Aminatou Goumar from Toumast has just return from her extraordinary adventure to the far north where the Cape Farewell has taken a ship full of artists, musicians and performers to expore life at the 78th parrellel at Eastern Greenland.
The voyage turned out to be a demanding and sometimes overwhelming experience, as described by the David Buckland director of Cape Farewell, in his final report from onboard ship as they sailed south:
"A calm night entrance to Northern Iceland, my last watch ended at 6am a mixture of sadness [voyaging is addictive] and relief that yet again we have all travelled safely. It always feels like a Shakleton moment, all accounted for and no damage to life and limb. This expedition will go down in Cape Farewell folk law as the extreme one - the longest sea passage, the hardest physically on all of us, the most violent weather and that dance with ice and more ice. Yesterday Greenland really didnt want to let us go as we did one of our famous nautical circles to find a way through an endless band of icebergs and sea ice offshore. Eventually we hugged the coast and literally pushed blocks of ice the size of busses out of our way to emerge to seaward just as the night closed in. Greenland has given us the extreme beauty to match the extreme hardship, days of unimaginable senses which have beguiled each of us. For me, he overall impression left from this expedition is a sense of awesome power; the power to shift a warm undersea river of water north that would take 100,000 nuclear power stations to generate, the power of wind and sea forces, the power of ice, how it shapes, melts and threatens. There is no human repost for this scale of activity, we have only just managed to witness and survive. We now know without doubt that our human activity and waste in the form of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is destabilising the status quo of the planetary systems we are blindly stirring a hornets nest with our self obsession and greed and it is getting angry. Here in the Arctic the temperatures are up 6 degrees Centigrade, weather patterns worldwide are destabilised: witness the floods in the UK, more violent hurricanes, drought in parts of the USA and Australia and recently a solid month of rainfall fell south of the Sahara from Ethiopia to Senegal. Each event on its own can be explained as a freak event but this is a pattern of events predicted as a consequence of our heating planet. The changes of climate will increase and become more unstable. If we have learnt anything on this expedition it is that the forces that will be released against us will not be manageable. And then the magic rides in. We have not seen another human or even a trace of human endeavour for 17 days, we have been beyond any safety net, we have depended on our own resources and have engaged and become overwhelmed by the shear magic of bears, ice, light, emotions and our own shared company. Not totally true - we did manage to get close enough to civilisation to get Brian picked up by helicopter, satellites have fed us with information of position and weather and we have communicated using high tech devices. Escaping is not a desire but I am motivated to try to retain what we stand to lose. Small adjustments to our expectations of what defines our individual lives could achieve new technologies and ways of living that are sustainable. Somehow embracing this change seems more fun and fulfilling than the status quo of more need, more aggression, more tension. I am doing what we all have agreed is futile preaching. During this expedition we have all been inspired artistically, new works are in embryonic form and now we need to refine them, get them out into the public domain and hopefully engage, illuminate and inspire. David Buckland (Cape Farewell)
Iarla Ó Lionáird has a busy Autumn schedule coming up including live performances with Crash Ensemble in Dublin and Flight of the Earls commemorative shows in Paris and Belfast.
Crash Ensembles SHINDIG, running at SSMJ in Temple Bar on October 12th and 13th, is a mammoth weekend featuring two concerts; Free State a look at some of the most interesting contemporary music in Ireland today including the premiere of a new Crash Ensemble commission by Gerald Barry, and Marathon a whopping 11 hours of new music by the godfathers (and extended family) of contemporary classical music.
Iarla will also be touring with Crash Ensemble in Ireland during October and November and in Australia in March 2008.
'Music and Poems of the Earls' - The Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris
A reading and musical performance of the great outburst of poetry written by the Gaelic Court Poets when their dynastic leaders, ONeill and ODonnell set out by ship from Donegal for Continental Europe in 1607 now known as The Flight of the Earls.
'Turas na dTaoiseach - The Flight of the Earls', Belfast Opera House
An evening of music, song and art commemorating the 400th anniversary of The Flight of the Earls. The evening will feature newly composed music by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Niall Vallely performed by a stellar cast of Irelands foremost musicians. Singers Iarla Ó Lionáird and Karan Casey will join musicians such as piper Cillian Vallely and percussionist Mel Mercier along with the Carolan String Orchestra. The concert will be recorded for broadcast by BBC Northern Ireland and will also have an important visual aspect with stunning new paintings dramatising The Flight of the Earls story by John B. Vallely, one of Ireland's foremost painters, being exhibited in the Grand Opera House foyer throughout the Belfast Festival at Queen's.
Iarla will be accompanying Irish President Mary McAleese on her first official state visit to New Zealand. The itinerary is reported to include meetings with the Irish community, local business people and the Maori community.
Simon Mayo recently interviewed The Imagined Village featured artist Billy Bragg for the latest edition of The Radio 2 Music Club.
Billy discusses the artists involved in the forthcoming album and the re-invention of the English folk songs 'John Barleycorn' and 'Hard Times Of Old England'.
Click the link below to listen again online.
An evening of cutting edge performances by a wide range of contemporary, traditional, jazz, and classical musicians who will celebrate the legacy of Martyn Bennett, one of Scotlands most unique and gifted musicians who died in 2005 aged 33.
The concert features a rare performance by Martyns acclaimed band Cuillin with his multi- instrumentalist role as a violin and bagpipe virtuoso played by Greg Lawson and Fraser Fifield along with his regular line up of Kirsten Bennett and Deidre Morrison and his original samples and breakbeats marshalled by Martin Swan of Mouth Music.
The concert will also premiere 4 new pieces of music commissioned by the Martyn Bennett Trust who asked leading Scottish composers to create new music starting with a Martyn Bennett melody fragment as a point of origin. These pieces will be composed by:
Robert McFall & Fraser Fifield
DJ Dolphin Boy & Phil Bancroft
The concert will also feature performances by a wide ranging and stellar cast:
Fred Morrison, Margaret Bennett, the Broughton Music School Orchestra playing a new piece dedicated to Martyn Bennett, the PorridgeMen, Anna Wendy Stevenson and the Flying Fiddles,
Martyn Bennett Day also features a series of music workshops for 12 - 25 year olds at Broughton Music School.
The Martyn Bennet Trust aims are to promote Martyns Bennets music and legacy and support young musicians across the world. The trust is currently running a project in Argentina where University of Buenos Aires Conservatory and in a deprived area forming a choir with immigrant children to perform Martyns music.
27 October 7.30 Queens Hall Edinburgh
Tickets: £ 18.50 (£ 16.00)
All profits to the Martyn Bennett Trust
Daby Touré's latest release, 'Stereo Spirit', has been included in the entertainment system of some KLM aircraft.
Travelers on any KLM Airbus A330 or Boeing 777 flight can relax to Daby's music by tuning into the 'international/africa' corner of the entertainment system.
Possibly the first Real World artist to be heard at 10km altitude!
A new addition to the Real World Remixed site is the 'Embed this remix on your web page' section on each remix page. Simply copy and paste the link provided to play a selected remix directly from your own blog/page/site.
We're hoping to develop this idea into a multi-track, customisable player, so more features are planned - we hope you like it.
Aminatou Goumar from Toumast is to take part in an extraordinary trip from the deserts of Africa to the frozen Arctic.
She has been invited to take part in The Capefarewell Expedition to Greenland from 23 September to 10 October.
Capefarewell describes the trip:
'Our most ambitious expedition to date attempts to sail the 78th parallet to eastern Greenland, a passage only made possible due to the melting sea ice. Taking over two weeks the expedition will cross the north Atlantic to the extreme frontline of climate change before sailing south to Scoresby Sund in Greenland.
This expedition is made in the spirit of a truly joint endeavour between the international arts and science communities. This team will help sail the schooner through the seas that hold the key to understanding changes in our weather patterns and climate"
Greenland is one of the largest landlocked ice reserves in the Northern Hemisphere. If the Arctic ice melts the consequences will be severe, but because it is already floating it will not effect sea level. However the landlocked ice of Greenland will raise sea levels as it melts. If the entire mass were to go, it could raise sea levels by seven metres. Scientists need to gather more information about how much additional freshwater is being input to the Arctic seas and North Atlantic to further determine what impact this melt will have.
Dr. Simon Boxall - National Oceanography Centre (UK)
Cape Farewell approached us at Real World Records to suggest musicians who could participate and Toumast, from a region of the world suffering severe desertification, seemed so appropriate. The Cape Farewell team went to Paris to meet Aminatou and invited her to join the group of artists, musicians and scientists leaving on September 23rd. Through the Cape Farewell website we can read Aminatou's diary, send messages and find out more about this incredible adventure.
Skip 'Little Axe' McDonald was recently interviewed for the Radio 2 documentary 'Seven More Days That Rocked The World'. Skip talks about his role as a member of the orginal Sugarhill Records house band, the release of the seminal record Rappers Delight and the birth of rap.
The show goes out on Radio 2 at 23.00 on 13th September.
Click the link below to find out more about the show and listen online