Everyone on site at Real World had their fingers crossed on the morning of Wednesday 28 June and were looking skyward for signs of ominous black clouds! We were all hoping that it wasn't going rain! This was the day of the Real World Summer Party - our biggest celebration in the last 7 years- and we were relying on the sunshine to make it a perfect day.
The big event was to celebrate 20 Years of Real World Studios, its investment in a future of recording and the unique relationship with Real World Records. The refit and relaunch of two of the main studios - the famous Big Control Room and smaller Production Room - were the motivation to crack open a bottle of wine. It then seemed a good idea to invite a number of Real World artists to the studio and put on a concert in the grounds of the studio.
During the afternoon the invited media took part in a press conference where Peter Gabriel talked about the illustrious history of the studio, played some tasters of forthcoming music to be released on the label and introduced a number of musicians and producers.
Following a wonderful barbeque from resident Real World chief Geraldine, lashings of Pimms, fine wines, delicious deserts and west country cheeses the invited audience of friends and business associates enjoyed an evening of music.
Adrian Sherwood opened proceedings with a mellow 'dub lite' DJ set followed by new comer singer song writer Charlie Winston. Chinese flutist Guo Yue provided a magical moment of solo performance followed by the wonderful Daby Touré who got the crowd in party mood. Sevara Nazarkhan, the beautiful Uzbek diva, was outstanding. LIttle Axe brought the house down (even though we were all outside on the lawn) with a fantastic set of 21st century blues featuring the legendary Skip Mcdonald, Keith Le Blanc, Doug Wimbish and original Tackhead vocalist Bernard Fowler. Quite unexpectedly the band were joined on stage by Robert Plant (who was unable to resist the temptation to get up there with like-minded musicians!) followed by Peter and Sevara. What a finale! The whole evening was brought to a fabulous conclusion with a specially designed firework display - the scale of which has never been seen before in the skies above the village of Box!
And we didn't even have a light shower.....
The song 'Hende Baba' (Let's Go, Father) from the album Rise Up will be Single of the Week on iTunes from Tuesday 4 July. The album is currently being promoted on the front page of the hugely popular download store.
"Well, this is the life that we have so we must be brave and move on because it is all our fault. This is what we wanted so we should not wail.
If we want to live comfortable lives, let's plan ahead for tomorrow. If our country is economically rich, that is what brings happiness to people. Many people lost their lives in the great war that we fought so that everybody would sit pretty.
You and I have to sit down and talk should there be any problem and that is the freedom that we fought for."
Värttinä have released their first DVD 'Archive Live' (available on Sony BMG). The DVD contents include 45 minute edited highlights of the 20th Anniversary Concert at Aleksanterin Teatteri in Helsinki from February 2003; 15 bonus archive TV and video clips from a career spanning 1985 to 2005; 2 rare live audio tracks, interviews, biography, photo gallery.......everything you ever wanted to know about the band in deluxe packaging!
Any day now the legendary Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited will arrive in the UK for a series of regional dates. They return at the end of July for a headlining spot at WOMAD Rivermead on Saturday 29 July. Following the outstanding reviews of 'Rise Up' expect to see the band at their best. Check the Tours page for all gig details.
In preparation for the Real World Summer Party on June 28 Peter Gabriel has writen in The Independent of his memories of discovering the location for Real World. "Peter Gabriel tells how, 20 years ago, he set up his pioneering label and studio dedicated to recording and releasing music from all over the globe"
What more perfect country than Italy for Chinese virtuoso flute player and cooking expert Guo Yue to explore the relationship between food, love and music? At Arte Culinaria in the foothills of the Dolomites (one hour north of Venice) on July 4 Yue will be holding a cooking workshop entitled 'Ravioli e Spaghetti: Italia e Cina a confronto (Ravioli and Spaghetti: Italy and China compared). Later in the evening Yue will give a concert in the beautiful courtyard of the cookery school of music from his CD 'Music Food and Love'. As Guo Yue says: 'During the Cultural Revolution personal, romantic love was forbidden; so feelings of love were put into other things: I remember that the infinite care that was taken in preparing many dishes from a few ingredients, thinking about the colours, textures, tastes and smells that would fill my courtyard in the alleys - this was an expression of love.'
The New York City premiere of this award-winning documentary film by Rob McGann takes place on June 15 at 7.15pm at the Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street at Central Park West). The film explores the underlying fractures of the War on Terrorism.
The track '9/11' from the album 'Ama' by Yungchen Lhamo is featured in the film along with other improvised vocal selections specially created for the movie.
Thomas Mapfumo is again at odds with the regime of his beloved country. Just as his songs once spoke of rebellion in Rhodesia, today he remains resolutely a man of the people - rallying their street-level support in the struggle against the new tyranny of Mugabe. There is no immediate prospect of a return home from his adopted base in Eugene, Oregon, where he recorded 'Rise Up', his new Real World Records release.
The Blues Foundation announced the recipients of the 2006 Blues Music Awards (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards) last week in Memphis and Charlie Musselwhite won again (for 'Instrumentalist - Harmonica'). This is Charlies 19th Blues Music Award!
Listen to the segment of BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme where Mark Coles questions Charlie Musselwhite on why he has for the first time been prompted to write protest songs on his new CD 'Delta Hardware'