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Morrissey Spent the Day in Bed

Sunday, 19 November, 2017 0 Comments

Morrissey began the Twitter phase of his career two months ago. On 18 September, at 10.39 pm, he tweeted “Spent the Day in Bed.” Spent the Day in Bed is also the title of the first single from his new album Low In High School. In recent years, Moz has taken to saying things that people don’t want to hear and he’s not for turning now.

“Spent the day in bed
Very happy I did, yes
I spent the day in bed
As the workers stay enslaved
I spent the day in bed
I’m not my type, but
I love my bed
And I recommend that you

Stop watching the news!
Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone
To make you feel that your mind isn’t your own.”


Kick started

Friday, 3 November, 2017 0 Comments

Congratulations to Hoodman Blind on exceeding their Kickstarter funding goal for the recording, mixing and mastering the band’s debut EP. Drive on!

Hoodman Blind


Ybor City

Sunday, 8 October, 2017 0 Comments

Those initial consonants, y and b, make Ybor sound fictional, even science fictional, and there is a created history behind this American city’s origins, but the place is real and Jason Isbell name-checks it in Traveling Alone:

“I quit talking to myself
And listening to the radio a long, long time ago
Damn near strangled by my appetite
In Ybor City on a Friday night
Couldn’t even stand upright
So high, the street girls wouldn’t take my pay
She said come see me on a better day, she just danced away.”

Note: Ybor City is a historic neighbourhood in Tampa, Florida, northeast of downtown. It was founded in the 1880s by Vicente Martinez-Ybor and other cigar manufacturers and became home to thousands of immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Spain and Italy. Today, the residents are mostly creative migrants from Miami, Atlanta and New York.


Wind & Rain

Saturday, 16 September, 2017 0 Comments

The 184th Oktoberfest begins in Munich today and it will run until 3 October. Normally, it’s an occasion for Kaiserwetter (glorious, sunny weather) but it’s kicking off this year with wind and rain. That’s ideal weather, though, for rugby and, for the first time ever, Oktoberfest will feature a world-class “sevens” rugby tournament, with teams from Fiji, South Africa, England, France, Ireland, Australia and Germany.

Wind and rain are central motifs in the ballad performed here by the superbly talented Hanz Araki, who combines his Japanese and Irish heritages in an American mix that makes for a refreshing interpretation of traditional music.


A hyphenated pianist plays a hyphenated composer

Sunday, 27 August, 2017 0 Comments

Antoine Reicha (1770 – 1836) was a Czech-born French composer. Ivan Ilić is a Serbian-American pianist, who lives in Paris. Here, Ilić plays Reicha’s Etude No. 1.


That’s All Right, Elvis

Wednesday, 16 August, 2017 0 Comments

The best serious book about rock ‘n’ roll takes its title from the last single Elvis Presley recorded for Sun Records. Mystery Train by Greil Marcus was published in 1975 and when the second edition came out he was asked to amend the chapter on Elvis by putting everything in the past tense but he refused, saying, “Elvis’ presence was so powerful, I felt he’s always in the present tense.”

Marcus bases his argument for the central place of rock ‘n’ roll in American culture on the “democratic assumption” that “Presley and Herman Melville are already cultural and political equals.” Melville wrote Typee, his first book, in the summer of 1845 and Elvis recorded his first single in July 1954. That’s All Right was originally performed by blues singer Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup and the Elvis version is as revolutionary as ever as we observe the 40th anniversary today of the death of The King.


The young Elvis

Sunday, 13 August, 2017 0 Comments

On Thursday, the world will mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, “the King”. To get us ready for this memorable occasion, Vintage Everyday has assembled “20 Rare and Fascinating Vintage Photos of Elvis Presley As a Child and Teenager from the 1930s and ’40s.” They offer a glimpse of life in Tupelo, Mississippi, before the Presley family relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. It was there, in July 1954, in the offices of Sun Records, that Elvis recorded a blues song by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, That’s All Right. The rest is rock ‘n roll.

Gladys, Elvis and Vernon Presley, 1937.


Monteverdi at 450

Saturday, 12 August, 2017 0 Comments

L’incoronazione di Poppea (“The Coronation of Poppaea”) is an opera by Claudio Monteverdi, who was born 450 years ago this year. First performed at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice during the 1643 carnival season, it describes how Poppaea, a courtesan in the service of the emperor Nero, achieves her ambition to be crowned empress. The coronation scene concludes with the Pur ti miro duet performed here by the French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and the Spanish soprano Núria Rial.


Fionn Regan meets Thomas Moore in Wicklow

Saturday, 15 July, 2017 0 Comments

Inspired by a visit to the Vale of Avoca in County Wicklow some 200 years ago, the bard Thomas Moore wrote a song called The Meeting of the Waters. Snippet:

“Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace.”

The Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan was born and raised in Wicklow and he released his debut album, The End of History, in 2006. Now, more than a decade later, he’s back with The Meetings of the Waters and the video is enhanced with the sculpted features of the actor Cillian Murphy of Peaky Blinders fame.


Two Corants for Lyra Viol by Alfonso

Saturday, 1 July, 2017 0 Comments

On the face of it, a blog entry with the title “Two Corants for Lyra Viol by Alfonso” has a touch of the perplexing about it. What’s a “corant”, and why two of them? And then there’s the “lyra viol”. Not just a viol, mind you, but a lyra viol. Topping if all of, we have “Alfonso”. If people had to pick an Alfonso, most would opt for Alfonso Cuarón, the film director, whose works include Children of Men and Gravity. In this case, however, we’re talking about Alfonso Fontanelli (1557 – 1622).

Alfonso Fontanelli was an Italian composer, diplomat and courtier. He was one of the earliest composers in the seconda pratica style during the transition to the Baroque era but his career was interrupted in November 1601, when he discovered that his wife had been having an affair. He murdered her lover, but spared her life, unlike his musical acquaintance Gesualdo who, in similar circumstances murdered both his wife and her lover. As punishment for the crime, Alfonso was stripped of all his possessions. Still, he found refuge in the opulent Roman household of Cardinal Alessandro d’Este, and was thus saved from indignity. Alfonso Fontanelli became a priest in 1621, and died in early 1622 from an insect bite while in the Oratorio della Chiesa.

The lyra viol is a small bass viol, used primarily in the 17th century, while a corant was a type of dance popular in the late Renaissance and Baroque era.

Bringing it all together now: The Irish viola de gamba player, Liam Byrne, is part of the Icelandic collective Bedroom Community and he features with violist Nadia Sirota on Tessellatum, their upcoming album and film. That’s all a long way from the Renaissance world of Alfonso Fontanelli, but everything’s connected.


Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band

Sunday, 25 June, 2017 0 Comments

They’ll be performing with brass, fiddles and bravura in St Canice’s Cathedral on Wednesday 16 August at 8pm as part of this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival. Hug You Like A Mountain features Teddy Thompson, the son of musicians Richard and Linda Thompson, while Eliza Carthy is the daughter of musicians Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson. It doesn’t get more blue-blooded than this alliance of English folk-rock.