tue 14/07/2020

New Music Features

Nigel Kennedy's Polish Adventure

Adam Sweeting

Brilliant though it was to be shooting an Imagine film for BBC One, we did experience the occasional tremor of foreboding about making a programme with Nigel Kennedy. We (that's me and director Frank Hanly) had a bit of previous with Nigel - I'd done several print interviews with him, and we'd shot a couple of short films with him for EMI.

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European Festivals 2010 Round-Up

ismene Brown

istanbulIstanbul, Turkey, 3-30 June

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Fela Kuti, The One Who Emanated Greatness

Peter Culshaw

With Fela Kuti's old band playing Brighton this evening fronted by his son Seun and on the same bill as Tony Allen, the drummer who co-created the increasingly influential Afro-beat sound, it seemed a good excuse to revisit the first interview I ever got published, which was with the great African pop star in 1984 (in Blitz magazine, also a version for the Observer).

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Interview: Diane Birch Rises Up

Adam Sweeting Diane Birch, a singer-songwriter with a classical and gospel bent

It's probably a bit early to start picking the best albums of 2010, but I would seriously consider a legal challenge if Diane Birch's Bible Belt isn't there or thereabouts when the votes are counted. Like a long-lost singer-songwriter classic, it accomplishes the trick of sounding instantly familiar, yet Birch herself doesn't sound quite like any other artist you've heard before. Her voice can be soft and supple, but it also has a raw, rasping quality that can saw through a song like "...

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Interview: Rokia Traoré

graeme Thomson

Rokia Traoré has always seemed most comfortable creating at trysting points, darting between different worlds without ever quite belonging to any one of them. The daughter of a Malian diplomat, as a child her favourite locations were airports, “this middle point between two places; the idea of leaving a place to go to another one was the most interesting part of my childhood”.

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The Return of Metal Machine Music

howard Male A self-portrait by Lou Reed, who is about to play some UK dates

With Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio landing on these shores this weekend, I found myself remembering one of the most memorable listening experiences of my life; the first time I heard Reed’s 1975 album Metal Machine Music. How do you get your bearings in music that comes at you like...

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Breakfast with Laurie Anderson

Peter Culshaw

Laurie Anderson's new show Delusion opens at the Barbican in London next week. Since the late 1960s she has been at the forefront of artistic innovation. From early pieces where she appeared in art galleries (wearing ice-skates in a block of ice that slowly melted), to her epic opera United States I-IV, she has carved out a niche as something between a poet, artist, technician, humourist, pop star and magician. We chatted...

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Malcolm McLaren: 1946-2010

Peter Culshaw

We have lost one of the great cultural catalysts of our time, a brilliant provocateur, a different kind of artist. Malcolm McLaren was a dear friend, who will be painfully missed – we spent, for example, Millennium Eve together with a few friends in France. When Malcolm hit on the “serious joke” of running for Mayor of London in 2000, he roped me into being his agent. It was a lost cause, of course, but at times it was a surreal and often comic adventure.

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theartsdesk at Savannah Music Festival

Kate Connolly

Over four days I've gorged on some world-class music. If you take a pretty city in the full swing of spring, add a dose of Southern US hospitality, some exquisite venues, and a music promoter able to garner the cream of musical talent from across the genres, you have arguably found the perfect ingredients for a top-class musical extravaganza - and a wonderfully restorative experience for a music-lover ready for anything.

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Rufus Wainwright: Pop Star and Opera Star

Adam Sweeting

To be born into the extraordinary Wainwright dynasty is to be born onstage, and Rufus has seized his birthright in a giant bear-hug. Mere weeks after the death of his mother, Kate McGarrigle, from cancer in January, the lanky, somewhat Heathcliff-like Rufus was back on the campaign trail with throttles wide open. In the pipeline for early April are his new album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, and a new production of his opera Prima Donna at Sadler's Wells.

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