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Issue 1084

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Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards: KOKO, London 19/01/13

Neneh Cherry: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13
Neneh Cherry: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Gilles Peterson: Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 @bluesandsoul.com Mala IN Cuba: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Nai Palm: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Rocketnumbernine: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Neneh Cherry & Rocketnumbernine: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO 19/01/13 Neneh Cherry: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Neneh Cherry: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Neneh Cherry: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Natalie Duncan: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Natalie Duncan: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Nick Mulve: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Nick Mulve: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Nick Mulve: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Mala IN Cuba: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Mala IN Cuba: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Nai Palm: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Nai Palm: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13 Nai Palm: Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards, KOKO, London 19/01/13

Back in 1998, radio and club DJ Gilles Peterson started an All Winners Special in which he replayed the previous few monthsâ best new tracks that he had featured on his radio show. In more recent times, these winners plus a few further additions that may have been missed, were compiled into a long list that listeners of the show got to vote on - thus creating a final list of 10 for the year. Gillesâ show was called Worldwide so these winners became known as the 'Worldwide Winners.'

From 2004 and after the death of John Peel, this concept was transformed into a very large scale event known unsurprisingly as the Worldwide Awards. These awards were held in various London nightclubs around December or January time and have grown in popularity amongst the more musically discerning punter.

The awards celebrate certain achievements in high quality but relatively underground music, something very important in the further creation and longevity of non-commercial music.

One of the awards holds poignancy for me. Back in 1994, I was working for a music promotion company called White Noise. John Peel would call me up every so often to tell me what tracks he would be playing on his show that we had sent him. He would call personally rather than getting a studio assistant to do it and we all know just how much John Peel did for breaking new music. After Johnâs death in 1994, Gilles created âThe John Peel Play More Jazz Awardâ as a tribute to his colleague. This award was bestowed upon an artist, either established or just breaking into music, for anything they had done that was of a particular worthiness to music for that year. With Gilles creating this award, he kept open the legacy that John Peel started in opening up new acts and breaking them to music lovers like you and I. As the Worldwide Awards grew, Gilles started adding more and more categories, giving some much needed attention to acts that might have gone unnoticed otherwise.

Roll on to a cold January 19th evening in 2013 and it was time for the Worldwide Awards again. The venue chosen was KOKO in Londonâs Camden Town and the categories this year were: Session of the year; Jazz album of the year; Album of the year; Label of the year (that the public voted for); John Peel Play More Jazz Award; Lifetime achievement award; Track of the year (again voted by the public); Best breakthrough act (as voted by the public) and Tropical sound. You can see the winners here: gillespetersonworldwide.com

So itâs obvious that with three categories being voted for by his audience, these awards really are very genuine reflection as to what people are listening to. The diversity of the awards is very apparent too. Last yearâs tracks of the year came from Adele through to the electronic sound of Julio Bashmore and not forgetting one of my personal favourites, I Want You in my Soul by the very hot property that is Stee Downes.

I was lucky enough to cover the awards, so without further ado letâs talk about the music!

There were a few acts I was really looking forward to seeing this night, most notably Mala in Cuba and Neneh Cherry. Neneh Cherry has been producing some sublime music over the last couple of years and was a late addition to the line-up, so it was a nice bonus for us all.

We arrived just after 9pm and made our way to the front of the stage. Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote was up on stage doing a solo acoustic guitar set. As soon as the first notes trickled out of her mouth, I was hooked. I wasnât that familiar with Nai Palm, but hey, isnât that what these awards are for? Nai Palm was simply brilliant, her voice was magnetic and hypnotising with a highly impressive tonal range and the lady could play the guitar very well too. Nai Palm finished her set at 9.25pm and you can check out more of her stuff here: Nai Palm/Vimeo

The next live act, at 10pm, were Mala in Cuba, a band I was really keen to hear. As you all know, Iâm a regular at Southport Weekender and first heard about Mala in Cuba through Southport resident, and programmer of The Beat Bar, Kevin Beadle on his radio show. For anybody familiar with The Beat Bar at Southport (previously the Bacardi Bar) you know that the music you hear is eclectic, experimental and generally off the hook. Iâve seen Robert Glasper, Ben Westbeech and Bugz in the Attic here, so was keen to hear Mala in Cuba as they are playing The Beat Bar at this yearâs Southport too. Iâll get straight into it, Mala in Cuba absolutely rocked Koko, and they were utterly brilliant.

Hailing from a background in Dubstep, they played a heady infusion of what I would term tribal jazz! The percussion was powerful but so, so rhythmical, the keys soft but on point and the whole thing when combined was a very, very cohesive unit. They did a couple of house numbers too that I would love to hear played loudly in a club at 3am. If there is any doubt whatsoever in your mind, I would suggest you check them out; they are definitely ones to watch.

Up next was DJ Romare, followed by a two track tribute to Terry Callier performed by Natalie Duncan. Natalie was also very good and held her notes perfectly, performing "What Colour Is Love" in her very distinctive style.

Marcos Valle, the legendary singer, songwriter and producer from Brazil entered the affray next and as you would expect from this pure man of music, he also delivered an incredibly powerful and moving set. Iâve listened to Marcos for some years now, but hearing him live, with the music uncompressed and tuning into frequencies that arenât audible on recorded music makes all the difference. He was simply phenomenal and when he performed his incredible track Parabéns it really became one of the highlights of the evening for me. I havenât got this excited about a track of this ilk since José González released his epic acoustic track Heartbeats!

It was quite fitting that Marcos received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gilles, whilst in the background, his album covers from the last four decades were projected onto the screen leaving everybody in the venue with no doubt that he is a seriously heavyweight musician.

The actual physical awards themselves were beautifully crafted too. As Gilles himself said, they were the best ones yet, being silver engraved vinyl in an African design inspired box sleeve. Classy!

The next live act was Rocket Numbernine with Neneh Cherry. They came on stage at 11.45pm and yet again, some exceptional grooves were played with Nenehâs sultry voice oozing perfection and a generally high calibre from everyone on stage. Rocketnumbernine are another very experimental band, and hard to pigeonhole into a genre. They play a combination of very analogue sounding synths, with some serious oscillation going on, whilst a chunky beat binds the music and keeping things flowing along. Add into that mix Neneh Cherry and the whole experience was a musical extravaganza.

The award ceremony was next, followed by someone that I do wish to mention. In between each of the shows was a guest DJ doing a small set of around 15-20 minutes. DJ Lefto, whom I like a lot played next and not surprisingly to fans of his, got the whole venue bopping their hearts out to his delectable beats. When he dropped Ashley Beedleâs â "Run The Track," from the middle, Gilles made him do a rewind and start from the beginning. He obliged and the place went absolutely nuts.

A special mention must also go to the Invisibles. This 3 piece band locked everyone into a hypnotic groove and a friend of mine captured their essence perfectly by saying, âPersonally I have totally slept on them, and before they came on I was ready to go. But they had me and many others transfixed with their 3 piece sound. (sic) Highly, highly impressive. (sic) Would pay to go and see them tomorrow.â Gilles was also really getting into the flow of things as well as the flow of the champagne! At one point he hopped onto a speaker stack by the DJ saying heâd like to do a stage dive. Sadly he elected not to, although the smiling and happy crowd below him, would no doubt have caught him. Maybe next year eh Gilles?

Sadly the time had come for me to leave, as I wasnât able to stay all night. But what a night it was and what an experience. You have to hand it to Gilles Peterson, he sure knows how to put on a good show and his taste in music is second to none. Gilles also puts on a Worldwide festival in Sète in the south of France in July. I for one am definitely going to this, to experience not a few hours of sublime music, but a few days of it in glorious sunshine.

The Worldwide Awards really is a well thought out programme being musically educating for people in attendance, myself included. There was also a touching part when influential musical figures who departed this life recently were remembered, with a visual for each person mentioned accompanying the words being spoken about them on stage. John Peel may have left us nine years ago, but Gilles Peterson has taken the baton from John and is still leading the race by miles.

I would like to say thank you to Lucy Allen from Anorak PR and Ben Brophy and Gavin Kendrick for their invaluable assistance in this article.

Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards 2013 // OFFICIAL VIDEO

All photos by kind permission of Romain Kedochim
Words GARETH MORGAN

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