Kalibé – The Latest World Music Phenomenon

India Mãe da Lua, a multi-instrumentalist with no formal music training of any kind, is the focus of a new album from Kalibé , a musical collective who have been mentioned in the same breath as Grammy-guzzling, World Music phenomenon, The Buena Vista Social Club. We spoke to the album’s producer, Matteo Crugnola about the difficulties and inspiration the project brought..

“Of course I’m a fan of Ry Cooder and you’re not the first one to find this similarity. More than Buena Vista Social Club I would say his album with Ali Farka Toure, “Talking Timbuktu”, maybe because of the common African roots with the [first] album “La Danse d’Harmattan”.

Ry Cooder is a great guitarist and producer and I’m not even worth the comparison [we beg to differ!]. But of course, he has explored world music with great success, meeting and recording with some of the greatest musicians of different cultures. I also love his Indian album “A meeting by the River” [with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt] , where guitar, sitar and tabla dialogue together as though they belong to the same tradition.

That’s the power of music: the power to unite and transcend cultural barriers. Power to communicate at a deep level with people who don’t even speak your language and to create a sense of community.

That’s surely the spirit also of Kalibé.

But -as I said- I am not Ry Cooder and we also don’t have the same budget! There are so many amazing musicians around (it doesn’t necessary mean also famous), I had the great luck to meet a few and they have been open, generous and happy to become part of the Kalibé family. To be honest, in the last album there are not so many collaborations, since it’s focused on India Mae da Lua. Most tracks is just her and me. The next album will have many more people involved and won’t be focused on just one person; but India Mae da Lua deserved a full album!

I think nowadays we are getting used to living in a multi-cultural society, to share a flat with, for example, an Indian student, a Korean engineer and a Ghanaian refugee and slowly starting to mix our habits: to start adding Indian spices on a French salad, than having some sushi and a Mexican guacamole. Kalibè goes in that direction.

So, I think it’s more of an open attitude that brought me to know other musicians, rather than a process of research and discovery.

I’ve never called a musician I don’t know to propose a recording collaboration or to hire him for a recording session. It’s more genuine friendship and sharing the same message, or the will to do music together. I met India Mae da Lua in Spain more than 10 years ago when we were both street musicians (she was in Spain to represent Brazil in a musical event, then decided to stay there a few months). I described our meeting in the website (  https://www.kalibemusic.com/music). A few months before meeting her, I met Ermanno Panta who’s the co-founder of Kalibé. We are close friends and have done many gigs together – he also participated in all my albums. He spent one year working in Burkina Faso in 2010 and started playing with all the best musicians of the country, then he invited me to go there to play together, to get to know African music an maybe create a band together.


We didn’t even mean to record an album or to write those songs…it’s been the magic of that moment, it just happened! We were staying in an old house and, as people started to know that there were two “white” musicians in that place, local musicians started to appear just to play together! In other cultures, music is a way of communicating and having fun together, something to share easily with great humbleness and laughter. That’s also the spirit of Kalibé, we don’t go to big studios for recordings (we don’t have the budget!) but try to use high-quality microphones and equipment. In Burkina Faso, our “studio” was the same bedroom where we were sleeping. The hardest thing is to get moments of silence.

Once in Italy, I spend a lot of time selecting and editing recorded material in order to make sure the audio quality is the highest possible and the mastering has been done in one of the best studios in Italy by experienced professionals.

So, it’s never -I mean not even once – been difficult to unite, nor I should say, have I ever perceived so much difference between us. There’s much more in what people share than in what makes the difference. And I always try to see differences as a source of richness”

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6Jt6cYg3W1OX7iPNrwt7MG

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWHlGNnczHrTPGC5S2Hd7CiFJLe9AG6S4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kalibemusic/

Website: https://www.kalibemusic.com/

Chatting with: J.J Leone


Unsigned Interviews were lucky enough to have a conversation with emerging singer songwriter, J.J Leone, who blends his masterful guitar skills with touches of R&B and soul.


When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I first picked up the guitar when I was 12, largely due to my older brother. He was already out touring when I was a kid but when he’d come home, I was amazed by what he could do with this piece of wood with six strings. My first guitar cost £20 from Argos. Patience is something I’ve never had a lot of, so when I couldn’t play anything by Metallica after a day, I lost interest in it! Then I heard this guy called Jimi Hendrix one day, and it blew my mind completely and made me pick up the guitar again. Just by listening and watching live videos on YouTube, I taught myself how to play, and I did the same with drums, bass and electronic production too.


Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I grew up on a lot of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Rahsaan Patterson and other soul singers. This was mainly my brother and mum’s music as my dad was into Bowie, Thin Lizzy, Rod Stewart – all that type of stuff! The guys I would include as my top three influences are Stevie Wonder, Prince and Cody Chesnutt. Prince was just an incredible artist, a real musician and he had such a wide variety of music. I really liked his attitude towards everything too, he just wanted to play music and that was it. Stevie Wonder has been in the game so long and made maybe two songs I don’t like. Both he and Prince have influenced me so much in terms of their longevity, it’s something I really aspire to! Cody Chesnutt influenced me as a DIY musician – he’s someone who in the early days really didn’t fit in to the manufactured scene. ‘The Headphone Masterpiece’ which he recorded entirely in his mum’s kitchen is still one of my favourite albums today. They’re not necessarily influences in terms of a musical style, since what I write doesn’t sound like their material, I would describe them more as role models.

How long have you been playing/writing?

I’ve been playing music since I was 12, but only really gigging and performing since I was 14. My first show was in a high school assembly where me and two of my mates performed ‘Californication’ by RHCP, I just played guitar though, didn’t sing. Then I won the school talent contest the next year with an acoustic version of Paolo Nutini’s ‘Last Request’ – and that’s the first time I had any confidence in my voice. Then me and some mates formed a band where we’d play birthday parties and ‘battle of the bands’ kinda stuff before we started writing originals – I was lead guitarist and singer. Then we got picked up by a promotions company at 15 and we opened for Hot Chocolate and Suzi Quatro amongst others, we toured Barcelona and other places in the UK- we thought we were the bomb! I write everything myself, including all lyrics and instrumental sections and perform them all too.

How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I play live pretty regularly, back in 2011 when I was living on the streets – I performed everyday for six months so I’m trying to put that to good use! I’ve been lucky enough since then to play in so many different countries though, and met other amazing musicians and great people. In July I’m playing at the ‘Urban Food Fest’ in Shoreditch, then in August I’m going to Murcia to play a show for ‘Sofar Sounds’ and will be performing at another one of their events in Birmingham in late August.

5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?

I haven’t really got one favourite moment, but rather lots of little ones that have added up. Just seeing people’s faces when you play something you’ve written that touches them, or messages of support from people saying ‘your song really meant something to me’. Even in different countries where the culture, language and values are so different, music really brings people together and that always gets me – it let’s me know that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. It’s still kinda weird to me that people are coming out to see me – a traveller who’s had some real hard times, and they want to come and see me sing my songs!

6 – Where is the best place to find you online?

You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using: @iamjjleone. My website is over at www.jjleone.com too, which has got further links to my Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube – come along for the ride!


Listen to J.J’s latest single, ‘With You’ here:

GET TO KNOW: Chase The River

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

Music has always been a part of me, from an early age I used to watch my father playing the piano in the house and sing old show tunes, ‘old man river’ is the one I remember clearly above all. He loved opera as well so from a young age I was surrounded by all kinds of music. My mum loved the Eagles and Neil Diamond, Abba and Fleetwood mac, so it is safe to say I was well immersed by the time I started school. My dad made me take up the viola and the saxophone and piano quite young, and then later, as my teenage years approached it was guitar and drums for me, and I went on from there.

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I was fascinated by Abba and Fleetwood Mac, and actually Andrew Lloyd webber. I know that is really quite varied but I think all of them, in their own way were great at having a ‘story’ that was completed within a song, and Fleetwood Mac in particular were able to bring a raw emotion out in no time at all, using lyrics as the main vessel. I think they probably had the biggest impact, wheras the musicianship is amazing and interesting, they never get in the way of the core story of the song, which is something I have always tried to emulate. Quite often the ‘orchestration’ of a song is the last thing I even consider, it is always the story and how I can bring THAT out.

How long have you been playing/writing?

Oh about 10-12 years. I drummed in a lot of bands, did backing singer etc, it wasn’t until 2007 when we were setting up a new band with Neville (who played on Recycle your regrets) when the singer didn’t show up to the first meeting and I went through a couple of my tunes and was told instantly I was no longer the drummer that I really started in earnest.

4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I play normally 2-3 times a week full gigs. I love going to the odd open mic as well, on top of things just to immerse myself in the city scene. The best place to find out where I will be is at www.chasetheriver.com/shows Where you can get tickets. There is a new tour coming later in the year so definitely sign up to the mailing list and you will know all about it.

What has been your favourite moment in music?

There have been soo many. I think when I played Copenhagen last year rates right up there, and not even the show itself. It went really well and I got speaking to a couple of other acts, a Norwegian band called Myrull and a singer song writer Elona Planmann. I was lucky to be staying with a gentleman who worked for Greenpeace and we all went back to his, complete with guitars and accessed his offensively large record collection and stayed up talking music and life until the small hours, was a really inspiring night in a lot of ways.

Where is the best place to find you online?

www.chasetheriver.com will get you everywhere. There are links to the facebook and Spotify. It is the hub of it all so go there, and do come and say hi, listen to the music, I really love it when I hear from people, particularly after they have listened to a show or got the album for the first time.

Tom Grennan’s Almost Undiscovered Talent

Singer songwriter Tom Grennan came close to never discovering his enchanting voice as it wasn’t until he got a little tipsy at a party and started singing that he and everyone else realised he had a hidden talent.
“I got p**sed up for the first time at a party and just started singing. I remember going back to school and my friends were like, ‘Do you wanna join a band?’ I said, ‘F**k off’. Ended up doing it, and loved it.”
You wouldn’t know it from Tom’s songs but his dyslexia can often get in the way for him when writing, but he notes that “Basically, how I write now is that mentally I put stuff on a washing line. I just hang it all up and pick different parts in my head. So then I pick odd socks, lyrics- wise, and I put an odd sock to 
an odd sock and think, ‘How can I make that a pair of pearly whites?’ It’s weird.”
Tom’s new EP Something In The Water is certainly worth a listen and he describes it as “raw and real; it’s an introduction to the world really, basically saying, ‘I’m Tom, I’m going to do bigger than this, but this is me right now.’ I just want to make an epic sound, like an orchestral sound. Violins, cellos, trumpets, saxophones, all that kind of stuff – just epic.”

Interview with Karmilla

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
I had some guitar lessons when I was 11 and learnt a few of my favourite song and was hooked from that point onwards!

2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I grew up listening to a variety of stuff, coming from a family with diverse music interests.  From the British Indie music scene right through to Eva Cassidy and Jazz!! Oasis were a big part of my diet,  As well as Stereophonics and early Coldplay.  I always reach out to different genres of music though, as long as the roots are strong, I’ll listen to it, probably get obsessed with it and love it!

3 – How long have you been playing/writing?

When I was a kid I wrote songs, they were terrible!!! but they helped me express whatever it was I was thinking about at the time, which was cool. After co-writing in bands through collage and stuff I began to seriously write my own tunes. Some of them even made it into the album, I’m always writing.

4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I play on a weekly basis. Sometimes solo, sometime semi acoustic, more often now with the band.
Semi acoustic set @ Readipop Festival http://www.readipop.co.uk/readipopfestival/
Full band set @ Mau Mau Bar, Portabello rd, London. Saturday the 28th August 2016.

5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?

Recording an album. I recorded with my best mates and worked with a great producer in a lovely studio in the middle of the sticks. It’s an important part of the song writing process to record a song.  And I was very fortunate to have this Wonderfull experience. It wasn’t all great though, it tests you in ways you can’t imagine!

6 – Where is the best place to find you online?


Belle Roscoe


1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

We grew up in a very musical family, particularly Dad’s side. Irish heritage and whiskey often led to late night jams and nostalgic Australian country/folk songs.

When we were backpacking around Europe in 2005 and ran out of money, we decided to start ‘singing for our supper’ so to speak!

We mainly did this in France and then in 2006 we returned to University studies in Melbourne where we met some other musos. We all started to play gigs together around Melbourne.

There were so many bars and cafes and music venues in Melbourne during that time (around 2006-2010) before residency complaints and noise restrictions started to take over and shut down a lot of the music scene.

There are still many venues that still exist in Melbourne but it was just a mecca back then – the only way to play music actually… Loud and Bad. No doubt we sounded terrible, but we just kept rocking up for more gigs.

We didn’t study music so this was the only way we could see ourselves becoming musicians.


2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

We have drawn influences from 60s/70s artists we love such as: Fleetwood Mac, Crosby Stills & Nash, Neil Young, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Van Morrison.

We loved vocal harmonies and great melodic song writing.

Our more contemporary influences include: Elbow, Arcade Fire, Ryan Adams, David Bowie, Nick Cave, Fleet Foxes, M83.

We are currently loving sounds & songs from: The War on Drugs, Volcano Choir & Girls in Hawaii.

We mix old style song writing with contemporary production, so yes, all of the above artists have impacted on our music some way or another over the years.


3 – How long have you been playing/writing?

We’ve been ‘seriously’ writing music for over 15 years now.

But we grew up in a family where making up funny songs on the spot to entertain people was normal… Does that count?!


4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

As often as possible!

We love playing live.

We’ve just played the St Kilda Festival in Australia and are heading to the UK in 6 weeks.

We have a couple of up-coming shows in London in May. Can’t bloody wait 😉

-20th May @ La Troubadour.

-28th May, Venue TBC & TBA in the next week.


5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?

Hmmmmm we’ve had so many great moments.

Probably closing the Cannes Film Festival a few years ago is up there as a major highlight.

We also had a sell out show in Paris in September last year @ Le Nouveau Casino which was pretty wild!

Oh, and finishing our soon to be released song “Mary Mary” was also a wonderful moment. It took us three years to write and its one of our best tracks – we are just thrilled we hung in there as we knew it was a good one.

Actually, we are pretty proud of all our songs 😉 It takes a long time as an independent band to raise money and record music.

Recording with Luuk Cox in Malta and Belgium was an amazing time in our career.


6 – Where is the best place to find you online?

Website: http://www.belleroscoe.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/info-234-1/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/belleroscoemusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/belleroscoe

Instagram: http://instagram.com/belle_roscoe

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/belleroscoevideos

Ben Williams


1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

 I can remember finding some Beatles L.Ps in my parents’ cupboard when I was about 6. I quickly became obsessed. Since then I’ve never looked back. A career in music wasn’t a conscious choice, just something that seemed inevitable, as music is always on my mind.


2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I listened to all sorts growing up. I started off with The Beatles and kind of worked from there, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon. All the obvious candidates and plenty more. I guess I’ve absorbed a lot of styles over the years, and this is apparent on my debut album ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’


3 – How long have you been playing/writing?

I’ve been playing the guitar since I was about 13. I’ve always written, but I guess the process has intensified over the last few years as I’ve been working towards my album. I must have written about 60 songs over the past few years and chosen the best few for the album. I’ve written plenty of terrible songs too.


4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I like to play live as often as possible. Plenty of gigs coming up in Manchester, London Liverpool etc. You can find details on the ‘Live’ section of my website: http://www.benpwilliams.com/


5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?

That’s a hard question. The good thing about being a musician is it’s so varied, every day is different and there are so many great moments to chose from. I did have a particularly good time at SXSW festival in Texas. Bright sunshine, amazing music absolutely everywhere. And a healthy amount of free beer.


6 – Where is the best place to find you online?

If you go to my website, http://www.benpwilliams.com/ you can find links to all social media. Twitter is https://twitter.com/benpwilliams, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BenPWilliamsGuitar. This is my most recent music video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBMxuO7Ka3I  . And if you such for ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ by Ben P Williams you’ll be able to find my album on iTunes , amazon spotify etc.

Lauren Rich

Close up

1. When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I first got into singing when I was 4 when I won a “Kids From Fame” competition at nursery (showing my age)!  My first influence is Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty – he’s one of the cleverest lyricists I’ve heard and it pushes me as a songwriter not to be so cliche. My other influence is Nerina Pallot because she’s an exceptionally talented female singer/songwriter who is not incredibly famous but still “does her thing” and does it successfully.  When I saw her live for the first time that’s when I decided I wanted to do that!


2. Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I grew up listening to eighties music but was introduced to sixties and seventies by my parents.  I fell in love with The Beatles.  The only way it impacts on my music is that I am totally obsessed with harmonies.  I’m always harmonising to music I hear on the radio and always think, the more harmonies the better!


3. How long have you been playing/writing?

I’ve been songwriting since I was 12 when I had a holiday romance (in my head) and was devastated that I had to come home. That’s when I wrote my first song entitled “I Miss You Now”.  I’ve been performing my own songs for about 10 years on and off; solo, in a duo and also now with my amazing band.


4. How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I try to perform as often as I can, especially around London, to get my songs heard by more and more people.  My next gig (which is an important one) is my EP launch party on Wednesday 1st October 2014 – more details here www.laurenrichmusic.co.uk/gigs


5. What has been your favourite moment in music?

My favourite moment HAS to be when I was interviewed by Gaby Roslin at BBC London.  It was my first proper radio interview / performance and she said my singing was beautiful.  That was a mega boost for me.


6. Where is the best place to find you online?I’m everywhere but if you go straight to my website – www.laurenrichmusic.co.uk – you will find all of my social media links AND the ability to join my mailing list, which would be lovely if people signed up to it.



Jessie Lowes

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

Jess: When I was 5 I got a keyboard for Christmas and I would play along to my Mum and Dads Vinyl collection. That is my first memory of getting into music.
Inspiration wise my Mum would listen to all the 60s greats some to mention of her favorites are Joan Baez, Tina Turner, Melissa Etheride, KD Lang and she also loved all things musical her all time favorite was The Sound Of Music. My Dad on the other hand was into his heavy metal and rock. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Floyd. I would listen to all the music and sing to everything which is why I love all music from Rock to pop.

2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

Jess: I listened to Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Maddona, Take That, Guns and Roses, Metallica, Nirvana, Garbage and Roxette. I think it has helped me develop as a singer / Songwriter as I like to incorporate different styles into my music. I even listened to Operatic music a lot of the time as it depended on my mood so I learned what styles work best together.

3 – How long have you been playing/writing?

Jess:I have been playing now for twenty years in different bands and solo. I started writing properly when I was 12. I would write poems which became my lyrics and would structure music around them.

4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

Jess: At the moment a lot 🙂 I have about 12 gigs this month and when I release my album shortly I will be looking to do a full tour. I would love to do a European tour followed by an international tour.

1st Aug – Melville Bar – Edinburgh Fringe Festival
2nd Aug – Crawcrook Fair and after show party
3rd Aug – Widdrington Inn
6th Aug – Melville Bar – Edinburgh Festival
5th Aug – Alnwick Festival
8th Aug – The Eagle Inn – Salford
12 Aug – The Earl Of Marchmont – Edinburgh Festival
22nd Aug – The Lord Clyde – Byker
24th Aug – The Highfield – Bradford
26th Sept – The Wavendon – Sunderland

5 – What has been your favorite moment in music?

Jess: My favorite moment is getting on stage every time I do a gig. I live for that moment and enjoy performing.

6 – Where is the best place to find you online?