March 22 sees the launch of one of the most ambitious pieces of musical theatre ever made. The Lord of the Rings officially opens in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Reports from the previews that have been running for several weeks promise an extraordinary adaptation.
'We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of Musical Theatre, but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien's material. As a result, we will be presenting a hybrid of Text, Physical Theatre, Music and Spectacle never previously seen on this scale.' says director Matthew Warchus. As quoted in the New York Post 'The centrepiece is a 40-ton triple-interlocking turntable with 17 elevators that allows for multilevel action scenes. The battle of Helms Deep has the menacing Orcs leaping and tumbling through the mist-shrouded scene. The elevators rise into the tower of Mount Doom at the climax where the ring meets its fateful end'.
Music is a vital part of the production and is provided by Finnish folk stars Värttinä in collaboration with India's A R Rahman and musical director Christopher Nightingale.
For those not lucky enough to get to Toronto the production anticpates opening in London and New York.
It's good to see Värttinä's Miero acknowledged by the 'world music' community. The album is currently at number 5 in the European World Music Charts (compiled by radio DJs from all over Europe). This month's BBC Radio 3 World Roots chart (compiled by Fiona Talkington of 'Late Junction') has 'Miero' at number 1.
The undisputed master of sean-nós - the pure form of unaccompanied singing - Iarla O Lionaird rcently made a stunning apperance on television in Ireland. He appeared as part of the series Other Voices presented by John Kelly. The fourth series of RTÉ Two's 'Other Voices' once again brings together musicians from various backgrounds, traditions and disciplines to celebrate different sounds and styles of music and voices. 32 Irish and international acts will descend on this small but world-famous Kerry town to take part in the most celebrated rock music event of the year.
Folk legends, illustrious rockers and young pretenders will gather for the weeklong session, a diversity of musical expressions and energy, barely contained within the walls of a 200-year-old church.
If you missed the program you can watch Iarla's striking and moving appearance online.
We've just launched the 'beta' version of our remix site realworldremixed.com
The idea is to open up some of the music from Real World to a new audience, getting more people to throw their creativity into the mix. We've launched with two great sample packs from Los De Abajo and The Afro Celt Sound System for you to remix. The site lets you upload your finished mix, which hopefully you will see climbing our chart. Ther's already one remix on the site, so sign-up and let us know what you think.
Among the world's great singers, there are a rare few who become the voice of a nation, but for many Yungchen Lhamo is the voice of Tibet.
We've launched a new site about Yungchen and 'Ama', her third album for Real World Records where Yungchen again brings her voice to songs infused with the quiet spiritual power of Tibetan Buddhism, but with a decidedly 21st century global feel.
Yue has been delighting children and World Music fans alike on various BBC radio shows this week. If you missed his session on The Big Toe Music Show on BBC 7 or Charlie Gillett's World of Music (which dedicated the entire program to Yue's life and music) you can Listen Again on the BBC website at the links below.
On April 3 (Europe) and April 18 (USA) Yungchen Lhamo will release 'Ama', her third album for Real World Records, and again brings her unique voice to songs infused with the quiet spiritual power of Tibetan Buddhism, but with a decidedly 21st century global feel. Trumpet, strings, African kora, Middle Eastern percussion and the even, sweet tones of a National Steel guitar are delicately woven around Yungchens magical voice. With guest appearances by the British singer Joy Askew and the incomparable Annie Lennox, Ama becomes that rare destination where East really does happily meet West. No translators, or politicians, required.
Celebrating the launch of Ama Yungchen Lhamo will be performing on Friday May 5 at Lerner Hall at Columbia University, NYC. Expect a list of celebrity guests and supporters of Tibet House (the charity for Tibetan exiles). More news to follow of this special event and details of the beautiful 'Ama'.
Guo Yue appeared on BBC 5 Live's Simon Mayo show on Thursday 23 February with stories of his childhood in Beijing during Mao's Cultural Revolution. You can listen again to the interview and his live performance of a beautiful flute piece from his new CD 'Music Food and Love' at the link below.
"Charlie Musselwhite turns it back up to 11"
You can read a new interview with wonderful blues harmonica legend as he discusses his forthcoming album 'Delta Hardware' in an article by Paul Davis.
Simon Emmerson and Martin Russell from Afro Celt Sound System have provided music for a unique hit movie which explores the lingering effects of Lebonano's civil war. Far from being a gloomy film of politics and violence however, 'Bosta' (Autobus) is an uplifting musical!
Written, Produced & Directed by PHILIPPE ARACTINGI
As the film's press release explains:
"BOSTA" (the Autobus) is a film that is set in Lebanon with some of the most popular actors,dancers, choreographers in the Arab world.
It is the first post-war Lebanese musical with contemporary Middle Eastern, and more precisely Lebanese rhythms, such as the Dabke dance, which is at the foreground of the Lebanese national folklore.
It is also the first Lebanese film to be entirely funded by private Lebanese investors. This represents a breakthrough in terms of production because Lebanese films, like in most countries in transition, rely mainly on western cultural funds.
Through a financial establishment, participation shares were issued allowing the private and business sectors in Lebanon and the Arab world to invest in the movie.
The music of Bosta has also been a great challenge. It has made it possible to join efforts between local composers (Ali el Khatib) and the Afro Celt Sound System, a British group from Peter Gabriel's label "Real World". Such collaboration is the first in the local cinema production scene.
As you may know Lebanon is passing through crucial changes and the present news show the urge to adjust the image one has of Lebanon. There is a call for freedom and change.
This film is a timely film that deals with the contemporary Lebanese society in a creative way and gives a positive outlook to the future away from the stereotypical image of war and terrorism.