Series tracing the roots of African music, featuring some of the continent's major artists
Tinariwen, the robed guitar slingers from the Sahara, became successful in the first decade of the 21st century thanks to their slinky desert-blues riffs. The music of the desert has had a fascination for Western musicians, with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones travelling to Morocco to record the extraordinary traditional drummers and pipe players of Joujouka, and more recently Robert Plant and Jimmy Page collaborating with North African musicians on their reunion album No Quarter - Unledded. Meanwhile, Rai musicians from Algeria moved to France to shake up the French music scene. The programme follows the careers of Rai stars like Khaled and the Arab rocker Rachid Taha, and also the great female singers who have emerged from Islamic North Africa and from further east in Christian Ethiopia. Featuring Tinariwen, Khaled, Rachid Taha, Emmanuel Jal (Sudan), Souad Massi (Algeria), Maryam Mursal (Somalia), Amina (Tunisia), and Gigi and Aster Aweke from Ethiopia.
This edition illustrates how South Africa's vibrant music scene developed in the apartheid era when songs were used as a way of hitting back against repression, just as they were in the fight against white rule in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Back in the late 1950s and 60s, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela were the first African artists to find success in the west, thanks to their blend of American jazz styles and mbaqanga - South Africa's rousing homegrown pop. More recently, a new generation of singers and hip-hop artists have been trying to repeat their success and create their own new styles, mixing local influences with their continuing fascination with black American music. Featured artists include Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Thomas Mapfumo and newcomers Thandiswa and Simphiwe Dana.