Aug. 31st, 2011 05:02 pm
mirrorshard: (The Book of Rainbows)
So, that went well. Very well, in fact.

I was in charge of the lighting board for the 1400-capacity Concert Stage (a large blackout marquee) and [personal profile] mostlyacat was my deputy, which worked well for both of us. He picked up board op skills very quickly - it helps that he's an engineer, used to computer equipment, and has a pretty good eye for visual arts.

I was seriously impressed by how casual and trusting the organisers were with us - basically, the Stage Electrics contractors (Rebecca and Suzi) programmed in a few presets and showed us what was where, and left us to decide how to light everything entirely for ourselves. I'd been expecting a more formal setup, with cues programmed in for particular artists & songs, so this was a pleasant surprise.

People & groups I lit over the weekend, whom I'd already heard of: Home Service; Spiers & Boden (who performed New York Girls as their encore!); the Spooky Men's Chorale; Coope, Boyes, & Simpson; Emily Portman; Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick.

Ditto, whom I'd never heard of but can recommend: Tyde; Red Hippo; Moore, Moss, Rutter; David Ferrard (Scottish/American singer-songwriter); Kate Rowe (kooky, melodic, catchy Australian singer-songwriter); Saltfishforty. (More details about all of those can be found linked from here.)
more, including some videos )
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Anyone who hasn't already got plans for the evening of Bank Holiday Monday fancy going with me to this? Tickets are £10, £8 concessions, and it's in Hampstead. I won't be able to do a group booking online, unfortunately.

Baroque music for the 21st century - one of the directors described it on Twitter as atmosphericpunk. (I tried to sell her on Engine-for-Raising-Water-by-Firepunk, but she didn't go for it.) Review here.

video & poll under cut )
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In the course of writing this review, I discovered that SF author SP Somtow is also the Artistic Director of the Bangkok Opera, and a composer. There are quite a few high-quality excerpts of his work, both as composer and as conductor, here. I particularly recommend Michael Chance singing Ganesha's aria "O Ramachandra".
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This evening's treat was a performance of Handel's Messiah at the ENO, courtesy of the kind offices of [ profile] the_alchemist. I enjoyed it thoroughly; the staging was mostly underwhelming (admittedly, I have high standards - it was by no means bad) with some standout points. The high point of the evening, for me, was seeing Sophie Bevan (soprano) singing I Know That My Redeemer Liveth flat on her back in a hospital bed, surrounded by rows of corpses on plexiglass biers. Which then woke up slowly while Brindley Sherratt (bass) sang Behold, I Tell You A Mystery. I'm not nearly educated enough to be able to comment on the music, beyond having enjoyed it immensely, so I shall comment on the theatrical aspects instead.

Technically, it was good, though using a mirror-shiny floor was a Brave Decision - and anything shiny enough to send reflections into the dome of the Coliseum is SHINY. It takes quite a bit of technical skill to combine that and Stage Clutter with gauze and front projection, but they pulled it off, and despite the reflectivity the production didn't even come close to looking too polished and glittery.

They didn't go for a continuous visual narrative, which was sensible; doing that would have come rather too close to dumb-show, and detracted from the focus on the music. Instead, we had the principal singers enacting a few scenes here and there, and a lot of interesting but not obtrusive group action for the rest of it.
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While I was looking around for some folk lyrics, I found this interesting FT article on folk music and constructions of Englishness, focusing on Show of Hands and their song Roots.

Attempts to write English national songs tend to founder on the question of conservatism: does English identity mean no more than an insistence that nothing should ever change?

Well, obviously the answer to that is "no", but I think there are some interesting questions about moving forwards involved. They're basically not in favour of SoH's approach, but I think that ignores one of the most important strands of folk history & practice, which is the protest song.
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I picked up Kila's new album, Gambler's Ballet, the other day. It's Irish fusion folk, really good.

One thing that's really bugging me, though, is that on the instruments list for one of the songs (Fir Bolg) is something called a stormbone, and I have no idea at all what this instrument is.

Fiddle; stormbone, clarinet, lute, tablas, bongos (all the same musician); vocals, clarinet; tambourine, dumbeg; guitar, bass; piobai uillean, tin whistle; guitar; additional clarinet.

In context, it's presumably either woodwind or percussion. Will have to listen hard to the track to see if I can find it.

In other news, I'm finally getting (some of) the hang of my new cameraphone. Pictures here, for those of you who don't read Eithin.
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I had an Amazon order turn up the other day, containing (amongst other things) Bellowhead's new album. It's called Burlesque, but apart from the cover picture I don't really see the connection. It's based on traditional English folk, with some rock influence and brass, but it's also good happy noisy bouncy music with your basic angry social message. And some seriously nice dancing tunes.

Their website plays sound at you. However, the sound it plays is this full-length recording of what I think is their best song - a live recording from the Roskilde festival. The studio version, on the CD, is much more polished. There are some more samples on the website, and on their Myspace, though I don't know how many are full-length.

Members & instruments )


Dec. 7th, 2005 09:24 pm
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Via a post on the never-to-be-sufficiently-praised Making Light, I am simultaneously informed about CD Baby (CDs direct from independent artists, no distributors, lots of cool stuff, has extensive mp3 samples on their website) and reminded about Cordelia's Dad, a US folk/rock/experimental/fundamentally weird (but I mean that in the good way) band [ profile] owlfish introduced me to years ago. Never been able to find any of their CDs over here, and if I kept credit cards I'd be shopping away. Possibly a good thing I don't.

Take a look here for an eclectic variety of samples. All cut off at two minutes' worth of mp3, but still worth the listening to.
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Courtesy of [ profile] claudacity

Take a look at, scroll down to the bottom, and pick your birth year. It'll give you a list of the top 100 songs for that year. Cut and paste, bold if you like it (or at least won't turn the radio away from it), underline the one you like best, blah.

I'm not even going to bother cutting and pasting the list, most of them are either horrible, dead, or pointless beyond belief - 1977 was, according to this list, the year of Abba, Star Wars, and nothing much else.

Of course, if we look at Wikipedia - - it tells a slightly different story. 1977 was the year the King died and Dylan's wife filed for divorce, Dire Straits started playing, the Clash headlined at the Roxy, and just a few albums came out.

Blondie - Blondie
Slowhand - Eric Clapton
Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel
Bat out of Hell - Meat Loaf
Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols

So, that's 1977 for you. Slow year, eh?
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Go through your music collection, pick out everything you have two different versions of, and play those. Not three, not more, only two.

Playlist files:

1. Clare Teal - Clare Teal - Messing With Fire (1) (2:54)
2. Clare Teal - Clare Teal - Messing With Fire (2) (3:19)
3. Clare Teal - Clare Teal - Moon River (3:07)
4. Audrey Hepburn - Moon River (1:35)
5. Dixie Chicks - Amazing Grace (1:48)
6. Louis Armstrong - Amazing Grace (2:02)
7. Ella Fitzgerald - Ella & Pops - Summertime (4:55)
8. Lady Day - Billie Holiday - Summertime (2:57)
9. John Lennon - Imagine (3:04)
10. Amos, Tori - Imagine (John Lennon Cover) (3:29)
11. Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun (2:24)
12. indigo girls - blister in the sun (violent femmes cover live) (2:51)
13. Joan Baez - House of the Rising Sun (2:55)
14. no artist - The Animals - The House of the Rising Sun (4:29)

Free Music

Apr. 22nd, 2005 05:36 am
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DRM-free promotional tracks from Amazon, all their offerings collected in one place.
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From [ profile] reuss

Recommend to me:

1. a movie
2. a book
3. a musical artist, song, or album
4. a LiveJournal user not on my friends list
5. what I should have for dinner
6. a website
7. a quote

Then put this in your LiveJournal and I'll do the same for you.