sat 21/09/2019

New Music Features

theartsdesk in Fes: The Festival and the Moroccan Spring

Peter Culshaw

Strange portents – the weather is always dry and baking hot this time of year in Fes. This time it was like winter, with lashing rain and thunder for the first few days of the Fes Festival. But then things are strange in general here; events are moving fast throughout the Maghreb. The first day I was there saw a demonstration of thousands in Rabat, and a smaller one in Fes. By the last day a new constitution had been posted online, with the King renouncing some of his powers.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Aarhus: SPOT Festival 2011

Kieron Tyler

On the Jutland coast, Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest city after capital Copenhagen. Its attractive continental atmosphere is amplified by the presence of this week’s temporary population, which includes visitors from Britain, Estonia, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the US and the other Nordic countries. They’re here for SPOT, Denmark’s annual festival showcasing homegrown music. It’s a good moment as electro-popper Oh Land is making significant waves in the States.

Read more...

Opinion: Who says music isn’t good any more?

Kieron Tyler

The former Bee Gee Robin Gibb unveiled a plaque at the London home of Dusty Springfield a couple of weeks ago. At the ceremony he commented, “There’s been no one to match her. This includes the United States as well – they can’t come close to her. Today they just pose as singers.” Last October, Sir Elton John was at it too: “Songwriters today are pretty awful, which is why everything sounds the same. Contemporary pop isn’t very inspiring." Come off it, you two, great new music is out there....

Read more...

Reinventing the Record: Strange New Formats of the Digital Age

joe Muggs

While rumours of the album's demise may well have been premature, the digital age certainly does present increasing challenges when it comes to getting punters to keep and treasure music. Of course, really it all went wrong with the CD: those irritating plastic cases with hinges and catches guaranteed to snap off and get hoovered up, the booklets you have to squint to read, the discs that slide under car seats or behind radiators.

Read more...

Opinion: Time to say goodbye to the label 'World Music'

howard Male

Although the phrase “world music” was first coined by American ethnomusicologist Robert Brown in the 1960s, it didn’t become a brand, as it were, until 1987, when a bunch of London-based DJs, musicians and record company folk (including the late Charlie Gillett) met in an Islington pub and landed on the idea of putting all this foreign music under one commercially viable umbrella.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Tallinn: Music Week in the European City of Culture

Kieron Tyler

It’s an important year for Estonia. The Baltic nation celebrates 20 years of independence from Russia. Capital city Tallinn is European Capital of Culture for 2011. It’s also 10 years since their Eurovision win. theartsdesk is here for Tallinn Music Week, the third annual celebration of the country’s music. Integral to the national fabric, music was fundamental to the independence movement: the move to split from Russia was dubbed “The Singing Revolution”.

Read more...

Opinion: RIP Sound Quality?

Kieron Tyler

We all know people who listen to their music from iTunes, aren’t fussed with CDs and use their computer as the sole source for their listening. They’re listening to MP3s, the file format developed for portable players. But MP3s are compressed files with less data than those on a CD. Why listen to this fast-food version of music at home? Do so and it’s a nail in the coffin of sound quality.

Read more...

theartsdesk in Kinshasa: The Making of Benda Bilili!

Andy Morgan

Benda Bilili! is in some ways very Hollywood – the story of a dream of stardom which comes true despite incredible odds. On the other hand, the subject matter of a group of homeless paraplegic musicians in a band called Staff Benda Bilili (which means something like “looking beyond appearances”) in one of the most dangerous cities in the world – Kinshasa – is hardly Tinsel Town.

Read more...

Interview: The Unthanks

Russ Coffey

Misery may be folk music’s stock-in-trade but no one does it quite like the British. Maybe it’s part of our heritage. We are a nation, after all, that has not only invented a drink called bitter but have a brand called Doom Bar. And within the UK, there’s one particular volume of folk music that is unparalleled in its bleakness. It’s called the Northumbrian Minstrelsy, and it’s the first place Rachel Unthank, of critically acclaimed folk group The Unthanks, goes to look for new songs to...

Read more...

Opinion: Noise annoys – will venues ever sort out their sound?

Bruce Dessau

Last month I thought I'd gone deaf. After decades of standing too close to the loudspeakers I'd finally got my comeuppance and my ears had given up the ghost.

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

10 Questions for author Martin Gayford

Over the past four decades Martin Gayford, The Spectator’s art critic, has travelled the world, been published in an amazing range of...

CD: Rachid Taha - Je suis africain

Rachid Taha, sadly felled by a heart attack just over a year ago, has come back from the dead! He could not sound more lively than on this vibrant...

Ólafsson, Hallé, Mäkelä, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review...

The Hallé Orchestra has a good track record when it comes to bringing in young talents with exciting prospects,...

The Permanent Way, The Vaults review – devastating resurrect...

The Permanent Way first roared its way into the national consciousness in 2003 when, after a triumphant opening in York, it toured...

The Cameron Years, BBC One review - quite interesting but a...

David Cameron has been a recluse since the fateful days of June 2016 when the...

Count Arthur Strong, Leeds City Varieties review - stargazin...

Count Arthur Strong, the character created by Steve Delaney, started life in the late 1990s and  became a cult figure at the...

The Farewell review - warmly comic culture-clash

The cancer weepie is knocked off its tear-jerking axis by...

CD: Keane - Cause And Effect

Keane were always the best of that post-millennium Coldplay crowd. Tim Rice-Oxley showed adult...