Silky, Quink-ink sky and light. Homeward bound from Monument Station. So much quicker via Wallsend and, besides, the 10-minute walk there’s the only exercise I get.
Hand-drum, a Casio keyboard, an accordion, perhaps a trumpet and a sax. They arrive all at once and tentatively, shaping out some kind of indistinct generic pattern, And then the voice, firm, round and glass-paper edged. It’s Khaled, known originally as Cheb Khaled, probably from the early 80s. Since then he’s had international fame and the most over-produced of accompaniments.
This one, it seems, is being made up on the spot in a backstreet studio in Oran. No one knows how it’s meant to sound except they don’t want it to sound like the old guys do. It has to be young, tough, modern. Mind, Khaled’s voice would come through in any circumstance: he just happens to be young and among this crowd. And here he is, still sounding good, 30-odd years later, one evening on Northumberland Street.