It’s summer and I’m lazy, I wish I could say I’m enjoying the sunny weather, well at least for today that’s true. I’ve got a new story up on my other blog about London’s Rise Festival in Finsbury Park.
You can access it via
and read more about CSS, Jimmy Cliff, Bassekou Kouyate, The Massukos and Emmanuel Jal.
My very own blog was on the BBC for a short fraction of time! It’s on the CLICK programme, a show about technology and computers and this particular story was about the evolution of mobile phones and how we can browse the net on the new iphone by Apple.
This is the link:
More music updates on my other blog on myspace:
A live gig review of French singer Etyl, from her concert in Paris last week and a more recent review of the lovely Massukos who played at Hackney Empire. Also a short mention of a few other bands who played at the Hackney Empire gig, which contributed to one of the less fun music listenings experienced in a while, they were I am a Kamura, The Boycott Coca-Cola Experience and Mayming.
There is something about Paris. There is something about the French. Whatever it is, you won’t find it anywhere else, not that I’m that well travelled, but the French remain French! And I love that! They don’t try to hide behind adopted Americanised popular trends, malls and fashion! I love the fact that they seem to keep their identity and culture and music and stick to what they do best…. being French!
One tradition that has been going on for almost 30 years is the annual event to mark the start of summer in the Fete de la Musique. A musical celebration which lasts for a whole day from morning until night, or make it the next morning. This day, you are allowed to play music loud, actually you’re supposed to, sing and play on the streets, parks and squares of Paris and the whole of France.
There are free concerts all over the country, and only in Paris there must have been hundreds of bands performing live and for free. Big names, small names and international stars. I headed out to Chateau Vincennes, an old castle once the summer residence of a king. Something like the Tower of London, but more beautiful. In the basking sunshine, we got to see French pop, rock, chanson and world music. Some yawn provoking music, like Thomas Dutronc and Raphael… “Excuse moi monsieur” but could these two be more boring? One thing I noticed was the younger generation who seemed thrilled by these two musicians, but I was more interested in the rock crazyness of BB Brunes, even if I didn’t like their style too much either, they were more fun and upbeat, though there was some resemblance to Vampire Weekend and the British Arctic Monkeys.
Magga, a French singer of Cameroonian descent with cool dancing moves and an arabic chanson flavoured song style was one of the first promising acts I saw that day on stage. And surprisingly Australian Micky Green whom I’ve never heard of before is really big in France, but lesser known here in the UK. There is something about her music that appeals to the French audience. Her coquette Marilyn Monroe style, playing the pink electric guitar, a deep husky voice made even White t-shirts seem like the most fashionable item to wear. The biggest international act on the stage I went to, was Rokia Traoré! A really good performance, with a ngoni on her side, just to remember the Malian background, she is an artist everybody talks about in France right now. Although she sang in Bambara, one of the Malian languages and a little in French too, her music was more alive and moved more people than the French pop acts Thomas Dutronc and Raphael. Not the fairest of comparison’s as they make totally different music. Rokia has rhythm and a mix of African music with western influences as well.
Even though Rokia Traorés performance was the grooviest, coolest and most professional, the night of the Fete de la Musique was still very young and the best was yet to come! We ended up going back into the centre of Paris after our little excursion out of the city and got involved in some music ourselves, together with a band who have yet to find their official band name. Let’s call them the French Beatles tribute band, the Sergeant Pepper band or even better: Le Sergeant Poivre!
Dressed up in true Sgt Pepper gear, the founding members of the duo-trio, had a few followers who accompanied them all through the night, playing live music in the streets of London. Yes, this was my first ever live performance as a percussionist! I got to play the tambourine, the wooden little box with a wooden stick and shake the maracas with the band without rehearsing.
To my amazement, we had an audience as well, and no one abused us, or threw any food at us as a form of protest. Unfortunately, there were no great amplifiers so the level of music and song was very low that at times the singer had to ask people to be quiet, so the band could be heard in the hustle and bustle of down town Paris.
Hail Fete de la Musique, the biggest street music party I’ve ever seen and thank you Sergeant Poivre for inviting me to join you in your musical journey! Let’s hope the free music festivity reaches other European countries and becomes a national treasure and holiday outside France as well.
There is a separate review of Etyl’s concert on the 24th June 2008 on my myspace blog: http://www.myspace.com/elisavet_radio
|© Copyright Elisavet Sotiriadou, June 2008|
It’s with great sadness that I write the following few lines… one of Sweden’s most fantastic pianists and composer Esbjörn Svensson died over the weekend in a diving accident just outside Stockholm, only 44 years old.
His band e.s.t – Esbjörn Svensson Trio – are considered one of the most successful European jazz bands, and very popular in Germany, France and the UK. Personally, I heard their name more here in the UK than I ever did in Sweden and I remember after seeing their gig at the Barbican I got my Tuesday Wonderland album signed and exchanged a few words with him, a very humble and kind man, with a big smile.
Esbjörn Svensson started the trio e.s.t in 1990 together with bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström.
The band themselves claimed to be a pop band playing jazz music, but even the rock and electronic elements are present in their experimental, melodic songs. Maybe this is also why they appealed to music lovers beyond the jazz sphere. Cultures and countries meet in the beautiful music of the trio so it’s not a wonder then that their success has reached worldwide status. Their songs were found on both pop and jazz charts and as well as receiving awards for best jazz act and best composer in Sweden, the band also got international awards for their fusion like and innovative jazz.
Their best performances where live, bringing together visual effets and lighting and their music inviting you to write your own lyrics and paint your own images. EST had just finished recording their 12th album.