In spite of their mature years the wonderful Blind Boys seem to be as energetic as ever! Here is their latest message to the fans! "We almost hate to leave 2005 behind after winning our 4th straight Grammy award last year, but we are looking forward to a great 2006. We're off to a wonderful start with our most recent CD, Atom Bomb, being named to a host of 2005 year-end Top Ten lists and receiving a Gospel Music Association (GMA) Music Award nomination for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year. The GMA awards will be held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on April 5, so wish us luck! We have also been working on two musical collaboration and you can hear us on the forthcoming new albums by Susan Tedeschi and Randy Travis."
Meanwhile, the Blind Boys will be touring as always - taking Canada, the West and the Midwest by storm. A highlight of our tours will be two special shows on March 5 & 12 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will be conducted by Henry Panion, who has done the same for other top artists such as Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Another key date is a benefit concert on March 23 in downtown San Francisco at the beautiful and historic Grace Cathedral. This show is a fundraiser for the Boomer Coalition, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of CVD (cardiovascular disease) among baby-boomers. Special pre-sale tickets are available now on the website below.
Check out the full listing of Blind Boys live dates at the tour section of the Real World Records website.
As China is now on the list of 'most desired' holiday destinations, you need a guide as authentic as Guo Yue when you arrive in Beijing. To read about the genuine taste of this fast changing city - which are the best restaurants and where you can find the tastiest experiences - you need to catch up with The Guardian newspaper's Travel Supplement. If you missed the original article you can still catch it online!
While the musicians and singers from Värttinä are working hard in Toronto in readiness for the first preview show of the theatrical production of The Lord of the Rings, back home in Finland their new album 'Miero' made a great impact. In the first week of sales 'Miero' in number 5 in the Finnish album charts.
Guo Yue is celebrating the launch of his book "Music Food and Love", the release his new CD and Chinese New Year with an appearance on BBC Radio 4. If you missed him at 9.00 am on Midweek, follow the link below to "Listen Again" on the BBC website.
Värttinä enjoyed a very successful performance at Midem convention in Cannes on January 22 on the main stage, Ambassadeur Hall as part of Finnish Opening Night which also featured Kimmo Pohjonen / Samuli Kosminen Kluster and Apocalyptica. Värttinä performed four songs from the new album Miero (Real World) with the show's climax being the explosive song "Riena", Miero´s lead-off track. No men were spared from their fiery tongue-lashing! The 1000 strong crowd was cheering with excitement as the band left the stage. After the show and throughout the next three Midem days, ecstatic responses to the concert flooded the Finnish stand. Värttinä missed all the praise as they flew immediately back to Toronto to continue rehearsals for The Lord of the Rings stage adaptation.
Iarla O Lionaird brought a unique style of singing to London Convent Garden's Royal Opera House on January 25. Singing in the Linbury Theatre- Royal Opera House 2 - the 'alternative' face of the Opera House which aims to create new art and bring new audiences to the prestigious venue. As part of a series of concerts (which includes a performance by Real World's Daby Touré on January 28) 'Opera World/World Music is the beginning of new journeys for opera into the 21st century, journeys where no-one can yet imagine the destinations...'. Iarla's concert was reviewed in London's Evening Standard newspaper : " The Royal Opera House is a regular home for songs of love and loss in languages the audience doesn't understand, but this was the first concert in ROH2's Opera World World Music series exploring " the future in four corners of the world". The intimate space of the Linbury Theatre is a great setting for this music and broadens the palette of the venue.'
"This is a request for help. We've had ties with Pakistan from many years, particularly with Qawwali music and the extraordinary voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His family have generously agreed to allow us to make available two tracks - one a collaboration with Massive Attack , 'Mustt Mustt' and one with myself 'Taboo', as a download to raise money. So basically you are getting two extraordinary pieces of music for the price of one! We need a lot of downloads and we need you to do a bit of marketing for us. So, if you could persuade say 10 of your friends to do the same download we can get real money to real people really fast. Please help us to help them!" Peter Gabriel
Two Events to Celebrate the Life and Work of Martyn Bennett :
Afternoon Concert on Saturday 14 January at 1.00pm at the GRCH Auditorium:
This is the first of two concerts which take place today which aims to explore, celebrate and build upon Martyn's rich musical legacy.
Focusing on Martyn's work as a composer in the classical sphere, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera will perform his hauntingly powerful suite 'Mackay's Memoirs', along with an orchestral arrangement of 'Liberation' by Greg Lawson. Mr McFall's Chamber and Fraser Fifield will perform 'Piece for Small Pipes' and 'String Quartet', and a series of new arrangements of material from the forthcoming Martyn Bennett Tunebook.
Martyn Bennett day encompasses two concerts programmed from his body of work, to truly represent the full spectrum of his talents with new, specially commr pieces which have never previously been performed, all taking place in a spirit of boundary-busting collaboration which was very much Martyn's own.
Martyn inhabited various musical worlds without any apparent effort - classical music, dance music, traditional music. He made and played all of these types of music at once; some people joined in, others shuddered, but everyone got the point. Through his work, these different worlds began to talk to each other, and today's programme is all about the encounters which he set in motion.
"No one person could represent Martyn's music," says his close friend Martin Swan and co-ordinator of the day's events, "It would take a crowd of thousands. This is a collective attempt to recognise Martyn as the extraordinary composer, musician, producer and character that he was, by putting on the kind of gigs that he would have loved to have been at." Martyn Bennett Club Night on Saturday 14 January at The Old Fruitmarket at 9.30 pm
The aim of this club night is simple: to make it a truly euphoric night, that rocks the Fruitmarket as Martyn Bennett himself would have done. The headline act will be Cuillin Music, recreated by Martyn's friends and family, and featuring a whole swathe of guest performers. Cuillin Music will perform tracks from the original live sets as well as previously unperformed material from 'Grit'. The night will end with a Martynesque 21st Century Massed Pipes and Drums, a controlled chaos involving Beltane Drummers, Regimental Drummers and quite a lot of Pipers. With DJ sets, an extraordinary support act, serious lights and video and a worryingly big PA, this night should have the new-look Fruitmarket PA calling in the structural engineers!
Martyn Bennett Day encompasses two concerts programmed from his body of work, to truly represent the full spectrum of his talents with new, specially commissioned arrangements of recorded material, along with other pieces which have never previously been performed, all taking place in a spirit of boundary-busting collaboration which was very much Martyn's own.
Martyn inhabited various musical worlds without any apparent effort - classical music, dance music, traditional music. He made and played all of these at once; some people joined in, others shuddered, but everyone got the point. Through his work, these different worlds began to talk to each other, and today's programme is all about the encounters which he set in motion.
"No one person could represent Martyn's music," says his close friend Martin Swan and co-ordinator of the project, "It would take a crowd of thousands. This is a collective attempt to recognise Martyn as the extraordinary composer, musician, producer and character that he was, by putting on the kind of gigs that he would have loved to have been at."