ABBA month is in full swing with Frida looking happy and relaxed at the opening of the museum, Agnetha’s UK presence and new album out on Monday, and Bjorn and Benny’s Eurovision anthem, “We Write The Story” to be performed at the opening of next week’s Eurovision. If that’s not enough, I am hosting the Ring Ring Salong at the Harcourt arms and there are just a few places left!
Awkwardly credited to “Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Frida”, Ring Ring was released on March 26th 1973. The success of the album prompted ABBA’s worldwide success and the salon will focus on the complex song structures, tight vocal harmonies and unique lyric content, already present in this, their first studio album.
Playback and analysis track by track
Sharing our experiences and ‘favourites’ list
At London’s famous Swedish pub.
There will, of course, be time to celebrate Agnetha’s new album ‘A’.
Price for the event is £39, which includes coffees, lunch and drinks!
Sean Taylor in the studio adding my brass arrangement to his new song, The Road. Top brass players Tim and Pablo were a dream to work with. The results will be on Sean’s forthcoming album, find him on Facebook!
@WonkyFilms in the studio - packing in the creativity working on a Pilot - great fun!
With a range of one and a half octaves, the American National Anthem is rather tricky to sing; getting the key high enough to reach the low notes and low enough to reach the high notes needs careful planning. In 1968, at the peak of the American Civil rights movement, Jose Feliciano created a furore with his signature style slow, latin jazz performance of the song. As a result, radio stations refused to play his songs, and his career was stalled for three years. However, it was this performance that opened the doors for later reinterpretations of the national anthem and the song became truly American.
Today, at Obama’s inauguration, Beyonce’s graceful and perhaps understated version, completely gauged the spirit of the time, a changing and reflective period in the history of America.
It would be wrong to compare her performance to others but in case you haven’t heard them before, there are two versions that you need to hear.
1. Whitney Houston in 1991. At the time of the first Gulf War and Houston’s transition into the 1990′s this performance has an epic subtext and a seemingly effortless delivery. A brilliantly crafted performance and arguably one of the most iconic of the National Anthem in American History.
2. Patti Labelle in 2008 - “High Priestess of Tearin’ Shit Up” - this is something else.
Kavita Baliga sings The Fair Captive of Samacand at a workshop for a new musical I am currently writing. To hear the full song visit my SoundCloud.
“We need our brightest stars in the fields of music, television, movies and sport to become champions of equality… Popular culture can play a vital role in changing public attitudes and in challenging long held stereotypes and prejudices. I see signs of great hope: a growing global force against homophobia…”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the United Nations event on “The role of leadership in the fight against homophobia”, held on the occasion of Human Rights Day on 11 December 2012 at UN Headquarters in New York. Full message on YouTube.