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26 mai 2006

Building cultural diversity through music

Natacha Atlas comes to Prague riding a global wave that she helped start

By James Scanlon
For The Prague Post
May 24, 2006

Hardly your typical cultural ambassador, Atlas nonetheless embodies the international spirit and energy of world music.

Beguiling and evocative, with a soul fired by her passionate Egyptian ancestry, is a one-woman campaign for cultural diversity in music. It's an attribute appreciated even by the United Nations. In 2001, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson appointed Atlas a goodwill ambassador for the UN Conference Against Racism. "She embodies the message that there is strength in diversity, that our differences, be they ethnic, racial or religious, are the source of riches to be embraced rather than feared," Robinson said at the time.

Natacha Atlas — her real name —was brought up in the Arab Quarter of Brussels, and in keeping with tradition, she learned the techniques of raq sharki (belly dancing) early on, while being immersed in the music of traditional Arabic singers like Abdul Halim Hafez, the inspiration behind her 1997 album Halim. From the start, breaking down barriers has always been her manifesto. "I'm a person of the world," she confirms, having spent most of her life hopping between Brussels, Cairo, Northampton and Greece. She first put her voice to the test by singing in various Arabic and Turkish clubs before a brief stint with a Belgian salsa band called Mandaya. It wasn't until she hit the United Kingdom, though, that her momentum really picked up.

Jah Wobble's Invaders Of The Heart group was her next port of call, where she found herself fitting in well with his experimental punk/reggae agenda. Atlas was even hailed as the first Arabic rocker in the UK. After lending her voice to some hit singles, Atlas moved on to the highly innovative and visionary Transglobal Underground. Disguised behind Nepalese masks, the band members need an attractive singer, and Atlas fit the bill. "I sang with Transglobal Underground from the very beginning," she recalls. "They didn't have any rules, and it was all about experimentation."

Given the vagaries of national radio, which was not inclined to give daytime airplay to bands that didn't sing in English, Transglobal Underground had to creep into the UK psyche via the club scene. Playing to large audiences at Womad, Glastonbury, Reading and Phoenix festivals also helped build a following. Minds were finally broadened, and it was suddenly hip to sing in an array of different languages, giving Atlas license to take on even bigger challenges. She stayed with Transglobal Underground for two albums — and Dream Of 100 NationsInternational Times — before reaching to the heavens yet again with Jah Wobble's stunning 1994 opus Take Me To God exactly a year before the release of her debut solo album, Diaspora. Although still technically a full-time member of Transglobal Underground, she received plenty of help from her bandmates, who played on the album and helped with production.

Since then, Atlas has worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel and Sinead O'Connor, and released a number of additional solo albums. Some of them have been exceptional, others a touch disappointing. Gedida (1999) and Ayeshteni (2001) — the latter featuring an awesome version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" — both get gold stars. But others, such as the overly ambitious Something Dangerous, featuring the Prague Symphony Orchestra, failed to inspire.

Now touring in support of her latest album, Mish Maoul, Atlas has returned to her North African roots. Transglobal Undeground's Tim Whelan and Nick Page (aka Count Dubulah), now with Temple of Sound, were drafted to help with the latest effort, which also includes The Golden Sounds Orchestra of Cairo. When Atlas first started out, global music was virtually an empty canvas. Her Prague concert should be a very entertaining reminder that, since then, it's become quite a colorful spectacle.

25 mai 2006

Autographed Peter Gabriel DVD

Autographed Peter Gabriel DVD

Still Growing Up - Live and Unwrapped Signed & donated by Peter Gabriel

current bid: $ 40.00

Time left: 10 days and 6 hours
Start time: 2006-04-28 10:20:51
History: 1 bids
High bidder: WFF

Shipping Information Cost: $ 4.95 Priority USPS

Product Description: Two Disc Set Running Time: 206 minutes

Includes Anna Gabriel's wonderful documentary Growing Up on Tour which screened at the 2004 Woodstock Film Festival.

Still Growing Up Live & Unwrapped brings Peter Gabriel together again with the award-winning director Hamish Hamilton, capturing his performances in all sorts of smaller and more intimate venues around Europe for the Live version of the DVD. For the "Unwrapped" version (Disc 2), which explores the world behind the songs, Anna Gabriel took over the director's chair with the collaboration of Hamish Hamilton. A simpler approach suggested a different set list, and Peter, Hamish, and Anna were determined that this should be filmed in a very different style. It shows Peter Gabriel as many of his fans love to see him, just playing his music.

Online bidding for this item ends at 10 am on June 4. The high bid will then transfer to the live auction at the Woodstock Film Festival Summer Benefit Brunch & Auction taking place from 11:30 to 2:30 at the Wiltwyck Country Club. If you would like to continue your online bidding by telephone, please eMail us at email All winning bidders will be notified by 6 pm. Thanks you for supprorting the Woodstock FIlm Festival, a not-for-profit organization.

The Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit, 501 (C)(3) organization with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music, and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity. The Hudson Valley Film Commission promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production.

23 mai 2006

Peter Gabriel Joins Image Metrics' Advisory Board

..."In the continued growth of the company, Image Metrics depends on the invaluable counsel and support of its Advisory Board and is happy to announce the addition of musician, performer and digital arts pioneer Peter Gabriel," said Gareth Edwards B.Sc. M.Sc. PhD, Founder of Image Metrics. "In the 1980s Gabriel was among the first musicians to recognize and embrace the potential of the then-emerging video technology. The video for his chart-topping single 'Sledgehammer' set a new benchmark by which all subsequent music videos were judged."

Today, Gabriel continues to have an active interest in the future of video technology, contributing to a number of interactive entertainment projects including the successful "Myst" video games and founding Real World Multimedia (RWMM), dedicated to developing, producing and publishing innovative CD-ROMs.

Editor's note: More information on Image Metrics can be found on their Web site at

Image Metrics ( is the leading provider of computer-based facial animation solutions to Hollywood and the digital entertainment industries. Image Metrics' proprietary animation technology supersedes contemporary 'motion capture' systems, using ground-breaking, marker-free 'performance capture' techniques to recreate all the subtlety of human facial performances in digitally-created characters. Based in Santa Monica, USA, and Manchester, England, Image Metrics facilitates and enables solutions for a blue-chip client portfolio which features a wide range of household names, including Warner Brothers, The BBC, Sony, Electronic Arts and Rockstar Games. Image Metrics also has a highly-successful sister company operating in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, see for further information.

Juliette's a star for all four seasons

A former Buxton school girl has released songs which the music world has waited centuries to hear. Juliette Pochin, who used to attend Harpur Hill Primary School, has sung Vivaldi's own words set to his Four Seasons, one of the best-known pieces of classical music of all time.

The composer's words have always been considered too difficult to sing, but beautiful virtuoso mezzo-soprano Juliette, who recently signed a seven figure, five album deal with Sony BMG, has released her exclusive version of 'The Four Seasons' on her debut alum Venezia.

She has personally set to music Vivaldi's own sonnets, which has never been attempted before. As well has her incredible vocal talents,
Juliette Pochin is also a renowned record producer, composer and arranger. She wrote, arranged and produced Katherine Jenkins' first hit album, the gold selling CD release 'Premiere' and other writing credits include the theme to BBC TV's 'The Kumars At No. 42'.

Her vocals can be heard on the soundtracks to
Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars - The Phantom Menace, and she has worked with artists as diverse as Sir Elton John, Julian Lloyd Webber (with whom she has collaborated on 'Venezia'), Peter Gabriel, Sir Simon Rattle, The Berlin Philharmonic and DJ Norman Cook (AKA Fat Boy Slim)....

Brighton Festival Youth Choir
boss Juliette Pochin has done the same for her protogees. Song Cycle is a project of songs written by Stewart Copeland, formerly of the pop group Police, John Paul Jones, formerly of Led Zeppelin and singer Peter Gabriel, on the theme of water and its importance to all of us.

Michael Brook, composer-producer-innovator, readies third solo release

Features Contributions From Paul Buchanan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lisa Germano…

LOS ANGELES, CA. – Musicians' musician and sound innovator
Michael Brook has put the finishing touches to his highly anticipated third solo disc RockPaperScissors due out July 18 on bigHelium/Canadian Rational. Recorded in Los Angeles, England, Scotland and Bulgaria, the disc features contributions from renowned artists Richard Evans (Peter Gabriel), Paul Buchanan (Blue Nile), Claude Chalhoub, Ben Christophers and Lisa Germano, as well as an exquisite posthumous collaboration with the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

With several arrangements for full orchestra, and the celebrated
Bulgarian Women's Cosmic Voices choir, the album is the culmination of three years' work -- which Brook has described as “excavating your muse!” The sound is unique: beautifully arranged, atmospheric and ambient elements create the space for his self-described “deconstructed rock” to flourish.

Collaboration has been at the heart of Brook's career, working with a diversity of international artists such as
Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Youssou N'Dour, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Bryan Ferry, and The Pogues, to scratch the surface. He invented the infinite guitar , as played by U2's Edge. He has also contributed scores or individual pieces to movies such as “Heat,” “Albino Alligator,” and “Affliction”.

With his latest collection of songs,
Brook worked with co-producer Richard Evans and an eclectic cast of talent. Lisa Germano's personal lyrics and haunting vocal set the tone for “Want,” while singer/songwriter Shira Myrow's lyrical contribution to the infectious title track was interpreted by beloved Blue Nile vocalist Paul Buchanan.

Widely known to music connoisseurs,
Brook feels that RockPaperScissors is for him, relatively mainstream: “It is accessible music, more accessible than what I've done in the past.” He adds, ”the record is a kind of travelogue… so I hope people find it evocative and that it takes them somewhere intriguing.”

debuted in 1985 with the critically acclaimed Hybrid on EG Records. His 1992 follow-up Cobalt Blue was released on 4AD along with the 1993 recording Live at the Aquarium . Recent projects include production for Jorane (Six Degrees), the music for the much lauded ”Ashes and Snow” exhibition, currently in L.A., and the score for Paramount Classics' upcoming global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

A U.S. tour is planned in support of RockPaperScissors . Details to follow.

22 mai 2006

Yungchen Lhamo

Yungchen Lhamo, The Voice of Tibet, plays the National Concert Hall on Thursday, the 1st of June.

Internationally acclaimed singer, Yungchen Lhamo will bring all the beauty of Tibetan music with an acapella concert in aid of the Yungchen Lhamo Charitable Organisation featuring Paul Brady, Liam O'Maonlai and Lasairfhiona.
Over the last decade, Yungchen Lhamo has emerged as the leading Tibetan vocalist on the world stage, enchanting audiences in more than 70 countries with her beguiling voice.

Yungchen's name was given to her by a Tibetan lama when she was a baby and translates to "Goddess of Melody and Song". Born in Lhasa, Yungchen began working in a carpet-weaving factory at the age of five in Chinese-occupied Tibet. Tibetan singing was one of the may customs banned by the Cultural Revolution but her grandmother secretly taught Yungchen the devotional singing she shares with audiences around the world.

After a dangerous thousand-mile escape across the Himalayas, Yungchen arrived in Dharamsala in India and had the opportunity to meet the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama encouraged Yungchen to use her vocal talents to share the richness of Tibetan culture with the world.

In concert, Yungchen performs with almost no music accompaniment, so that the focus of the audience's attention fixes on the pliant tonal qualities of her inimitable voice. Her songs explore traditional Tibetan themes of spiritual pilgrimage, soul-searching and a delight in the natural environment.

Yungchen Lhamo has released a number of acclaimed albums including Tibet, Tiber and Coming Home on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records. Her music has appeared on Natalie Merchant's album, Ophelia, the compilation disc, Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music and on the soundtrack to Seven Years in Tibet.

Yungchen Lhamo's visit to Ireland follows the global release of her third album, Ama (Tibetan for 'Mother'), which includes tracks with guests artists, Annie Lennox and Joy Askew and '9/11', Yungchen's response to the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 in New York.
The New York-based Yungchen Lhamo Charitable Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of Tibetans in need in Tibet and Tibetan refugees around the world by providing medical care, clothing , food, shelter and artificial limbs.

A night of magical Tibetan singing, Yungchen Lhamo plays the National Concert Hall on Thursday, the 1st of June.

A One-on-One with the Legendary Phil Collins

...Will there ever be a reunion of Genesis?

Phil Collins
: Yea, we all got together to talk about this last November; all five of us with Peter [Gabriel] and Steve [Hackett]. This is something we may do in a couple of years. It is very, very loose. There is certainly nothing planned. If that didn’t come together because of various people’s schedules, then maybe the three of us, me, Tony [Banks] and Mike [Rutherford] might do something. I would do it with the drop of a hat. I have been working non stop for a long, long time now. Right now, I need a break, but if you ask me in six months time…We actually got a little bit of time booked for the three of us just playing around, jamming together in October. There’s nothing fixed though!...