great love for and enjoyment of BBC 6music, the radio station which is a cultural haven for discerning music lovers, and those who like to be challenged in their musical consumption.

As we heard the other day, the BBC thinks it would be better to axe it, and apparently the plan is to move the best of 6music over to Radio 2, which I think would be a disaster. The two stations are not comparable, and do not serve the same audience.

If you agree with me, perhaps you are one of the many new listeners to 6music who have just arrived having heard all the commotion, or perhaps you are one of the longer standing listeners, as am I, then please sign this petition, and tell the BBC what you think of their plans.

baka beyond come to town

Grimsby does sometimes get called the back of beyond, so it seems somehow fitting that the now veteran (well, they have been around for about 20 years now) world music artists ‘baka beyond‘ are coming to town next week.

In an unusual turn, it seems that the town is hosting a mini world music festival, with gigs and workshops featuring talent from near and far.

Without doubt the highlight will be the baka beyond gig, which is going to be hosted by Saint James Church, a magnificent cathedral like space, which although it seems a little  incongruous will surely be a great venue for this exciting and exotic band.

Baka beyond have been around for yonks, and have pioneered their own form of African Celtic fusion, which remains really fresh and joyful.

I did moan to the festival organiser that I should realy have been given a DJ slot somewhere in the festival, somehow they have overlooked my prodigious talents for those of other somewhat better qualified people – ho hum.

Supporting baka beyond are The Zagros Band, who I am looking forward to hearing, got to admit, I’m not currently familiar with their output, but I’m hoping there’s going to be some stomping Balkan tunes in there somewhere.

Other artists appearing over the weekend are The Hut People and ever popular local band Merlin’s Keep, should all be good.

And in the meantime I’m still dreaming of the day when the Grimsby world music festival announces joint headliners Rachid Taha and Manu Chao – now that would be some gig…

My Christmas in words and numbers

We’re still in the grips of the winter freeze here, I’m personally wearing four layers of tops, which for someone who famously ‘doesnt feel the cold’ is a bit of a shock. The empty shop below us seems to have impacted the overall temperature of the flat, which is a shame. Never mind,  the empty cafe next door to us has been leased and will open as a coffee shop in February so we’re told – woo hoo.

Anyway, I’ve read a few blogs recently where people much cleverer than I are giving their predictions for the year ahead, and highlights of the year gone by, well I wont try and do that, just not cool enough for that really. All I can say is that 2009 wasnt a bad year for us all in all, it had good points and low points, and in general its a year I’ll look back on as pretty good. I hope that 2010 will turn out the same or better – my one prediction is that there will be a general election, and the Lib Dems will play a more important part in it than ever before. I still think its too close to call the winner at the moment.

Oh and my other prediction is that my book, New Monasticism UK, will be published this year – woo hoo.

Anyway – for fact fans out there, here is my Christmas in some words and numbers:

Nut loaves consumed: 1 (Mushroom and cashew nut actually.)

Glasses of whisky and ginger ale consumed by Kelly: 2 (traditional present wrapping drink)

Non Christmas parties attended: 3 (winter solstice, birthday, birthday)

Indiana Jones Movies watched: 4

Times I guiltily peaked at email on my phone: 5

Lie ins: 6 (thanks Kel!)

Average weekly mince pie consumption: 7 (tut tut.)

Approximate number of times I thought ‘I wish I sent Christmas cards’: 8

Times I’ve worn my new (2nd hand) army boots: 9

Toes remaining despite arctic weather: 10 (same with fingers!)

Time I went to bed on Christmas eve: 11 (yeah I know.)

Days of Christmas: 12

Actual days off for Christmas: 13

Amount of letters in the band name Vampire Weekend: 14.

And that is about all you need to know. Happy new year.