fri 06/12/2019

New Music Features

theartsdesk at Green Man 2015

Barney Harsent

Sunday. Brecon Beacons. Very early in the morning. I am woken, as I have been every 20 minutes or so since falling asleep, by water dripping on my head. So far, I’ve been able to ignore it, the pain of sitting upright outweighing the inconvenience of a wet head by a factor I can’t begin to fathom. Now, however, the hangover has lifted slightly and the need to piss is so painful I can no longer ignore it.

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theartsdesk in New York: Folk City

Markie Robson-Scott

If you liked the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis, with its Dave Van Ronk-esque hero in Greenwich Village in 1961, you'll enjoy the new exhibition Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival, a celebration of NYC as the centre of folk music from its beginnings in the Thirties and Forties to its heyday in the Fifties and Sixties.

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Hot August Night: The Beatles at Shea Stadium

james Woodall

Half a century ago today, on a warm August Sunday night in New York, The Beatles played a 30-minute concert in a baseball field. Home to the New York Mets the venue was called the William A Shea Municipal Stadium and had opened in spring 1964.

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theartsdesk at Wilderness Festival 2015

Matthew Wright

You wake up with the multimedia traces of a Björk gig dancing across your eyes and the flavours of soft-shell crab and pomegranate playing across your tongue. The cluster of high-end dining establishments is denser than in Mayfair, yet the scenery in which they’re set - rolling parkland scattered with bunting-strewn marquees - looks more like the stage of a medieval battle re-enactment than the scene of the gourmand or connoisseur.

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Cilla Black, 1943-2015

Adam Sweeting

The term "beloved entertainer" might have been coined with Cilla Black in mind. Her career trajectory, from a working-class Irish Catholic background in Liverpool's Scotland Road through pop stardom under the auspices of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and thence to mainstream TV and nearly 20 years as hostess of LWT's Blind Date and Surprise Surprise, was a classic fable of determined self-betterment.

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theartsdesk in Tuscany: Musical landscapes

alexandra Coghlan

“Treeless and shrubless but for some tufts of broom, these corrugated ridges formed a lunar landscape, pale and inhuman.” Lushly green and densely planted, today the view out over Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia is unrecognisable as the blasted landscape first witnessed by author Iris Origo in 1923.

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theartsdesk at Førdefestivalen: Music and the midnight sun

Tim Cumming

The first thing that strikes you at 3am is the light, that strange disembodied glow of Norway’s midsummer midnight sun casting its rays over a landscape soaked in fantasy proportions –  sheer glacial drops of greenstone, sweet-water fjords cutting deep into the land, the forests of spruce and pine desending from steep mountainous peaks to the meadow grasses of the valley below.

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theartsdesk at Love Supreme: Van Morrison & Dianne Reeves

Matthew Wright

Love Supreme, now in its third year, feels like the best of both worlds. Set in the spectacularly rolling scenery of Glynde Place, outside Lewes, it’s only a champagne cork’s flight from Glyndebourne opera house, and if you’re not camping you can share the train home with the penguin-suited picnickers. Yet the format and layout are every bit greenfield rock festival, albeit – how posh is this – with flushing toilets.

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theartsdesk in Orkney: St Magnus Festival

David Kettle

Ebb of Winter felt about right. It’s one of Peter Maxwell Davies’s most recent works, a yearning for the brightness and warmth of spring at the end of an Orcadian winter, written in 2013 for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s 40th anniversary.

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Ornette Coleman (1930-2015), Jazz Liberator

Matthew Wright

Like John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, who died this week, was both a defining and divisive figure in jazz history.

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