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Editor-in-chief Simon Broughton Publisher & Managing Director Paul Geoghegan Editor Russ Slater Assistant Editor Emma Rycroft Art Director Juliet Boucher Sub Editor & Online Content Writer Spencer Grady Advertisement Manager James Anderson-Hanney Online Content Editor James McCarthy Reviews Editor Olivia Cheves Listings Editor Tatiana Rucinska Assisted this issue by Alexandra Petropoulos Marketing Manager John Barnett Marketing Assistant Oscar Faulkner Cover Image Sandra Mehl 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 ADVERTISING +44 (0)20 7501 6683


It is with huge pride that I get to write my first ever introduction as the editor of Songlines. As news editor for several years, and a contributor for many more before that, it’s been an immense pleasure to work with Alexandra, Jo and Simon (the previous editors) over the years and I am in no doubt that they have le behind big shoes to fill, especially if my first weeks are anything to go by. It’s been busy, but I do already feel grateful to have an amazing team around me.

When Simon Broughton, then editor, wrote the introduction to our first issue in 1999 he laid out one of Songlines’ aims: ‘What’s needed now is guidance – to highlight the best and warn against the dross,’ a statement made in relation to the growing amount of music being made available on CD. These days, this guidance is needed more than ever. Last year it was announced that Spoti uploads 10,000 tracks each day, that’s 36.5m per year. We’ve got our work cut out, but the aim remains!

And hopefully this issue is a great example. One of the things I’ve always loved about Songlines, and which makes it unique as a music magazine in my eyes, is the overlap between music and socie . In this issue we see how both World War II and the Bosnian War had an impact on sevdah and its recent revival (p30), we discuss the idea of paradise (with a few strong words for Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos) and Brazil’s recent elections with Lucas Santtana (p20), we find an Israeli orchestra pointedly impervious to religion, ethnici and sectarianism (p17), and we hear how societal stigma stopped Kimi Djabaté straying from his traditional roots… until now (p38). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so I probably should go and make sure we’re on track, as there’s still plen to do. Who said nothing ever happens in January?

I already feel grateful to have an amazing team around me

Visit our website for more details about our carbon offsetting:


Russ Slater, editor



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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, Blackwood, NP12 2A Record trade distribution Songlines 020 7738 5454 Newstrade distribution Marketforce 020 3787 9101

Jo Setters

Jo is a Madrid-based writer and researcher interested in Spanish, Middle Eastern and North African music. He is also a dedicated jazz fan, which no doubt led him to Majid

Bekkas, who he profiles on p68.

Daniel Brown Based in France, Daniel is a freelance journalist with over 30 years of experience. This issue he interviews Guts (p28) about the French producer’s serendipitous continental supergroup.

Billy Rough Based in Fife, Scotland, Billy is an art historian, writer and regular reviewer. In this issue he speaks to Firelight Trio (p14), a newly-formed group featuring three of

Scotland’s finest folk talents.

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.



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