Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan and Kasai Allstars at the Barbican, 26/07/09

'I’ve been told by a few people who don’t live here that “London is no place to bring up children”, which has always struck me as an odd thing to say. The park? The zoo? The river? The lido? For a start, If I’d had those things as a child, and the weather to enjoy them, I’d probably not be the sort of person who wastes his time indoors pontificating on the internet about what people with children do when I don’t have any of my own. And then there is the Barbican. This weekend was one of their “Do Something Different” affairs, with all sorts of events taking place throughout the building, from sandpits to walks to butterfly-making to energetic world music concerts on the free stage. I was more than a little jealous of all those little ones who were being introduced to hip-hop trumpet troupes and goggling at Indian fire-eaters, and the gleeful look on their faces would probably be a far better review than you’ll find here.'
From mapsadaisical's blog. Click here to keep reading this interesting report about our Do Something Different weekend.

Monday, 27 July 2009

How to conduct yourself at the Barbican...

Where were you last Saturday night? Dancing on seats and in the aisles in the Barbican Hall? Well, that has been a recurrent image throughout the whole of Blaze, and we are really happy about it! It just demonstrates that we deliver, since we have always said that Blaze was a music festival for the heart and for the feet.

And if you weren't there, you can find some cool images of Antibalas Saturday night on Akin Aworan's blog (that's where I found the photo above). And, please, keep dancing your way to the Barbican! The ushers are now pretty used to it.


Thursday, 23 July 2009

Fairport Convention celebration video!

For those of us not fortunate enough to be at the Fairport celebration at the Barbican, here's the video of the encore with Richard Thompson, a chilly looking Linda Thompson and Teddy and Kamila Thompson in tow as well. Thanks to The Word!


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Witchseason Weekender review AKA Bring the Sixties back!

Here's a really nice review of the Witchseason Weekender (Sat 18th and Sun 19th) by BazzFazz - Rants on politics, culture, whatever, from an American in London.

Meet on the Ledge

So a hippy-dippy weekend at the Barbican, organized by Joe Boyd, who produced a whole lot of important albbums in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Read his book
White Bicyles for an entertaining history of this era.) So we had Fairport Convention Saturday night, and The Incredible String Band last night. Well, not everyone--for obvious reasons, Sandy Denny and Martin Lamble were unable to attend, and Dave Swarbrick apparently chose not to Saturday, as did Robin Williamson Sunday. Still, a pretty remarkable evening both times.

Click here to read the rest of the article. We particularly love the bit regarding the audience!

Another 4 *review from the Guardian!

L'Orchestra Di Piazza Vittorio did an amazing performance indeed, last Friday 17th July.
And The Guardian awarded them with a brilliant 4-star review!

If you missed it, here it is:

By John L Walters

It is the perfect way to introduce audiences to a new band: screen a heartwarming full-length movie about them first. When the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio troop on afterwards for their UK debut, the audience greet them like old friends.

Back in 2001, pianist Mario Tronco decided to form a world music orchestra. Film-maker Agostino Ferrente follows Tronco as he goes on a mission to recruit musicians in Rome's multicultural Esquilino district. Argentine percussionist Raul "Cuervo" Scebba, based in a lock-up garage, gets it straight away: "You mean like the Blues Brothers," he says with a smile.

But the film is closer in tone to The Commitments, as we encounter some great characters: charming Senegalese percussionist Pap; charismatic Tunisian singer Houcine Ataa; Carlos Paz, who we see playing Andean flutes for tourists. Against all odds – indifference, language barriers, money troubles, Italian bureaucracy – the orchestra give their first concert late in 2002. It is hard not to shed a tear as more than a dozen nationalities and languages unite in music.

Read the whole review here.

Antibalas On Saturday

Here's a beautiful video of Antibalas rehearsing for their tour as posted by our friend Put Me On It.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

And don't miss Antibalas with Gangbe Brass Band this Saturday 25th at the Barbican!

Monday, 20 July 2009

5* Evening Standard review - Hitting the high notes in Nina Simone tribute

Truth is a commodity in short supply these days, which might explain why a capacity crowd, and one with more black and female faces than usual, beat a rainy path to the Barbican last night.

Clearly everybody misses Nina Simone, not least the vocal stars who assembled at the Barbican to pay homage to her.

For what other project would Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Angelique Kidjo and Nina's daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, be happy to tour with equal billing and stage-time?

Keep reading the 5-star review by Jack Massarik on the Evening Standard online edition, 17 Jul.


Spell "Joy" in all the languages of the world

A joyful evening indeed. Smiles and strangers dancing with each others filled the Barbican Hall Friday night, for one of the most incredible music experiences I had the privilege to witness in years! And, yes, I was in the dancing as well - everyone was!

Mozart with a touch of African drums? The steady sea breeze of a summer night in Tunis brings Cuban tunes, Brazilian laughters and clapping hands from the streets to your ears. But this image is not enough to describe the new kind of "global music" the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio tours all over the world, with a suitcase full of rumba, Mediterranean flavours, Northern African disco, South American melancholy and... Mozart!!!

While we wait for some reviews of the concert, here's a good piece by John Hooper @ Guardian Online. Mr Hooper met up with Mario Tronco- the director of the Orchestra - and his wife in Rome, to find out a little more about the inspiring story behind this project.

Here are also 3 minutes of John Hooper at their rehearsal studio in Rome, if you want to have a better idea of what I'm talking about - John Hooper at the rehearsal studio.

Hope to see you all this weekend at the Do Something Different Weekend, to be blown away by some more surprising music by Brooklyn-based Antibalas, Benin's Gangbe Brass Band, Brazil's Spok Frevo Orchestra and Congo's Kasai Allstars.

It's going to be pure fun for adults and kids alike!


Friday, 17 July 2009

Season of the Witch

Do Something Different is a weekly show produced by The Barbican, broadcasting every Tuesday between 6:30 and 7:30pm.

In anticipation of the forthcoming Witchseason Weekender at the Barbican (July 18 – 19th) today’s edition of Do Something Different, hosted by writer and record producer Joe Boyd, provides an overview of the legendary Witchseason label.

Curated by Boyd himself, the Witchseason Weekender is a reminder of the vitality and relevance of the scene which produced Nick Drake, Sandy Denny and Fotheringay, Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band and the UFO club.

Click here to download Joe Boyd show on Resonance FM on Tue 14 Jul.

Featuring concerts, film screenings and much else, to find out more about the Witchseason Weekender click here

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

In a Changing Italy, a Band With a Multicultural Face

ROME - The other night, when it seemed as if everybody was on the street sweating off the late summer heat, a young, smart-looking crowd filed through a fog of cigarette smoke into the Teatro dell’Opera to hear a small orchestra of fellow Romans play the overture from Mozart’s “Magic Flute.”

That doesn’t sound remarkable, but then Sanjay Kansa Banik got the ball rolling on the tabla with a long, mesmerizing solo of quickening tempo, which segued into a virtuoso turn by Dialy Mady Sissoko on the oud, to the accompaniment of a viola and violin.

The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, as it’s called, is made up mostly of immigrants living in Rome. An immigrant band wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in the United States, but it does in Europe, especially in Italy, where periodically some local arts star bemoans the country’s insularity and its resulting moribund culture.

Read the full article on the New York Times website.

The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio is playing in the Barbican Hall on Friday 17 July. Click here for more info.


LIVE: Hiromi/ Postma/Allen/Herman (Barbican)

Hey, last Saturday we had another great show provided by a trio of up-and-coming jazz musicisans a their Barbican debut.
I am talking about Hiromi + Yaron Herman Trio + Tineke Postma Quartet for the few of you that still don't know...

Here is a very cool review from LondonJazz (and if they say so, you'd better believe it!)

Hiromi is an explosive small package. She bounced onto the Barbican stage last night in a flowery summer dress, a pair of shiny black pedal-pushers, and silver trainers. Just turned 30, she affects the insouciant, elfin demeanour of a teenager. Her piano technique is ferocious, her musicianship is a highly variegated and developed craft. But she also knows precisely how to captivate the crowd with showmanship and mile-wide smiles, just like Earl Hines used to do. Plus she has the added advantages of astonishing energy and a dancer's physicality. Hiromi's joyously engaging solo set was the centre-piece of last night’s triple bill in the Barbican, part of the summer Blaze Festival, a co-promotion by the Barbican and Serious with support from Create09.

To read the full reveiw, please visit LondonJazz blog.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Sing the Truth

Atlanta singer Lizz Wright's calm authority, technical elegance and cool sophistication as a jazz vocalist can make you forget how deep her roots in church music go. But in live performance, those qualities reverberate around a room like the boom of an organ. Church minister's daughter Wright is a natural choice to sing on the Barbican's tribute to Nina Simone, on a bill shared with the operatic vocalist Dianne Reeves, with West African singer Angelique Kidjo and Simone's daughter, who has recently released the big-band tribute album Simone On Simone.

From KK & R Music Blog.

Nina Simone Tribute @ Barbican Hall, Thu 16 Jul, 7.30pm. Almost sold-out. Book Now!


When folk was hip - Guardian feature by Joe Boyd

Rock'n'roll was once a working-class occupation. Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Billy Fury and Johnny Hallyday saw music as a way out and up, like sport, hell-fire preaching or trade union politics. That Fury and Hallyday didn't grow up picking cotton or shining shoes mattered very little. They weren't students of the music, but clung to it as unselfconsciously and with the same desperate energy as their mass audiences.

Bob Dylan is credited with many revolutionary acts: bringing eloquently passionate politics into folk music; turning Brando and Dean's rejectionist sneers into musical notes; plugging his bardic songwriter aesthetic into an electric amp and thereby changing the world. But what is rarely mentioned is the way he (with help from Mick Jagger) brought the middle classes into the heart of popular culture.

Read the full article here.

Witchseason Weekender @ the Barbican this coming weekend (18-19 Jul), with screenings of cult documentaries such as Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before, Witchseason on Film (Double Bill) and live performances by Fairport Convention and Very Cellular Songs: Incredible String Band featuring Mike Heron and Clive Palmer, Richard Thompson, Danny Thompson, Alasdair Roberts, Trembling Bells, Dr Strangely Strange & Robyn Hitchcock.


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Images of David Sanborn and YolanDa Brown @ Barbican Hall

Images by Akin Aworan from the Thu 2 July gig here in the Barbican Hall.

Check out also Akin's full hearted review of the concert.

'The first time I heard of David Sanborn was his collaboration with Bob James on their 1986 Double Vision album. The track that blew me away was “Maputo”. I’m not much of a Sax fan, (Thank you very much, Kenny G!) but David S is one of the few musicians out there that I really appreciate as a saxophonist. And who can forget his playing on all of the ‘Lethal Weapon’ Series? (Although, I have to say Part 4 sucked! There! I said it!!)'.

Here for more!

As in the Guardian 4-star review about the concert, the surprise of the night was YolanDa Brown - 'a very, very talented saxophone player who played with finess, vigour and sassiness.'

Check the Blaze programme for more.

Ute Lemper interview and live performance on BBC3 - Listen here

BBC Radio 3's In tune with Petroc Trelawny aired an interview and live performance of Ute Lemper on July 3rd.

Listen to it again with the BBC iPlayer, here.

Important notice for tomorrow

Due to illness of one of their members, Medeski Martin & Wood have unfortunately had to cancel their tour dates in Europe.

This means they won't be able to perform tomorrow 8th July with The Claudia Quintet and Get the Blessing.

We are offering a full refund on tickets , but do encourage you to come to the Barbican on the night as Get The Blessing and Claudia Quintet will still go ahead on the FreeStage in the foyer as follows:

Get The Blessing
Bristol’s nu-jazz/ experimental quartet and BBC Jazz Awards 'Best Album' winners (2008) are one of ‘Britain's most exciting new bands' Telegraph

Claudia Quintet
Drummer John Hollenbeck's eclectic Claudia Quintet, featuring fellow New York luminaries bassist Trevor Dunn and saxophonist Chris Speed range through free-jazz, Steve Reich-like minimalism and polyrhythmic patterns to post-bop.

More info on tickets refunds here.

We hope to see you there!


New Myspace Profile

We are very excited to announce that the Barbican Contemporary Music has got a brand new Myspace Music profile!

Visit the new page here, where you can pre-listen to the tracks from the artists that will perform at the Barbican, have a complete overview of the program and visit the bands and musicians' own Myspace page (following the links).

And don't forget adding us as your friend, so you will be
able to take part at the latest offers exclusive to our Myspace friends!


Monday, 6 July 2009

Café de Los Maestros - The Barbican, London June 26th 2009

If you missed it, here's an extract from A World Of Music review of Cafe De Los Maestros, last 26th June at The Barbican! Thanks Con!

Bajofondo Tango Club’s Gustavo Santaolalla did a sterling job of bringing together many of the survivors from the great tango era of the mid-20th century on a double CD and film last year, and the whole enterprise was brought to gripping and emotional life on the ensemble’s British debut as part of the
Barbican's Blaze summer season.

Read the rest of the article here!


Guardian Guide Jazz preview: Medeski, Martin & Wood/Claudia Quintet

'The words "jam band" and "funk" spring to everybody's lips at the mention of the New York trio formed in 1991 by keyboardist John Medeski, with drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood, but those descriptions barely touch the surface.'

Click here to read the full Guardian preview on Medeski, Martin & Wood + The Claudia Quintet, 8 July, Barbican Hall.


David Sanborn/YolanDa Brown - Guardian 4* review

"Few jazz musicians could blow a bigger fanfare to launch the Barbican's 2009 summer jazz concerts than the American soul-saxist David Sanborn. Sanborn's Grammys and unjazzlike record sales testify to how far his impassioned playing has reached beyond the cognoscenti for nearly 40 years."

"But the young British Mobo winner YolanDa Brown played the first set and left an unexpectedly vivid impression."

Click here to read the full review by John Fordham.

Barbican Summer Jazz continues this Wednesday with Medeski Martin & Wood + The Claudia Quintet and unbelievably talented Japanese pianist Hiromi + Yaron Herman Trio + Tineke Postma on Fri 10 July.


Friday, 3 July 2009

Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio - The quintessence of world music

'If ‘world music’ could be encompassed by a single group, Rome’s Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio (OPV) might just be it. They are a phenomenon which has sprung out of the city’s diversity; 15 players from 9 countries, spanning continents and cultures, religions and backgrounds, some with music diplomas, others whose education came from busking in the streets.'

Read the full feature and see the videos at MondoMix.

The Orchestra will be performing in the Barbican Hall on July 17th. All tickets are £10. After seeing the documentary about their inspiring story of multiculturalism, believe me, you really don't want to miss this concert.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Ute Lemper feature for Angels Over Berlin and the World

Combining Weimar era cabaret with Paris chanson, Ute Lemper's new show can be seen at the Barbican. Peter Culshaw has tea and cakes with the singer.

'Recovering from a night of cabaret at the Tipi club in Berlin, I get a train across Germany, listening to Ute Lemper’s music. It is a perfect soundtrack to the landscape flashing by as I travel to meet Germany’s most internationally renowned singer at a glamourous hotel in Dresden, where President Obama stayed on his recent trip to see nearby Buchenwald. '

Read the full feature by Telegraph reporter Peter Culshaw.


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A History of The UK Jazz Dance Scene

While we are waiting for David Sanborn, Sam Moore and YolanDa Brown to open the Barbican Summer Jazz series this Thursday - followed by Medeski Martin & Wood + The Claudia Quintet on Wed 8 Jul and Hiromi + Yaron Herman Trio + Tineke Postma Quartet on Fri 10 Jul - CHASER PUBLICATIONS is back on sale with their first publishing venture since ceasing the hard copy of Straight No Chaser magazine with Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove’s hugely important FROM JAZZ FUNK & FUSION TO ACID JAZZ: THE HISTORY OF THE UK JAZZ DANCE SCENE.

Read the full article on Jazzreloaded's blog Jazz Changes, and get more info about the book visiting the Chaser Publications blog.

For all the people out there curious or passionate about the UK Jazz Dance movement, Blaze in association with Edge09 revisits the movement at Cargo on Sun 19 July, with Cuban rumba from Dilanga in the yard and a live twisted jazz set from The Mighty Jeddo. DJs Gilles Peterson & Snowboy will set the scene for some fast and furious competition from the dancers who carry on the legacy of the movement. As well as book signing and record stalls, Dick Jewell's legendary film The Jazz Room will be screened alongside other classic shorts.

Tickets are all £10. See you there!

Image by Ian Tilton www.iantilton.net