Tag Archive | "Music"

Flavour Magazine celebrates 5 years – The UK’s leading youth lifestyle magazine


Flavour

Flavour

Flavour Magazine celebrates 5 years in print and online at its exclusive Miss Flavour event in London’s prestigious Café de Paris, 9pm-3am on Wednesday 9thNovember. Hosted by BBC 1xtra Charlie Sloth and Sarah-Jane Crawford with celebrity judge’s actor/director Adam Deacon, music artist Mz Bratt, BB from E4’s Dirty Sexy Things and SBTV’s Jamal Edwards and special headline performance by platinum recording artist Chipmunk.

Flavour Magazine Co-founders Annika Allen and Leonard Foster will be joined on the night by their passionate and dedicated team of contributors and Flavour Magazines many featured cover stars, fashion, sports, music and entertainment talent to celebrate 5 years of innovative editorial, stunning imagery and exclusive eye-catching design and content.

The first bi-monthly edition of Flavour Magazine went live in November 2007 and made history by being the UK’s first youth magazine to go online with a page turning digital issue. Leading the way in digital journalism, unrivalled editorial features and cover star exclusives (Jessie J, Corinne Bailey Rae, Janet Jackson, Cher Lloyd, Idris Elba, Robert Sheehan, P.Diddy, Pixie Lott, Noel Clarke, Ed Sheeran, Example, The Saturdays, N-Dubz, JLS, Alexandra Burke to name but a few) Flavour Magazine quickly established itself a vessel to inform and inspire the community about positive contributions made by young, urban, up and coming and established talent.

Nominee for Best Young Entrepreneur at the BBI Awards and Pitch Perfect finalist 2011 Annika Allen, Editor and Co-owner of Flavour Magazine, say’s “We created Flavour out of a deep conviction that many newsstand magazines were not meeting the needs of the youth, so this free print and digital concept was born. We wanted to inspire our readers and celebrate the talents of 16-30 year-olds in the world of music, fashion, entertainment and entrepreneurialism. The fact we’ve grown bigger and better with every passing year has made Flavour one of today’s most respected brands. Every day our readers let us know how valued and needed our publication and events are and we’re excited to be celebrating our 5th birthday with them at Miss Flavour 2011.”

A landmark occasion for Flavour Magazine came in 2010 when founders Annika Allen and Leonard Foster accepted an invitation to No. 10 Downing Street in association with Spirit of London Awards, where David Cameron said Flavour Magazine “looks far too cool for me.”

Over the years Flavour Magazine has established a phenomenally diverse and far reaching following attracting thousands of visitors to it’s multifaceted blogFlavourmag.co.uk and digital online magazine, 150,000 national print readership and hundreds attending the annual Miss Flavour beauty pageant and monthly showcase event Flavour Live. Flavour remains on the cutting edge of youth culture, entertainment and lifestyle and continues to grow a loyal following because of their inclusive platform and support for emerging young talent.

Miss Flavour 2011 headline act Chipmunk shows his longstanding support for Flavour Magazine, saying “Flavour have always supported my career and music from the very beginning. It’s not just a magazine it’s a network helping young people with talent and ambition. It’s support like that which helped me get to where I am today.”

Special Flavour Magazine 5 year edition (issue 29) out 16 December 2011 print and online www.flavourmag.co.uk. The HOT Issue with a double cover featuring Cher Lloyd and the cast of SKET is out now.

   

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Growing with Pan


Growing with Pan

Growing with Pan

The Steel pan is a beautiful creation originated in Trinidad & Tobago in the late 19.30′s and is the only orchestral family of acoustic musical instruments to be invented in the 20th century. With instruments ranging from low bass to high sopranos, all made out of the same raw material (oil drums) makes this invention a magnificent achievement for people of Trinidad & Tobago.

Jamani Stewart was introduced to the Steel pans at a very young age, due to the fact that I,  “Jamma” played the Steel pans, and had first hand experience of the benefits of playing music from a young age, felt it essential to pass on the skills to his Children.

By time Jamani was 11 months old he was making his own beat box rhythms with his mouth, what was so amazing was the fact his rhythmic timing of his beats were so interesting, creative and steady to the beat.  All this happened before he could talk.

As time went on Jamani “the same as most babies” loved tapping beats on the tables and walls and was showing a great interest to music. His Mum and I would encourage Jamani and his sister Rochella using spoons as sticks have little jam sessions on pots and pans, basins, they loved hearing the different tones that could be produced using simple household materials as instruments.

At two years old Jamani was brought a little plastic drum set to channel his drumming skills, and save our walls, and furniture from being marked up. As he developed his skills he was encouraged to play in church. At three years old he did his first public performance at the Jamma Caribbean musical extravaganza, held at the Midlands Art Centre Cannon Hill Park Birmingham. It was amazing to see that in front of approximately two and half thousand people, he did not show a hint of nervousness.

Throughout this time Jamani was always hearing me practice and performing shows on the Steel pans. Both Jamani and Rochella were allowed to play the pans once they learned the instrument had to be played softly and gracefully.

Rochella Stewart learning how to play softly.

Rochella learns the art

Rochella learns the art

Once they had learnt how to play softly, they could do little exercises to develop pitch and melodies , as time went on we found Jamani would gravitate to the pan’s more, and started teaching himself simple melodies like, Happy birthday, when the saints, go marching in, The Pink Panther and many more tunes.

After seeing all these signs of musical ability at 6 years old I could see it was time to start developing his repertoire, starting with songs like “what a friend we have in Jesus”, and brushing up on songs like “When the saints”, as well as others, it was soon time for him to start gigging.

His Mum Angela, made him his first costume, and he was more than ready to hit the stage.

 

 

 

Young and Ready for the Stage

Young and Ready for the Stage

Jamani Young Performer.jpg

Jamani Young Performer

Jamani at 7 years old was proving to be very comfortable on stage . 

To view a live performance of 7 year old Jamani performing at the Merryhill Shopping Centre please click on link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGscGPoK-7w

As time went on He would do regular solo performance at church and various functions, developing a widerverityof music at a young age proved to be more rewarding. He would also do regular performance with dad this help to develop things like improvising and ear training.
scan0026.jpg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COGkVVjPe58&feature=related
We soon found out he had the gift of perfect pitch and could mimic phrase’s instantly. To view live video of Jamani & Dad performing together please click on link above.

Hello Ladies and Gentle men.jpg

YOUNG JAMANI.jpg

Check out 9 year old Jamani playing now is the time “Jazz piece by Charlie Parker” 

to view click linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwOTP7keFYk&feature=related

When I founded the Birmingham school of pan, to teach local children the art of playing the steel pans, Jamani and Rochella would love to perform along side there friends in various carnivals.Playing in the blazing sun the hours were long and tiring but the sound of the steel pan kept them going.
Jamani _ Rochella with Patrick.jpg

S8304875.JPG

Playing in the band gives members a chance to meet celebrities, pictured here is Rochella and Jamani after a performance at the Birmingham Symphony hall with TV star Rudolph Walker,
(Patrick ) from EastEnders.
Picture above was taken in Trinidad TV studios, after performance by 3 Steel pan solo artist. Jamani Stewart, “UK’S young Steel pan Soloist” with one of “Trinidad & Tobago’s top Steel pan soloist”Dane Gulston & myself Mighty Jamma, “UK’S No1 Steel pan Soloist Champion”, with Alison Hennessey Trinidad and Tobago TV presenter

Sometimes Jamani would be a bit shy to the real discipline it takes to learn a piece to performance standard so sometimes at rehearsals if I was looking the other way he would make a run for it, upstairs or out the back door, and would love when I had to chase and catch him and bring him back to the pan. But we took our time just learning a little more each day, we could defiantly see the repertoire growing to the extent were he was performing more solo gigs at schools and various functions.  He was also developing the skill of addressing his audience in a more professional way.

By time Jamani was 9 years old he had developed an extraordinary gift to play jazz music and improvise he also new exactly when the song was going to finish.

Jamani being a solo performer means you have to rely on yourself to run the show, were as in a band you have other musicians to help you out, which is all good as in developing team work skills, so getting the corrected balance between solo performances and band work, are essential skills for a young growing musician.

Jamani has performed at many venues, like the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Birmingham Symphony Hall, the National indoor arena, to mention a a few, he has traveled to Africa, Trinidad, Guernsey, and many more places.. Also he has done many Radio and TV performances, recorded TV Advert for the Saint Kits and Nevis Jazz festival, performed on live TV in Trinidad & Tobago the home of the Steel pans

To View 12 year old Jamani Performing On Children’s BBC click on link below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6fpB-SESBM&feature=autoplay&...

The Steel pan as a solo instrument is capable of playing many different forms of music The lay out of notes on the Tenor pan (Soprano) Jamani is performing on is set to a circle of 4th & 5th. the one pan carries 29 different notes and was discovered by Trinidad Genius Tony Williams. Many Steel pan soloists thrive to perform and improvise over well known jazz standards.

To view video of 14 year old Jamani improvising & rehearsing a piece called “Meditation” please click on link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKEw3AVNl8w&feature=related

Due to the fact the steel pan is a melodic percussive instrument it is very important to understand Melodies, Chords, & Harmonies as well as different kinds of beats & rhythms .Playing drums can be very helpful to develop the rhythmic understanding. Drumming also helps develop better wrist action for control of speed,dynamics & rolling notes.

Jamani started playing drums from 3 years old, and has always kept that passion with him. the next video clip was recorded at perry beaches school concert were Jamani played drums with his friends & Asian dhol drummers

to view15 year old Jamani,s performance on drums please click on link below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-mO9zVxq2o

S8304187.JPG scan.jpg

Jamani Stewart
as a young steelpan soloist has adapted the use of the instrument to perform songs that people in his age group would recognises, creating a refreshing mix of contemporary R & B, hip-hop, dancehall and reggae, performing songs by artistes like R. Kelly, Sean Paul, Akon,T.O.K,
As well as performing traditional calypso, jazz Ballard is helping to bring the steel pan to new audiences. As a young steelpan ambassador he has found the instrument is very popular with staff and pupil at his secondary school perry beaches.

Mighty Jamma & Son Jamani News Picture.j

Jamani with Proud Dad “Mighty Jamma”

S8304231.JPG

Jamani started recording his first album at 12 years old and completed it by 13th birthday. he was quite impressed to see how his brand of steelpan music was received by people world wide, he also enjoyed TV coverage 

To View Jamani in Action on Central News please click on link below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF4QesMbT_4

Coming from a musical family has help contribute in many different areas,. Jamani’s two uncles as well as Dad are very involved in the music also, UncleBarry (MACKADUB) Stewart help with all the technical Recording and production side of the album, Uncle Norman ( Pan Maestro ) Stewart Tune’s the Steel pans, and his Dad Jamma Stewart is UK’S No1 Steel pan Soloist Champion, so a lot of input from different directions has contributed to the production, not forgetting his sister Rochella Stewart who also plays the pans, and did all the art work for the CD. & Mom who makes his costumes for public performances. 

 

Team work is always a good thing, when Jamani performs with his dad he gets a chance to explore new musical ideas with improvisation and melodies and understanding the language of music in deeper depths.Check out this on rehearsed performance of improvisation on the stop with Jamani & his Dad.

To view video click on link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPb7Dpi8X4c

Jamani also loves rapping and is a well known in artist in grime and goes under the name of J Marnz and is a group called Tinyan.Check out J marnz in 5 star media video shoot . click link below to view

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKs9SPVDhPU&feature=related

Jamani has actively been a pioneer for the new electronic steelpan midi controllers, these instruments have notes laid out the same as an original steelpan but can be hooked up to a computer and used to play different sounds, like piano, trumpets, drums, etc.

At 12 Years old Jamani was commissioned by Alternate mode the makers of the PANKAT to do a video.

To View Jamani on PANKAT click on Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1r_MGuUjq8

Recently Jamani had the pleasure of meeting the inventor of the newepan (electronicpan )Salmon Cupid, who also asked Jamani to make a video demonstration of the epan. These instruments are not replacements for the traditional Steelpans, but can be very useful for studio work when building tracks.

To View Jamani Demonstrate the epan click on links below

Demo1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OSOrymuA6A&feature=related

Demo 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vywryggbdec&feature=related

It was a pleasure to see Jamani getting awarded at school for outstanding musical achievements

To hear sample’s of Jamani please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU2MCElFXrU

For information general inquires, on workshops/ performances please http://www.jammasteelpan.net/

   

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Cleo Laine – Jazz Singer


Cleo Laine

Cleo Laine

Cleo Lain was one of Britains Biggest names in Jazz. She was part of the hugely successful British band led by the acclaimed John Dankworth.

 

Cleo Laine had modest beginnings as a singer in English dance halls, She has gone on to achieve international fame by continually expanding her talents in a career which spans some four decades. She is one of the most celebrated singers of our time.

Cleo commands a dazzling array of vocal styles and is the only singer ever to receive Grammy nominations in the Female Jazz, Popular, and Classical categories.

Her musical career began in the early 50′s in her native England, where she was born in London. Cleo showed her early singing talent was nurtured by her Jamaican father and English mother who sent her to singing and dancing lessons. However, it wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she seriously applied herself to singing and auditioned for the hugely successful British band led by the acclaimed John Dankworth.

Cleo toured extensively with the band and in 1958, she married Dankworth, which strengthened their bond as personal and professional collaborators. Together they have toured the world with sold-out engagements before enthusiastic audiences.

In addition to concert appearances, Cleo has carved a niche as an illustrious actress. Laine’s professional career in the legitimate theatre began in London when she starred in Flesh to a Tiger, directed by Tony Richardson at the Royal Court Theatre. Her theatrical credits include A Midsummer Night ‘s Dream, Valmouth, Women of Troy and the title role in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.

Frequently, she has used her musical and acting talents to full advantage in a diverse collection of projects including Showboat and Colette in London’s West End, The Seven Deadly Sins as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

In the U.S. she appeared in A Little Night Music and The Merry Widow. She originated the role of Princess Puffer in the Broadway hit musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, for which she received a Tony nomination and earned a Theatre World Award as well as a Drama Desk nomination for best actress in a musical.

She also starred in the Houston Ballet’s production of Lady in Waiting, an original opera/ballet composed by John Dankworth, Benny Green and J. Renault-Williams; She played the voice of God in the BBC Proms’ production of Benjamin Britten’s Noyes Fludde — quite a different role than that of The Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods in which Cleo starred in Los Angeles receiving a nomination by the L.A. drama critics for best lead performance.

In 1983 Cleo became the first British artist to win a coveted Grammy award – Best Female Jazz Vocalist, for the third of her live Carnegie Hall albums, all recorded at the famous New York auditorium.

Ella Fitzgerald, whom Cleo had befriended many years before on a US tour with husband John Dankworth’s big band, celebrated the occasion by sending Cleo two dozen roses together with a card reading “Congratulations, gal – and about time too!”.

In addition to receiving an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music and being named, along with her husband John Dankworth, the Variety Club’s Show Business Personality of the Year, Cleo Laine was honoured by Queen Elizabeth with an O.B.E.

The beginning of the 90′s brought Cleo new acclaim with a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), and a Lifetime Achievement Accolade from the British Jazz Awards in 1996.

 

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Mighty Jamma UK’S NO1 Recording Steelpan Artist


The mighty Jamma

The mighty Jamma

Jamma

Mighty Jamma UK’S NO1 Recording Steelpan Artist

Jamma started playing music at a very early age, jamming on pots and pans etc. When I was 9 years oldI moved on to playing the bass guitar and at the age of 11I moved on to playing the steelpan and since thenI have never looked back.The pan is such a wonderful sounding instrument, which gave me a burning desire to play it to levels of excellence.

This certainly payed off with the winnings of three (1987 1998, 1999)National Steel Band Soloist

Championship of Great Britain.

After this I took up more of a commercial look at the music.I was producing and performing at many corporate events such as weddings, parties, oncruise ships etc, but stilllooking for a bigger musical outlet for my talents.

The 1990′s saw the birth of theJamma Caribbean Jazz Band. Using the steelpan as a lead instrument, mixed with the sounds of double bass, piano and saxaphones giving a new flavour to UK’s Jazz festivals.I would regularly perform at clubs like Ronnie Scotts, The Jazz Cafe, The Cork jazz festival, performing with some of the greats such asCourtney Pine, Richard Bailey, Wayne Batchelor,to name a few, that brought my performances to another level.

Jamma

Jamma

To View Jamma Caribbean jazz bandin Concert click on link below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg056gHc_xk&feature=&p=49FD60AE119610CD&index=0&playnext=1

Pan In Flight, Jamma and Friends Albums are great demonstrations of some of my compositions played by great international musicians. Performing in many different countries like Trinidad,Japan, many places in Europe and the UK really helped to bring the great wonderful sounds of the pan to a wider audience.

Mighty Jamma in Japan Video to view click link below

http://www.youtube.com/watchv=QIt0FeexMNE&playnext=1&list=PLBEC6A201CC48F729&index=6

Bumcy Party Carnival Action DVD

Bumcy Party

Bumcy Party

Other songs like Bumcy Party, Dancing, have proved to be real party hits. Bumcy party DVD is currently shown on Sky TV, Actv channel.

Mighty Jamma Bumcy Party Music Video to view click on linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcIqjpdVAQ0

Other albums like Cool Evenings part 1 & 2, Relaxing Nights 1 & 2 also Have proved to be very calm and relaxing. These albums have defiantly proved to be very popular in promoting the Steelpans out of the Carnival arena

To hear a few samples of some of Mighty Jamma’s Recordings click on links below

Romantic Steelpan Music Cool Evenings II http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6R5LwSr51E

Mighty JammaTraditional mellow Caribbean CD’S http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMxZry26r3c

Mighty Jamma Relaxing Steelpan Music CD’S http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23EIVZy4GEo

The Birmingham School of pan (BSP) came about due to the demand by youngsters inthe community wanting to play the instrument. Jamani, my son, who was 7 at the time, had been learning to play and has been performing on the pan for some time. Jamani is an excellent player, he is loved by everyone who sees him perform, watch this space for more on Jamani the young Pan wizard.When he would be out playing or practicing in the garden at home all his friends would come round and want to play.

Birmingham School of Pan Live link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8iB6D7lQ38&feature=related

Steel band

Steel band

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmsnsGXoxXo&feature=related
Next step was to hire a studio, get instruments and start teaching. This proved to be very successful with the youngsters performing on TV, Radio Stations including the BBC Web site, News papers, theBSP has also performed for Sir Viv Richards,Brian Lara, performed at the Notting Hill Carnival,The Birmingham Carnival, The NEC, Symphony Hall and many more venues.

I am at the moment working on some great new albums. BSP are actively performing and taking on new members turning them in to performers.

Good news on just completing my latest Album Reggae pan Classics II this album is very up beat, and marries the culturesof Trinidad and Jamaica to produce a real fresh summer sound. for more info please visit

Reggae Pan Classic Volume II for sample click on linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsFH8FtVBPg

If you like any of the music you have heard on this site and would like to place an order please click on the following link http://www.jammasteelpan.net/products.htm

image

Mighty Jamma Carnival Interview to view click link Below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmsnsGXoxXo&feature=related

For all other general inquires, bookings/workshops please visit http://www.jammasteelpan.net/index.htm

Or you may wish to call Jamma on+ 44 (0) 077 9944 2277 or +44 (0)121 358 4525

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Courtney Pine


Courtney Pine

Courtney Pine

Courtney Pine is one of the Worlds leading Jazz Musicians.

No one better embodies the dramatic transformation in the British Jazz scene over the past few years than Courtney Pine. The saxophonist heads a new generation of exciting and innovative musicians who have chosen to turn their talents to the demanding requirements of jazz music, in all its shapes and forms.

Pine’s emergence, and his wake, a number of other young black musicians is especially heartening.

With one or two exceptions, most notably the late Joe Harriott and trumpeter Dizzy Reece, British Jazz had been largely the province of white players, while black musicians tended to turn to the reggae, funk and soul fields. Pine reversed that trend, moving away from the instrumental limitations of reggae

He embarked on; a rigorous regime of practice which gave Pine the essential technical facility to continue in pursuit of his chosen music.

“As that time I didn’t know what improvising entailed” he recalls. “I knew nothing at all about chord substitutions, I just knew how to play the instrument and the C sharp major scale, and that was it.

It took Pine no time at all to make his mark on the London scene, and Island Records was quick to recognise the potential. Much of the astonishing media focus which Pine enjoyed as the prelude to the release of his debut album, Journey to the Urge Within, was motivated by the novelty appeal of a personable, sharply-dressed young black jazzman, rather than a real commitment to the music itself, none of that really superficial treatment rubbed off on Courtney Pine himself. It served, however, to advance his career and also create new opportunities for a generation of young black players.

Pine was involved in the creation of the Abibi Jazz Arts organisation in London, a focus for the advancement of, in Courtney’s worlds, “Afro-Classical music”. Pine, through Abibi, was a prime mover in the creation of the Jazz Warriors, an all-black big band. The warriors made their recording debut with Out of many, one people on Antilles in 1987. They became a constantly evolving training ground, in the spirit its founders intended. Pine’s Journey to the Urge Within was the first serious jazz album eve to make the British Top 40, notching up sales to qualify for a silver disc. Destiny’s song released in January 1988 was produced by Delfeayo Marsalis. This album found Pine in his high energy mode, drawing directly on his studies of American music but still flavoured with the essence of the Caribbean roots he absorbed in his London upbringing. Destiny’s song emulated its predecessor by making the British top 40; it also cracked the American jazz charts, establishing the start of Pine’s international reputation.

The saxophonist has never been content to rest on his achievements, but has continually explored different tangents of the spreading jazz tree. The investigation of the Afro-Classical tradition continued on his subsequent album release, The vision’s tale issued in November 1989, in which the saxophonist interpreted the work of early giants like Ellington, Mercer and Carmichael as well as directing a nod toward Sonny Rollins.

In 1993 Pine recorded To the Eyes of Creation, an album with a mixture of sounds, incorporating jazz, African, Indian and West Indian influence, which chart his continuing development of his musical and personal life.

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Dame Cleo Laine – Jazz Singer


Dame Cleo Laine

Dame Cleo Laine

Cleo Laine was one of Britains Biggest names in Jazz. She was part of the hugely successful British band led by the acclaimed John
Dankworth. Cleo Laine had modest beginnings as a singer in English dance halls, She has gone on to achieve international fame by continually expanding her talents in a career which spans some four decades. She is one of the most celebrated singers of our time.

Cleo commands a dazzling array of vocal styles and is the only singer ever to receive Grammy nominations in the Female Jazz, Popular, and Classical categories.

Her musical career began in the early 50′s in her native England, where she was born in London. Cleo showed her early singing talent was nurtured by her Jamaican father and English mother who sent her to singing and dancing lessons. However, it wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she seriously applied herself to singing and auditioned for the hugely successful British band led by the acclaimed John Dankworth.

Cleo toured extensively with the band and in 1958, she married Dankworth, which strengthened their bond as personal and professional collaborators. Together they have toured the world with sold-out engagements before enthusiastic audiences.

In addition to concert appearances, Cleo has carved a niche as an illustrious actress. Laine’s professional career in the legitimate theatre began in London when she starred in “Flesh to a Tiger”, directed by Tony Richardson at the Royal Court Theatre. Her theatrical credits include A Midsummer Night ‘s Dream, Valmouth, Women of Troy and the title role in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.

Frequently, she has used her musical and acting talents to full advantage in a diverse collection of projects including Showboat and
Colette in London’s West End, The Seven Deadly Sins as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

In the U.S. she appeared in A Little Night Music and The Merry Widow. She originated the role of Princess Puffer in the Broadway hit musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, for which she received a Tony nomination and earned a Theatre World Award as well as a Drama Desk nomination for best actress in a musical.

She also starred in the Houston Ballet’s production of Lady in Waiting, an original opera/ballet composed by John Dankworth, Benny Green and J. Renault-Williams; She played the voice of God in the BBC Proms’ production of Benjamin Britten’s “Noyes Fludde”, quite a different role than that of “The Witch” in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods in which Cleo starred in Los Angeles receiving a nomination by the L.A. drama critics for best lead performance.

In 1983 Cleo became the first British artist to win a coveted Grammy award – Best Female Jazz Vocalist, for the third of her “live” Carnegie Hall albums, all recorded at the famous New York auditorium.

Ella Fitzgerald, whom Cleo had befriended many years before on a US tour with husband John Dankworth’s big band, celebrated their wedding by sending Cleo two dozen roses together with a card reading “Congratulations, gal – and about time too!”.

In addition to receiving an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music and being named, along with her husband John Dankworth, the Variety Club’s “Show Business Personality of the Year,” Cleo Laine was honoured by Queen Elizabeth with an O.B.E.

The beginning of this decade has already brought Cleo new acclaim with a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), and a Lifetime Achievement Accolade from the British Jazz Awards in 1996.

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Joseph Emidy – Musician


Joseph Emidy Performs in Truro, CornwallJoseph Emidy (also spelt Emedy or Emedee) had been second violin in the orchestra of the Lisbon opera house before being pressed into the Royal Navy in 1795.
Born in West Africa in c.1775 JOSEPH ANTONIO EMIDY was enslaved as a child by Portuguese traders, taken to Brazil and subsequently Portugal where he became a virtuoso violinist in the Lisbon Opera. Kidnapped by British sailors during the Napoleonic wars, he spent the next four years as a ship fiddler
Oncedischarged in 1799, he resumed his career as a professional musicianboth in Falmouth and Truro, to where he later moved with his family.Emidy also privately taught a variety of instruments, including theviolin.
Over the years, he became a highly regarded and popular performer bothat local balls and parties and among the local harmonic societies(or amateur orchestras) and concert groups. For some time, he wasleader of the Harmonic Society of Falmouth. This untitled anonymousdrawing almost certainly shows Emidy performing with a harmonicsociety in Truro, in 1808.
Emidy wrote a number of musical compositions, many of which wereperformed at local concerts and benefits with great success. Fears,however, that his colour would render him unacceptable to Londonmusical circles meant that none of his compositions gained a wideraudience and, unfortunately, no copies of his work appear to havesurvived. After his death, one of his former pupils, the anti-slaverypolitician James Silk Buckingham, described Emidys work as an ‘achievement of extraordinary perfection.

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BLACK ROUTES LAUNCHES MOVE ON UP A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR ARTISTS


Black Routes

Black Routes

Eleven artists have now been selected for the first round of this annual programme from a long-list of 40 nominated by members of the Black Routes network, alongside producers, promoters, DJs and other industry professionals. This July, the group will undertake an intensive week of training in the beautiful and inspirational surroundings of Dartington Arts in Totnes, Devon. Each of the confirmed artists will be interviewed in advance about their careers and the skills they need to develop to achieve their aspirations, and this will evolve into a plan for a week of practical workshops and seminars, tailored specifically to the group.

Claire Whitaker, Director of Serious who was one of the Selection Panel members said:
Move On Up is a fantastic opportunity and we were all delighted by the calibre of artists selected for this first programme.

Later this year, these artists and others will have the opportunity to participate in further training, specifically on working in music theatre as a musical director or composer/arranger. This component of Move On Up will be run in collaboration with Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Move On Up is produced by Serious, delivered in collaboration with Dartington and Theatre Royal Stratford East and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

To find out more download the full Black routes programme of events here.

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African American-Swing Dancing from the Movie Hellzapoppin’ (1941)


helzapoppin

helzapoppin

Found this excellent video on Youtube today, some footage of African American Jazz music in the 40′s.

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Mobos to Honour Jackson


Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

British acts dominated the honours at the annual Mobo awards ceremony for music of black origin, which this year paid tribute to the late King of Pop Michael Jackson.

London Hip hop trio N-Dubz scooped the awards for Best Album and Best Act, while JLS, finalists in Britain’s X Factor talent television talent show, won gongs for Best Newcomer and Best Song for their number one hit “Beat Again.”

US superstar Beyonce won the Best International award as well as Best Video for her hit “Single Ladies,” although she was not able to receive it personally at the ceremony in Glasgow.

Jackson, who died in June, was honoured with tributes including from his sister La Toya and brother Jermaine.

“He was a wonderful artist and a wonderful human being ..My brother was everything to me,” said Jermaine Jackson, who performed “Smile”, Jackson’s favourite song.

Latoya said she was “not at all” coming to terms with her brother’s death, which is being treated as homicide after he consumed a lethal cocktail of powerful prescription drugs.

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Music, New Markets, African and Caribbean Biodiversity


I’m browsing the shelves of my office bookshelf. This is, in fact, the philosophy section at the local library, but i’m sure that many of the web community out there will be familiar with this analogy.

I’m also very excited at the impending Summer launch of the BBake entertainment service.
BBake at www.bbake.com will allow you to get the entertainment that you want, your way.

I have spent quite a bit of time discussing the  possibilities that this could yield, and I have found that many music industry officials get excited at the prospect of discovering a new pop band in Manchester, or the possibility of satisfying an underserved Chinese population in some part of London, however, when I suggest that this mechanism could also illuminate the UK appetite for more than 1 R ‘n’ B act per year, this is often seen as unrealistic.

I believe that mechanisms for supporting all talent are very important for society and for the economy and this includes African talent of all lineages.

Right now, as part of the Spring, pre-launch ramp-up, BBake is offering ‘Forest 1-Generation’ and ‘Forest Now’, two music-driven, sustainability services.

Forest 1-Generation allows you to buy music downloads from our music partner and for every purchase of music credit (from as little as $3) we will donate to African Biodiversity by supporting one of the world’s last lion reserves in Kenya.

Forest Now allows you to download free music from our music partner and we will donate to Caribbean Biodiversity by supporting Guyanese rainforest.

This is just the start of how BBake intends to nurture fun, talent and the environment.

I’ll be glad to keep the Black Presence community up-to-date with developments and I hope that Black Presence will contribute to BBake development.

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Letter to a young black man


Walter Backstrom | Letter to a young black man
By WALTER BACKSTROM

Bellevue Reporter Columnist
Mar 20 2009, 1:26 PM

Walter Backstrom

Walter Backstrom

It seems sometimes I grew up in a different country than you.

I grew up in a time and place where black people couldn’t vote. It seems times have changed. Sometimes it seems nothing has changed.

When I tell you stories of racism, you look at me in disbelief, trying to understand how could it be.

I remember in elementary school, being black was OK and there was no cost. In junior high school, I began to feel there was a cost, but I didn’t know the price.

My hair was what they called “nappy.” So I bought a product for my hair that was supposed to straighten it — so that I would look more like white people. I used to put a lotion on my face to make it lighter — so that I would look more like white people.

The cost of being black began to appear, and I realized something might be wrong. But in my mind, the jury was still out.

You ask me, how could that be? You tell me you have friends of all colors. You say this whole race thing is crazy.

I am your age now, a teenager, full of ego, not knowing much, seldom right but never in doubt. In high school, the price became painfully clear, and it was enormous. The school I attended was majority white. I guess you can call that experience a slap in the face. I was not prepared for what was to be.

I am walking in a department store, and I am being followed, just like you are. Do you remember having teachers who silently believed you weren’t smart enough? So did I. The difference? My teacher told me I wasn’t good enough. I played sports and was good at it, just like you.

Do you remember being pulled over by the police, telling you that the car you were riding in fit the description of a car involved in a robbery? So do I.

I was a good kid. I listened to my parents sometimes. I was popular with the girls, and I went to church on Sunday, just like you.

I began to wonder, so I asked my parents, what was the deal with all this race stuff? They told me about growing up in the South, and the separate bathrooms: One for whites and one for coloreds. I remember listening, with my eyes wide open and my heart beginning to close. As they told me these stories, my heart pounded. My hands clenched into fists that shook with righteous indignation.

I was mad that I couldn’t protect my parents, who were decent God-fearing people. My face turned away, and I gazed out the window, thinking with righteous indignation, which helped cover up the shock and sadness.

The cost of being black was altered forever. The world was no longer filled with wonder. It brimmed with shame because of my blackness, and there was nothing I could do.

I wanted to do something, but what? I had to present to the world a different face, a different persona that you couldn’t hurt or touch. Underneath that new look was a scared and frightened little boy, wanting the world to be different and be fair to me, my parents and all other black people.

At that moment, the changed occurred, and the cost seemed unbearable.

Where I grew up, the majority of people were black, and they knew the rules. Where I went to school, the majority of people were white — and I knew the rules. Rule number one: Always smile, just like today.

Young man, I am sorry that your father is not around. I can only imagine the pain. I was fortunate to have a dad who taught me how to be a man. I wonder, who did you learn from? Your mother? The streets? The gang? The counselor at the Boys and Girls Club?

In this society, they see you walking around with your pants sagging, with no father to tell you to pull them up. Where is your father, who is supposed to call your teacher about your grades? Where is your father, who tells you to quit listening to that rap music and saying the n-word?

You know, it’s a lonely world out here without dad to protect you and guide you. I want you to know that I pray for you — even the ones who scare me.

You think drugs, fast money and loose women are the answer? It just helps mask the pain. However, in that quiet moment, where you meet you, there is that emptiness. That hole in your soul that can’t be filled by anything earthly. The hole can and must be filled by grace. I know I haven’t told you that I believe in you, but I do. I haven’t told you that I love you, but I do.

I don’t want to bore you anymore because my heart is heavy and my eyes are filled with tears. I can only tell you, as my father told me: Son, do the right thing, even if no one else does.

Do the right thing, you ask me? How will I know?

I say, be still and listen to your heart. I love you dad.

Walter Backstrom can be contacted at wkbackstrom@aim.com

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