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16 mars 2007

Hyde Park Calling

Peter Gabriel confirmed for WOMAD

WOMAD 2007

WOMAD, which is moving to a new site at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire and happening from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th July has announced more acts.

Newly confirmed to play on the Friday is WOMAD co-founder Peter Gabriel, playing one of only a handful of shows in the UK this summer.

Peter says "It has been wonderful to see what has happened with WOMAD over the last 25 years. It is different from any other festival I've ever been to, and although I usually get to enjoy it from the audience rather than the stage, I am delighted to come back as a performer for this 25th anniversary. Thomas Brooman (WOMAD Managing & Artistic Director) has a wonderful, passionate team that have built something quite extraordinary, that is now becoming a national institution. I am very proud to have got the ball rolling."

Also added to the line-up are Chambao (Spain), Chota Divana (India), Clube Do Balanço (Brazil), Gnawa Diffusion (Morocco), Humanature (Australia), Mari Boine (Norway), Seckou Keita Quartet (Senegal/Italy/Egypt/Gambia), Taj Mahal (USA), The Gloworms (UK), and Zawose Family (Tanzania).

WOMAD Charlton Park will welcome an audience of 20,000 and will feature seven stages and workshop areas, including a children's village, many more activities and festival features, all in the idyllic environment of Charlton's open lawns and rolling fields.

15 mars 2007

Blues Harmonica Blowout shows

Concerts: Narrows hosts blues harp blowout

Since 1991, West Coast harp ace Mark Hummel has been producing and performing at his annual Blues Harmonica Blowout shows. Through the years, Mr. Hummel's presented many giants of blues harmonica including James Cotton, Carey Bell, Huey Lewis, Magic Dick (J. Geils), Lee Oskar (War) and Jerry Portnoy (Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton), Billy Boy Arnold (Bo Diddley), Paul Oscher (Muddy Waters), Rick Estrin and Rod Piazza.

The Winter 2007 tour includes Charlie Musselwhite and Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds). Charlie Musselwhite is one of the most recognized names in blues harmonica. Born in 1944, he has traveled the long road from backwoods Mississippi to a teenaged upbringing in Memphis, to the south side of Chicago. His latest recording, with Real World (Peter Gabriel's label), is "Delta Hardware" a throwback to his early '60s sound with a little funky Mississippi mud in the grooves. He has several Grammy nominations to his credit and won 19 W.C. Handy Awards.

Among the greatest living blues harp players, Mr. Wilson happens to be a great singer as well as a founder and current bandleader-frontman of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Their '80s hits such as "Tuff Enough", "Wrap It Up" and "Powerful Stuff" ruled the airwaves and MTV for several years. He continues to tour the world with the updated TBirds. As for Mr. Hummel, Huey Lewis calls him "simply one of the best harmonica players working today."

13 mars 2007

Manu Katché monte le son sur Arte. "One shot not"

Le vendredi 13 avril, diffusion sur Arte de "One shot not". Dès 22h25.

Manu Katché invite Bryan Ferry, Air, Joss Stone et Kyle Eastwood.

Du live accompagné d'un making of qui dévoile les préparatifs de cette rencontre.

Renaud Le Van Kim réalise cette émission.

Manu Katché entend présenter "l'essence même de la musique" à la télévision. Il ne veut surtout pas devenir animateur, il est et reste d'abord musicien.

Jazz, pop, rock, scène underground...Sur le plateau de l'émission, Manu Katché, à la batterie, invite des artistes à croiser leurs univers au cours de boeufs inédits.

One shot not, ce sont des premières fois, où tout est possible...

Au dela du concert, l'émission offre un billet pour les coulisses. Dans l'esprit d'un making of, voyages, repas, dialogues et répétitions sont filmés afin de permettre au téléspectateur de pénétrer dans le quotidien des musiciens comme des techniciens. Un journal de bord en quelque sorte, décryptant usages et codes en vigueur dans le monde de la musique.

Dans la future seconde émisison, l'affiche est plus que prometteuse. Une rencontre Peter Gabriel - Lenny Kravitz serait d'actualité...

My Brightest Diamond

Photos by Denny Renshaw (left) and Matt Wignall (right)

Sufjan Interviews My Brightest Diamond

Shara Worden on Madonna: "She is a queen with a iron fist and honey for hips."

Sufjan's journalistic coup continues! This week our bard slacked off on his 50 States Project by interviewing bandmate and My Brightest Diamond sorceress Shara Worden as part of Asthmatic Kitty's "Half-Week of My Brightest Diamond" (yes, it's officially a trend now).

Sufjan-- who recently reviewed a MBD gig, along with other dabblings in the written word-- talked My Brightest Diamond's just-released remix disc Tear It Down with Shara, who declared, "Genre is a bit overrated, so I like the concept of taking these tunes out of the indie rock world and letting them breathe in a different context." We can dig it.

Mr. Stevens also waxes philosophical about the essence of remixing and whether his own tunes are suited to such a treatment. Survey says...not so much. "I've never embarked on this before," wrote Sufjan, "and I have the feeling my songs don't lend themselves to remixing." Shara thinks otherwise, and the two basically geek out about remixes and music and clubbing(!) for a few more paragraphs. Plus Shara calls Madonna "a queen with a iron fist and honey for hips." It's cute. Read the whole thing here.

While you're around, check out the wacky video for Gold Chains' remix of "Freak Out", some rare/early/live MBD cuts on Asthmatic's AKRadio, and Shara's list of her favorite "electronicish" records, which includes Peter Gabriel, Four Tet, the Books, Pierre Boulez, and, yes, Throbbing Gristle.

My Brightest Diamond hits the road with the Decemberists later this month, following a couple SXSW engagements.

11 mars 2007

Honest Touch - Independent Music Awards Vox Populi winners

The project Honest Touch from Athens, Greece is among the diverse group of artists from all over the world, chosen as the Independent Music Awards Vox Populi winners. Visitors of the IMAs website were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite album and the project received the highest rates in the New Age category. The IMAs is a program that promotes independent artists, labels and releases to over 11 Million music fans and industry insiders.

Now in its seventh year, this is the first time the IMAs has opened the voting process to include fans and industry voters that were not on the official judging panel, which this year included Peter Gabriel, Wynonna, Suzanne Vega and Ozzy Osbourne among many others. Through press releases and outreaches to fans and industry, thousands have cast their votes at the online Vox Populi Jukebox at the Independent Music Awards site.

In a very personal manner, Fofi Maniadaki and Samy Elgazzar merged the styles of Piano music, New Age music, Pop music and Orchestral music. They refer to their music as a cinematic Pop music or as they call it "Tacit Pop". The project has gained much success and favorable reviews from Europe, USA and Canada. The debut album was nominated among the Album Finalists of the 2007 Independent Music Awards (IMAs) in the New Age category.

One month later, the project received four nominations in the International Online Music Awards (Canada) and won the Best Keyboard Player category. Paul De Micheli of Mondo Blu Radio (Spain) writes: "Beautifully-crafted melodies that would be worthy of a John Williams or indeed Ennio Morricone". Colin Lynch (Canada) states in IOM magazine: "This very gifted and scandalously skilled contemporary classical composer/musician ensemble can move you to the kind of tears you never thought you had". Dan MacIntosh of (USA) says "Their sound is full-bodied, with a lovely orchestral feel, and you can easily imagine much of it as movie soundtrack music."

Honest Touch's music is characterized by a genuine and emotional color: music that will enrapture the mind and soul of the listener. Be sure to visit the official web site to check the music samples before you pickup your copy of "Memories From A Dream". Stay tuned with Honest Touch, a music that offers a unique sensation.

City warms to global beat

It was truly a cultural melting pot at WOMADelaide yesterday, with scorching temperatures sending festival fans scurrying for shade.

Asian-style umbrellas, Vietnamese hats, trees and tents provided some relief from the sun, with long queues for taps and ice cream stands. But the burst of autumn heat, which reached 36C, failed to scotch revellers' enthusiasm.

"Every time it's really hot, but it's just part of Womad," Emilia Clark, 17, from Victor Harbor, said. "It's a great atmosphere." Sarah Andrews, 25, from Norwood, said it just "makes everyone even more spaced out. As the sun goes down, people spark up".

St John Ambulance volunteers treated 60 people during the day for a range of ailments including blisters, headaches, heat stroke and burns. And there's no excuse for a lazy Sunday today, with a host of events to choose from in Adelaide's month of fun and festivities.

Whether it's swaying to the sounds of world music, feasting on the Fringe or indulging in wine, there's something to please almost all tastes.

Events other than WOMADelaide include:

FRINGE: There are many Fringe events to choose from today, or else just soak up the atmosphere in the Garden of Unearthly Delights in Rundle Park.

CRUSH '07: Formerly the Hills Harvest Festival, the Adelaide Hills wine region comes alive today with the sound of music and the aroma of food.

Grab a map from the Adelaide Hills Visitor Information Centre and a $3 tasting glass at one of the various wineries.

Collaboration with giants of jazz fuels pianist's artistic intensity

As she takes an early afternoon stroll along 125th Street in Harlem, Rachel Nicolazzo tries to find an area free from passing trains and the bustle of nearby shoppers to conduct a phone interview. Perhaps fittingly, the spot she chooses for conversing has led her directly across the street from New York's famed Cotton Club. As has been the case for much of her career, Nicolazzo -- better known to fans and friends as Rachel Z -- seems to find music around every corner.

"I was just trying to avoid the noise," the pianist said. "And look where I am. What a really cool thing."

This week, music -- specifically, the spry piano-trio jazz with which she has toured relentlessly in recent years -- brings her back to Louisville's Jazz Factory, where she has played annually since 2004. But clubs are hardly exclusive performance grounds. Just ask the tens of thousands of fans who saw her playing keyboards in Peter Gabriel's band on successive world tours from 2002 to 2004.

"Just listening to Gabriel sing every night, to hear the beauty, the overtones and the emotions in his voice, was such a thrill," she said. "Playing with Peter was an amazing artistic experience because of that voice."

Playing with giants

Glance over Nicolazzo's dossier and you'll also find collaborations with numerous jazz giants, from the diverse electric ensemble Steps Ahead to fusion all-stars Stanley Clarke and Lenny White to a recording called High Life with veteran saxophonist Wayne Shorter. And then there was a 1993 tour with guitarist Al DiMeola that brought Nicolazzo to Kentucky for the first time -- a Lexington concert at the long-defunct Breeding's on Main Street.

"I totally remember that show," she said. "The audience was over the top. I kept thinking, Lexington, Kentucky, is hip.'"

Of course, when you get caught up recounting tales of Rachel Z the band member, you tend to forget the artistic might and ingenuity of Rachel Z the bandleader. Early solo albums flirted with more pop-friendly jazz forms, but her past six recordings -- put out in rapid succession beginning in 2000 -- have been mostly acoustic piano trio sessions that have arrived at a very different junction between jazz and pop.

On the Milky Way Express (2000) was devoted exclusively to compositions by Shorter, and Moon at the Window (2002) offered jazz treatments of songs by folk-pop-jazz empress Joni Mitchell. But starting with 2003's First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, the worlds of jazz and pop converged. Tunes by Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins sat next to such standards as In the Wee Small Hours and Autumn Leaves as well as Rachel Z originals.

Battle of good and evil

Nicolazzo takes the merger even further with her new album Dept. of Good and Evil, which is also the name of her current band. It represents not only the blending of temperaments within her repertoire but the differing musical roles and personalities displayed by her touring trio, which is completed by drummer-producer Bobbie Rae and bassist Maeve Royce. (Trumpeter Erik Naslund and Peter Gabriel-King Crimson bassist Tony Levin also contribute to the recording.)

"When you say 'good' and 'evil,' you're really talking about the paradox of the world. So imagine then you're in the department and you come up to the desk of good and evil. What are you going to ask for in life? Will you ask for good things to happen or will you just represent the evil? So there's a kind of a political element to it all. In the music, I tend to play minor chords. That's why I'm in the department of evil. We joke about it a lot, but the chords are kind of scary. They represent a harmony I really enjoy, one that came out of the late '60s with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. The department of good has the bass and drums. They're funky, groovy, slinky, sexy -- all the happy things."

New twists to old tunes

Nicolazzo has also designed another repertoire with considerable stylistic variance for the album. Along with two vocal tunes of her own and an original composition by Rae, Dept. of Good and Evil offers jazz revisions of music by Death Cab for Cutie (Soul Meets Body), The Church (Under the Milky Way), Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Maps) and Joy Division (Love Will Tear Us Apart). There are also champion saxophone compositions by Shorter (ESP) and the late Joe Henderson (Inner Urge).

But the best example of at least thematic good and evil comes when the record offers a melancholy update of the Police hit King of Pain before launching into a Dave Brubeck-esque alteration of the popular Flower Duet from the French opera LakmŽ.

"I'm not the listener," Nicolazzo said. "So I'm not necessarily hearing the record as being very diverse. We just made a record that allows for different tunes. Some audiences, for example, may not even be familiar with Love Will Tear Us Apart. While it's a classic in its realm, it's not usually done as a jazz standard. But when we interpret these alternative rock tunes, we're just as focused on the influences of people like Herbie and (pianists) McCoy Tyner and Bill Evans.

"In that way, we feel like we made a very straight-ahead jazz record."
Rachel Z

By Walter Tunis

When: 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. March 14.
Where: The Jazz Factory, 815 W. Market St. in Louisville.
Tickets: $12.50.
Call: (502) 992-3242.