Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet – Tita, the first song on their debut album Ladilikan.

‘Tita’ was one of a series of songs that emerged around the time of independence in Mali and Guinea, encouraging the youth to follow their hearts, rather than their elders’ wishes. In this version, the leaders of this movement are the griots themselves, who have ‘fallen in love with love’ – even if it leads to malicious gossip and beatings. The word tita and titawati represented the swish of cloth as a couple danced in ballroom style – a true sign of modernity in Mali of the 1950s!

Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet

Frames of reference

Terry Riley


During all the recent celebrations for Terry Riley’s 80th birthday I discovered many unfamiliar videos and recordings but none was more welcome than this with Don Cherry from 1975:

It’s from a bootleg recording of a concert in Cologne (available here) and although none of the pieces are credited I think this one is Descending Moonshine Dervishes. It begins with Terry Riley keyboard improvisations and Don Cherry accompanying on doussn’gouni, weaving intricate sound patterns, but when Don switches to pocket trumpet the music changes gear and he just simply lifts my heart. Continue reading “Terry Riley”

Frames of reference

The Great Beauty

This is a trailer for my favourite film of 2013, La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), a kind of modern day equivalent to Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, full of gorgeous and spectacular images together with a sublime soundtrack featuring music by David Lang, Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and many more. Continue reading “The Great Beauty”

Frames of reference

Rue Des Roues

rue des roues

This is the Street of Wheels in L’Isle sur la Sorgue, Provence, France. The town once had seventy waterwheels, all powered by the Sorgue river, driving mills for grinding grain, making paper and weaving silk. Nowadays the river turns fourteen vestigial wheels driving the tourist circuit around the town. We came here on holiday and stayed in the house on the right by the street lamp. Continue reading “Rue Des Roues”

Frames of reference


Andrew Walton recently called in to see us on a visit to London from Oxford, and he kindly allowed me to scan his sketchbook. It is filled with a surprising cast of characters hinting at an intriguing automatic narrative. After a closer look I found …I am not sure why I write these things especially as I’m still clueless as to why I make all these drawings of people… Continue reading “Company”

Frames of reference