Tomas Palermo

Vieux Farka Toure

A talented African guitar hero whose taste for rock isn't just skin deep, it's in his DNA
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PREVIEW A torrent of questions arose amid the global mourning over Michael Jackson's sudden passing. Was he addicted to prescription pain meds? How much was he actually worth? Did his father's abuse scar the star beyond repair? Speaking of paternal influence, will 12-year-old Prince Michael Jackson follow his famous father's musical calling? If he displays even an ounce of MJ's talent, the pressure will be enormous.

A similar scenario played out in the African music world following the 2006 passing of Malian blues guitarist Ali Farka Touré from bone cancer. Read more »

Anthony B

A reggae artist that has no problem setting an example
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PREVIEW Keith Anthony Blair, also known as the fiery Rasta reggae sing-jay Anthony B, is becoming a multigenerational artist. The 33-year-old began recording in his late teens and over 15 years has helped usher in a cultural revival via a dozen albums, thousands of singles, and relentless touring. Still, he was surprised while on his last trip through Europe when promoters asked him start his shows early to accommodate his many preteen fans. "The shows were full of kids," Blair says, speaking by phone from Jamaica. Read more »

Serene dreams

Scoping out George Evelyn's Nightmares On Wax ruminations
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Leeds, U.K., native and Ibiza, Spain, resident George Evelyn has recorded lush and laidback beats for two decades as Nightmares on Wax. As British tastemaker label Warp's longest-serving artist, he's shared space on their roster with Autechre, Aphex Twin, and Squarepusher. Read more »

Bringin' on the heartache

UK soul warbler Adele washes up stateside
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Twenty-year-old North London–born heartbreak crooner Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, or simply Adele to her fans, has had some big breaks amid her romantic woes. Read more »

Hang on, Ramsey

The man who fused jazz with pop keeps swinging
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Venerable jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis will be 74 in May, but you'd hardly know it from his packed tour schedule and mounting awards. The Chicago native and 2007 NEA Jazz Master honoree hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, has recorded nearly an album a year since 1956 plus tours with his trio, does regular duets with Dave Brubeck, and moonlights as a member of smooth jazz supergroup Urban Knights. Read more »

Ane Brun

Savoring the seasonal shifts
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Fall is San Francisco's most gothic and recognizable season. In contrast to our drab winter skies, unpredictable spring showers, summer microclimates, and endless foggy afternoons, autumn arrives in a snap, with crisp air, long shadows, and dramatic full moons. Read more »

Sound in the balance

Kush Arora's aggressive audio hybrids
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"Anger is an energy," sang John Lydon in the Public Image Ltd. tune "Rise." San Francisco electronic artist Kush Arora harnesses a similar combustible force in his live shows and on the three full-length recordings that have made him an established club fixture and touring act. Read more »

Benga

Dubstep crossover king
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REVIEW Twenty-two-year-old South London producer Beni Uthman, a.k.a. Benga, gave dubstep its first crossover hit with last year's "Night," coproduced with the artist Coki. The track caught the attention of British radio tastemakers like the BBC's Judge Jules, Gilles Peterson, and Mary Anne Hobbs, and was played relentlessly by Europe's biggest club DJs. With its marching cadence and hypnotic lead bass synth, "Night" signaled that dubstep's moment had arrived, and that 1990s dance music producers had serious competition from the PlayStation generation. Read more »

The funk this time

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 bring Fela Kuti's fiery sounds to a new generation
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With gas prices topping four dollars in the United States this summer, Americans are educating themselves on where their fuel comes from. Often it's from places like Nigeria's Niger Delta, where multinational petroleum giants face armed resistance from local groups that see foreign oil developments as resource exploitation. Read more »

Year in Music: Sub obsession

Dubstep from the edge
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When listeners go mad for a track they hear on London's dubstep pirate radio station Rinse FM, the DJ quickly backspins the vinyl or CD turntable and says, "All right, from the edge!" It's an apt metaphor for music that has San Franciscans like myself clinging to bass bins and feverishly tracking the music's forward march from South London across the globe.

Dubstep was 2007's most fun and relevant electronic music form. The sound encompasses our war-weary planet's apocalyptic throb, with the promise of technology's tones twinkling in the distance. Read more »