I have been hard at work these last few months making my new album Ligeey. This is a wolof word which actually means work, so very apt because to record and release an album is very hard Ligeey indeed, but so worth it!
I have found such great inspiration with the musicians I am working with, the process has been full of excitement, laughing, enjoying the ride, it is so good when creativity comes together like that.
The new album reflects the enjoyment we had making it, there is an open quality to it, a wide eyed wonder. If we liked how something worked in a track we put it in regardless of fitting into any stereotypes of what African music should be. This is not a traditional album but as they say its roots are showing.
My co- creative on the Ligeey project is Producer Mark Smulian
Smulian has produced Platinum and Gold albums for a number of internationally successful Israeli artists. In addition to producing he has had a huge involvement in the Middle-Eastern crossover music scene, working with a variety of musicians from both the Israeli and Palestinian regions and with artists from a vast range of different cultural and political backgrounds.
Mark is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Jamaà a world music collective that represents artists and bands from the Middle East.
he has a wiki here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Smulian
we met at a music making week called Schtumm which is an invitation only event for music creatives held in Box near Corsham in Wiltshire around the beautiful Real World Studio’s rehearsal rooms and the local pub The Queens Head.
Yup thats me standing outside the amazing Real World Studios having just had lunch there, Mark and I had a meeting that day with Long Tale Recordings after we had been working on the album for some weeks already.
We were so lucky to get the very wonderful and extremely busy Beth Porter to come put some Cello arrangements on a few tracks. www.bethporter
Beth is constantly in demand as a cellist for the likes of Eliza Carthy, Peter Gabriel, Newton Faulkner, The Unthanks, Kula Shaker and many acts from the South West of England, (Babel, The Cedar, The Stringbeans, Jane Taylor, Get The Blessing, Reg Meuross & Jim Moray
From Nahalal-near Nazareth- in the Jezreel Valley in Israel, Gani is one of Israel’s most creative and important vocalists. With her special blend of world/jazz/alternative music, singing in English, Hebrew and Arabic, Gani brings a unique color to the World/Jazz improvisatory scene.
Gani’s credits are far too many to list here but it can be summed up by saying that she has worked with every major artist in Israel and others from all over the world.
Gani has put some of her beautiful vocals on a number of tracks for this album singing in Hebrew, Wolof and English. The track Sam Fall features Amadou and Gani singing in Wolof and Hebrew respectively, Gani sings “give/support to the children
give to the children form your heart”
Phil Dawson has put some spectacular, pyrotechnic guitar on a couple of tracks for the the album. There is a perfect air guitar moment I promise! There is crunch and wail goodness to delight.
Phil has worked with so many fantastic artists, it is hard to choose who to mention, you can see the full list on his website.
Damon Albarn, Amadou and Mariam, Dele Sosimi, Hugh Masekela, Tony Allen …….. the list goes on and on!
Not sure why I am wearing shades indoors here, probably just overwhelmed by excitement as the album is finally finished, this is me enjoying the day whilst the album is being mastered by Sefi Carmel http://www.soundtrack-creation.com at his ( I hate to use the word stunning but I felt stunned, probably why I am wearing shades,) awesome studio in London. Look at me I am sitting there trying very hard not to reach over and slide something! I want to play!
Mastering an album is an essential final process once all the tracks have been mixed, a good professional mastering job can make a huge difference to the over all listening quality of the final album.
If you want to know more about the process of mastering music and why it is nessesary here is a good wiki lnk
Sefi Carmel is an award winning London based composer, sound designer, producer and mixer. He has been creating soundtracks for films, TV, commercials and games for over a decade.
His diverse credits range from work on A list Hollywood feature films with the likes of Ridley Scott, John Woo, Chris Columbus and Kevin Reynolds; to mixing, remixing and mastering tracks for David Bowie, Phil Collins, Bruno Mars, Michael Bublé, Massive Attack, BB king and many more.
I think as you can see the mastering of the album was in safe hands indeed!
The new album Ligeey is being released by Long tale Recordings on the 14th August 2015, you can find out more and buy copies if you follow this link to their website longtalerecordings.com
There is more information about me, my music and upcoming gigs etc on this website here amadou.longtalerecordings.com
Caldo a delicious fish dish from Senegal
Last night I cooked up a Caldo for the family, a traditional West African favourite dish. My wife was seriously impressed so she wants the recipe, I dont really do recipies though as I mostly cook by feel and what I like, the dishes that remind me of Senegal and sharing meals with my big family. As a small boy in Senegal I would go help the fishermen hall in their catch at the beach and be rewarded with beautiful fresh fish, I would take my earnings home and this is the dish we would live to cook and eat. This Caldo of sorts was made from whatever I could find in the cupboards and freezer though traditionally in Senegal we make it with a fish called Rouget which I think is red Mullet, a very delicious fish indeed.
This was not a planned dinner at all though, so I was using what we had to hand which was some pollock fillets from the freezer, not so glamourous but cheap. This recipe really worked well for the not so interesting pollock as the sauce has a lot of flavour to it ( there is some smoked salmon fillet there too, my wife had just returned with her reduced to clear prize from the supermarket so it went in the pot of course)
this is my sort of Caldo recipe
Fillets of fish ( I used pollock fillets ) Red Mullet would be delicious or sea bream, If using those fish I would keep them whole, slit the skin and rub the marinade into the fish then leave covered in the fridge for 2 hours then preferably grill or barbeque, delicious! but this is the family supper and the poor mans version.
I always serve this with plain white rice, we often use broken basmatti as it is cheaper and works well with other dishes like chembu yap where the rice is cooked in the sauce.
4 Pollock Fillet (or the lux version with whole red mullet, marinated as above and grilled or barbequed)
2 onions sliced
1 small green pepper diced
1 or 2 carrots depending on size diced to same size as pepper
2 Bay leaves
1 large tablespoon of smooth Dijon mustard
Marrigold Buillon powder or a good stock cube smushed
2 tablespoons vegetable or groundnut oil
1 or 2 fresh whole scotch bonnet chilli ( They go in whole and must not be pierced, take care that they do not burst when you are stirring the sauce. The scotch Bonnet give a great flavour to the sauce without too much heat if they are cooked whole, I like to put mine on the side of my plate to squish for the flavoursome juices and the heat.
Salt to taste at end of cooking
Ground black pepper a couple of pinch ( to taste )
Basmatti rice to serve with the dish ( we tend to use the broken basmati as it is cheaper and we like to use it with other dishes like Chembu Yap where the rice is cooked in the sauce.
First make a marinade for the fish. Mix the sliced onions with the crushed stock cube or buillon powder, add the tablespoon of mustard,the ground plack pepper, the bay leaves (ripped to release the flavour), I like to add some of the pared or grated rind from the lemon to the marinade too. Slather his all over the fish then add a tablespoon of vegetable or groundnut oil, cover and put in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate.
When ready to start cooking, remove the fish from the marinade and put aside to grill or bake.
For cooking the sauce I like to use a low sided heavy bottom saucepan, I add a little oil and when just hot enough I add the onions from the Marinade ( with the bay leaves mustard and all) I cook for a minute then add the carrot and chopped green pepper, let this sweat through untill the onions are translucent stirring to prevent it catching. Then I add the tomatoes and if needed a small cup of water, stir and then add the scotch bonnet and let simmer with a lid on for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile I prepare the rice and heat the grill or oven.
I tend to lightly wash the rice then add it to a saucepan with cold water reaching about 1 cm above the rice, add salt, then I bring it to the boil on a high heat. When the water has evaporated from the surface and small craters are starting to form as the steam escapes, I turn the heat right down as low as it goes and put a lidd on it, a heat diffuser matt is handy for this. I let the rice steam for 10 minutes or so ( I check it from time to time) the rice should be cooked and should fluff and separate with a fork) Whilst the rice and the sauce is cooking I get the fish ready either putting it under a hot grill or putting it in a suitable baking dish with a couple of tablespoons of water and covering it with foil then putting it in the oven ( this works well for skinned fillets)
Before serving I add the juice of a lemon to the sauce and check for easeoning then I serve it up with the sauce piled on the rice and the fish on the side with some sliced lemon and my lovely scotch bonnet to squish.