Interviews, reviews

Tony Palmer’s All My Loving – the pop and rock documentary comes of age

[by Ken Hunt, London] The 1960s were a peculiar time for popular music in Britain. On the one hand, there was this enormous explosion of pop music (that was increasingly being called rock music) with a phenomenal coverage in periodicals and on the radio – especially pirate radio. On the other hand, British television barely bothered to cover the phenomenon, making at most feeble attempts to treat what was happening as worthy of serious treatment on television.

24. 9. 2007 | číst vše...

In Concert 1975 – Richard & Linda Thompson – the way it was

[by Ken Hunt, London] Their marital relationship hitting the buffers by the beginning of the next decade was years away when Richard and Linda Thompson made these live recordings. Hindsight of that nature adds nothing to the frissons that In Concert 1975 delivers. After all, living a year of your life in no way compares to the way a year or three gets ‘telescoped’ for the purposes of biography. And in any case between 1974 and 1982 the couple released a sequence of jointly credited duo albums that count amongst the finest to come out of Britain during the period in terms of songcraft and performance. This is them at their peak, though they were soon to duck out of this life to pursue other, non-musical paths in a Sufi community.

14. 9. 2007 | číst vše...

A Tribute to Ustad Alla Rakha

[by Ken Hunt, London] Transformative is probably the most appropriate word to describe the influential Northern Indian rhythmist, composer and teacher, Alla Rakha Qureshi, and how his music affected people. Ustad in the concert’s title is the Muslim counterpart of Hinduism’s more familiar word guru. Certainly, Alla Rakha educated many, many people. The default-standard tale is that the West turned on to Indian music through the sitar. There is no denying the inherent truth, if hackneyed, of that proposition. But it was never the whole story, never the truth, the whole truth. For many people, the neon, flashing sign over the entrance to appreciating Hindustani music didn’t come with Ravi Shankar or Ali Akbar Khan, the Beatles, the Byrds and their kind. It came, heresy of Hindustani heresies, through clicking with taal (rhythm cycle). In other words, for many people, rhythm came before raga.

13. 8. 2007 | číst vše...

Glatt und Verkehrt Festival, 2007

Krems is a beautiful and peaceful town on Danube river in Austria, known for it’s Riesling wines and – in past years – also for the Glatt und Verkehrt festival. The name literally means a knitting style that changes between two types of stitches, the “smooth” and “inverted”. This is actually a good definition of the programming, which includes some well known local traditions in unusual setting, like the Indian guitarist extraordinaire Amit Chatterjee performing with the Austrian yodelers Broadlahn, an idea which dates back to times when Amit was a regular member of Joe Zawinul’s syndicate.

12. 8. 2007 | číst vše...

Just Roll Tape – afters in the studio

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Stephen Stills who put down this session on 26 April 1968 was hardly between jobs – even if he was between Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash. On the album’s skimpy notes, Stills writes, “I was at a Judy Collins session in New York in 1968, and when she was finished, I peeled off a few hundreds for the engineer so I could make a tape of my new songs.” Which Judy Collins session? Not the Who Knows Where The Time Goes surely, because it would be churlish beyond belief not to be explicit about that.

12. 8. 2007 | číst vše...

Reflections on the 2007 Tanz&FolkFest Rudolstadt

[by Ken Hunt, London] As far as Germany is concerned, the sovereignty of TFF Rudolstadt must now be taken more or less as a given. It is a model of how to revitalise a local economy too. The 2007 festival reasserted such contentions many times over. Like nearly every festival I’ve ever attended, the knack lay in out-balancing longueurs with high points. That said, this year TFF RU unwound a new strand of adventurousness with part of its US-themed programming. Philip Glass’ setting of Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, Hydrogen Jukebox (in a performance from Ensemble Creativ), the Degenerate Art Ensemble and, most notably, Laurie Anderson raised the bar in that respect.

23. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

Mariza interview

Fado’s history is kind of mysterious. Some theories says that the Portuguese sailors and the African slaves are in its base; According to some musicologists, Fado’s roots are also in the Lundun and Modinha; two kind of music styles coming from Brazil.
Fado started to appear in Lisbon in the beginning of the 19th century as an urban music and it was singed. Fado appears in a different form among the underprivileged and due to that it’s regarded as popular music. Fado was the people’s “newspaper”, it was through this song form that some news where known.

16. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

The Grateful Dead – Three From The Vault, the ESP Shows

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Grateful Dead were a band that polarised opinion. How you took them over the course of their 30-year lifespan probably got entrenched. Mind you, given the band’s archival revelations, the present tense ‘take’ still seems pertinent, even all these years after their linchpin Jerry Garcia’s death in August 1995 and the band’s subsequent folding that year.

2. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

Music International Exposure, Israel

In the world-music-jargon of melting-pots and cultural crossroads Israel holds a prominent place. This March, the Israeli ministery of culture invited several dozens of festival organisers and journalists for a marathon series of showcases in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Surprisingly, the opening night was focused on klezmer, a style considered by many Israelis to be a dying phenomenon of past – along with the yiddish language.

1. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

Dan Bárta & Illustratosphere – a jazz panorama

[by Ken Hunt, London] This review though concerns one of the Czech Republic’s great future exports. Namely Dan Bárta & Illustratosphere. Currently they are little known outside their homeland. However, in the Czech Republic Bárta’s reputation as a major vocalist is a given. If talking to Czech friends and strangers in a biased audience counts as a straw poll, then everyone knew him. The rub was that every one of them had previously failed in their attempts to buy tickets for the band’s concerts in Prague – Bárta’s home and base. It meant most of the crowd braving the showers was Czech.

25. 6. 2007 | číst vše...

Forest of No Return

[by Ken Hunt, London] As much as the films, Disney songs are the stuff of English speakers’ dreams (and nightmares if Fantasia‘s demon king counts), the common ground, the warp and weft of Anglophone culture. Hal Willner’s 1988 Stay Awake project was a fresh, ripe look at the Disney Songbook. Its cast included Los Lobos, Ken Nordine, Sinead O’Connor, Sun Ra, Bonnie Raitt, Syd Straw and Suzanne Vega. But one Stay Awake interpretation re-set the bar height beyond Sinatra’s wildest imagination.

25. 6. 2007 | číst vše...

BBC Awards and Gypsy music at Barbican

The Barbican centre, well known for its flexible and multi genre programming, hosted this year’s BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music ceremony. The nearly 5 hour long show with 2 intervals was opened by the winner in Asia Pacific category, the Indian classical musician Debashish Bhattacharya, switching between 3 different instruments, all based on the lap steel guitar.

25. 6. 2007 | číst vše...

The Unpublished Joe Boyd Interview

[by Kate Hickson, UK] Joe Boyd, the author of White Bicycles (subtitled “Making music in the 1960s”) did a great deal when it came to acting a midwife to the soundtrack to many people’s lives during the 1960s. He produced era-defining music by the likes of Eric Clapton & The Powerhouse, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, The Purple Gang, Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band, Nick Drake and Brotherhood of Breath. Then he went on to do it again, overseeing recordings by the likes of Richard & Linda Thompson, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Maria Muldaur, Dagmar Krause and 10,000 Maniacs. With his Hannibal hat on, he brought Hungary’s Márta Sebestyén and Muzsikás and Bulgaria’s Bulgarka Vocal Trio to our attention.

18. 6. 2007 | číst vše...

The Lord of the Rings

[by Ken Hunt, London] There’s a good chance that you’ve read or maybe attempted to read The Lord of the Rings either in Tolkien’s idiosyncratic and often highly time-warped English or in translation. It’s much translated. It’s gone into many other languages and Peter Jackson successfully translated it into visual language in his masterful film trilogy (2001-2003). Turning the trilogy into a vehicle for the London stage has produced a lavish affair of a very different kind.

15. 6. 2007 | číst vše...

Oysterband – go acoustic

[by Ken Hunt, London] For me, over 25 years, several incarnations and in many lands, the Oysters have revealed themselves as capable and incapable of many things. As my silver-backed friend Mike Kamp of Germany’s guerrilla folk magazine Folker! has observed of things that will not happen, the Oysterband will never land a great big hit. Mind you, that is so far off their agenda to be risible.

5. 6. 2007 | číst vše...

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