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24 juin 2006

Remix Competition

We're pleased to announce the first Real World Remixed competition in association with Peter Gabriel, who's given us Shock The Monkey to remix and Solid State Logic, who are donating a great prize.

We're celebrating twenty years of Real World Studios and the installation of a new SSL XL 9000 console in our flagship studio 'The Big Room' along with a lovely AWS 900+ in our metamorphosed 'Production Room'. To spread the joy we're making available a sample pack; including all the vocals, from Peter's original multitracks of Shock The Monkey. Recorded between spring 1981 and summer 1982 this track was one of the first to use sampling technology. Peter utilizied the ground breaking Fairlight CMI and you can hear it and other classic machines such as the Linn Drum and the Prophet 5 synth throughout the sample pack.

"I'd been dreaming for some time of an instrument that could sample stuff from the real world and then turn it, make it available on a keyboard. Larry Fast told me that he thought he'd heard rumours of such an instrument. It was £10,000 which seemed an unearthly amount of money, got very excited with this thing, it's called the FairLight, and spent a lot of time then collecting sounds going to factories to the university, getting interesting samples that were then used on that record and the ones after, it was really one of the key things that gave that record a different sound." Peter Gabriel

Download the pack when it becomes available on the 28th of June, remix, then upload your finished mix back to this site - we're going to be keeping an eye on the peer reviews and ratings, then we'll sit down with Peter and listen to the pick of the mixes here in the first week of October. The winner will be announced on September 7th.

The winner will get to experience the quality of sound processing SSL tecnology can bring to their work in the form of the amazing Duende. Five runners up can hear some of Peter's other recordings given new life in the 5.1 mixes by Dan Lanois and Richard Chappel on signed copies of Peter's Play: The Videos DVD.

Peter Gabriel: Welcome to my Real World

Peter Gabriel tells how, 20 years ago, he set up his pioneering label and studio dedicated to recording and releasing music from all over the globe

Next Wednesday, 28 June, we're having a party to celebrate 20 years of Real World with a wonderful mixed bill of Little Axe, Daby Toure, Sevara Nazarkhan, Guo Yue, Charlie Winston and the DJ Adrian Sherwood.

Since the band Traffic announced they were going to "get it together in the country" in 1967, musicians have been trying to escape the temptations of city life to focus on their writing and recording in greener pastures. I emigrated to the West Country in 1974, tired of the regular evening rumble of my neighbours' fists on the walls of our Notting Hill bedsit as my songs crawled out of the piano. The first location was an old farm-shed in the southernmost valley of the Cotswolds. It was warm, well insulated and we managed to stick in a couple of picture windows, looking up the valley. The cows would sometimes come and lick the window panes while we were making music. This we would take as a sign of good fortune and good taste. I always wanted to buy more stuff, so the idea of renting the place out as a studio started to look like a fine thing to do.

I was very excited when artists such as Joni Mitchell and Robbie Robertson started to use the place, and the idea of turning it into a proper studio seemed like the next step. We spent some time looking for a new site until a friend introduced us to our present site, Box Mill, seven miles away.

At the time, most studios were cramped, disco-lit, underground padded cells as isolated as possible from the outside world. My vision was to set up a series of writing and recording rooms, all with windows overlooking water, fully connected to and serviced by a large hub that could house the brains and the enormous main control room. Our slogan was "handmade and high-tech' and the studio was built around both approaches. Great technical recording is worth nothing without a great performance. The studio was designed to create an open and free environment in which people from other cultures might feel comfortable enough to give great performances. The largest studio had two or three stages inside the control room so that the zoo-like separation between engineer, producer, and artist was eliminated.

The angst of the creative process manifested in different ways. Some would arrive with prayer mats, others with hookers. But, like hotelkeepers, a studio should not be in the business of preaching to its clients, and we were there to facilitate the creative process.

Today the costs of recording can be very low, and every major record company has its boutique "world" label, but at the beginning it wasn't like that. We could only fund Real World as a record company if it was really tightly managed. Simon Draper of Virgin had offered us 10 grand to make each record, covering advances to artists, recording costs, album art and the running of the label.

The first release on Real World was Passion - the soundtrack for the film The Last Temptation of Christ. It was also the first time I had recorded with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and perhaps the most extraordinary sessions to this day were when we were in the attic studio, which had a raised balcony at the back. The Indian violinist L Shankar stood up on the balcony and Nusrat was standing just behind the desk on the main floor. I think everyone had hairs standing on the backs of their necks as the music started. Both of them took the melody and made it their own. It was like tennis when you think the rally can't get any better but each player raises their game and it just goes up and up. Amazingly emotional: it was India and Pakistan working together for a film about Christ.

No music has gone out that we are not proud of in one way or another, but I've been particularly moved by some of the stuff Nusrat has done. Being part of the process that introduced him to a non-Asian audience is something we all feel good about. We've put out so much great stuff - Maryam Mursal, Yungchen Lhamo, the AfroCelts, Ozomatli, and Papa Wemba all come to mind. Sheila Chandra is another. Sheila's album ABoneCroneDrone is based around the idea that when you look at a rock all you see is a rock, until it starts revealing itself - a bit like lying on your back and looking up at the clouds. To me it's quite a new approach to music-making, and I don't think it got the recognition it deserved. I love Charlie Musselwhite's new record, Delta Hardware. He's an extraordinary harmonica player. On the first album he was a bit shy of taking the front spot as a singer, but I think he's like Johnny Cash in his approach to music.

Part of what I didn't like about how some music had been approached was this slightly fascistic attitude towards ethnic purity and that the "ethnic artists" had to be kept in their traditional, folk, ways. Our approach was that artists were artists and should be allowed to explore and experiment and follow whatever directions inspire them.

Many of the Womad festival artists loved hanging around the festivals and playing and writing. Partly as a result of this, we set up a recording week, usually around the time of Womad. They were some of the most incredible recording experiences of my life. It was like a giant dating agency. Quite a lot of people met up and then later went on to do their own recordings together. Everyone agrees it's just the best experience; it changes you and you learn so much. Not everything works, but when it catches fire it's extraordinary. It's a very commonplace idea now but it certainly wasn't then.

'Africa Calling: Live 8 At Eden', featuring Youssou N'Dour, Angélique Kidjo, Mariza, and many others, is out on EMI/Real World on Monday

UN Security Council must act on Burma

When Argentina was ruled by a brutal military junta, thousands of people and organisations around the world rallied to the cause, demanding human rights and democracy without delay.

Compassionate individuals housed many activists in exile in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere, while artists around the world lent their support to help us begin to come to terms with the aftermath of the disappearance of 30,000 people. Support from around the world and within the United Nations was critical. Yet, many thousands of lives could have been saved had the international community acted sooner.

Today, the world finds itself at odds with another brutal military junta in the Southeast Asian country of Burma, which continues to incarcerate Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Suu Kyi's "crime" is being loved by the people of Burma. Her political party won 82 per cent of the seats in parliament in Burma's last democratic election, only to have the results annulled by the ruling military junta. She has remained locked up for 10 of the past 17 years. Many people of Burma fare much worse, suffering the most severe forms of torture.

The situation for ethnic minorities in the country is even worse. The military regime rules by brute force, oppressing and relocating hundreds of thousands of ethnic minorities who stand in opposition to its rule. Two thousand eight hundred villages have been burned down or otherwise destroyed in eastern Burma alone, some repeatedly, to force ethnic minorities to move to military-controlled areas. As a result, there are over one million Burmese refugees, and over half a million internally displaced people (IDPs). The situation for both groups is dire. For example, refugees like Naanh Hla (not her real name), a Shan woman, who was 16 years old and seven months pregnant when 10 Burmese soldiers kidnapped and killed her husband and gang-raped her to the point that she gave birth prematurely alone in the jungle, or Naw Paw Paw, who recounted to Burma Issues - a group working with the human-rights organisation WITNESS - how she lost four of her six children, two on the same day, over the course of many years fleeing through the jungle.

In the past four months, the worst attacks in a decade have displaced almost 20,000 people. Yet the junta continues to cut off international access to areas of ongoing conflict, which has precluded aid to IDPs, a violation of international humanitarian law. Even in Sudan, humanitarian agencies are permitted access; not so in eastern Burma.

If caught by the military, IDPs are often either killed on the spot or forced to become porters or labourers with little or no pay. Female porters are often systematically raped at night by officers and soldiers. Forced labourers are often required to build roads for the military, making it near impossible for them to grow their own crops.

The junta military also targets children. According to Human Rights Watch, there are up to 70,000 children conscripted into the army, more than any other country in the world. Some conscripted "soldiers" are as young as eleven.

The United Nations has tried in good faith to bring change to Burma but these efforts have failed. The military junta has ignored 28 consecutive non-binding UN Resolutions, four special envoys from the UN Commission on Human Rights, and two special envoys from Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has called for the release of Suu Kyi and others, to no avail. Bilateral initiatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore have also been rebuffed by the military junta, and several missions by the European Union have failed to elicit reform. These failures are not the fault of the United Nations. They have failed due to the intransigence of the military junta, which continues to make empty promises about transitioning to democratic government. The junta's words have lost all credibility.

This situation won't fix itself. The UN Security Council should address the situation in Burma and pass a legally binding resolution calling for peaceful change. Unlike other UN efforts, the Security Council has the power to compel its members to take action. A positive proposal was articulately spelled out in a recent report by South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Czech president Vaclav Havel in which they made it abundantly clear that the Council has the responsibility to act on Burma. The report articulated how the effects of brutal military rule in Burma are spilling over the country's borders and destabilising the region, and rightfully pointed out there is ample precedent for action - the Security Council has acted in less severe situations in the past. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others are calling for the Security Council to act.

Members of the Security Council, including Argentina and the United Kingdom, should step forward and publicly lead the effort for a peaceful, binding Security Council resolution on Burma. If they refuse to act, many more people will die.

Adolfo Perez Esquivel is the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize recipient from Argentina and founder of the Service, Peace and Justice Foundation.

Peter Gabriel, acclaimed musician and activist, is the co-founder of the international organisation WITNESS, currently partnered with the human rights group Burma Issues.

Adolfo Perez Esquivel,

Peter Gabriel

Special to The Nation

21 juin 2006

Daby Touré à Genève


SPECTACLES ONÉSIENS - Découvertes et redécouvertes coloreront la saison prochaine.

Le programme 2006-2007 des Spectacles onésiens a été présenté hier par Cyrille Schnyder, directrice de programmation[1]. Concerts et spectacles humoristiques se succéderont pour cette dix-neuvième saison qui s'étend d'octobre à mai. (...)

Sous l'étiquette World music, on retrouve le chanteur d'origine mauritanienne Daby Touré, révélé par Peter Gabriel lors de sa dernière tournée. Grand maître de gaïta –cornemuse galicienne–, Carlos Nuñes se produira avec ses musiciens au mois de janvier. Enfin, le choeur ukrainien Kalena, composé de 80 chanteurs et musiciens, promet une soirée forte en émotions.(...)

[1]Le programme complet sera disponible dès vendredi sur le site:

20 juin 2006

Maurane “au milieu 2” nous

Elle ne s’attendait pas à revenir si vite. Et puis, tout compte fait, cela l’arrange bien. Voilà qui tombe à pic, pour nous aussi. Maurane sera sur scène ce soir à 19 h 30 au Mahatma Gandhi Institute, deux ans après nous avoir quitté l’heureux tour.

L’humaine qui danse est au milieu de nous avec une “petite tournée entre deux grosses”. Un tour de chant qui promet d’être intimiste, entre deux instrumentistes : guitare et piano. Une formule qui laissera la place, à la fin, à une carte des désirs. Petit quart d’heure (on espère que ce sera plus) où le public pourra commander ses chansons préférées. “L’idée c’est que le public soit dans son salon.”

Endiablées ou mélancoliques, celles que Maurane préfèrent ce sont les chansons tristes. Pas à pleurer, mais marquantes. De celles qui vous prennent aux tripes comme les chansons que Brel savait concocter. Nougaro, l’idole, sera là aussi. Mais pas le titre avec Lara Fabian, “parce que je ne l’ai pas emmenée dans mes valises” ni Pa gaie la pagaille, ou alors juste un refrain.

Au milieu 2, c’est “le spectacle des possibles”. Voilà comment Maurane nous l’a présenté hier au Dinarobin, au Morne. Tout comme il est possible que la chanteuse vous raconte ( comme elle l’a fait avec nous) la fois où elle était pompette ( son péché mignon c’est le champagne, elle en avait une coupe, il y a deux ans, au Plaza, nous gratifiera-t-elle de bulles ce soir ?). Un peu d’alcool dans le sang, pour mieux Boire dans le même rêve.

De quoi voguer jusqu’au Toi du monde. Elle en a fait du chemin avant d’arriver à Maurice. Des dates à Madagascar, pas assez à son goût, “parce que ce sont les officiels qui ont été privilégiés. On est toujours déboussolé par la richesse d’un côté et la pauvreté de l’autre”. Quatre concerts à la Réunion, dont elle retient sa rencontre avec Emilie Minatchy, ex-star-académicienne.

Non, Maurane n’affiche ni rejet ni mépris pour les noms issus des émissions de télé-réalité. Elle est de ceux qui ont été “explosés” par la version de Bagdad Café de Dominique de La nouvelle star. Elle est de ceux qui “ont hâte que Christophe sorte de la grosse machine pour se créer une identité”.

Et quand on lui parle de ses débuts, des années de galère, Maurane préfère dire que c’est “l’école, l’apprentissage”. Elle en a gardé un côté cool, une “indolence qui fait partie de mon rythme”. Avec en prime, ses entrées dans de prestigieuses “familles” d’artistes. Des noms ? Sans prétention, elle cite Cabrel, Goldman, Nougaro, Fugain.
A l’automne, il faudra y ajouter le nom de Daran. Celui qui écrit son nouvel album. Elle aime bien être à plusieurs, Maurane. Après des duos avec Céline Dion, Lara Fabian et tout ce que le showbiz français compte comme Enfoirés, c’est avec Sting, Peter Gabriel ou Youssou N’Dour qu’elle aimerait chanter. Mais bon, “il faut parfois rester avec ses rêves”. C’est bien ce que nous nous attendons à vivre ce soir.