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27 janvier 2007

Peter Gabriel enlists videos for human rights

British musician Peter Gabriel speaks during a Reuters interview at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 27, 2007. Top politicians, monetary policymakers, senior business executives and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) hold their annual meeting, the WEF, in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland, until Sunday.

Sebastian Derungs (SWITZERLAND)

Photo :Sebastian Derungs

Veteran rock star talks up his project as a ‘YouTube’ to fight abuses...

Peter Gabriel proposes "YouTube for human rights"

has been trying to get the businesses gathered at Davos to come up with cash or technology for Witness, a group he founded and which seeks to use video from cameras or phones to bring human rights abuse to light.

Peter Gabriel would like you to see unpleasant things on the likes of YouTube -- human rights abuses. The veteran rock star, goateed and relaxed in casual gear, has been cutting a different figure among the business suits at the World Economic Forum in Davos over the past few days.

More than a quarter of a century after energising a generation against South Africa's Apartheid system with the chill-inducing song "Biko", he has, in his own words been "hustling".

Gabriel has been trying to get the businesses gathered at Davos to come up with cash or technology for Witness, a group he founded and which seeks to use video from cameras or phones to bring human rights abuse to light. "With the telephone and Internet, anyone, any place can tell their story," he told Reuters in an interview.

One of Witness' main goals at the moment is to build a video hub where evidence of human rights abuse can be uploaded. "You have seen the trend to citizen journalism," Gabriel said, referring to the ability of people to record and distribute news and events rapidly with phones and cameras.

What he wants his hub to be, he said, is a kind of "YouTube for human rights". He is in conversation with Google, owner of YouTube, about the project. YouTube and other Internet sites such as MySpace are popular online social communities where users share videos, pictures and personal views with each other.

Witness, in the meantime, is continuing with campaigns around the world with other human rights organisations to use videos to create visibility and expose issues. Last year, for example, it produced a 27-minute video entitled "Outlawed: Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the 'War on Terror'". It aimed to expose secret detentions by the U.S. and other governments.

Evidence in courts

The group also teaches others how to use video to be used to show abuse, build campaigns or just provide evidence in courts.

Gabriel said it was the death in custody of anti-Apartheid activist Stephen Biko in 1977 that triggered his commitment to fighting for human rights. The song followed and then a multitude of activist concerts including the 1988 Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman and Youssou N'Dour.

In 1992, he founded Witness. Gabriel said it was the video of the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police that showed the power of the technology. As for now, he is hoping to put together a collection of unrecorded songs to help the Witness campaign.

Davos: Elite Meet or Delete?

Photo: Alorie Gilbert

Peter Gabriel talks about his human rights work at the Piano Bar.

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Wired News may have blown a last-minute attempt to score a press pass for the World Economic Forum's exclusive conference, but it wasn't too late to squeak into a soiree Friday at the elegant Piano Bar of the Europe Hotel.

Word had trickled in from one quarter that Davos, with its air of privileged self-congratulation, has become "boring" and not worth the trip. But that message apparently hadn't been received by the packed house of reveling celebrities here, which included Dell CEO Michael Dell, rock star Peter Gabriel, chief Marc Benioff and a few hundred other Davos elite.

The forum, which started on Wednesday and ends Sunday, attracts the world's most powerful people in business and politics to this ski resort in the Alps. Major figures rubbing elbows at this year's elite schmooze-fest are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Google chief Eric Schmidt and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Celebrities on tap include rockers Bono and Gabriel, and supermodel Claudia Schiffer. All told, some 2,400 conference-goers have congregated in Davos, among them 800 CEOs and chairmen, 24 heads of state and 85 cabinet ministers. Benioff was holding court at the Piano Bar. He has a new book out about corporate good deeds called "The Business of Changing the World." Gabriel and Dell each contributed a chapter. Gabriel said his human rights work brings him to Davos. He'd like his nonprofit Witness to become "the YouTube for human rights," he said...

"Come into my world" (Peter Gabriel Interview)

Jan Fairley / The Scotsman

Talking to Peter Gabriel, one is struck by how he is as much into technology as music, and deeply involved in the political implications of both. You can see why Gabriel brought out the late Martyn Bennett's powerful roots-electronic album Grit on his label, Real World, and why he's excited that his connection with Bennett's "brave new music" has led to Real World's first Scottish showcase, at Celtic Connections next week.

"At its heart it's a Martyn Bennett tribute," he says of the show. "Even when Martyn was ill he had this remarkably philosophical approach to a permanent state of crisis, and, underneath it all, always this sharp mind. He was an enormously gifted, soulful, passionate, generous musician, so we are bringing up a wide variety of artists to celebrate that."

Bennett died in 2005 at just 33, after a prolonged battle against aggressive cancer. He was an acclaimed virtuoso on pipes and fiddle, a self-styled "Dreadlocked Funkster" who created hardcore dance music as well as composing for symphony orchestra and string quartet. Gabriel sees Bennett's vision of tradition and experimentation walking hand-in-hand as a Real World trademark. "In different ways Daby Touré and Sevara [Nazarkhan] share things with Martyn," he says of two of the performers appearing at the showcase (see box). "Sevara shares Martyn's bold approach. She also has Martyn's sense of mischief. Daby is stripping back, simplifying and purifying his approach, like Martyn did."

I've been lucky to meet Peter Gabriel several times over the years. Once, at an early WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) Festival in Cornwall, before his 1980s Amnesty Tour, we talked in his car about Chilean singer Víctor Jara and the exile of Inti Illimani. Another time, down at the Real World Studios for BBC Radio 4, he took me and the producer by surprise by rowing us up the millstream that runs under the studios, because, as he remembers now, "it was a glorious day!" The movement of the oars made recording the interview impossible, so we chatted until he stopped mid-river, then were slowly carried back downstream as the tape ran, before he insisted we stay for lunch.

To understand Gabriel, the Real World studios label and the "recording weeks", one has to understand their mutual link with WOMAD. In 1982 Gabriel helped found WOMAD, and he and Genesis - the band he had formed many years earlier but left in the 1970s - bailed them out with a concert benefit following huge losses. While not directly involved after the first year, he's been in the background ever since. The Real World Studios were built in 1986, while the Real World label, founded in 1989, has always been associated with WOMAD artists. The recording weeks were Gabriel's brainwave, as he saw how musicians met backstage at WOMAD but had no space or time to really explore musical ideas.

Held in 1991, '93 and '94, "the idea was like a dating service for musicians with a 24-hour café attached," Gabriel says. He has always been preoccupied with opening things up, encouraging the possibility of musical interaction between musicians from all parts of the world, bringing them together to work out their own agenda. It's very much a musician's way of doing things, I suggest to him, "It's a way, by no means the only way or even maybe the best way," he responds. "But it's an exciting way! We were trying to encourage this cross-cultural breeding ground and it was one of the things I have enjoyed most about being involved with music. We had to make two or three records during those weeks as it was the way we got things funded, but most of the interesting stuff would happen naturally: different producers would be in different studios and invite different people in. With a 24-hour café, people meet together with ideas, it's a bring-your-own studio party, on the lawn, in the garage, in the bedrooms, anywhere, you can make music together.

"And the Afro-Celts and quite a few collaborations happened from people who met during those sessions. Even when stuff wasn't recorded, they were fertile musical networking events."

The weeks eventually stopped, as they proved too expensive to run, but this year - after dedicated editing by producer Steve Hague - an album called Big Blue Ball, culled from many hours of recording weeks material, will finally emerge. Is Real World as much a team effort as WOMAD is, I ask him? "Definitely. We try and find artists we are all enthusiastic about, for a starting point. My personal involvement is in A&R and artwork, which I'm pretty passionate about. For many years I tried to keep text off the images but I sort of lost that battle in the end. But I managed to keep them clear for a time, partly to keep a label identity and partly just to allow the images to speak."

The label has been consistent and persistent. How has it managed to survive in a difficult market? "It's been harder the last couple of years," he says. "We used to rely on putting out 20,000 but now digital record stores are closing and those that still exist have gone into mobile phones, games, DVDs and videos, so there is less shelf space for minority interest music of any sort. We're trying to secure a good future for the label at the moment. Breaking even is great and when we do better we are delighted."

GABRIEL'S AFFINITY FOR WORLD MUSIC and access for world musicians has a deeper side to it. Last year, at the Seventh World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome, former President of the USSR and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev presented him with the prestigious Man of Peace award for his extensive contribution work on behalf of human rights. We talk about Steve Biko and the worldwide Amnesty 1988 Human Rights Now! Tour with Youssou N'Dour, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Tracy Chapman.

That tour helped raise awareness of torture in unofficial prisons and the disappeared in Latin America. Today, with Guantanamo Bay, secret flights, "extraordinary renditions" and rumoured secret prisons, things seem bleaker. "I was talking to Amnesty people recently because there's another big anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights coming up," he says. "It's a powerful thing when people get together around a common purpose and it was life changing for all those who took part. We may try to get some of the old artists to hand over the torch to a new generation of artists, enlist them to politicise their own generation. And now we have the internet and the power of the bottom-up revolution with YouTube and Wikipedia. We haven't seen that in politics yet, but music and film will help fuel that revolution. We've been working for five years on a YouTube for human rights, allowing people to turn the cameras on those pointing at them. It's a 'little brother little sister' instead of 'big brother' attempt to bring the dark underbelly of power out into the daylight."

We finish by talking about more positive personal things. Gabriel confesses that, rather than listen to music all day, he's mostly a talk radio and film man. As a founder of the OD2 music distribution firm used by 60 online music stores he's a digital revolution visionary. He tells me about his involvement with prototype software called The Filter ( Based on the concept of music as a box of mood pills, it allows professionals and ordinary people to stream music for others. "My dad was an inventor and electrical engineer - he's still around actually - and I have his passion for technology and how it might make the world a fairer and better place," he says.

He tells me about watching a Kenyan woman on Newsnight's "Geek Week" talking about how the impact of the mobile phone in Africa - in terms of access to information and education - will be as transforming as the fire and wheel were before them. "I couldn't live without music," says Gabriel. "I go on holiday and after ten days I'm like a junkie looking for a piano. But these things excite me as much as music does."

The Real World showcase is at the Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, on 31 January. For more Celtic Connections previews see Going Out, page 9.

Peter Gabriel on the performers who will be playing at his Real World Celtic Connections show


"She's very bold and her persuasive powers have got Russian electronica-techno producer Viktor Sologub on board. He's opened up her music, adding colours and textures to her grooves. We hope she'll tread the traditional and contemporary path simultaneously."


"Daby's measured approach is to evolve, like growing his songs in his garden rather than making forays into the jungle to forage. Now he's stripping back, simplifying and purifying his approach."


"Joi's Farook had to come to terms with losing his brother, Joi's Haroon, and it's been a difficult journey. Now he's settling back, mixing in colours from their background while keeping the trance-like grooves moving forward. The joy is back in Joi."


"Skip's visible pedigree is more on the veteran side. He's a master of feel and groove, and he has a minimalist approach. He's exploring uncharted territory with Adrian [Sherwood] and his band, cooking up the unfamiliar."


"A self-effacing, gentle man who's happy to carve his own path, focused on what he wants and how to get it. He's not going to compromise his musical interests for a hit."

Realword January News Update message

The start of 2007 sees some exciting new releases on Real World Records, a competition to remix a track from one of these that coud see you winning a day in the famous Big Room at Real World Studios, and an imminent evening of exciting live entertainment at Glasgow's Celtic Connections.

You are subscribed to either our Real World Records, Real World Remixed, or Real World Studios mailing list, so we thought you'd be interested in the stories included here. If you want to change the way you receive mail from us, the details of how to do so are at the bottom of this page.

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'Without Zero' (UK Released February 19)

The latest creative offering from the mystical maestros, the Eastern experimentalists! Joi are in the area with a new album on Real World Records.

Having blazed a trail in the mid Eighties with their DJ-led mix of brittle breakbeats and flowing Eastern grooves - a trail that the so-called 'Asian Underground' followed in droves - this British Asian collective released two compelling, intelligent albums, 1999's One and One Is One and 2002's We Are Three. Celebratory and devotional, progressive and respectful, laden with different emotions yet bound by a one-love aesthetic, they stole the hearts of critics, clubbers and exemplary music-lovers alike.

Now comes the shamelessly upbeat 'Without Zero'. "There is dance and drama and passion throughout this record. We've highlighted Asian culture. We've extended our electronic roots. And this time there's a distinct Arabic influence," says Farook Shamsher aka Joi supremo. "Asian music and Arabic music merge beautifully. They're actually very similar, which people don't tend to realise, and Joi is about uniting different cultures."

Visit the Joi Microsite:
Farook of Joi introduces tracks from Without Zero: MP3 Audio Stream

Remix Joi and win a day's free studio time in Real World's Big Room

To celebrate the release of 'Without Zero' Real World is running a competition on it's highly successful website Launched in 2006 this is a site where you can download multitrack recordings from Real World artists and Peter Gabriel. Use the sample packs to create your own remix, then upload the finished work back to the site for others to hear. Join the community in voting, commenting and discussion in the sites forum - you might even top our charts!.

'What You Are' by Joi is the new sample pack and will provide remixers with a fantastic new track to get working on. This is the opportunity to win a day in the legendary 'Big Room' at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. This room is why Real World is justifiably famous. As its name suggests, it offers space and versatility on a grand scale that provides both interesting and alternative methods for live recording and tracking. It is also a unique environment for mixing in all formats. The 72 channel SSL 9000 XL K series console installed in 2006, together with a varied array of outboard equipment ( including a large selection of vintage Neve modules) offers the potential for truly state of the art recording and mixing.

Visit Real World Remixed for more information:
More information on the Big Room:

Join Us for a Live Real World Party in Glasgow

Wednesday 31 January 2007 8.30pm - The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow - as part of Celtic Connections Festival

In this unmissable one-off event Real World brings together uplifting voices, superlative musicianship, dub-heavy grooves and irresistible rhythms from West Africa to Central Asia, from London to Ohio - a truly global celebration, bursting with talent.

The legendary blues-and-beyond guitarist Skip McDonald, aka Little Axe, will be joined by the renown rhythm section of Doug Wimbish and Keith LeBlanc (Sugarhill Gang, Tackhead) with Bernard Fowler (Tackhead, Rolling Stones) on vocals. They will be joined by production maestro Adrian Sherwood, of On-U Sound Records, who as well as producing their current album, Stone Cold Ohio, will also perform his own live sound-system.

Other special guests include the latest incarnation of pioneering Asian fusioneers Joi and the young Mauritanian singer-songwriter Daby Toure who has been described as an African Cat Stevens or Nick Drake. Also flying in is the gorgeous, vibrant Sevara Nazarkhan - Uzbekistan's ravishing young star and winner of a BBC radio 3 World Music Award. We will not be forgetting the much loved, much missed Martyn Bennett and will be paying tribute to his special legacy to Scottish music.

Celtic Connections: information and booking

Coming Soon On Real World Records

Daby Toure 'Stereo Spirit'

African music's young rising star has been putting the finishing touches to his new album for Real World Records. Mixing the tracks was finished in Paris with Bob Coke (Ben Harper's engineer) in November after which Daby took a month's well earned sabbatical back to his homeland of West Africa.

'Stereo Spirit' will be released first in France and Switzerland on February 19 and later in the Spring with a special version for the UK and America.

Daby is proud of his African roots but values creative freedom above all else and stepped beyond his traditional roots to create this superbly-crafted global pop album. His lilting, warm-toned, wide-ranging voice lifts above the layers of sparkling acoustic guitar and detailed percussion. The heart-stopping songs are suffused with tenderness and intimacy. Daby is an outstanding, charismatic performer, his music has a simplicity and soulful nobility capable of crossing any cultural or geographical barriers.

More on Daby:

Sevara Nazarkhan 'Sen'

The much-awaited new album from the spell-binding Uzbek diva is nearly with us. Watch out for a spring release date. Sevara is irrepressible and simply cannot be tied down. She is always ambitious to explore new areas in her music and on 'Sen' has taken a leap into contemporary writing and production. She took her songs first to Viktor Sologub - a St Petersburg based electronica/techno producer whom she sought out (he had never heard of her!) and convinced him to work with her (he is now her biggest convert - a fan for life !). The album then came back to Real World Studios and Sevara and her band of Uzbek players recorded and mixed with Bruno Ellingham (a young and up and coming West Country producer). The influences and inspiration can be heard - Goldfrapp, Air, a kind of European cinematic feel, flavoured with Central Asian exoticism - gorgeous and totally new.

More on Sevara:

In Case You Missed...This is What They Said about....

Little Axe 'Stone Cold Ohio'

"Skip McDonald's time-traveling career has gone from cooking up the original rap revolution at Sugarhill to dubbed-up 21st century Delta blues. The fifth album from his Little Axe incarnation is an affirmation of his mission to make ancient visions thrive in a modern setting. There's euphoric gospel (Rockin' Shoes), whipcrack soul (Victims) and deep blues (Trouble In Mind), all relayed through Skip's inimitable voice and guitar. The glorious sound of history collapsing into itself." The Mirror (5 out of 5)

More on Little Axe:

Adrian Sherwood 'Becoming a Cliche'

"As well as being one of the world's most influential producers, the Tackhead/On-U Sound mainman and former Clash DJ is a highly rated chef. Sherwood's second album adopts a cook's approach to music: taking a basic stew of reggae and hurling in flavours from drum'n'bass and Asian tablas to Gregorian chants. With vocal/dinner guests including Dennis Bovell and the Pop Group's Mark Stewart, political assaults, and underlines his gigantic contribution to the way music sounds today." The Guardian

More on Adrian Sherwood:

Thomas Mapfumo 'Rise Up'

"This is a truly masterly return to the international scene. If Mapfumo's trademark Chimurenga rhythm is taken with a stately slowness on the opener, Suffer in Silence, the overall tone is defiant and exuberant. Plaintive guitars and crashing drums sound out over a deliciously swinging and exquisitely irregular whirl of sound. If Mapfumo's wearily authoritative voice has probably never sounded young, let alone fresh, there's certainly a new spring in his step, a new energy to one of the world's most compelling sounds." The Telegraph

More on Thomas Mapfumo:

26 janvier 2007

Real World Remixed new look

New Look and New Competition - win a day in the Big Room

Today sees some major changes to and the launch of our second Remix Competition - remixing Joi's 'Without Zero' could see you spending the day in Real World Studios flagship space, the Big Room. We hope you enjoy the new look, the forum searching, the new sample pack, the radio, player improvements and competition features. As ever let us know if you have any problems with the site.

Competition details
Feature on Joi

More on Joi's releases: We Are Three, One & One is One & Without Zero.

Newscorp and Myspace Side By Side?

I joined Peter Gabriel last night at a private Media Governors meeting which was off the record so I cant attribute remarks....But it was interesting to see the newly established upstart Chris DeWolfe of MySpace, recently acquired by the media giant Newscorp, in conversation with mega-mogul Rupert Murdoch about the future of media.

Legacy media (ie newspapers, television, radio etc) is in the midst of a revolution (of sorts), racing to adapt to the new media Web 2.0 landscape characterized by citizen journalism, the blogosphere, and the likes of MySpace, Face Book, YouTube, etc. The challenge from the legacy media perspective is how to "monetize" online content while sustaining the traditional cost-heavy infrastructure, ie if you are in the business of delivering and distributing newsprint. In the US, media giant and newspaper chain Knight Ridder was recently acquired by the highest bidder....a smaller chain.

While legacy media troubles over the challenge, we see the opportunity for a more democratizing, bottom-up influence in how issues are framed and responded to -- hence, the forthcoming Hub!

Fear of Flying

Flying by jet may become uncool. I'm concluding that based on early signs I've picked up this year at the WEF in Davos. When you fly, you become a polluter. And for the first time, that reality may be sinking in.

Last night at a meeting of top journalists and leaders of media companies, I talked to Peter Gabriel, the rock musician and social activist. I was struck by how he started talking, spontaneously, about his worry that global understanding could wane as people fly less.

Gabriel says a number of his friends are starting to take significantly fewer trips by airplane because they've come to believe that flying is environmentally irresponsible. The energy used per passenger mile by someone in a jet is generally far higher than in any other form of transportation.

Gabriel was the second person I've talked to in Davos this week who, out of the blue, brought up the notion that flying may wane. An environmental activist CEO who lives in London separately told me, unprompted, that he is convinced flying may significantly diminish within five years as people get more and more worried about global warming.

Gabriel, who has devoted much of his career to promoting world music, has a specific concern, even as he sympathizes with the desire to fly less. Music is a bridge to cross-cultural understanding, and encourages our interest in learning more about others, something he believes is deeply important. He is concerned that our perception of others and sense of all being in this world together could change for the worse if we travel less. But it sounded to me like he believes it could easily happen.

This would be a major new development in the galloping trend of environmental awareness in the age of global warming.

-- David Kirkpatrick

Womad tickets go on sale

Tickets are now on sale for Peter Gabriel's massive world music festival, WOMAD, which is to be held in Wiltshire in July.

The global festival, set up back in 1983, has for 17 out of its 25 years been based at the Rivermead site in Reading.

But at the end of last year festival organisers insisted that WOMAD's flagship festival had outgrown its Thames-side setting and would be moving to Charlton Park near Malmesbury Tickets for WOMAD Charlton Park are available on-line from the WOMAD website WOMAD Charlton Park 2007 > From February 1 a full Box Office will be set up to handle online, telephone and postal bookings.

If you book now, though, there are a few deals to be had.

The Early Bird Tickets, for instance, are offering Weekend tickets for 2007 at 2006 prices. They're available if you book your tickets before Wednesday 28th February, 2007.

Plus residents with an SN16 postcode (your billing address must be within the SN16 postcode area in order to qualify) are being offered a discount Weekend ticket price of £50.00. Two thousand tickets are available, on a 'first come, first served' basis, and there is a limit of six tickets per household. Charlton Park is a picturesque 280 acre park set within easy access of the motorway.

More than 20,00 festival goers are expected to descend on Charlton Park, this year, when the three day festival kicks off on Friday 27th July.

Organisers are promising music from 70 world-class artists from over 40 different countries plus Taste The World cookery sessions; late night dance, DJ's and grooves at Club WOMAD; a children's procession; a Global Village of over 250 international food, drink, arts, craft and merchandise stalls plus hundreds of flags, projections, visual art and temporary structures.

25 janvier 2007

Interview with Peter Gabriel in Davos

Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:01am PST, By Adam Reuters

SECOND LIFE, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Bureau chief Adam Reuters interviewed musician and activist on Thursday, part of a series of interviews from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Gabriel is currently active in, which uses video technology to expose human rights violations.

His hits include “In Your Eyes” and “Sledgehammer,” and he was the founding lead singer of Genesis. He also founded one of the first online music download services, OD2, in 2000.

Want to discuss or comment? Click here to teleport to the Reuters Second Life discussion area, or meet Adam Reuters during his office hours at Reuters Island on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting at 1600 GMT.

Davos as the Gateway to Millions Via the Media

Here's a shot of Peter doing an interview with Reuters in Second Life. You can see his avatar on the computer in the background. When he saw it he quipped: "OH, I've lost weight!"

There are media swarming this place and fortunately for WITNESS we have Peter Gabriel as an ally. Today, we did substantive interviews about our work and a range of human rights issues including our campaign with our partners CPT and CEJIL in Brazil to end the cycle of slavery into which 25,000 Brazilians fall each year.

I hope to get a short film we produced with our partners featuring interviews from many people enslaved inside Brazil to President Lula who is here this week. We talked to Reuters, TV8 (Switzerland's prime time news channel), Globo (Brazil), BBC Channel 4 radio (prime time news program), another radio program syndicated throughout the Americas, and the One documentary which is still in production and will include interviews with the Dalai Lama and scores of other leading voices for peace.

And then I can't resist....Peter with a Swiss doctor inspecting his nostrils. I took him to the infirmary for some cough medicine and he got a full review! He says he owes me one for this...


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Bono & Gabriel Only Glitterati at ‘07 Davos

Bono and Peter Gabriel are hanging out in Davos, Switzerland this week, attending the 5 day World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. First of all, picturing Bono in a room full of stuffy business and political leaders is kind of funny. Of course, I’m imagining him in his sunglasses that look like goggles. I guess it’s not so bad. the meeting is a “tie-free zone” after all.

Global warming and security are the two big topics of discussion this year. Sounds like they’ll have plenty of fuel for the fire. According to the article, “the initial lack of thick snow in the town that bills itself as the highest ski resort in Europe was a firm reminder that climate change is a hot topic.”

Bloggers are also out in Davos in full-force. They are chattering about the fact that there isn’t as much “glitz” as there has been in past years. This year, no Angelina Jolie, no Sharon Stone. Reuters blogger Jeremy Gaunt asked, “Could it be that Davos is no longer hip?”

Not so, says Klaus Schwab, the founder, executive chairman and all-round booster of the World Economic Forum whose goal is no less than shaping the global agenda. “We invited what you call ’star’ people only the last years because they were relevant to a very specific topic,” he told celebrity-starved reporters. “This year we don’t feel in need of such a special accelerator, multiplier of the message.”

“Ouch,” wrote Jeremy. I agree! No need for star power this year to spread the word? Just Bono, who will talk about Africa, and Peter Gabriel, who is currently active in, which uses video technology to expose human rights violations. Peter actually blogged about Witness earlier this month in the Huffington Post.

If you don’t know much about this meeting, take a few minutes to search the web. There are hundreds of articles floating about. The meeting’s website allows readers to watch live webcasts (and later on demand webcasts), plus it provides a way to join the conversation.

I’ve already learned something today. I could be standing right behind Peter Gabriel at the grocery store and wouldn’t know the difference.

Source: In-Forum

Singer Gabriel pushes social justice at Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland – Singer Peter Gabriel is making his case for social justice at the annual World Economic Forum.

Gabriel said Thursday he'd like to see the economic forum take on more of a social conscience. "From my own point of view, I would love to see an integration between the world economic forum and the world social forum, but I think that's an unlikely dream," said the former member of the group Genesis, who's now 57.

Gabriel is a co-founder of Witness, an advocacy group that has trained and supported thousands of human rights activists in dozens of countries to use video as an advocacy tool. "So you have big business people, governments making deals for sure but there's also an opportunity if you have a cause like we have," said Gabriel, who's in Davos. Gabriel is promoting the Internet as tool that gives ordinary people the power to fight injustice and abuse.

Michael Brook, Ready to get out of the house

Michael Brook, who's recovered from an injury, is all set to go play the world again.

Michael Brook is in every way the globe-trotter.

The Toronto-born musician-producer has performed in India, Moscow and the Canary Islands. Brook's new album, titled "RockPaperScissors," has a border-crossing tone in music and geography, having been recorded in locales including Bulgaria and England. He's collaborated with late Pakistani star Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a group of singers from Sardinia and Mexican rock group Maldita Vecindad — not to mention having an association with a little Irish ensemble known as U2. And among his many soundtrack projects, he did the (pardon the expression) chilling score for last year's Al Gore global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and is finishing up work on music for "Passion of the Game," looking at the international love of soccer by English director Michael Apted.

Against that history, his working habits of late may sound a little odd.

"I actually didn't set foot outside the door for five days at the beginning of the year," says the wiry, mild-mannered musician, sitting amid a clutter of guitars, computers, pedals, wires and chords in the studio at his Hollywood Hills home.

Rather than go out into the world, he was busy creating musical worlds here, not just with the intense work to finish the Apted score, but assembling the equipment and sonic elements that will allow him to re-create the vast span of his music in a series of concerts, including one tonight at Largo. And in what spare time he has, he has been supervising an ambient remix version of "RockPaperScissors," titled "BellCurve," by producer James Hood. That, like the original album and the "Truth" soundtrack, is being released on the bigHelium/Canadian Rational label that Brooks runs in partnership with manager Hugo Veriker.

Intense as all that has been, this is not a bad place to be stuck for a while, as is clear during a rehearsal a few days later. The guitar-and-electronics maestro is joined in the cozy quarters by his wife, violinist Julie Rogers, and multi-instrumentalist-singer Lisa Germano to run through the tricky pieces the three of them are to present during a 2 1/2-week jaunt that started with showcases at the Sundance Film Festival last weekend. With white whippet Buck slinking in to say hello, the trio irons out intricacies of distinctive compositions ranging from the densely layered, pulsating "Doges" to the fragile rustic ambience of the Germano-sung "Want."

Clearly, after the sedentary time, Brook is keyed up about hitting the road for his first real tour since the early 1990s — even more so because this tour was originally scheduled for the fall, but had to be put on hold because of his own little inconvenient truth. Just before he was scheduled to go out, he broke his collarbone in a bicycling accident. The timing was terrible, as the canceled shows were meant to capitalize on both the release of "RockPaperScissors" and the cultural-consciousness crest of "An Inconvenient Truth."
"We definitely lost some momentum," Brook says.

It might have been for the best, though. He says the extra time to prepare the complexities of realizing this music live is a positive for him. And a few extra months for fans to live with the complexities of the music may not have been bad as well. With his guitar-based textures mixing with recordings he made with various Bulgarian ensembles and Armenian duduk player Djivan Gasparyan, archival tapes of Nusrat and Sir Richard Burton (the latter reading a Dylan Thomas poem) and new vocals by Germano and the Blue Nile's Paul Buchanan, among many other puzzle pieces, "RockPaperScissors" is a lot to take in.

"One thing I've found with the album is a lot of people won't like it the first or second time," he says. "But after multiple listenings, they get it. I guess at first you don't know where to focus your attention. Maybe there are too many layers or something. I've been involved in world music and hybrids so long that I don't notice things like that. Certainly, that's been a lot of the feedback I've gotten. But then I remember the first time I heard Jimi Hendrix. It seemed like a lot of noise. Now it's psychedelic blues, but at first to me it seemed random and chaotic. I can't imagine that now."

The notion of disparate and even jarring elements working together comes naturally to Brook now, having been mentored by musician-producer-theorist Brian Eno. The two got to know each other in 1980 when Englishman Eno was doing some work in a Toronto video production facility that Brook ran.

"I convinced him to trade video services with musical ones for my first album," Brooks says.

The relationship expanded, with Brook contributing his ethereal guitar sounds to Eno's ambient experiments, including some with another Canadian, Daniel Lanois. And when Eno and Lanois began producing U2 in the early '80s, Brook introduced the Edge to his "infinite guitar," a system that allows for endless note sustain and which quickly became one of the band's sonic trademarks. Around this time, Brook's work also came to the attention of Peter Gabriel, who, spurred by the incorporation of some Indian inspirations, recruited Brook to produce albums for Pakistani qawwali king Nusrat — works that would introduce that remarkable talent to the western world.

Since then, he's been a go-to guy for a wide range of productions, soundtracks, sessions and collaborations, along with sporadically releasing solo albums. But to him it doesn't matter on what — or where — he's working. It's all part of the same world.

"Maybe it's a little like that TV show 'Mission Impossible,' " he says. "The mission changes, but what they do is roughly the same. I'm roughly doing the same job all the time. And I'm amazingly lucky that I have a range of things that come in."

By Steve Hochman, Special to The Times

Peter Gabriel: Internet pour la défense des droits

Le chanteur Peter Gabriel fait campagne pour l'utilisation d'Internet à des fins humanitaires, dans le cadre du Forum économique mondial de Davos, en Suisse.

En entrevue à la Presse canadienne et NTR, l'artiste engagé a indiqué qu'Internet est un outil donnant plus de pouvoir aux simples citoyens afin de corriger des injustices.

L'ex-leader du groupe rock Genesis milite pour l'organisme Witness, qu'il a fondé il y a 15 ans afin de documenter des cas d'abus des droits humains. Il émet le souhait que le site web de Witness devienne un véritable carrefour d'enregistrements vidéos mettant au jour des abus à travers le monde.

L'organisme fournit des caméras et des ordinateurs à plusieurs groupes de défense des droits humains pour leur permettre de réaliser des vidéos qui pourront ensuite servir de preuves dans le cadre d'actions en justice.

Peter Gabriel insiste à l'effet que les simples citoyens peuvent aussi devenir des témoins actifs en fournissant leurs propres vidéos au site de Witness. Il reconnaît que le Forum économique mondial n'est perçu que comme un club sélect de chefs d'entreprises qui veulent dicter l'agenda mondial, mais il soutient que l'événement permet aussi de faire avancer des causes humanitaires.

L'artiste de 57 ans affirme qu'il était lui-même très cynique à sa première visite au Forum de Davos. M. Gabriel dit éprouver encore aujourd'hui des sentiments partagés quant au Forum et il précise qu'il souhaiterait que l'événement fusionne un jour avec le Forum mondial social. Toutefois, il indique qu'il donne accès à des gens qui peuvent avoir un impact pour la suite des choses.

Pour la suite du World

Michael Brook: "J'aime bien travailler en cinéma, mais j'aime aussi ne pas le faire, parce que j'ai la chance de produire d'autres artistes, Jorane par exemple."

photo: Kevin Yatarola

Michael Brook transporte ses atmosphères teintées de musiques du monde sur la scène de La Tulipe. Invitation au voyage.

Avec son plus récent disque solo, le producteur, guitariste et compositeur Michael Brook s'est offert un album-souvenir dans lequel il salut discrètement quelques-uns des artistes dont il a croisé la route. On y trouve un zeste de Brian Eno (époque Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy), une référence à King Crimson (il faisait partie du groupe de tournée de David Sylvian et Robert Fripp, avec Trey Gunn et Pat Mastelotto) et la voix du regretté Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, que Peter Gabriel lui a demandé de produire pour son étiquette Real World. D'ailleurs, la pièce-titre pourrait fort bien être chantée par ce dernier.

Ça fait quand même une belle collection d'amis pour un p'tit gars de Toronto! "Je suis heureux de vous surprendre", réplique-t-il lorsque je le rejoins à Los Angeles, où il vit depuis qu'a décollé sa nouvelle carrière de compositeur de musique de film (An Inconvenient Truth [AIT] est le plus récent). "Je n'ai pas vraiment inscrit ces filiations consciemment, explique-t-il, mais ces différentes collaborations font maintenant partie de moi, de ce que je fais." On trouve aussi sur ce disque à la production très soignée un orchestre symphonique et un choeur enregistrés en Bulgarie; "Oui, je me suis payé la traite! C'est un projet qui a pris du temps, mais je suis heureux de l'avoir pris. C'était peut-être imprudent de mettre autant de temps et d'argent dans un projet, mais je me suis dit que je n'aurais peut-être pas si souvent l'occasion de faire vraiment le disque qui me tente."

Il n'est pas sûr, en effet, qu'il aura autant de latitude pour remplir les prochains contrats de musique de film que sa collaboration à AIT ne manquera pas de lui amener... "Je pense que personne ne s'imaginait que ce film aurait autant de succès! Mais pour la suite, on verra. J'aime bien travailler en cinéma, mais j'aime aussi ne pas le faire, parce que j'ai la chance de produire d'autres artistes, Jorane par exemple (ou The Pogues, Youssou N'Dour, Cheb Khaled..., la liste est longue). Et puis, quand tu te fatigues de ça, tu retournes au film, ou tu pars sur la route, comme je le fais maintenant!" Et la tournée d'une douzaine de villes qui l'emporte ces jours-ci depuis la Californie passe heureusement par Montréal.

Ce ne sera pas facile de reproduire en concert la qualité sonore de son dernier opus, Rock Paper Scissors... " En effet... et nous ne le ferons sans doute pas! Il faudrait 70 personnes, et on ne sera que trois. En fait, nous en ferons une interprétation, sans chercher à ce que ce soit identique. On fera aussi des pièces de mon album précédent, Cobalt Blue, et de AIT." Brook, qui sera à la guitare et aux électroniques, sera accompagné de la violoniste et chanteuse Lisa Germano (qui donne aussi la première partie) et par son épouse, Julie Rogers, une violoniste elle-même très en demande. À découvrir.

Réjean Beaucage

Le 31 janvier
À La Tulipe
Voir calendrier World/Reggae

À voir/écouter si vous aimez
Hector Zazou
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Brian Eno (ambient)

24 janvier 2007

Peter Gabriel prend ses affaires en main

Le chanteur et musicien britannique Peter Gabriel vient d'annoncer qu'il lancera son prochain album en Amérique du Nord sans l'aide d'une compagnie de disque. Ce dernier est sans contrat de disque sur le continent nord-américain.

Selon le journal The Sunday Times, Gabriel, pionnier de la distribution de la musique numérique, a amassé 2 millions £ (environ 4,6 millions $US CAD) pour enregistrer et distribuer son prochain album studio, qui ne porte pas de titre pour l'instant, dans le cadre d'une entreprise commune avec la firme de capital-risque britannique Ingenious Media.

Gabriel devrait récolter le double des revenus qu'il aurait obtenu avec un contrat de disque conventionnel. Pour le reste du monde, Gabriel confiera la production de son CD à Warner Bros. Records.

Par ailleurs, l'artiste fera une apparition sur «Djin Djin», le prochain disque de la chanteuse bénoise Angelique Kidjo dont la sortie est attendue le 1er mai prochain via Razor & Tie et Starbucks Entertainment. Il chantera sur la pièce «Salala». Josh Groban, Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone et Ziggy Marley ont également collaboré à cet album.

Marc Gadoury [AgenceNews]

23 janvier 2007

Angelique Kidjo"Salala" : featuring Peter Gabriel

Kidjo Digs Deep With Groban, Keys, Santana

January 23, 2007, 11:05 AM ET/ Marc Pellegrino, N.Y.

With a little help from her friends, international music star and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Angelique Kidjo will return this spring with "Djin Djin," a return to her diverse cultural and musical roots.

Due May 1 via Razor & Tie and Starbucks Entertainment, the album finds Kidjo partnered with producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Morrissey, T. Rex) as well as Josh Groban, Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone and Ziggy Marley. "Djin Djin" will be sold in Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada as well as traditional retailers.

Singing in her native languages as well as in English and French, Kidjo revisits the music of her native Benin, building the album's sound around the traditional rhythms of her country.

The set features such tracks as a cover of Sade's "Pearl" with Groban and Santana, "Salala" featuring Gabriel, "Sedjedo" with Marley and "Gimme Shelter" with Stone. Keys and Marsalis appear on the title cut.

In addition, Kidjo will join Groban as the opening act for his spring tour, which begins Feb. 17 in Verona, N.Y. and runs through April 7 in Las Vegas.

Click to learn more...
Here is the track list for "Djin Djin":

"Ae Ae"
"Djin Djin" featuring Alicia Keys and Branford Marsalis
"Gimme Shelter" featuring Joss Stone
"Salala" featuring Peter Gabriel
"Senamou" featuring Amadou and Mariam
"Pearls" featuring Josh Groban and Carlos Santana
"Sedjedo" featuring Ziggy Marley
"Awan N'La"
"Mama Golo Papa"
"Lonlon (Ravel's Bolero)"

Brands: Today's Gods?

Brands have become a part of our daily lives, whether on clothing, multimedia gadgets or accessories. Today, what you wear or possess indicates whether you are "in" or not. This
can lead to social exclusion and increased pressure to consume, especially for young people.

  1. How do brands affect the way society functions?
    How do brands change our social interactions?

  2. To what extent can consumption pressure be pushed back?
    Could school uniforms be a solution?

  3. What are the roles and strategies of multinational companies in this context?
  • David Bosshart, Director, Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, Switzerland
  • Peter B. Gabriel, Musician, Real World, United Kingdom
  • Kathleen Ix, Student, International School of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Reno Sami, Manager, School Uniform Project, Plusminus Basel, Switzerland
  • Sir Martin Sorrell, Group Chief Executive, WPP, United Kingdom

Moderated by

  • Bendicht Luginbühl, Journalist, Switzerland

Davos moment

Participants at the forum always talk about “Davos Moments” — those only-at-Davos experiences in which, for example, you find yourself washing your hands in the bathroom with former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres on one side and rock musician Peter Gabriel on the other...

22 janvier 2007

Peter Gabriel Goes it online and alone

Peter Gabriel The pioneer of digital music is to fund his next record.Former founding Genesis member and multi-instrumentalist Peter Gabriel has announced that he will release his next album in the US without the aid of a record company.First reported in The Times newspaper yesterday (January 21), Gabriel, an early pioneer of digital music distribution, has raised £2 million towards recording and 'shipping' his next as-yet-untitled album in a venture with investment boutique Ingenious Media.

is expected to earn double the money that he would get through a conventional record deal. Commercial director Duncan Reid of Ingenious explains the business savvy of the deal, saying, "If you're paying a small distribution fee and covering your own marketing costs, you enjoy the lion's share of the proceeds of the album. Gabriel is expected to outsource CD production for worldwide release through Warner Bros. Records. The new album deal covers the North America territory, where Gabriel is currently out of contract. Ingenious have previously scored chart entries with independently released albums by Mick Hucknall's Simply Red.

Second Life does Davos

SECOND LIFE,* Jan 19 (Reuters) - Reuters will conduct a series of interviews with artists, politicians and executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland next week, in front of a live Second Life audience.

Reuters Bureau Chief Adam Pasick will talk with guests including Linden Lab Chairman Mitch Kapor, author and entrepreneur John Battelle, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, and musician Peter Gabriel during the WEF, which takes place Jan. 24-28. They will have their own customized avatars and will take questions from residents.

* What is Second Life?

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 2,826,459 people from around the globe.

21 janvier 2007

Gabriel deals a blow to the record business

Peter Gabriel, a pioneer of digital music, is taking another step towards weakening the role of the record industry by raising £2m towards the recording and distribution of his next album.

Gabriel, a founder member of Genesis, has formed a joint venture with Ingenious Media, the investment and corporate-finance boutique headed by Patrick McKenna. Ingenious is investing funds from two of the venture-capital trusts that it manages.

Duncan Reid, commercial director at Ingenious, said the arrangement could more than double the amount of money Gabriel makes from his next as-yet-untitled album. Now in his fifth decade in the music industry, Gabriel’s most recent record still sold more than 1m.

The deal covers North America, where Gabriel is currently out of contract, and where he toured with great success in 2003. The joint venture, called High Level Recordings, will outsource CD production, probably to Warner Bros.

Reid said: “If you’re paying a small distribution fee and covering your own marketing costs, you enjoy the lion’s share of the proceeds of the album.”

He added: “The world is changing. With digital distribution, the barriers to entry are far lower. But for the long term, there’s going to be a role for the majors [the record companies] in terms of rolling something out worldwide quickly.”

Ingenious has also worked closely with Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, another singer who has chosen to release albums without the backing of a record company.

Separately, the world’s independent record labels have come together to create a new licensing agency, called Merlin. This is intended to provide a single point of contact for YouTube, MySpace and the multitude of other websites that are expected to follow in their wake.

Internet users are already mixing copyright-protected songs into the content of numerous websites. The music industry is seeking ways to license and earn money from this usage, but the sheer number of independent labels poses a particular challenge.

Paul Durman/The Sunday Times/January 21,2007