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Dollars to Pounds: Tribal Gathering

September 04, 2008

It’s not every day you get sent an album featuring Coldplay, Hot Chip, Yusef Islam, A-ha, The Go! Team, Will.I.Am and Gabon’s Babongo Tribe. Okay, it’s never happened before, so I feel compelled to share. In a bizarre chain of events, TV explorer Bruce Parry has corralled this dazzling array of talent (and KT Tunstall) to record an album in aid of Survival International, the human rights organisation for tribal peoples. In some cases they have remixed or incorporated music recorded by Parry when he shacked up (literally) with remote tribal communities.

Hot Chip instinctively harness the ritual energy of the Babongo tribe’s simple chants while The Go! Team and The Ruby Suns amplify their joyous sense of release. But I have no idea what Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell, the man generally held responsible for Kirsten Dunst’s sad sartorial demise, is trying to achieve when he employs a Babongo loop as the foundation for a bombastic rendition of traditional Irish ballad ‘Carrickfergus’. I suppose ultimately you’ve got to respect the fellow for riding his “fat fucking ride” into the sunset of ridicule and not giving a damn about what anybody else thinks.

Hot Chip, "Babongo Tribe Remix"

Anyway, Bruce Parry’s new programme, where he spends nine months tracing the Amazon, from Andes to Atlantic, experiencing the lives of local people, is about to air on BBC2, and there’s a comprehensive blog about it here with video clips and contributions from the whole of the production team. I’m a big fan of Parry. His relentless enthusiasm instantly dispels any lingering cynicism about the notion of an ex-army toff flitting around the world investigating the habits of the noble savage. He’s always determined to win the trust of any tribe by engaging in their customs, however bizarre or uncomfortable – the one where he trips out on Iboga root, basically the INTENSE ACID OF TRUTH, is particularly heavy. Maybe he slipped some of that good shit to Johnny who regressed into his past life as a West African Ulsterman.

What else is new? Last night I went to see a preview of The Mighty Boosh’s new stage show. I think they put more effort into the festival they curated and headlined a few weeks ago, because it was all pretty shambolic. Half the gags were to do with the fact that they’d forgotten to write any gags yet. But we still got Tony Harrison’s chat show, Naboo channelling Snoop and a brilliant Kings Of Leon impression. If that means nothing to you, start with their origin of funk and work from there. All you need to know is that, right now, British middle-class kids love The Mighty Boosh more than Foals and multi-coloured Wayfarers, and Noel Fielding gets more teenage groupies than everyone on the cover of NME in 2008 combined. Which isn't bad for someone who spends half of the show dressed as a big pink cockney bollock.

Plus I went to see School Of Language and The Week That Was play together again, and they were even better than before. Don’t sleep on these two fraternal genii.

It’s Bestival on the Isle Of Wight this weekend, with My Bloody Valentine, George Clinton, Amy Winehouse and Aphex Twin—not together, but you never know. Apparently it’s going to chuck it down, so see you after the swamp.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
Posted: September 04, 2008
Dollars to Pounds: Tribal Gathering