Multilingual

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The Unpublished Joe Boyd Interview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...

Fritz Richmond (1939-2005)

[by Ken Hunt, London] There is an iconic image of Fritz ‘The Orange Dude’ Richmond, who died on 20 November 2006 as the result of lung cancer, in Eric von Schmidt and Jim Rooney’s illustrated story of the Cambridge, Massachusetts folk scene, Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1979. It was taken by John Cooke of the Charles River Valley Boys at Club 47 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Richmond is profiled playing washtub bass, wearing his trademark shades with a scarf around his neck, max musicianly cool. John B. Richmond was born on 10 July 1939 in Newton, MA.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Ian Wallace (1946-2007)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The drummer and more, Ian Wallace, born in Bury, Lancashire, England on 29 September 1946, died in Los Angeles on 22 February 2007. California had been his home and base of operations since 1976 when he churlishly decided that the warmth of the Californian sun beat the fine wet rain of his homeland. His companion in rhythm in David Lindley’s El Rayo-X, Ras Baboo called him, in the finest tradition of finest crap cinematography and, one hopes, a curl of the lip worthy of Anthony Quayle, ‘English’. He could escape British weather but not his heritage.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Paul Nelson (1934-2006)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The US critic Paul Nelson chose to walk away from writing, despite a writing career that included stints of writing and editing for Circus, Musician, Rolling Stone, Sing Out! and Village Voice. He wrote insightfully about a range of acts including Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon and The Clash. He specialised in engaging with music that excited him; during a stint at Mercury Records in the A&R department he signed the New York Dolls, an act of faith viewed as folly by many in the company.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Ivor Cutler (1923-2006)

[by Ken Hunt, London] His claim to inclusion here may seem droll, but the poet, songwriter, teacher, Noise Abatement Society mainman and so-called but very eccentrically sane, Ivor Cutler deserves homage more than an obituary for his surrealistic pillow folksongs. Born on 15 January 1923 close to the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow of Jewish, Eastern European stock, he died aged 83 on 3 March 2006.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Egon Bondy (1930-2007)

[by Ken Hunt, London] In 2000 Česká Televize (Czech Television) celebrated Egon Bondy’s life and times with the documentary Fišer alias Bondy. The poet-lyricist, writer, philosopher and political commentator’s achievements could have filled a whole series of television programmes. One of Czechoslovakia’s most prominent and prolific men-of-letters, he railed against his homeland’s politicians and politics throughout his life. Outside his homeland however, he was primarily known as the era-defining lyricist for Czechoslovakia’s best-known beat group, The Plastic People of the Universe.

20. 4. 2007 | číst vše...

Rachid Taha, Diwan 2 (La Voix des Lilas; Barclay/Universal, 2006)

[by TC Lejla Bin Nur, Ljubljana] Last time, with album Tekitoi two years ago, Rachid Taha was Alter, this time, with second Diwan, he is foremost Different, thus basically not Indifferent, conditionally more rootsy, rough, acoustic, with less electricity and electronicity, not only in comparison with regular author albums, but also with first Diwan (1998)…

1. 12. 2006 | číst vše...

Bellowhead - A Record Launch With A Difference

[by Ken Hunt, London] One of the things that impresses me most about Bellowhead the quality of the music aside is that they take the music seriously without seeming to take themselves seriously. They played their big songs Rigs of the Time, Fire Marengo and Flash Company with admirable playfulness and, when necessary, circus wit, However, their souped-up, trad-style instrumentals, like the funk and soul horn interjections juxtaposed with fiddlistics of Sloe Gin, similarly hit the bulls-eye.

30. 10. 2006 | číst vše...

Reflections on the 2006 Tanz&FolkFest Rudolstadt

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Mexican Indian (Mixtec)-American singer Lila Downs bestrode the Heidecksburg big stage in bright sunshine on the Sunday afternoon like a cougar. The temperatures were in the 30s and she and her band responded accordingly, putting on a truly eye- and ear-catching show that revealed many layers of her performance artistry denied the audio - and probably the DVD - medium. Not least of these were the sheer physicality of her performance and the degree of the eye contact between the musicians. She coiled and uncoiled on stage, responded wide-eyed to an unexpected flurry of bass notes or an impromptu variation on a harp run (I love Mexican harp but lack the vocabulary to discuss it with authority), albeit on a melodic theme that she knew inside-out (therein lies the real deal).

1. 8. 2006 | číst vše...

Aija Puurtinen singing with Värttinä in Ostrava

I’m specialised in different kind of vocal sounds and techniques and that is the reason Värttinä asked me to produce the Miero album. And after that they thought that i might be good choice to take Mari’s place for awhile. If music is the thing and not one musicstyle, if you are openminded then you can join any production and still have your own artistical style..

25. 7. 2006 | číst vše...

Chango Spasiuk, The Transcendental Accordionist

His playing is everchanging and full twists like an imaginary landscape. No wonder, the chamamé accordion style is a “mestizo music”, rooted both in European polkas and Guaraní Indians culture. When Spasiuk played at Womex in 2001, many people wondered: “This music makes me dance, but also opens the gates of imagination. I never thought you can do this with an accordion!” This hard to define spirit is fully captured on Spasiuk’s last CD, Tarefero de mis pagos, produced by Ben Mandelson. I talked to Chango at the BBC World Music Awards Ceremony in Gateshead in January 2005, where he performed as a winner in the Newcomers category.

25. 1. 2005 | číst vše...

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