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08 janvier 2008

Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas

Press Release Embargoed Until Tuesday 8th January 2008

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The names of the judges for the 5th biennial Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas were announced today. Bob Isherwood, Saatchi & Saatchi's Worldwide Creative Director and convenor of the Award said, "We're honoured to have such brilliant people judging our Award. They are all world changers in their own way. We're extremely grateful to them for their time and commitment".

The Six Judges are:

Edward de Bono

The originator of the term 'lateral thinking', and judge for all of the Saatchi & Saatchi Award competitions. Believes that creativity can be learned. In 2006, received the Sloane Award, the International Association of Management Consultants' highest honour.

Peter Gabriel
Musical pioneer, campaigner for human rights, founder of the Real World group of companies. Recipient of Man of Peace Award from Nobel Peace Laureates.

HRH Prince Hassan
HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan has been described as the voice of reason in the Middle East. He is a pluralist, believing in consensus and respect for 'the other'.

Malcolm McLaren
A constant innovator in fashion, film and music. Founder of the Sex Pistols, co-producer of 'Fast Food Nation', creator of breakthrough 'Duck Rock', 'Fans', 'Waltz Darling' and 'Paris' albums.

Carolyn Porco
American Planetary Scientist and leader of the imaging science team of the Cassini mission in orbit around Saturn. Skilled science communicator, active participant in guiding US planetary exploration program. Asteroid (7231) Porco named for her.

Philippe Starck
Most famous and prolific designer alive. His work has made an impression on so much of our lives, from door handles to organic food, watches to mega yachts. Hotels, restaurants, retail space and even space travel have all been blessed with his inimitable creativity too.

The task of the judging panel is to place the ten finalists (to be announced in January 2008) in their order of merit. The winner will be announced at a high profile ceremony in New York on Thursday 21st February 2008, where the ten finalists will exhibit their ideas. At the same ceremony, Edward de Bono will present his Medal for Thinking to the finalist whose idea best meets Edward's criteria of 'simple, practical and effective'.

Saatchi & Saatchi established the Award to spotlight, celebrate and promote ideas that have the potential to change the world of the individual, of groups of people with particular needs, or the whole world.

The winner of the previous Award in 2005 was Concrete Canvas, the near-instant building in a bag.

The US$100,000 prize is made up of US$50,000 cash and the equivalent of US$50,000 in Saatchi & Saatchi marketing consultancy. To find out more visit

Peter Gabriel Hands Real Word to Ryko

In some of the first big label news of 2008, Ryko will take over U.S. distribution for Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. As part of the agreement, Ryko will handle both digital and physical distribution of Real World’s catalog and will re-issue many of the label’s back catalog titles with new packaging and, in some cases, with exclusive bonus material. Gabriel launched the world music-centric Real World Records in 1989.

In a statement, Ryko Distribution President Jim Cuomo said, “Joining forces with Real World is a perfect complement to the artist-driven focus we have at Ryko and will enable us to reinforce Real World’s stature as the standard-bearer in World Music. We have shared and applauded Peter’s vision over many years and are both thrilled and excited to be able to contribute to Real World’s ongoing success.”

Gabriel adds, “The music on Real World is very precious to us, so we wanted to find a great home in America. We are delighted to have all our artists welcomed and look forward to building something special together.”

“Like so many, I have a profound admiration for Peter as a musician and artist, as well as a deep respect for the innovative and influential label he started nearly two decades ago,” says John Esposito, President and CEO of WEA Corp., who oversees Warner Music Group’s U.S distribution companies, including Ryko. “Real World’s impressive catalog is a true cultural gem and we will look forward to applying the resources of Ryko and WMG to assure it is treated with the care and dedication it deserves.”

The deal will include Real World’s entire catalog and future recordings. The label’s first project under the new agreement teams Gabriel and Karl Wallinger (The Waterboys, World Party) for a project that is said to be 16 years in the making. The Big Blue Ball project began back in 1992 when Gabriel opened his doors for the week to 75 international artists from over 20 countries. The first single from the Big Blue Ball project, “Whole Thing,” features Gabriel on lead vocal and keyboards, Tim Finn (Crowded House) and Andy White (ALT) on backing vocals, Karl Wallinger and Paul Allen Nord on guitar and Francis Bebey on flute. In a decidedly modern move, the single is now exclusively available via iTunes.

07 janvier 2008

Beating down barriers

Not-for-profit organization does world of good through music

When he was in his early teens, Alan Davis used to drive his family and neighbours crazy playing the drums. He had aspirations of being a rock star and would often play for hours on end in his family's Parkdale home. "Playing music is one of the greatest pleasures in my life," said Davis, who graduated from Ryerson University when it was still a Polytechnical Institute back in the '80s. "I'm still in an active band. We have a gig next month."

Davis has been in many incarnations of bands since his teenage years. His latest is called Beatmap. They've been together for about three years. Davis describes their music as "a worldly, funky, rock thing. It could be a real kick-ass band if I was younger and had the kind of energy needed to sustain the group properly," he said. "But it's hard to find the time to do things that aren't of an immediate concern."
What's of immediate concern to Davis right now is his Small World Music Society. That's where he spends most of his energy and time these days, and has for the past 20 years.

Small World Music is a Toronto-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the presentation of world music, community outreach and developing the careers of Canada's diverse music community. Small World Music promotes between 40 and 50 concerts a year, including the annual Small World Music Festival that takes place in the fall. They bring in an eclectic mix of musicians from around the world and often pair them with Canada's best world music artists.

In the past four months, Small World Music has staged concerts featuring singer-songwriter Mansa Sissoko from Mali, virtuoso oud player and composer Marcel Khalife from the Middle East, Zimbabwean superstar Oliver Mtukudzi and the Kalman Balogh Gypsy Cimbalom Band from Budapest.

"I think world music is universal and speaks to any culture and language," Davis said. "What resonates most with me is the spiritual quality of the music and that 30 years from now you can listen to it and it still sounds good."

Davis grew up a fan of 70s and 80s rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Genesis, music he says that still "blows him away." And it was the former lead singer of Genesis, Peter Gabriel, who turned Davis onto world music.

"I was in my 20s when Gabriel started his Real World label and the music he was putting out just opened my ears to a wonderful sound," Davis remembers. "Due to Toronto's multicultural nature, I was able to experience some of the music I was hearing from Gabriel. I would go into the various ethnic communities and see people playing in restaurants and cafes. I decided to take some of those people and put them on stage."

Davis acknowledges it was a financial struggle in the beginning, and he never figured he would still be doing world music concerts 20 years later. But Toronto is even more diverse than when he started and is now one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Within that multicultural diversity lays one of Davis' small frustrations with some the concerts he puts on.
"We would do an Iranian concert and 90% of the audience is Iranian, the same if we do an Indian or Portuguese show," Davis said. "It's slowly changing. And I think that's great because it's important that we experience each others cultures. From a societal point of view, it helps break down mental ghettoes. Plus, a lot of these musicians deserve to be heard by a wider audience."

So instead of being the rock star he dreamed of as a youth, Davis now dreams of making stars out of the diverse musicians that call Toronto home. On Jan. 20, Small World Music presents the Shoghaken Ensemble from Armenia at the Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts, 171 Town Centre Blvd.


Jazz meets Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

I am not sure how ATP readers will react to this, but let me say that I have been totally mesmerized by this music and have had it on auto-repeat play for the last three days.

But, first let me thank Zeeshan Suhail, on whose blog I found this wonderful fusion/jazz band called Brook’s Qawwali Party (BQP).

BQP produces a captivating sound based on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s classic works and turn it into a unique and peculiar fusion of sufi qawalli rhythyms and jazz. But I will let them explain what they and their music is about. According to the BQP webpage:

What would happen if New York jazz musicians were to play and improvise around the melodies of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan? From this idea, Brook’s Qawwali Party was born. consists of fourteen musicians: five horns, three percussionists, guitar, acoustic bass, harmonium and three designated clappers. The exuberant sound of BQPBQP has been enthusiastically welcomed in New York City and across the globe.

According to Sepia Mutiny “Brook’s Qawwali Party is … made up of non-desi Brooklynites who get together in Park Slope… [they are] probably one of the only Sufi bands with Jewish members in existence.”

Of the half dozen audio clips that are available at their website, my favorite is ‘Beh Haadh Ramza Dhasdha’ (He Manifests Himself in Many Forms) which you can listen to by clicking below or on the image on the left, or by going to their web page.

I am a big fan of the original by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (in the album Shahbaaz) — I believe it is a tribute to Mansoor Hallaj shouting Ana al Haqq, even as he is executed on the gallows.

The BQP version has a very different quality to it and in the beginning I could not pin it down. But as I hear it again and again it seems to me that because they are using horns, their version has a shaadi waala band sound to it (I say this as a compliment because I am a huge fan of shaadi waala brass bands).

This particular clip starts rather abruptly, but from around 25 seconds onwards (espeically to around 1 minutes 15 sections) there is this wonderful interplay of sounds and of instruments that should gladden the hearts of qawalli fans as well as jazz fans.

Anyhow, do listen and make up your own mind.

Of the other clips on their site, I also like Tou Kareemi very much. It again has that interplay of horns that reminds me of a good military band playing at a shaadi. Both of these are rather ‘fast’ numbers. If you are looking for mellower sounds you should try their rendition of Man Kuntou Moula. Their versions of Mast Mast and Allah Hou, Allah Hou are not bad but these seemed much more like instrumental versions of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s originals and, especially in the later, the chant of ‘Allah Hou’ gets a little too Americanized in accent for my taste.

But, over all, I thought this was great stuff.

Adil Najam