tue 28/01/2020

New Music Features

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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Interview: Ana Moura on being Prince and Mick Jagger's protégé

Peter Culshaw

My most rock’n’roll moment of the last year was probably travelling 120 miles an hour on the wrong side of the road in a black Mercedes as part of Prince’s police convoy on the way out of Lisbon to the Super-Rock Festival where the diminutive star was headlining. The traffic was completely jammed on the way to the concert and it was the only way to get there on time.

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Interview: Tinariwen, Poets in New York

Andy Morgan

All was quiet in room 509 when I turned up with my bottle of Jura whisky. Tinariwen’s sound engineer, Jaja, was watching a vampire movie on TV. Elaga, their rhythm guitarist, was sitting at a small, darkly varnished table eating pasta from a Styrofoam carton. Said the percussionist was lying on his bed, delving through the archive of photos and recordings on his LG mobile, keeping his own counsel as he usually does. 

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Iceland Airwaves 2011

Kieron Tyler

Iceland is remote. Strategic too. Vikings stopped off there on the way to North America. It hosted the Reagan-Gorbachev summit 25 years ago. On the anniversary, visitors from America, Canada and across continental Europe are in Reykjavík for the 13th annual Iceland Airwaves. Over its five days the festival brings an extraordinary range of music to Iceland’s capital. Three years on from the country’s financial meltdown, Iceland remains strategic. Culturally strategic.

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Interview: Peter Gabriel

Peter Culshaw

One of the problems with Peter Gabriel’s back catalogue for me, I tell him, as he is reclining in an office at EMI in London, is the sounds - some of them really are very dated. Gabriel would often pioneer a sound like the reverse-gated drum sound - others would imitate, it becomes trendy, over-used, and then hugely unfashionable.

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theartsdesk in Oslo: FolkeLarm Festival

Kieron Tyler

It’s almost dark. Frescoes depicting the cycle of life are barely visible. They could be shadows. Waves of sound pulse through the mausoleum of Norwegian artist Emanuel Vigeland. Fiddle player Nils Økland is feeding the 15-second delay with peals that reverberate around the space, folding back into themselves. It’s a spooky, unforgettable introduction to FolkeLarm, Oslo’s annual festival of Nordic folk music.

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Bert Jansch: 1943-2011

graeme Thomson

The great folk guitarist Bert Jansch died early this morning, aged 67. Whether as a prime mover in London's 1960s folk scene, or as part of pioneering folk-jazzers Pentangle, or as a songwriter and solo artist, his influence on everyone from Paul Simon, Donovan, Led Zeppelin and Neil Young to, later, Johnny Marr, Graham Coxon and Beth Orton is simply immeasurable.

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Zun Zun Egui: New Indie Band of the Year?

mark Kidel

In the generation of twentysomething rock musicians bottle-fed on world music, the Bristol band Zun Zun Egui really stand out. They make some of the most exciting music to have emerged in the last 12 months.

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