Month: August 2015

Maafe a west African stew with peanut sauce

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Photo on 23-08-2015 at 19.40

This is a truly delicious West African recipe, a very savoury stew made with chicken or lamb and vegetables in a spicy peanut sauce. IMG_2512Children really love this sauce!IMG_2529

I like to make Maffe with Lamb but my wife she prefers it with chicken. when I  make Maafe with Lamb I buy lamb leg or a cheaper cut like shoulder on the bone cut into pieces from our nearby halal butcher, I also sometimes make this dish with goat or mutton as I like the stronger flavour. I never measure anything, it is all by what feels right to put into the pot.

You will need for four people

Lamb or chicken leg pieces on the bone 1/2 kilo approx depends how hungry you are. Or no meat at all and make it veggie which is just as delicious

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cooking the chicken legs before adding the prepared vegetables

Vegetables of your choice

Vegetables I like to use are a combination of Sweet potato, Squash, carrot, potato, cassava, Aubergine, a couple of slices from a whole green cabbage leaving some stalk to hold it together, red peppers and sometimes some sliced green beans. Quantity I judge according towhat I have available, the size of my cooking pot and how hungry everyone is.

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I promise these chickens were not cooked in the maafe, they were just curious and liked the look of the big tomato in the bowl

2 x Tablespoon on ground nut or vegetable oil

Tomatoes 1x Tin chopped or 6 x fresh chopped

tomato puree 1 tsp

Scotch Bonnet chilli x2 whole not split or chopped

2 Tablespoons of Smooth Peanut butter

Stock cube if you wish

fresh thyme a couple of twigs

cracked black pepper, salt

I prepare the vegetables by peeling/washing and cutting into large pieces as I want them to stay whole in the sauce. The cabbage I cut into segments held together by some stalk so they cook as a whole piece. the sweet potato, potato, squash, carrots I cut into approx. 5 cm pieces

I usually start by cooking the lamb or chicken pieces in a low sided saucepan with a lid that we have as it is easy to see what is going on and things cook evenly, when the meat is browned I add some chopped anion and a little garlic to the pan with the meat, I cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat then add chopped tomatoes ( fresh chopped or a tin) I let this cook down a bit until it gets darker and thicker then I add cracked black pepper 1/2 tsp, stock cube and approx 500ml water and bring it up to a good simmer for 15 or twenty minutes or so.IMG_2507

I then add my vegetables, stir, add a little more water if it is too thick but not so much water that it covers the vegetables, and  add a couple of whole scotch Bonnet chilli ( they must be whole and un pierced so take care of them when stirring) bring to simmer and put on lid

I simmer it for another 10 minutes or so occasionally stirring and checking it is not drying out and sticking, the sauce needs to be not too thick and there needs to be enough of it to just cover the vegetables.

I then add 1 large heaped Tablespoon of smooth peanut butter, it is easier to add this if you take some sauce in a bowl and stir the peanut butter into that and then add it to the pan. Taste the sauce and if you wish add another tablespoon of peanut butter.

the peanut butter will really thicken the sauce, add more if you wish but be aware it is a rich sauce and can become too much of a good thing! it can also burn easily so keep the temperature right down and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until all the vegetables are cooked and the meat is tender.

check seasoning and add more to taste if needed.

there should be plenty of sauce to pour over rice with the vegetables and meat. I like to have one of the scotch bonnet on the side of my plate to squish for its lovely hot juices. Serve with lots of fluffy rice. We usually like to eat it traditional senegalese style arranged on a large flat plate or tray with a bed of rice and the meat vegetables and sauce beautifully arranged on top, then each person has a spoon and their own part of the dish to plow into.
DELICIOUS!Photo on 23-08-2015 at 19.40 #2

Playing live on Radio for BBC Wiltshire

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The very next day after returning home from visiting the BBC in London for interviews and performances on Focus Africa and the World Service, I was back in a Radio Station Studio for BBC Wiltshire, so not quite so far from home this time. The presenter Marie Lennon made me feel very welcome and it was an enjoyable relaxed interview, I then played one of the tracks from my new album Ligeey, this is a video of me performing the track Sama Yon.

BBC Radio and TV interviews, plus swans, boats and ice cream!

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Outside the BBC ready with my guitar

This week I had the good luck to be invited to travel to London for interviews and performances on both the BBC Focus Africa program and World Service Radio. I got to London the day before so I could be fresh and prepared for the next day, suit and guitar at the ready. We had a bit of a struggle to find a place to stay in London, as being August many friends and family in the area were away and sofas were in short supply. Luckily my good friend and record label magician Kirstie came to the rescue and she organised for us to stay on a boat called “Day in the Life” in East London with a wonderful host called Ian.

This was my first time Sleeping on a boat, and I was pretty nervous about it, but I was assured that it was a very well kept boat indeed and there was no danger, it would be staying safely tied to the jetty that night.

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In fact the boat was very comfortable indeed, with a nice comfy bed, lovely views over the water and interesting neighbours floating by.
I had a great guitar jam session with Ian that evening on his boat and met some the locals including these beautiful and curious swans.

On our travels Kirstie and I met a very friendly member of the London Underground staff who knew all about West African music and who was a DJ in his spare time. I told him about Ligéey – good publicity! I hope he checks out my music and decides to play some!

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I arrived at the BBC on the Tuesday fresh and relaxed after a great night staying on the boat and changed into my snappy suit.

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Whilst wandering around we found the BBC News Desk which required a picture immediately and a bit of pretending to present the news of course.

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warming up before playing live for BBC interview and performance
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a quick guitar tuning getting ready for BBC Interview and performance

The first interview on BBC Focus on Africa was with Peter Okwoche – I played a couple of tracks from Ligéey and answered Peter’s questions. The producer Chakuchanya Harawa from Malawi is also singer and musician and he had a little go on the guitar before going about his busy day.

Bola Mosuro& Amadou @ BBC Studio interview (1)
with Bola Mosuro at BBC Studio

The second interview that day was on BBC World Service Radio with Bola Mosuro. She is originally from Nigeria and knows a lot about Senegal and the music scene there. Bola requested that I played her favourite songs from my album Ligéey, Sam Fall and Fouta. I told her the stories of the songs and she asked me if I minded that people who didn’t speak Wolof might miss the meanings of the songs. I said don’t mind – if people feel the music in their hearts and get the message to be kind and strong and gentle then I am happy

Then after all the enjoyable work at the BBC it was time for some food at the Bamboo Flute nearby- delicious scallops and rice and dumplings.

followed by ice cream in hyde park mmm! such a busy day made me hungry

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Then we made a trip to Brixton for some Jamaican food at a friend called Jane’s flat. There was an outside pool too but by then I was exhausted and the evening was getting too cold for a swim.

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So finally it was time to go home very late on the coach. Sleeping all the way ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

New outfit for photo shoot

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When you are working hard creating,writing, recording it is easy to forget dressing the part, so when the time came for a photoshoot to be arranged I realised I needed to come up with at least one outfit suitable to do the album some justice. lucky I am also a tailor then!

A friend had given me a pin stripe suit some time before that I had never worn as it was a little on the large side, I liked the idea of a pin stripe suit as the album is called Ligeey which is a wolof word meaning work and what better way to look like I am meaning business!

I have a good industrial sewing machine I use so it was not hard to make some changes to the fit of the suit. Slimmer trouser legs and sleeves, a better fit around the body, a new lining with a bright african wax print, then adding touches of the same fabric to the tops of the pockets too.

My lovely wife found a black hat in our local charity shop to which I added some of the same fabric as a hat band. I then reworked a plain yellow shirt, giving it a bold stand up collar in the same fabric and some applique strips down the front of it.

My wife loves collecting beads so she strung up some of her favourite ones as a necklace for me that picked up the colours from the fabric I had used. She says the necklace contains a mix of some old African amber, venetian glass, wood and some of her most prized hand painted indian rose wood beads.

preparing for photo shoot for new album LigeeyIMG_2437

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New Album Ligéey being released this week!

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The culmination of months of hard but enjoyable work has finally come together and my new album is being released this week on the 14th by Long Tale Recordings.  This is a truly exciting the time and really just the beginning, I feel like I am riding the train that is on the album cover, next stop radio interviews, then jump on that plane, get out there and tour this music everywhere around the world, grab a taxi and zoom!

Ligéey Album Cover

This song is a dance, a West African kind of Salsa popular before Mbalax became the rhythm of Senegal. It is slow, it is sexy, it is music that says don’t leave me, dance with me, don’t let me go. You can dance all evening on a hot west African night to this rhythm.

The fantastic artwork for the album was created by David Cox. My wife has known David for many years as the dad of her school friend and occasional art teacher at Looking Glass school and then as the lecturer in charge of an animation course she took. As she was struggling to come up with both time and ideas for the album artwork she called David to ask for some help, little expecting that he would be so taken with the album and the concept that he offered to create an original piece of artwork for Ligéey. The word Ligéey means Work in Wolof, this album is a result of my work as a musician, it is a piece of my work as an artist, as too is the creation for the cover made by David, the amazing creative talents of the musicians who have played on the album, Beth Porter, Phil Dawson, Mark Smulian, Gani Tamir, Myke Vince, and the skill and wealth of experience of the producer on this album Mark Smulian, and mastering skill of Sefi Carmel.

Ligéey Artwork in progress

This is the art work in progress. David created a 3D construction from cardboard boxes cereal packets and postal tape which when he is happy with the design is then painted with household emulsion.

” Letters painted red or orange to stand out from the background. Then I get to work with my paint’s and colour pencil. Buildings white, the rest a limited range of colours to maximise the 3D qualities of the piece and shadows.”

“A tribute to all the workers, those who have made our cities, towns and villages, those that feed us and provide water, those that get us to our destination, those that keep the roads open and safe, those help when we are in danger or sick, those collect the and recycle rubbish, those that make our clothes, those who teach us, those that sing and play music, on and on…”               D. Cox

this is a link to a page about David Cox on the WOMAD Website http://womad.org/artists/david-cox/

Animation by David Cox for MIX IT UP by The Kingstonians ( this is some of David’s previous animation work that can be found on you tube)

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I think the artwork really fits the album beautifully, it is music to travel to, music to dance to, and I hope it is music to move the listener both physically but also in a soulful, joyful, and thoughtful way too.

I have not been able at this point to upload some short tasters of the new album but hopefully we will sort that out soon, also watch this space for some exciting video projects for the album that are taking shape now.

If you wish to check out my new album on Amazon her is the link for Ligéey

and here is the Amazon USA Link for Ligeey

and here is the link for Long Tale Recordings http://longtalerecordings.com