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Tag: music

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.'”


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.”


Páraic and Pearse

Wednesday, 11 April, 2018 0 Comments

No. This is not a post about the Good Friday Agreement, or about the Irish nationalist who was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. It’s about Páraic McGloughlin, a professional visual artist living in Sligo, in the West of Ireland, and his professionally musical brother Pearse McGloughlin. Their video mixes sounds with satellite images of the Earth to create something, well, different.


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


Buona Pasqua!

Sunday, 1 April, 2018 0 Comments

Easter Sunday dawns to the choir of Clare College Cambridge celebrating the Resurrection. Aurora lucis rutilat is a unique example of Venetian polychoral technique in motet form by the Franco-Flemish composer Orlande de Lassus. Happy Easter!


Remembering Liam O’Flynn

Thursday, 15 March, 2018 0 Comments

Fulsome are the tributes that have been published following the death yesterday of the uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn. And deservedly so, as he was unique. That mastery of an ancient tradition imbued him with the confidence to place his music before a restless, modern audience demanding progress but still wishing to retain some links with the past and the enthusiastic resonance — from Clonnmel to Copenhagen — ensured the success of the groundbreaking group Planxty.

Liam O’Flynn was charming and erudite, witty and cultured, polite and professional and, above all, human. Those fortunate enough to have known him know how much he’ll be missed. At this time, it’s appropriate to paraphrase C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed: “His absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”


Patricia Teherán sings Me Dejaste Sin Nada

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018 0 Comments

It’s the week of Saint Patrick and as the world prepares to celebrate his feast day on Saturday, we’re paying tribute today to Patricia, the feminine form of the name. In Italy, it’s written as Patrizia and in Poland it’s Patrycja, while in Portuguese it’s Patricinha and in Spanish-speaking countries, the spelling is Patricia.

Patricia Teherán (1969 – 1995) was the most important female voice in the history of Vallenato, a musical genre native to the Caribbean coastal region of Colombia. It’s an Afro-Latin-Euro mix that blends voice with the caja, the accordion and the guacharaca. The melodies and rhythms are infectious and Patricia Teherán embodied the format in all its joy and melancholy. Her death in a car crash on the road from Barranquilla to Cartagena was tragic and untimely. She was just 25.


Jóhann Jóhannsson RIP

Monday, 12 February, 2018 0 Comments

The Icelandic musician and producer Jóhann Jóhannsson was found dead in Berlin on Friday. He was 49. Jóhann Jóhannsson blended music (electronic with classical) memorably and he was nominated for an Oscar for his soundtrack to Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 film, Sicario. He also worked with Villeneuve on the science fiction film Arrival.

If you’re looking for an introduction to the music of Jóhann Jóhannsson, try Orphée, which is based on Ovid’s interpretation of the Orpheus myth. The grandeur of the opening track, “Flight from the City”, hinted at post-classical greatness to come. Alas, it was not to be. RIP.


Sting warned us about Google

Friday, 26 January, 2018 0 Comments

If you’re using an Android phone, Google may be tracking every move you make:

“The Alphabet subsidiary’s location-hungry tentacles are quietly lurking behind some of the most innovative features of its Android mobile operating system. Once those tentacles latch on, phones using Android begin silently transmitting data back to the servers of Google, including everything from GPS coordinates to nearby wifi networks, barometric pressure, and even a guess at the phone-holder’s current activity. Although the product behind those transmissions is opt-in, for Android users it can be hard to avoid and even harder to understand.”

So writes David Yanofsky in Quartz. And, as Sting sang during the last century:

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you

Back now to David Yanofsky:

“As a result, Google holds more extensive data on Android users than some ever realize. That data can be used by the company to sell targeted advertising. It can also be used to track into stores those consumers who saw ads on their phone or computer urging them to visit. This also means governments and courts can request the detailed data on an individual’s whereabouts.”

Back now to Sting:

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you

David Yanofsky again:

“While you’ve probably never heard of it, ‘Location History’ is a longtime Google product with origins in the now-defunct Google Latitude. (Launched in 2009, that app allowed users to constantly broadcast their location to friends.) Today, Location History is used to power features like traffic predictions and restaurant recommendations. While it is not enabled on an Android phone by default — or even suggested to be turned on when setting up a new phone — activating Location History is subtly baked into setup for apps like Google Maps, Photos, the Google Assistant, and the primary Google app. In testing multiple phones, Quartz found that none of those apps use the same language to describe what happens when Location History is enabled, and none explicitly indicate that activation will allow every Google app, not just the one seeking permission, to access Location History data.

Sting was way ahead of his time:

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

Note: Every Breath You Take appeared on the 1983 Police album Synchronicity. Written by Sting, the single was the biggest US and UK hit of 1983, topping the UK singles chart for four weeks and the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for eight weeks. And it remains a winner. In October last year, the song was featured at the end of Season 2 of the Netflix thriller Stranger Things and it also appears on the Sony Music soundtrack of songs used in both Seasons 1 and 2.


Úlfur Úlfur ain’t cryin’ no “Wolf!” up Iceland way

Saturday, 20 January, 2018 0 Comments

Icelandic rap is a thing. And Úlfur Úlfur are among the biggest names on the Icelandic rap scene. Úlfur Úlfur translates as “Wolf Wolf” and, like the Canis lupus they are named after, Arnar Freyr and Helgi Sæmundu are howlingly fierce and furry. They are also very funny and their only concession to the dominant lingua franca of rap is liberal use of “motherfuck”. The entire combination means full houses for their gigs in Iceland and millions of plays across every music medium.

Tarantúlur is a song about the white trash Icelandic dream of cars, dudes, babes, hot dogs and drag racing. This is as far from the craft beer-swilling mobs of Reykjavik with their PC cult of Björk one can get.


Dolores O’Riordan (1971 – 2018)

Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 0 Comments

The last time I saw the late Dolores O’Riordan was on Friday, 6 June 2003 in the Olympiastadion in Munich. Her group, The Cranberries, were the support band for The Rolling Stones during their LICKS tour.

Can there be a more thankless music job than supporting the Stones? The masses flock to their concerts for the thrill of escaping the present for the past and it was the task of The Cranberries that warm June evening to “warm up” the crowd with a 45-minute set of songs, some of which were intended for a 2004 follow-up to the band’s fifth album, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, issued in 2001. Little did we know that the material would never be released. In September 2003, The Cranberries went into hiatus and they didn’t enter a recording studio again until 2011. Now, some seven years later, aged 46, Dolores O’Riordan is dead. RIP.

Dolores O'Riordan