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Rosalía: Pienso en tu mirá

Saturday, 28 July, 2018

A recurring motif in the video of Pienso en Tu Mirá, the latest single by Rosalía, is that of a man in a chequered suit dancing el baile flamenco at night on a pile of embers. It’s a vivid representation of her fusion of old and new Spanish influences because Rosalía was born in Baix Llobregat, a comarca on the coast of Catalonia, some 30km from Barcelona and some 1,000km from Seville, where the heart of flamenco beats.

Talking of beats, Rosalía’s music uses lots of traditional handclapping and those hoods worn by the dancers are a nod to the outfits worn by the Nazarenos and Fariseos brotherhoods during the Semana Santa (Holy Week) observances in Spain. All of this is combined with Latin Pop to create something new, something different.


James Delarre & Saul Rose

Wednesday, 25 July, 2018

Cabin Fever is the title of the debut album by James Delarre and Saul Rose. Here, the English folk duo play Sauter Lapin and Freca, two tunes with lots of Cajun touches. Fiddle and melodeon in perfect harmony in this set.


God’s Plan

Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

“Yeah, they wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’
They wishin’ on me, yuh”

When God’s Plan was released in January this year, it racked up the largest on-demand streaming count in history, breaking Apple’s first-day record upon release with 14 million streams, and breaking Spotify’s single-day streaming record with 4.3 million plays in 24 hours. It’s all working out nicely for Drake.

God's Plan

“God’s plan, God’s plan
I hold back, sometimes I won’t, yuh
I feel good, sometimes I don’t, ayy, don’t
I finessed down Weston Road, ayy, ‘nessed
Might go down a G.O.D., yeah, wait
I go hard on Southside G, yuh, wait
I make sure that north-side eat”


Dawes: The Laurel Canyon sound continued

Saturday, 14 July, 2018

In Laurel Canyon by Michael Walker, which was published in 2006, the author described the eponymous place high in the Hollywood Hills as “the slightly seedy, camp-like neighborhood of serpentine one-lane roads, precipitous hills, fragrant eucalyptus trees, and softly crumbling bungalows set down improbably in the middle of Los Angeles.” There, in 1968, something magical happened when Joni Mitchell was in the ‘hood: “So it was that Nash, Stills, and Crosby sat in Mitchell’s living room on Lookout Mountain, in the heart of Laurel Canyon, in the epicenter of L.A.’s nascent rock music industry, and for the first time, began to sing together.”

It’s been said that the Los Angles rock band Dawes are the continuation of the Laurel Canyon sound by new means. The members are Wylie Gelber, Lee Pardini and the brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith. Living in the Future is the first song on their new album, Passwords, which was released last month.

Note: Passwords has been described as an album “for and about the modern age: the relationships that fill it, the politics that divide it, and the small victories and big losses that give it shape.” Dawes are marketing the album with campaign that encourages fans to search for “passwords” posted across the internet. Once a password is found, it can be entered on the band’s site where each part of the password represents a musical note. When entered correctly, these musical notes play bits from Dawes songs and unlock exclusive content, including a Spotify playlist curated by Griffin Goldsmith.


George Ezra: No. 1 with a Shotgun

Tuesday, 3 July, 2018

Can the chart success of George Ezra be regarded as a good omen for England tonight in their World Cup contest with Columbia at the Sparktak Stadium in Moscow? Shotgun has become Ezra’s first number one single in the UK right in time for summer soccer celebrations. Hat tip to Ian, who expects, tonight.


Eurovision: Lucky Night for Moldova?

Saturday, 12 May, 2018 0 Comments

Simon Goddard, author of Mozipedia: The Encyclopaedia of Morrissey and the Smiths, claims the Lancashire singer is a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. “My fascination with the show had an almost religious aspect,” Morrissey confessed to Goddard.

Who will Moz be cheering for tonight? Sweden’s Benjamin Ingrosso with Dance You Off? Not, we hope. Yes, it’s perfect pop in the peerless way that only the Swedes can make perfect pop, but the perfection is passionless. More joyful is Norway’s That’s How You Write A Song by Alexander Rybak, who won the Eurovision in 2009 with the highest points total, ever. Both Sweden and Norway are Top 10 candidates tonight, for sure.

And the UK? Nice dress, shame about the song, SuRie. Ireland? Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s Together is simply dire. Will Germany finish last again? Michael Schulte’s You Let Me Walk Alone is so obviously an Adele copy & paste job that it has to be a serious contender for zero points.

Our tip is My Lucky Day by DoReDoS from Moldova. Using a simple white wall as a prop, Marina Djundiet, Eugeniu Andrianov, and Sergiu Mita have created a slapstick show that mixes Danubian polka and the Charleston. This is proper Eurovision kitsch.

Back to Morrissey. His video of You Have Killed Me opens with a pastiche that mirrors the Eurovision from its glory days in the 1960s and ’70s, and for interval music during his 2006 tour, Morrissey used the immortal Pomme, Pomme, Pomme by Monique Melsen, who represented Luxembourg in 1971 and was awarded 13th place for her efforts. By the way, the 1971 Song Contest was held in Dublin and was won by French singer Séverine representing Monaco with Un banc, un arbre, une rue. Neither Luxembourg nor Monaco is in tonight’s Grand Final in Lisbon, but Australia, Israel and Albania are. The old order changeth.


The news being carried to fair London town

Tuesday, 1 May, 2018 0 Comments

“The news being carried to fair London town
Wrote on London gate
‘Six pretty maids died all in one night
And all for George Collins’ sake.'”

For the past ten years the Nest Collective, “has been London’s way to experiencing folk, world & new music, creating a community that seeks unique sonorous experiences in unusual spaces.” The Nest Collective is one of the many creations of the English singer and traditional music specialist, Sam Lee. The Ballad of George Collins, who walked out “One May morning / When May was all in bloom,” gets the typical creative Sam Lee treatment here.

“George Collins walked out
One May morning
When May was all in bloom
And who should he see
But a fair pretty maid
Washing her white marble stone
She whooped
She hollered
She called so loud
She waved her lily-white hand
‘Come hither to me
George Collins,’ cried she
‘For your life, it won’t last you long.'”


Flow sweet river flow

Saturday, 28 April, 2018 0 Comments

In 1966, Ewan MacColl wrote Sweet Thames Flow Softly for an experimental radio production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in contemporary London. When Planxty recorded it in 1973 on their eponymous first album, Christy Moore was the lead singer with the group. He’s joined here by Neill MacColl, son of the composer, and Sinéad O’Connor, in a version of the song from 2001 that’s made all the more poignant by the mental illness that has plagued her over the past years.

From Shadwell Dock to Nine Elms Reach we cheek to cheek were dancing
A necklace made of London Bridge her beauty was enhancing
Kissed her once again at Wapping, flow sweet river flow
After that there was no stopping, sweet Thames flow softly
Richmond Park it was a ring, flow sweet river flow
I’d have given her anything, sweet Thames flow softly


Liam O’Flynn: Seán Ó Duibhir a’ Ghleanna

Saturday, 14 April, 2018 0 Comments

It’s been a month since the uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn died and not a day has passed since without a reflection on the void left by his absence. Like many Irish traditional musicians, he began his musical journey with the tin whistle and his attitude to this humble instrument was typical of his approach to all things: respect. Here, he plays the air of the 17th-century song, Seán Ó Duibhir a’ Ghleanna.

Note: Seán Ó Duibhir a’ Ghleanna (John O’Dwyer of the Glen) was the subject of many songs in Irish and English that portray him as a romantic, rebellious symbol of the old Gaelic order crushed during the Williamite War in Ireland. Its fate was sealed on 12 July 1691 when the Dutch general Godert de Ginkell defeated the French commander Marquis de St Ruth at the Battle of Aughrim in Galway. This led to the Treaty of Limerick and the scattering of the Irish troops (“The Flight of the Wild Geese”) to Europe, where they found employment in the armies of France, Spain, Austria and Prussia.

“Here’s a health to your and my King
The sovereign of our liking
And to Sarsfield, underneath whose flag we’ll cast once more a chance.
For the morning’s dawn will wing us
Across the seas and bring us
To take our stand and wield a brand among the sons of France.
And though we part in sorrow
Still Seán Ó Duibhir a’ Ghleanna
Our prayer is ‘God save Ireland and pour blessings on her name’.
May her sons be true when needed
May they never fail as we did
For Seán Ó Duibhir a’ Ghleanna, we were worsted in the game.”


Liking Taylor Swift

Sunday, 8 April, 2018 0 Comments

Charlie Laurence, the writer of I Like Taylor Swift, sums up so much of today’s Warholian-Instagram fame thus: “In the song I admit I haven’t really listened to much of her music, but I’m inundated with images and stories about her.” Charlie Laurence’s band, Coach Hop, will celebrate the launch of I Like Taylor Swift with a London show at the Hope and Anchor pub in Islington on Friday, 20 April.

“She’s just a girl with a guitar,
and she’s very far away
she dated a Kennedy
and I see her every day, in magazines and websites.
People say it’s kinda fey to like her, but if you say that I’ll fight ya
I don’t care what people say.”

Note: The Kennedy referred to in this verse is Connor, son of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the late Mary Kennedy. Connor Kennedy’s relationship with Taylor Swift began in June 2012 and ended in October that year.


NYSE: SPOT

Wednesday, 4 April, 2018 0 Comments

Shares in Spotify (NYSE: SPOT) opened at $165 yesterday, more than a quarter higher than the $132 guide price set by the New York Stock Exchange. By the end of the day, some 30 million shares had traded hands. After going as high as $169, they lost momentum to close at $149, making the Swedish company worth about $26 billion, well above the value of other tech firms such as Twitter. Spotify used an unconventional process to go public: instead of issuing new shares, early investors sold their holdings, which gave the firm’s early backers a chance to cash in on its growth.

Can Spotify make money by streaming music? Or will it have to expand its offers to include services such as travel? After all, it knows where you’re going and what you like to listen to on the way. While we wait to see how this one unfolds, Samuel Huxley Cohen has curated a 55-hour Spotify playlist of Bob Dylan songs in chronological order.

Spotify