TransGlobal Underground Absent from Award Winners Concert Schedule

TransGlobal Underground, winners of the Club Global Category in this year’s BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music will not be playing at the Winners’ Concert due to take place on July 30th as part of Radio 3’s Proms season of concerts broadcast from London’s Royal Albert Hall. 

The announcement has disappointed fans as well as members of the Awards Jury and is in contrast with last year’s concert in which the Club Global Category winners, Gotan Project, played a full 40 minute set.

TransGlobal Underground are regarded as pioneers of global dancefloor music, starting in the early days as a club night with live performances, fusing western dance floor beats with Arabic, African and Asian sounds. TransGlobal Underground‘s personnel and collaborations read like a who’s who of the global dance floor scene which also helped launch a number of solo projects and careers.

In 1991 TransGlobal Underground‘s first single Temple Head, recorded for the British dance label, Deconstruction, shook the dancefloor scene. It featured drumming from Burundi, Polynesian vocals and tablas in amongst lyrics calling for peace and unity in the world. There’s a great comment on their website saying how some djays, confused by the new sound often played the track at the wrong speed. Since then, Transglobal have continued to travel the globe, pushing the boundaries to make truly borderless music and released their 7th album Moonshout on Mule Satellite Records in July 2007.

In response to the speculation over Transglobal’s non appearance on the BBC Radio 3 Award Winners’ Concert schedule, the broadcaster has explained that the new Proms structure doesn’t allow all winners to perform and that, just as in previous years, there is simply not enough time for all winners to have a performance slot.

The BBC have departed from the usual structure of the Winners’ Concert which used to be combined with the actual announcements of the awards. This year, the winners were announced on April 10th, at the smaller more intimate venue of London’s Dingwalls, attended mostly by "the music industry" with a limited tickets made available on a first come first served basis. The broadcaster has decided to make the larger Winners’ Concert part of their July season of Proms concerts that are broadcast live from London’s Albert Hall.

It is possible that the idea to have performance opportunities at the initial Dingwall’s event, in April, was to free up the schedule for the Albert Hall concert. TransGlobal Underground were invited to play at Dingwalls but were touring in France during April and were therefore unavailable. They were also offered a Djay slot during the interval of the Winners’ Concert but this was declined by the band who are playing to audiences as a live band not as djays.

The current live line up includes, Tim Whelan keyboards and guitar, Hamid Mantu drums and programming, Godfrey "Tuup" Duncan lead vocals and congas, Sheema Mukherjee sitar and bass, Gurjit Sihra dhol and kaos pad, Krupa vocals Ravinder Neiyyar dhol and tablas.

At the time of writing the article BBC Radio 3 are confirming their invitation to TransGlobal Underground to perform on this year’s Radio 3 WOMAD stage, as part of the broadcaster’s month long summer celebration of world music stating, "we are keen to keen to provide a solution that would give the band the most appropriate platform".

You can view the band’s myspace site for confirmation of forthcoming dates and sample tracks from their latest album.

Article and photos by Jill Turner, 11th May 2008

Buy Moonshout.

Author: Jill Turner

Jill Turner contributes to Songlines Magazine, World Music Central and is on the fRoots critics albums of the year panel. Her radio show GondwanaSound broadcasts on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM to the fourth largest city in the UK and is carried on both Radio Groovalizacion and African Internet Radio.