Skip to main content

Culture vulture

Saharan blues and Kings of Leon keep Marc Jaffrey's pulse racing

Best books

In my teens and early 20s the book that made a huge impact on me was God's Bits of Wood by Ousmane Sembenes, one of Africa's great writers, a fascinating film-maker and intellectual. The book is about a strike on a railway, but really it's an apocryphal tale of that region's attempts to make sense of the world. The book that's made most impact on my working life over the past five years is Ken Robinson's Out of Our Minds, which is the most impassioned and logically argued plea for creative education I have ever read. It's one of those books you read and suddenly everything you have been thinking comes into focus.

Best films

I come from a film-making family; my uncle is Saeed Jaffrey and I grew up in a vibrant, rich cultural environment. I love Indian films by people such as Satyajit Ray and Dev Benegal, but I also love action movies. The film that just blows me away is City of God. It's the most extraordinary movie about the violence of children living in poverty and their yearning for it to stop, their desperation for peace. It's devastating but there's also a wonderful hope running through it.

Best music

My favourite music is always the last music I was moved by. I start it and I'm immersed in it. Last night it was dancing with my four-year-old to Kings of Leon. Recently I saw Tinariwen (pictured), one of Africa's biggest bands at the moment. They're Malian with an amazing sound; they play Saharan blues. Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell and Beethoven are my three wise musicians, helping me make sense of my record collection.

Treats in store

I don't come from a classical music background, but I adore the Proms. This term I'm visiting as many schools and music departments and community music projects as I can, coming across the most extraordinary music-making.

Everything from a lunchtime concert at the Purcell School to music therapy with children in Trelisk hospital. It's unpredictable and exciting, and it will provide me with my own kind of Proms tour.

Marc Jaffrey, 41, is the Government's music manifesto champion and music projects executive at the BBC. He was talking to Karen Gold. The 2005 BBC Proms programme is published in late April; details from

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you