News

A car bomb has exploded in the Malian town of Kidal, killing at least two UN peacekeepers.

Africa Express, Hotel de Ville, Paris

Journey to the heart of Africa

Simon Calder: Gimme gimme gimme...a meal after 10am

Can you hear the drums? While British Airways battles on in what its chief executive calls a "fight for survival", the airline's misfortunes are chiming with the songbook of Sweden's only supergroup.

Album: Jayme Stone/ Mansa Sissoko, Africa to Appalachia, (JS 200)

Banjo-player Jayme Stone "became curious about what kind of music didn't make it across the ocean on slave ships from Mali and Senegal in the 1700-1800s", and then he met kora-master Mansa Sissoko, and with him evolved what is now termed musique recyclé.

Manchester United sign Diouf from Molde

Manchester United have signed promising striker Mame Biram Diouf from Molde.

Airbus crash 'not caused by breaking up in flight'

The Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic last month with 228 people on board was not destroyed in mid-air but hit the water intact and at high speed, French investigators said today.

Hip-hop gets serious

Sister Fa turned to music to protest at injustices towards women in her home country of Senegal. She explains to Matilda Egere-Cooper why she was born to be a rebel

Baaba Maal, Royal Festival Hall, London

There's a storm blowing through south London. Inside, all looks calm, as Baaba Maal sits in a gold suit reminiscent of Elvis, and quietly sings. But just like Elvis in his '68 Comeback Special, seeing Maal seated suggests the tense, coiled power of what will happen when he stands. Senegal's greatest star is a precisely dramatic, reliably exhilarating performer, and has a fine new album, Television, to refresh his sound. As befits a gig for Ornette Coleman's Meltdown festival, there are guests too, including a fresh-voiced VV Brown who looks momentarily floored by having to follow Maal's piercing roar. A man who believes music transforms societies, Maal throws his whole body into getting under our skins.

The Word On... Baaba maal, Television

"Although it boasts a handful of pleasant and even memorable tunes, the overall impression of 'Television' is that Maal is too discreet a presence on his own album. His famously strident vocals are surprisingly subdued and/or mixed down." - Jon Lusk, bbc.co.uk/music

Album: Baaba Maal, Television (Palm)

It was a surprise to learn that Brian Eno wasn't involved in this multilayered, subtly textured album. For example, the slowly building "International" is pure My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, with its airport-Tannoy female voice reeling off world cities to a complex ethnic groove of unknown provenance. Top marks to this Senegalese star for coming back after eight years with a sound somewhat removed from the obviously African, but so coolly 21st century. A sublime, fully realised success.

Observations: A panoramic view of travel

If you want to give your children a taste for travel, or show them the world without leaving the bedroom – perhaps the preferable option in these lean times – then take a trip through the monochrome world of Panorama, a new children's book that adults seem to coo over as well. It is conceived by Fani Marceau and realised by the illustrator Joëlle Jolivet. Jolivet is the prolific artist responsible for, among other books, the bestselling 365 Penguins.

Orchestra Baobab, Barbican, London

Comeback stars still hot to trot

Baaba Maal: 'Say what you believe is true'

When Baaba Maal performs, you see something extraordinary, almost supernatural – the will and power to change the world

Akon, Indigo2, London

Reviewed by Nick Hasted
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