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26 décembre 2008


LA VAPEUR, 42, avenue de Stalingrad,21000 DIJON

Le mardi 10 mars 2009 à 20:30

sur le site de la Vapeur :


Auteur-compositeur américain, Joseph Arthur est découvert en 1996 par Peter Gabriel qui édite sur son label Real World le premier album du jeune artiste. sur Real World. Il y produira les premières pépites qui l'installeront comme un parolier de premier plan du folk moderne basé sur des rythmiques et arrangement sophistiqués. Réussissant un travail audacieux sur les voix, doublé de mélodies, arrangements, instrumentation et production absolument étourdissants il fait inévitablement parti du cercle restreint des songwriters qui comptent.

Avec Temporary People, son septième album, Joseph et son gang, The Lonely Astronauts, livrent des chansons percutantes et simples, jouant sur le velours d'une écriture généreuse, d'un son ample et d'une voix qui n'a jamais été aussi chaleureuse ; un disque de rock percutant révélant la singularité d'un artiste complexe au classicisme rock le plus classieux. |


Dix ans après la formation du groupe et un impressionnant parcours, les très classieux Montréalais sont en train de casser la baraque au Québec et comptent bien en faire de même en France avec leur son à la fois grave et irrésistiblement planant.

25 décembre 2008

The Creator: Inside the Collaborative World and Visionary Mind of Peter Gabriel

by Nevin Martell, Filter Mag; Photos by Arnold Newman & Stephen Lovell-Davis | 12.29.2008

To be a musician; that’s one thing. To be a visionary—well, that’s quite another.

Peter Gabriel is a quintessential visionary because his notable works transcend his numerous contributions to music. Since the late ’60s, he has continually reinvented himself by embracing sonic evolution through worldwide collaboration, the art of the music video, the power of social action and the creative expansion afforded by emerging technologies. He’s one of the few people on the planet who can get Bono, Steve Jobs and Nelson Mandela on the phone, and unlike other celebrity musicians who merely lend their image to a new project, Gabriel is an active brainstormer, overseer and executor of his myriad endeavors.

The 58-year-old Englishman enjoys experimentation, creation and innovation in large doses, thriving on them the same way Hunter S. Thompson flourished on a steady diet of illicit substances. Combining the mesmerizing showmanship of Houdini, the unbounded imagination of Walt Disney, and Asimov’s futurism, Gabriel is incessantly trying to make things happen—all sorts of things, with all sorts of people, in all sorts of places. And he was doing it years before Al Gore invented the Internet, before cellular technology was a fact of life, and before someone dubbed the phrase “multi-tasking.” In many ways, he’s the benevolent grandfather of this new digital age, but he’s not embracing Floridian retirement and trips on a charter boat; he’s got bigger fish to fry.

No matter where you look, Gabriel is leaving his stamp on the culture of today and tomorrow. You might hear his song with Tom Newman, “Down to Earth,” playing over the credits to Pixar’s WALL-E or read about him in the latest issue of Wired or even in a BoingBoing blog post. Considering the scope and depth of Gabriel’s works, it’s no wonder that he’s notorious for taking long stretches to finish albums (there was a 10-year gap between Us and its 2002 follow-up, Up).

His latest musical venture isn’t his new solo album (six years and counting); rather, it’s the Big Blue Ball project—a collection of songs culled from three week-long jam sessions he curated at his Real World Studios in the early ’90s. Featuring artists as varied as The Egyptian String Ensemble, flamenco guitarist Juan Canizares, Joseph Arthur, Sinéad O’Connor, Japanese percussionist Joji Hirota and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, the album is held together by Gabriel’s presiding vision of bringing creative people together.

Over the years, Gabriel has collaborated with a diverse array of artists—including Robert Fripp, Cat Stevens, Youssou N’Dour and Lou Reed—while his Real World Records label has introduced artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Blind Boys of Alabama and the Afro Celt Sound System to wider Western audiences. He also found time to write Passion—the soundtrack for Martin Scorsese’s controversial The Last Temptation of Christ—and contributed to movies like Natural Born Killers and Philadelphia. Of course, his most known contribution to film appears in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 high school-romance classic, Say Anything, in which John Cusack plays Gabriel’s swooning ballad, “In Your Eyes,” on a boombox hoisted over his head to woo back his girl.

Ever since Gabriel left Genesis in the mid ’70s and embarked on an incredibly rich solo career, he has been a master crafter of the unexpected pop song. From the lilting “Solsbury Hill” and the chant-worthy protest song “Biko” to the quirkily catchy “Shock the Monkey” and the sexual soul stylings of “Sledgehammer,” Gabriel has defied strict categorization, though many of his songs have found their way into the Top 40. He is a man who feels unfettered by traditional boundaries and continually surprises listeners by defying convention and expectation.

In a world where brand is king and artists of all ilks are expected to find a pigeonhole—then rape it for all its worth—Gabriel has done a superlative job of staying outside this artistically debilitating system. His only promise to his fans is that he’ll surprise them if they have patience and don’t mind a multitude of detours along the way. Whether he ultimately delivers a CGI video so trippy it makes Björk’s clips look blasé (“Kiss the Frog”) or a tongue-in-cheek condemnation of the talk TV circuit (“The Barry Williams Show”), Gabriel is one artist who would rather fail at something new than repeat himself for the sake of success.

Today, we find Peter Gabriel in constant motion acting as the artist in residence at his second home, Real World Studios, which is tucked away in the countryside of southwestern England. Though he has just put the finishing touches on his contribution to the WALL-E soundtrack and is at the end of a long day’s work in the studio, he is warm and generous, even apologizing for being a mere three minutes late. Over the course of our conversation, Gabriel opens up wholeheartedly to discuss his multitude of projects and how they help make him a better artist and shape his vision of a truly collaborative world.

What is your philosophical approach to making music now? Has it changed since you first started out?

It began fairly primitively, though I still consider myself a pretty primitive artist in lots of ways. For my latest project, Big Blue Ball, the recording was a huge collaboration. The World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival started in 1980 and it always brought together all these wonderful musicians from around the world, many of whom couldn’t communicate in any other way except through music. But, they’d always be jamming with each other at any given opportunity. None of that ever got recorded and it was such a magical feeling that initially we just thought, “Let’s grab some of these musicians and bring them down to the studio.” And then we began to think, “OK, jams are wonderful for those involved, but not always for those listening. So, let’s try and steer this towards writing songs that will stand up through repeated listening. Let’s start taking advantage of these unique musical mixes.” So we brought some songwriters and poets in and had some of the most exciting musical weeks of my life. They were exhausting even though we had a 24-hour café going. The enthusiasm that everyone had…there was a real generosity of spirit.

What was your role?

I was the instigator. [Former Waterboys/World Party musician/songwriter] Karl Wallinger and I were producing stuff upstairs in one room; that’s always what we were steering. And I appear as an artist or writer on a few of the tracks. Some people think this is my latest record, and I’m at pains to point out that this is very much a group record of which I was only a participant.

Of all the people you invited to Real World for those weeks of recording, who surprised you the most?

I loved working with some of the Egyptian string players. Hossam Ramzy, a percussionist I worked with on the Passion soundtrack, originally brought these guys over to work with Plant and Page, but then we roped them in. They would listen to a track and the lead violinist would play along to the melody and the other three guys would lean over, with their ears almost touching his instrument, copying whatever he played just a little bit behind. So it was a really organic, flowing, serpent-like string part that you hear on the track “Habibe,” which was a beautiful thing.

You’ve earned a reputation for taking a long time to make records. What was it like only having one week to collaborate, compose and record?

I actually like working fast, as opposed to the normal snail’s pace. It’s a different type of energy. It was like the old days in the Brill Building when there’d be a ton of songwriters who had to turn something in before they went home, and that’s good. It’s not good for everything—and it’s certainly not the best way to get what I do out there—but it’s another facet. You look at some painters who can deliver something in 10 seconds that’s extraordinary, and for someone else, it might take 10 years. One is not necessarily better than the other; it’s just different.

In terms of your artistic process, how much improvising and on-the-spot work do you do? Or, are you still a very calculated songwriter?

I’ve always been so 50/50. In other words, the performance is where the magic often happens, and you get spontaneous reactions to things and you try to catch them fresh. I will then chisel away like a sculptor, hoping something has been caught with life trapped inside it.

What song of yours required the least chipping away?

“Solsbury Hill” was pretty quick, but getting it recorded always takes longer than writing the lyrics.

Would you explain the title, Big Blue Ball?

One of the astronauts—and I can’t remember which one—said that once they’d been up in space and looked back at the place they’d come from, they had seen it just as a “big blue ball.” So it was impossible to think and feel about the world in the same way again. It’s such a queerly defined object, so a lot of the barriers and divisions that we make on its surface seem a bit ridiculous.

It seems that this record desires to obliterate those barriers and facilitate thinking about the world as one “big blue ball.”

From the beginning, that was one of my hopes. In fact, one of the fears I have with the climate change is that by restricting travel, we inadvertently feed intolerance and racism.

If there was one song to play at your funeral that reflects this ideal of bringing people together, which would it be?

It was pretty emotional when we were doing the Human Rights tour for Amnesty International in 1986 and we would get people singing “Biko” all around the world, so that would definitely be a candidate.

Do you feel that it would be easier to write a political song like “Biko” now than it was in the ’80s? Then, it was a powerful statement magnified even more because it was on a major record label. Now, you could conceivably write a protest song, record it and upload it to the web all in one day. Is it easier now to be outspoken on issues that were formerly off limits?

I think it’s easier, for sure. “Biko” was a protest song and one of the benefit projects I’ve been working on is, which is for global elders in a global village. One of the many proposals for the site was that you encourage people to spontaneously respond to the world’s events. So, you could get painters, cartoonists, musicians, poets or whomever generating responses. If you see the violence in Tibet or the earthquakes in China, this website would be an encouraging platform to get people to respond quickly, and not just with money.

In many ways, you’ve always been a collaborator, whether in music, emerging technologies or visual mediums. Do you see this new record as the apex of the way you collaborate?

It’s an opportunity to explore collaborations. One of my hopes with the digital revolution is that historically, every technology that has come along has changed the very nature of the content of the music. In other words, when the single record was invented after the player piano roll, because of how many grooves you could fit on the vinyl, the format determined the length of a composition. And now we’re in this digital world. You could have a piece of music that’s three days long or three seconds long. The other revolutionary aspect is the economics of the business.

In the old days, a record company would sit there and listen and say, “If we can’t sell 100,000 of these things, we’re not going to go and produce it. And we’re not going to pay for the studio.” Now we know that stuff can be done on a laptop and it can be made available in every country in the world, virtually for free. We had a great example of this happen at the Real World Studios when The Incredible String Band wrote to their fans on their website and sold admission to their recordings. They sold tickets for about $100 to 120 fans who came to the studio, and that gave them the budget to purchase the studio time. So they created a mini-economy based on 120 people, rather than the 100,000 required in the old model.

Would you ever consider allowing fans into your recording studio—perhaps for more than $100 a pop—in order to fund your own work?

That’s quite an interesting idea. I hadn’t thought about it as a means of funding for my work or stuff like Big Blue Ball, but absolutely. There are space constraints at Real World, but I’m sure we could figure something out.

Over the years, you’ve embraced a lot of technology—from your groundbreaking music videos and live concert CDs delivered to fans right after the show to the CD-ROM Explora to your numerous online efforts. Which one do you feel has influenced your artistry the most?

As far as music making, I’d have to say the Internet and the PC, because everything else has been delivered down those channels. They are fantastic tools. We now have all these different musical colors available, all these different ways of manipulating them and access to musicians around the world. I recently did this song, “Down to Earth,” for the Pixar movie WALL-E. I wrote the song with Tom Newman, then we sent out the tape to South Africa for the Soweto Gospel Choir to record its part, and then they sent it on to the bassist, who couldn’t be at Real World Studios. There’s no substitute for having all the musicians together in a room, but to have near-instantaneous access to all the world’s sounds, grooves, musicians and audience—that’s huge.

When is the next Peter Gabriel record coming out?

I don’t know. I hope before the second coming or the first coming, depending on which religion you subscribe to. But “soon” is a word I’ve often used. They generally say deadlines are something you pass on the way to completing a project. There are about 50 track ideas that I’ve started in one form or another, so there’s lots of stuff there, but I just need to finish it.

Two weeks ago, I went to a wedding and the priest turns to the bride and quotes scripture, but in the same breath, he turns to the groom and starts quoting “In Your Eyes.” No one realized it at first, but my fiancée and I started giggling wildly, because it had been such a profound ceremony...

[Laughs] Are you trying to say I’m not profound? You know, it’s funny—you start your musical life playing at weddings and that’s exactly where you end up.

THE OTHER STREAM: Some of 2008's best albums

Since its inception 10 years ago, "The Other Stream" has been a monthly column devoted to showcasing uncompromising artists who go beyond the commercial mainstream -- be it in rock, jazz, hip-hop, avant garde, World Music or some hybrids that are almost impossible to categorize.

Their music explores almost every genre you can imagine -- and any number you can't -- with skill and imagination, humor and pathos, if little regard for conventional "commercial" appeal. Some sing in languages you've never heard. Others don't sing at all, preferring to let their instruments express what words alone sometimes cannot.

A number of these artists are fearless innovators or reverent traditionalists, while others revere the traditions they are boldly reshaping. These are some of our favorite "Other Stream" albums of 2008. For listeners seeking sonic thrills, musical chills and consistently rewarding listening, the adventures start here.

Orchestra Baobab, "Made in Dakar," World Music/Nonesuch (

Groove, in all its many manifestations, is an art for the multinational members of Senegal's Orchestra Baobab (shown at right), who teamed up in 1970, disbanded in 1985, and have been hailed as returning heroes in many parts of the world since reactivating in 2001.

With its second album since reuniting, this 11-man band mixes new and old songs while reaffirming its mastery of rhythm, melody and the ability to create musical propulsion in virtually any tempo, no matter how relaxed or accelerated. Ghanian high-life, Jamaican reggae, Congolese rumba, Senegalese mbalax, the salsa hybrid mbalsa and all manner of Afro-Cuban styles are performed with consistently infectious results. They are joined by such stellar guests artists as Afropop superstar (and longtime Peter Gabriel collaborator) Youssou N'Dour and Cuban trombone star Jesus "Aguaje" Ramos of the Buena Vista Social Club.

On top of this dance-happy melange are brassy vamps and the wonderfully fluid guitar work of Barthelemy Attisso. Better still are the alluring vocals of Assane Mboup, who sings in French, Malinke, Wolof and Portuguese Creole. His sweet falsetto rivals that of Smokey Robinson and Aaron Neville in their primes, while Orchestra Baobab's pulsating ensemble work makes every song a celebration. (...)

23 décembre 2008

Peter Gabriel saves Manchester digital agency

December 23, 2008, Crain's Manchester business

Rock star Peter Gabriel’s Real World Holdings has stepped in to save a web design business which went into administration on December 11.

Digital media agency Lightmaker Manchester, a franchise operation from the Tonbridge-based Lightmaker Group Ltd, got into difficulties after bankers HSBC declined to extend its overdraft facility.

Gabriel and his business partners, who are clients of the business, have purchased the assets from the administrator and set up a new company, Great Fridays, Great People. Previous owner Matt Farrar will have a minority shareholding.

Farrar said the business would continue with the same 20 staff at its offices in the Parsonage, Manchester city centre.

Lightmaker Manchester provides web design, flash, 3D, brand building, web development, CMS applications and integration services. Clients have included Habitat, Liberty, MTV, Morphy Richards, Kenwood, Bamford and Sons, Debenhams and Next.

Best of 2008: Top world music of the year

By Patrick Varine, GateHouse News Service, Posted Dec 22, 2008

When it comes to world music, most people are a little apprehensive … probably because they’re thinking Peter Gabriel and Enya.

No, no, no. We’re talking about music from all over the world. And there’s more than enough to go around from 2008. Just a few examples:

Etran Finatawa, "Desert Crossroads" – As the first few strains of “Kel Tamascheck” waft through the air, you’re not quite sure what to make of it. It could be a swampy blues guitarist from backwoods Louisiana. But there’s a slight Arabic-style lilt to the scales. Then the percussion kicks in, and you’re transported to the rugged, wide-open spaces of northwest Africa. In the tradition of groups like Tinariwen and Tartit, Etran Finatawa takes their tradition nomadic music and adds electric guitar, combining African and Arabic rhythms with the voodoo-blues drone of John Lee Hooker. A mesmerizing experience. Key tracks: “Kel Tamascheck,” “Ganya Maada,” “Alghalam Taxat”

Alborosie, "Soul Pirate European Tour 2008" – With an ashy, pleading tenor and a thorough command of Jamaican DJ chat in the mode of toasters like Nicodemus and Super Cat, Alborosie plows through a solid set of classic and original riddims with the ease and flash of reggae godfather Bob Marley. Key tracks: “Sound Killa,” “Moonshine,” “Police,” “Bad Mind”

Various Artists, "Nigeria 70 Lagos Jump: Original Heavyweight Afrobeat Highlife & Afro-Funk"If you wanna dance, there’s no better way than afro-beat. The polyrhythms of central Africa have kept hips shaking since Fela Kuti brought it to the world in the 1970s, and this collection of tunes is proof that it can definitely still get the party started. Key tracks: “Everybody Likes Something Good,” “Igbehin Lalayo Nta,” “African Dialects,” “Yabis”

"The Very Best of the Red Army Choirs" (self-titled) – OK, so they’re singing songs from communist Russia, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a collection of masterful eastern European classical music, with a choir to beat the band.

Busy Signal, "Loaded" – One of Jamaica’s hottest dancehall artists, Busy Signal’s sophomore disc is, at times, a few beats-per-minute slower than the average riddim, but a clear, full tenor and reliance on splashes of Auto-Tune here and there make for one of the year’s best dancehall discs. Key tracks: “Wine Pon Di Edge,” “Jail,” “Cool Baby,” “Murderer”

"Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80" (self-titled) – Picking up right where his dad, Fela, left off – and with some of the same musicians – son Seun kicks up a refreshingly retro set of Afro-beat tunes with all the neverending grooves and political consciousness that Dad taught him. Key tracks: “Na Oil,” “Mosquito Song”

And the world-music song of year -- in my completely biased yet humble opinion -- goes to a re-release of Stelios Katzantidis' "Efuge Efuge," from "...And All the Pieces Matter," the soundtrack from HBO's "The Wire."

Sussex Countian

22 décembre 2008

Lightmaker Manchester goes into administration, Peter Gabriel pulls Great Fridays out of the ashes, Monday, 22 December 2008

How-Do has discovered that the Manchester office of leading new media agency Lightmaker has been placed in administration. However, in a stunning development rock legend and digital pioneer Peter Gabriel has effectively bought the firm’s assets out and funded the launch of phoenix company Great Fridays.

Lightmaker is one of the leading agency brands in the new media arena, but, according to insiders, has been struggling over recent months in the economic downturn, forcing it to close offices in Scotland, Boston, San Francisco and Melbourne. The Manchester outpost of the agency was a franchise outfit owned and operated by managing director Matt Farrar.

Farrar took the time to take How-Do through the demise of the firm, but was keen to emphasize that the new operation, although distinct from Lightmaker, would be retaining the same staff and building.

It’s basically business as usual, he stressed, but in highly unusual circumstances.

“The economy has been effecting everyone,” Farrar admitted. “As time was progressing we were getting more and more nervous about our ability to run the business as we would have liked. It became apparent that it was becoming harder to chase the funds that were owed to us for the inter-group work that we had been carrying out… and that made us uneasy about exactly what was going on. It got to the stage when even meeting wage demands was a struggle.”

Farrar told How-Do that this “came to a head” at the end of November when he was informed by HSBC that the firm’s funds had run dry and they would not provide the facility to cover the staff wages. This was, understandably, “a very difficult time” for the management team and led to the move to eventually put the firm into administration on 11 December.

However, during this time Farrar had engaged in conversations with certain clients and friends, many of whom apparently offered support and all of whom, according to him, praised the 20 strong team and noted that they “had something more to offer than just the Lightmaker brand itself.”

Cue the entrance of client Peter Gabriel and his firm Real World Holdings.

Lightmaker Manchester has been carrying out numerous projects for Real World and Farrar made clear that the business was keen to continue engaging with the team - seeing those projects through to their conclusion and exploiting the skills of the staff for new business opportunities.

This led Gabriel and his business partners to step in and purchase the firm out of administration, launching it under the new banner of Great Fridays, Great People (trading as Great Fridays).

“We’ve been very lucky,” Farrar acknowledged, “not only has Peter stepped in, but he and the Real World team are keen to make sure the business continues as normal, and we haven’t lost any members of staff at all.”

He would not reveal the shareholding structure of the new business at the time of writing, but noted that he had retained a stake in the firm and that Tiff Pike and Andy Wood from Real World would now be joining at board level positions.

In terms of clients Farrar opined that “first and foremost they will be looked after and we’ll be working with Lightmaker to ensure this” but added that eventually “clients will make up their own minds” about whom they chose to work with.

“For now we have plenty of work with Peter and the Real World brand,” he stressed.

Lightmaker Manchester has a history of working with a host of well-known brand names, including MTV, Morphy Richards and Habitat.

Earlier this year it launched the worldwide site for popular console game Guitar Hero as it moved onto the Nintendo DS platform.

A holding page for Great Fridays has now been set up at

Charlie Winston, nouvelle révélation soul 2009, adoubée par Peter Gabriel

Philippe Astor,, publié le 19/12/2008

Charlie Winston sera certainement la révélation soul de l'année 2009. Arrivé en droite ligne de Londres, il a enregistré son premier album officiel au studio Pigalle à Paris. Hobo, c'est son titre, sortira début 2009 chez Atmosphériques.

C'est le nouveau poulain du label Atmosphériques de Marc Thonon, dénicheur et développeur de nouveaux talents à qui on doit d'avoir lancé des artistes comme Louise Attaque et Abd Al-Malik.

La sortie du premier album de Charlie Winston, chanteur prodige de soul blanche que Peter Gabriel emmènera en tournée avec lui en 2007 après l'avoir repéré lors d'une session fraternelle dans les studios de son label RealWorld, marque un nouveau départ pour Atmosphériques, après le rachat des parts d'Universal Music dans le label et la cession des contrats de ses artistes phares.

Rejeton d'une famille d'artistes – c'est le frère du chanteur Tom Baxter et ses parents ont fait carrière dans les années 60 et 70 -, Charlie Winston était déjà un pianiste de jazz et un compositeur de musiques de ballet confirmé avant de partir s'initier à la musique indienne en Inde à l'âge de 21 ans. Il a aussi composé pour le théatre et le cinéma.

Un premier album auto-produit, Make Way, est venu conclure son aventure avec Peter Gabriel, qui l'a signé en édition. La rencontre avec le label français Atmosphériques début 2008, qui lui présentera le producteur Mark Plati (David Bowie, Alain Bashung, Louise Attaque), va être déterminante.

En compagnie de l'harmoniciste Ben Edwards, il enregistre l'album Hobo à Paris, ainsi titré en référence à ces travailleurs nomades américains en quête de vérité intérieure et libérés des contraintes matérielles, qui ont déjà inspirés des artistes comme Kerouac ou Dylan.

Rendez-vous donc dans les bacs en janvier 2009, pour découvrir ce jeune musicien de 30 ans dont Mark Plati loue à la fois la voix exceptionnelle et les talents d'arrangeur, et qui s'inscrit dans la lignée des plus grands soulmen, de Ray Charles à Randy Newman et Tom Waits.

Voir la session studio de Like A Hobo

Retrouvez Charlie Winston en acoustique sur Rkst : Like A Hobo, I love your smile, Kick The Bucket

21 décembre 2008

Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip cover Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip cover Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Vampire Weekend song name-checks Gabriel

Joe Bosso, MusicRadar, Thu 18 Dec 2008

Rappers do it all the time - name-check themselves, that is - so why not Peter Gabriel? That's part of the fun of hearing Gabriel team up with the electropop band Hot Chip on a cover of Vampire Weekend's hit, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.

Over the summer, Gabriel admitted that he was a fan of the song - he even met with the New York-based Vampire Weekend and remarked that he wouldn't mind doing his own version. He did say, however, that the key line "But this feels unnatural/Peter Gabriel too" might pose some problems.

"I haven't quite worked that out whether I should be doing that or substituting it with a name that might be appropriate to me," he joked. "I think playing with yourself makes you go blind after a while."

Gabriel's eyesight is fine

We're happy to report that both Gabriel's vision and his collaboration with Hot Chip are just fine. Of the track, it's vastly different from Vampire Weekend's Stray Cats-meets-Afro-indie vibe, but it's one of the best things the ex-Genesis singer has done in years.

Check out the cut below, and wait for the line "But this feels unnatural/Peter Gabriel too," followed by "It feels unnatural to sing your own name." Great stuff.

Nobel Peace Prize winners honor Bono

U2 singer Bono received the Peace Summit Award

Associated Press, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/18/08

PARIS — Political Hollywood had to find something to occupy itself between election night and the inaugural balls. It seems Europe — glittering with holiday lights — is the place to be if you’re a star with an international cause.

In Paris last week, such notables as former president and best-selling author Jimmy Carter and pop icons Peter Gabriel and Bono gathered at various events to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The highlight of the festivities — which also included such international luminaries as former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Virgin Airlines Chief Executive Richard Branson and Participant Media founder Jeff Skoll — was a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize laureates who presented their Man of Peace award to the U2 lead singer.

After Hollywood’s deep involvement in the U. S. presidential campaign, the week’s events were a reminder of the industry’s influence as an exporter of entertainment and celebrity activism. Nevertheless, Bono, who is considered the superstar of social action, tried to deflect the attention.

“I am an overawarded, over-rewarded rock star,” Bono told the Nobel winners, including F. W. de Klerk, Lech Walesa and John Hume, at an event at the Hotel de Ville. “You are the people who do the real work.”

But event co-host Walter Veltroni, former mayor of Rome, was determined to give the singer — who has worked to fight poverty and disease in Africa — his due.

“We decided to nominate a man who has given a lot and will continue to give a great deal to the struggle for human rights, to the fight against poverty, with his music and with his words,” said Veltroni, who hosted last year’s award recipients — George Clooney and Don Cheadle — in Rome.

With the Eiffel Tower lit blue (marking France’s presidency of the European Union), the luminaries moved from galas to conference rooms to discuss some of the world’s pressing problems: hunger, poverty, disease and genocide.

“We’ve made great progress,” Carter told a group gathered for the Elders’ annual media awards at La Maison Des Arts et Metiers. “But we have a long way to go.”

Also on hand at the Elders’ event was Mariane Pearl, the widow of murdered Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl, whose story was translated to film as “A Mighty Heart.”

A former journalist herself, Pearl was among those singled out by speakers who repeatedly stressed the importance of news and entertainment media in promoting human rights.

The Elders, a group of Nobel Peace laureates and other international activists, paid tribute to 30 journalistic projects designed to expose human abuses. Some of the winners included an Australian television reporter who documented human-rights violations at a Nike plant in South Asia, a magazine that exposed the human consequences of environmental degradation in India and a Web site ( that documents life along the U. S.- Mexico border.

“These stories are reminders that the struggle for human rights is never ending,” said George Papagiannis, program specialist with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Meanwhile, across the channel, Clooney was busy raising money for Darfur. At a dinner party in London last week, the Oscar-winning actor raised more than $14 million to assist refugees in the troubled Sudan region. The guests — who paid up to $14,000 to attend — included Matt Damon, Cindy Crawford and Scarlett Johansson.

Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel: "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"

Peter Gabriel/Ezra Koenig photos by Ahmed Klink

Posted by Mark Richardson, Pitchfork, on Wed, Dec 17, 2008

New Music: Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel: "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" (Vampire Weekend cover) [Stream]

"Hot Chip Cover Vampire Weekend With Peter Gabriel?", we asked in a news story back in September. The answer? Yep. Abeano today posted a stream of the song, which they say was once intended for a Vampire Weekend B-side but was shelved. All things considered, it's pretty much exactly what you'd hope for from such a wtf one-off. "This feels so unnatural, Peter Gabriel, too," is followed by "It feels so unnatural to sing your own name." And then somewhere in there he stars wailing like he wandered into "The Blood of Eden". (Abeano, via NME)

Stream:> Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel: "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"

Jaman and WITNESS.ORG Partner to Celebrate "Movies That Matter" This Holiday Season

Marketwarch, Dec. 16, 2008

Proceeds from Socially-Conscious Films to Benefit Peter Gabriel's Esteemed Organization

SAN MATEO, Calif., Dec 16, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) --, a leading global community and online destination for high-definition and quality entertainment, gives back this holiday season by partnering with renowned organization WITNESS.ORG, which was founded by legendary musician and activist Peter Gabriel.

Starting today, Jaman will feature "Movies that Matter" - extraordinary films with a powerful message of social change. Through January 16, members of its international community can go to and watch a variety of compelling films online. For each film viewed, Jaman will donate proceeds to the WITNESS organization.

"Jaman was founded to offer films that engage and inspire, so WITNESS was a natural fit for us as we share socially-conscious films with our global audience," said Gaurav Dhillon, founder and CEO of Jaman. "Through this collaboration, not only will people be able to view great films from around the world, they will also be helping an incredible organization continue to promote change."

Because media can transform personal stories into powerful tools for change, "Movies that Matter" will feature films that highlight a variety of political, environmental and social issues.

"WITNESS believes in the power of storytelling and video to change the world," said WITNESS co-founder Peter Gabriel. "Through 'Movies that Matter', Jaman is offering viewers an opportunity to not only learn more about issues that matter, but at the same time make a positive impact on the world, by supporting our cause."(...)

Soul Science rocks the Casbah

< Justin Adams (right background), Juldeh Camara (foreground) and Salah Dawson Miller create a mighty groove music on Soul Science. CREDIT: photo Gavin Matheson
John Goodman, North Shore News, Friday, December 12, 2008

Like his idol Joe Strummer, British musician Justin Adams was brought up overseas. A childhood spent in the Middle East gave him a unique perspective and an infinite number of options.

"I just read Strummer's biography," says Adams over the phone from London, grabbing a bite between soundcheck and show. "He was a total hero of mine. And I grew up very much with that Do-It-Yourself punk ethic. I value engagement and passion -- I hate confusing music with sport and showing off virtuosity without emotional content. I just don't see the point of that."

In his own music Adams combines Western rock and blues with African and Islamic traditional influences although it took him awhile to reconcile the different approaches. Going to school in England in the late '70s he was immersed in punk and post-punk culture like everybody else and started playing music during that time. "It was a very creative period," he says. "We were listening to James Brown, Fela Kuti and Public Image Ltd. I kind of forgot about my childhood."

On a trip to Turkey he heard Islamic music for the first time since his childhood and began exploring the exotic, modal sounds of his youth. "I bought myself a couple of Turkish instruments and immediately started incorporating that into my playing," he says. "Often people would say, "Why are you playing those funny scales or what are you doing?' It took a little while before I found any kindred spirits that were into that. I met up with this guy Jah Wobble and he encouraged me. As did Robert Plant further on down the line."

Adams himself is the consummate collaborator. Since the early '90s he's worked with the likes of Sinead O'Connor, Natacha Atlas, Brian Eno, Hector Zazou, Peter Gabriel, Billy Bragg and Tinariwen. For several years he was a member of Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart and more recently he has been guitarist in Robert Plant's Strange Sensations band on and off between other projects.

Plant and Adams encourage each other in their explorations of North and West African music and its connection to American blues. One listen to Led Zeppelin's Kashmir will tell you Plant has known a thing or two about non-Western music for some time. "He was playing Gnoua music and working in Morocco before I ever met him," says Adams. "You can't say I introduced him to those things but I don't think he had worked with an English musician before who was as into it as me. We're like fellow enthusiasts and whenever one of us goes to Barbesse in Paris, where the North Africans live, we always bring each other back a DVD or a CD of music. We enthuse together. A real high point in my life was taking Robert out to the Festival in the Desert and playing together. It really was an incredible thing I still can't quite believe it happened."

To repay the favour Plant introduced his guitarist to Deep South Delta Blues culture while they were on an American tour. "He took me to Clarksdale, Mississippi. We had an incredible time going round and meeting friends of his there, going to juke joints and stuff. Unbelievable."

For more than a decade Adams has been heavily involved in the North and West African music scenes as both a musician and a producer. He's made several albums with the French band Lo'Jo and through them became intstrumental in getting the word out about the brilliant Tuareg band Tinariwen.

There's nothing the least bit stuffy or academic about Adams' musical projects. All traditional sources are respected but they are also only a starting point for further exploration. Everybody at a Justin Adams session is expected to find their place in the mix and groove accordingly.

Gambian spike fiddle player Juldeh Camara is the perfect foil for Adams' unique take on music. Traditional and modern worlds come together on their new album, Soul Science, which was released earlier this year on the World Village label. The duo recorded the album in Adams' home studio with percussionist Salah Dawson Miller sitting in on many of the tracks.

Camara called Adams up out of the blue one day when he was working with Plant. The African musician was working in England and had learned about Adams from a mutual friend. They arranged to meet up but first Adams thought he'd better do some research and be prepared. "I did have a CD of Gambian music which I knew I had and there were particularly some tracks I liked so I went to those looked at the small print on the back of the CD and sure enough it was Juldeh playing on those tracks I'd been listening to for ages. What had attracted me to the tunes is that mixture of trancy, often 6/8 rhythms that you find in Moroccan music. They have that slight pained thing of the blues about them -- they're not sweet, sugary, happy tunes. The overall mood is slightly dark. You know those slightly uneasy notes that come from Islamic music or that you find in the blues. It really attracted me."

Although Camara was known primarily as a traditional musician he had worked on some Western fusion projects before meeting Adams. "I think what is maybe unusual about my approach is that outwardly it's really modern. I mean I'm into all kinds of stuff from Velvet Underground to dub reggae to hip hop and experimental Ornette Coleman and all that but I really like the old African rhythms. I love the subtle swing in them. A lot of people doing, quote 'world music', start with what is basically a 4/4 rock beat and then they add flavours on top but what I' m doing is almost the reverse. My building blocks are pretty traditional and then I'm more liable to use a flavour of rock. You think you're listening to rock music but actually any African musician can play along with it."

Adams prepared a couple of rhythms in advance before meeting up with Camara. "I'd just overdubbed some percussion instruments and I said, 'Do you think you can play to this?' And thank God my years in music taught me to record the first take. Don't think this is just a tryout and we'll do it all properly later -- record the first because you never know what is going to happen. Track one on the album is pretty much (the first thing we played). It might be a second or third take but it's certainly within the first hour of us doing anything together. I'd prepared the rhythm and he just played over the top."

All of the material on the album is credited to Adams and Camara. They constructed the songs in the studio with both written and improvisational sections and recorded them over five days. "Juldeh is a Fulani griot," says Adams. "Griot's are ancestral storytellers of their people who tell oral histories and play all the important ceremonies. It reminds me of what people say when they are analyzing Robert Johnson -- 'There's two lines here you can also find in a Bukka White song -- the second verse has nothing to do with the first verse.' The griot can improvise like a well of sayings and poems and social injunctions and that's what Juldeh's doing. Some of the time it's an actual written song but everything has an improvisatory note to it."

The whole record rocks with a vengeance. As much as Adams defers to Camara, Soul Science, wouldn't have come out the way it did without the British musician pushing the conceptual envelope at every turn. "Having worked with Robert Plant for a few years I wanted to rock," he says. "I've become less scared of rocking out and more into that primal rock'n'roll spirit. Also working with Tinariwen influenced me hugely in that trancy rhythm and that whole approach to guitar playing. I was really primed by those two experiences and I just wanted to do something that was gritty and not too glossy. That's really what I was thinking about."

Annie Lennox's Charity Work

Annie Lennox has come a long way since fronting the Grammy Award-winning Eurythmics in the 1980s. Since then she has become a successful solo artist, sold more than 80 million records, and become renowned for her charity work with organizations such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Foundation.

The singer, who was awarded with the British Red Cross’ Services to Humanity Award in 2008, dedicates much of her time to raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.

Earlier this year the 53-year-old singer released a special fundraising single called Sing, which featured a 23-member choir of female celebrities, including Madonna, Faith Hill, Pink, and many more. Proceeds from the single went to the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an organization that that provides much needed support in the continent’s struggle against the deadly virus.

Lennox believes everybody can do something to help those affected by AIDS in Africa. She is especially supportive of what she calls “Laptop Activism”, and runs many of her charity initiatives through the internet.

The singer also recently took part in Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert in London, where she urged people to join in the struggle to help the 15 million children orphaned by the disease in Africa.

“One third of pregnant women in South Africa are HIV positive,” Lennox told CNN. “We can prevent their children being born with the virus if we let the women have access to treatment. If you do not allow that to happen, you’re going to have future generations simply being wiped out.”

INTERVIEW: Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond

Dianca Potts,, 12/12/08
Shara Worden

Matt Wingall |

My Brightest Diamond
plays Philly, Dec. 12, at the First Unitarian Church. Dianca Potts talked to frontwoman Shara Worden about what song she can’t play live, bizarre/amazing towns in Colorado, her upcoming collaboration with The Decemberists and what she typically buys at Target.

City Paper: Your second full-length, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth, was released this past summer. In what ways is it different from the material on your debut, Bring Me the Workhorse?

Shara Worden: The records were made about the same time … well actually, they were started at the same time and didn’t finish at the same time, but they were an experiment in one way of trying to bring strings and drums together. [On] Bring Me The Workhorse, the strings took a step down, got put in the background a lot more than they did in the orchestration on Shark’s Teeth, so it was a way of trying to negotiate this relationship between the dynamic range and kind of flexibility that you have in classical music with the more traditional orchestration.

CP: What were some of your inspirations for this album?

SW: Alice [in Wonderland] was very influential, and Peter Gabriel was another one. …

Visually, the German installation artist Anselm Kiefer was very key for me. I read a lot of his interviews and saw a couple of his exhibitions … he explores a lot of man’s desire to ascend to the heavens, and so I wrote a couple songs kind of based on that idea. He also employs ladders or sometimes staircases to indicate man’s desire to ascend. And so we used a lot of the ladders and big skies and charred black — you know, burned hells and the sea for the images for the photographs.

CP: What are some of your favorite tracks from Shark’s Teeth?

SW: I really love playing “From the Top of the World.” I enjoy that song a lot. I like all of them, but I think some of them don’t work very well live. Some of them, I feel like the last half of the record — or at least [closing track] “The Diamond” — every time I’ve tried to play it live, I’ve never liked it and I’ve cut it off the program. [It's] sort of ironic since that song named the band, but it just really doesn’t want to be played [live]. Yet, anyway.

CP: I know you did an EP that’s already released — the remixes for A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. I was wondering about the other two EPs I’ve heard about. What’s going on with them and what artists will be involved?

SW: David M. Stith is going to do a remix EP and also Sun Lux, who [remixed] “Inside A Boy.” David does all my artwork and he also sings on my records and he did a remix for “Tear it Down.” I just heard the Sun Lux ones this week and I’m so excited about them. They’re so beautiful. He just puts so much into these remixes. I do all of the arranging myself and it’s sort of my baby, [but] I have very little input in terms of the remixes and it’s really fun to separate yourself from your material. To hear the way someone else approaches it, it’s really refreshing and kind of gets me out of the boxes I have around myself.

CP: You guys have been on tour for awhile. Any fun stories to share?

SW: Story time, story time … what can I give you for story time? One of my favorite shows was in Paonia, Colorado, and it was this teeny-tiny little town. I think there’s 1,500 people in the whole town. There’s an 100-year-old movie theater and they brought us in … we didn’t really know what to expect ’cause when you pull into town, there’s the one little strip of Main Street and it’s definitely like a one-horse town. I went over to do something on the radio and they had a fantastic radio facility that was just amazing, and the people were so cool. They fed us an organic dinner that was all made locally by the owner. I think it was all [from] their farm, and they cooked us this amazing meal and we played the show and people were just dancing. It was like being with lettuce gnomes and little wood fairies. I mean these people were just so amazing.
After the show, there was this lady and she has this sort of parlor that felt like you were in a 1920s brothel or something — red velvet everywhere, with old-school naked lady pictures up. She had a bar with a café and then in the back. Everybody came over from the show and all the ladies of the town started dressing up in like antique lingerie and feather hats and feather boas. A bunch of us girls went into the secret stash of this lady’s old costumes and everything, and it was so special because you sort of make these assumptions about what a place is going to be like and these people were really very special. It was definitely one of the biggest highlights of the tour was sort of being there.

CP: You cover Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.” What made you pick that?

SW: We started doing that a year ago or something when I was touring with The Decemberists. In the song “Workhorse,” the bass line goes “bomp bomp bo-de-de-de-da-de” and I was like, “Guys, look! This sounds like, ‘Bomp-bomp, Now I feel I’ve got to … bomp bomp.’ So we were like this flows directly from into “Tainted Love,” so we started breaking out the glowsticks, you know what I’m saying?

CP: What are your post-tour plans for My Brightest Diamond? What do you guys have planned?

SW: I’m going to sing on Lori Anderson’s record in January, so that’s going to be one of my big things. And I also sang on the new Decemberists record. It’s going to be like a rock opera — or it is a rock opera of sorts. Becky Stark from Lavender Diamond and I … I am playing the wicked queen figure.

CP: That’s awesome. Two diamonds.

SW: Yeah, totally. So the two diamond girls are going to join forces with The Decemberists — it’s like a 3-D affair. There’s [also] a compilation called Red, Hot and Indie, and I did a Nina Simone song for that, so that will be coming out next year, too. I’m really excited about [the plans] because it’s doing all stuff that’s sort of different for me. Since I’ve been in My Brightest Diamond layin’ so hardcore for awhile, it’ll be fun to kind of do some things with other people.

CP: Last question: What are your favorite things these days? Books, music, colors, foods, shapes, sizes … anything.

SW: Favorite things are made of glass and metal. I’ve just been collecting anything glass that sort of has pitch. I’ve been buying candle holders at Target and hand-blown balls of glass that have pitches that sort of hum. My skull hoodie is also a favorite thing, and Limonata San Pellegrino.