sat 08/08/2020

New Music Features

Christmas on theartsdesk: Brainteasers, Bran Tub, and the Best of 2011

theartsdesk

Any day now most of us will be hunkering down and for the most part drawing a curtain about the world outside. Before that happens, we’d like to tell you about theartsdesk’s plans for Christmas and the New Year.

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Cesaria Evora, 1941-2011

Peter Culshaw

Cesaria Evora was one of the great singers, her lived-in voice and poignant, heart-wrenching music affecting nearly all who heard it. She had been in poor health after a heart attack in 2008 and a stroke last year, and died on the island of São Vicente in Cape Verde where she was born. I had the honour and pleasure of meeting her in Lisbon in 2001, on the occasion of the release of one of her best albums, São Vicente Di Longe.

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theartsdesk in Doha: Vangelis at Katara Amphitheatre

Adam Sweeting

If you need music for a ceremonial occasion, Greek composer Vangelis is your man. He has, after all, even had a small planet named after him, and in 2001, NASA used his piece Mythodea as the theme for its Mars Odyssey mission. The following year, FIFA hired Vangelis to concoct the official anthem for the 2002 World Cup. In 2004, he draped aural grandiosity across Oliver Stone's implausible Alexander.  

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Unfinished Business: Writing Songs With the Dead

graeme Thomson

Creative time travel is very much in vogue. For musicians especially, it appears that death is not so much The End as an opportunity to extend the possibilities of the franchise. Early in 2012, American alt-country type Jay Farrar and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James will release New Multitudes, an (excellent) album of new songs based on some of the thousands of unrecorded lyrics left by Woody Guthrie after his death in 1967.

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DVDs for Christmas: New Music

theartsdesk

Whether it's via the Disc of the Day column or our eclectic mix of overnight live reviews, on theartsdesk we try to traverse as much of the world of New Music as we possibly can. As Christmas swings around we consider it our duty to help guide readers through the thicket of music DVDs.

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theartsdesk in Rennes: 33rd Trans Musicales Festival

Kieron Tyler

Glass crunches underfoot. It’s been raining constantly, but the odour reveals that a fair amount of what's in the cobbled street's central gutter is urine. Everyone appears to be drunk. The French equivalent of crusties aren’t content with one dog-on-string. Some have four. During the annual Trans Musicales festival, Saturday night in and around the Place St-Anne of Brittany’s capital Rennes is a keep-you-on-your-toes experience.

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Catherine Ringer: Life After Les Rita Mitsouko

Kieron Tyler

Asked what attracted her to the music of South America, Catherine Ringer says, “C’est comme ça. Boom-ta-ta-boom, ta-ta-boom, ta-ta-boom-da boom, boom-da-da-boom.” She begins singing. “Boom-da-boom-da-boom, doo-doo-da-doo. It’s the rhythm of rock'n’roll,” she concludes. Ringer still exudes the spontaneity that defined Les Rita Mitsouko, whose first French hit, "Marcia Baïla", was fuelled by Latin rhythms.

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theartsdesk in Bucharest: The Paris of the East?

Peter Culshaw

The tourist bumf talks a lot about Bucharest being “Little Paris”. If you squint while walking down the grand boulevards, you see what they mean. The crumbling Byzantine churches, the Belle Époque restaurants, the odd palatial Beaux-Arts town houses among the brutalist blocks all evoke Paris. They even have their own Arc de Triomphe and Odéon Theatre here, built on Parisian models.

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theartsdesk in Khartoum: English folk songs in Sudan

Tim Cumming

I’m stood in the dusk in front of the tomb of Sheikh Hamid al-Nil as the sun sets on Khartoum, reddening in the exhaust-filled air as it deflates over a receding jumble of low-rise blocks spreading down the banks of the Nile and out towards Tuti Island, where the waters of the Blue and White Nile meet. This is no quaint, picturesque view, though you do feel you're in some ancient theatre of humanity when you land in Khartoum.

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Tubular Bells, The Charles Hazlewood All Stars, St George's Bristol

mark Kidel

Tubular Bells, the first half of which is being currently revived as a live piece in the UK, sold between 15 and 17 million units worldwide. Quite apart from the work’s innocence being co-opted and made spooky in William Friedkin's The Exorcist, there was something about Mike Oldfield’s first stab at quasi-symphonic rock which seduced the music-consuming public.

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