NYSMusic's Andie Chapman writes...... Four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo has often advocated for human rights as she has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2002. Her music is imbued with compassion, and throughout the years she has contributed songs for important causes, such as her contribution song "Leila" for the Enough Project which raised awareness for women's rights in Raise Hope for Congo.
In 2020, the singer and activist recorded the song "How Can I Tell You?" by composers Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty who wrote "Ragtime," "Once on This Island," "Anastasia," and many more notable works. This song was included in a documentary directed and produced by Jeff Kaufman titled Nasrin. Often referred to as the "Nelson Mandela of Iran," Nasrin Sotoudeh fought for human rights in Iran, eventually leading to her arrest in June 2018 for defending women who publicly protested Iran's mandatory hijab law. The government sentenced her to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Nasrin now has COVID-19 and a heart condition, but even from the confines of prison she has continued to challenge the authorities.
READ THE FULL NYSMusic ARTICLE & WATCH THE VIDEO
The Guardian's Dave Gelly writes....August Wilson's 1982 play, and the 2020 Netflix film, are about a lot more than music, but Gertude "Ma" Rainey ("Mother of the Blues") was a real person, and the action takes place around what was a real recording session. Music, and how it's treated, is the basic metaphor here, so music is an important accompaniment to the story. In this case – like the clothes, the cars and the surrounding scene – it must also persuade us that we are in Chicago in 1927. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis has certainly spared no effort in recreating authentic period sounds. Photograph: David Lee/AP
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WBGO'S The Checkout: SIMON RENTNER writes......We've always admired Shai Maestro's fearless approach to music. When he sits down at the piano, especially in an improvisational solo setting, he checks the temperature of a space and lets the music come to him, allowing one idea to flow into another. But he wasn't always that free.
On this episode of The Checkout, Maestro remembers a difficult moment on tour with bassist Avishai Cohen and drummer Mark Guiliana - a moment that would shape his career. In the middle of a performance, while playing his tune, the trio took an unexpected detour and he completely freaked out. That meltdown would change his thinking, and approach to music, forever. To hear Maestro tell it, what he became after this experience was more human - which is also the title of his new album, which ECM will release on Jan. 29.
READ THE FULL WBGO: Newark NJ ARTICLE & LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
Following the success of the Busoni The Visionary series, Jeni Slotchiver is humbled to introduce something so intimately close to home. With Southern roots of her own, Ms. Slotchiver's debut ZOHO CD release American Heritage is her homage to the legendary composers preserving American folk music and creating anew. What was once familiar, is reborn.
Spanning 125 years, from Louis Moreau Gottschalk's The Banjo (ca. 1854-5) to Frederic Rzewski's Down by the riverside (1979), American Heritage presents piano compositions by composers of concert music, inspired by the melodies, dance rhythms, harmonic inventions and various stylistic elements evocative of the American experience. Of the eight composers represented, six are of African descent and two of these are women. There are quotes from spirituals, use of the African American pentatonic scale, the African call and response structure popularized in southern church tradition, polyphonic rhythms of jazz, and the rich, sultry harmonies of blues. With the exception of the rich musical heritage of Indigenous people, the largest and most important American folkloric body of work arrived on American shores with the first enslaved African people.
Jazz Weekly's George W. Harris writes....Pianist Jeni Slotchiver gives solo interpretations of music from early to late 20th Century, taking you to a different world of patience and space. While classically trained, Slotchiver has a rich blues touch and a bona fide feel for gospel and folk material. Material ranges from a homespun read of "Swanee River" to the spiritual "Down By The Riverside" as well as the folk classic "Shenandoah" but with an arrangement by Keith Jarret. Parlor moods are presented in a collection of pieces from Harry Thacker Burleigh and the genteel pen of Louis Moreau Gottschalk, on "Union" and "The Banjo" while traditional pieces like "Deep River" and even 1967's "Troubled Water" feel like they've both been drawn from the same well. A journey to another world and world view.
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Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias come together to create duets discovered in the moment in a way that is rarely heard today with Some Kind of Tomorrow. The long time bandmates, separated by space and time find a way to play in real time with one another and the results are magical. Two master improvisers and composers bring listeners up-close and personal to the first spark of their imaginations at work, recording eleven duet improvisations over the spring, summer, and fall of 2020. The music is raw, authentic, intimate, alive, and unapologetic in its passion. Their sound is deep wood and polished brass recorded with a depth that is hard to describe. They played the music, recorded it, mastered it firsthand and are now making it available to listeners for the first time as a digital download on Bandcamp. Don't miss these fearless jazz explorers as they face the future.
Heard on Fresh Air, here's Kevin Whitehead's piece. LISTEN & READ THE TRANSCRIPT
Shunia is a duo that combines addictive melodies, ancient chants and polycultural rhythms into a sound that feels both new and timeless. Their music captures and conveys deep energies and spirit. The state of "shunia" means stillness, receptivity. Shunia's members, Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson both performed with the Washington National Opera for 20 years before finding continued success in their solo careers. Coming together as Shunia, they combined their influences, inspirations and experiences to create genre-defying music with the power to transform and to connect you to the energy within and around you. It can put you in touch with something as simple as your five senses or as mysterious as the infinite.
American Songwriter's NADIA NEOPHYTOU writes......To press play on Shunia's new album of chants is to allow a wave of calm and relaxation to wash over one's whole self. For Lisa Reagan and Suzanne Jackson, who've known each other for 30 years, sharing the gift that's been a major part of their lives with others is the reason they began recording together as the duo Shunia in the first place. "Music in and of itself is such a powerful medium," Reagan tells American Songwriter. "It is the language of our humanity and our souls. We know these mantras are tried and true, and we have personally been chanting them for years."
READ THE FULL American songwriter ARTICLE
WFMT: Chicago 's Candice Agree writes....From the age of 3, CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe toiled at a keyboard-not in typing, as unintended preparation for his 13 years at the Washington Post, but in studying classical piano in Delmar, a suburb of Albany, NY. Although he loved playing, his interest in current events and politics pulled him into a journalism career. No stranger to Chicago, in 2008, O'Keefe was in Grant Park the night that Barack Obama was elected president. O'Keefe, 37, is about to become a fixture in the White House press room, as he will cover the Biden administration for the TV network he joined in 2018. But he has never left his first passion far behind. He shared some musical memories with us before taking on his new assignment at CBS News as Senior White House & Political Correspondent. Photo courtesy CBS News)
READ Candice Agree's Q&A with Ed O'Keefe.
An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational SIGNUM saxophone quartet are now set to present their first Deutsche Grammophon album.
If you're still trying to choose the perfect soundtrack to accompany the festive period, 'Christmas Carols with Libera' could be the one / CLASSIC fM: Album Of the Week
Posted: December 9, 2019 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Throughout the week Classic FM's presenters bring you the best new recordings, including world exclusives and premiere broadcasts of latest releases. This week: John Suchet's Album of the Week is Christmas Carols with Libera.John plays a track from his featured Album of the Week at 10.15am every weekday.
If you're still trying to choose the perfect soundtrack to accompany the festive period – maybe this could be the one. The all-boy English vocal group Libera returns with another Christmas album, following a succession of highly popular festive CDs. This latest release is made up of 16 festive favourites to get you into the Christmas spirit, including ‘Once in Royal David's City', ‘Carol of the Bells' and The Snowman's ‘Walking in the Air'. Directed by British composer Robert Prizeman, Libera is made up of boys from the London area, all between the ages of seven to 16. The group regularly performs across the world, and has attracted a large following from the US, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.
The boys who make up the choral group Libera are normal South London kids aged 7 to 16 years. The music they produce is truly extraordinary. Their new album ‘Christmas Carols With Libera' is available on 15 November 2019 on CD plus digital formats through Invisible Hands Music.
Libera are one of the leading worldwide exponents of the British choral tradition and this special collection includes 16 popular carols and a bonus song from the ‘The Snowman'; the evergreen ‘Walking in the Air' is recreated Libera-style. From the traditional‘Once In Royal David's City' and the haunting ‘Carol Of The Bells' to the popular ‘In The Bleak Midwinter', this new CD is packed with favourites but also imbued with the unmistakable atmosphere of a Libera concert. There will be a launch show on 3 December 2019 at 1930 at St John Smith Square, London.
Taking on the mellow and the more upbeat songs in this collection, the boys of Libera had great fun. The likes of ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High' require real precision, as well as purity. Many of the tracks were recorded during a group ‘retreat' to a rehearsal space in an old school, this allowed a true live feel to the process. The boy who took the lead vocal on ‘The Snowman' had just turned 9 years old, whilst the introductions to the French ‘Noël Nouvelet' and the Irish ‘Wexford Carol' are both handled by native French and Gaelic speakers, Libera is as polyglot as ever.
Libera are a phenomenon with 65 million hits on You Tube, they have performed for Popes and Presidents and gained 3 Classical Brit nominations. With shimmering, mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies, they are unlike any other group you have ever heard. The distinctive sound of Libera has travelled the world and has endeared the group to fans all over the world, particularly in the USA, the UK, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan, where their CDs top the mainstream and classical charts and where they pack concert halls and Cathedrals appearing in their trademark flowing white robes on imaginatively lit stages.
The boys who make up the choral group Libera are normal South London kids aged 7 to 16 years. The music they produce is truly extraordinary. The group release their new album ?Beyond' on 12 October 2018 on CD plus digital formats through Invisible Hands Music. Libera make beautiful, progressive albums in the classical and the ambient/new age style, and ?Beyond', their eagerly-anticipated new album, is a transformative and spiritual musical experience. ?Beyond' comes hot on the heels of their globally successful 2017 ?Hope' album. On 17 October 2018, Libera will unveil ?Beyond' with a concert at London's Westminster Cathedral, which is followed by live dates in Japan and then concerts in the UK and Russia.
The British boy band Libera has recorded its fourth CD for EMI Classics, New Dawn. The program includes arrangements of well-known works such as Jerusalem and Bach's Air on the G string as well as less familiar melodies and new compositions. One of the CD's highlights is Love and Mercy by former Beach Boy Brian Wilson, which Libera performed at the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors in December 2007, America's national celebration of the arts.
2 New 'ON' this week: 39 Total
SYND: Music Of Your Life Direct: Sirius/Spa, XM/Audiovisions, Music Choice/Classical Crossover, Spafax Markets include: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City, Berkeley CA, Wichita
Unlike any other group you have ever heard, the twenty-four boys, aged seven to sixteen who make up the vocal band Libera, have now released Visions, their second album for EMI Classics. Libera's hard work has payed off, as they meet several hours each week in a South London church to rehearse and perform. Visions has , mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies and with Free topping both the mainstream and classical charts in many countries, Visions is a shimmering CD with a future
1 New "ON" this week: 47"Total Stations/Shows"
Syndicated includes: Hearts Of Space, Echoes Direct: XM, Worldspace Markets include: Los Angeles, Washington DC, Philadelphia(ADI), Baltimore(ADI), Cleveland, Long Island NY, Berkeley CA, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Orlando FL, Memphis, Columbus OH, Honolulu, The Netherlands
The inspirational quality of Angel Voices, the latest release by Libera, displays the uniquely talented, and best-selling 24 piece British vocal group. Following the success of Free and Visions, Angel Voices presents new & newly-arranged material. Libera is an eclectic group of 7-16 year old's, who assemble each week at a south London church to rehearse and perform.
5 New 'ON' this week: 101 'Total Stations/Shows'
SYND: NPR:Hearts of Space Direct: Music Choice, DMX Markets include: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, Houston, Baltimore, Portland, Cincinatti, Nashville, Honolulu, New Orleans, Salt Lake, Orlando, Columbus OH, Buffalo, Albuquerque, Chattanooga, Madison
Angel Voices – The Concert, CD & DVD showcases the pure and inspirational quality of a truly unique vocal ensemble. Filmed live at the Pieterskerk, St. Peter's Church in Leiden, Holland, earlier this year and broadcast nationally on Public Television stations throughout the U.S., The double release sets the stage for Libera's U.S. tour in Spring 2008. Profiled in Time Magazine For Kids and already wildly popular in their home country, Libera is poised to take North America by storm.
5 New 'ON' this week: 41 'Total Stations/Shows'
SYND: NPR: Hearts of Space, Music Choice: Soundscapes Direct: XM: Boundaries Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, St. Louis, Kansas, City, Indianapolis, Honolulu,
Libera, a group of all-male singers aged between seven and fourteen, are releasing Free, their first release under their new contract with EMI Classics. Their sound is a unique and original mixture of traditional choral, spiritual and new age music and over the last two years this distinctive sound has travelled the world.
1 New "ON" this week: 28 "Total Stations/Shows"
Markets include: Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Wash DC, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Tucson, Berkeley CA, Santa Fe, Germany, Romania