December 5, 2013 |
Nelson Mandela was, quite famously, a fan of European classical music. His two favorite composers were George Frideric Handel and Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, but he grew up exposed to the country's rich tradition of vocal groups forging a unique form of sacred rhythm music. That changed while the former South African president and longtime democratic activist was imprisoned by the pro-apartheid government from 1962 to 1990. He wasn't allowed access to music. Artists, however, used Mandela's jailing to fuel global protest songs, and during his years in captivity, Mandela's messages were delivered on the wings of rhythm and melody.
November 5, 2013 |
It's almost inconceivable today, but a generation ago, some of the biggest pop music events in the history of the planet came and went with no commercially available evidence left behind. That curious fact is brought to the fore with this week's first-ever home video release of “¡Released!” -- separate DVD and CD sets highlighting performances from four-star-packed Amnesty International concerts and tours that sprang up from 1986 to 1998. Those events brought out high-profile supporters including Bruce Springsteen, Sting, U2, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Miles Davis, Sinead O'Connor, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and many more.
October 31, 2013 |
Two-thirds of the Police -- guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland -- will be reunited on Sunday to talk about their role in Amnesty International's benefit concerts at the world premiere of “Released!” a new concert films with highlights from two AI tours and two other individual benefit shows from 1986 to 1999. Strictly by coincidence, the third member of the trio - Sting - happens to be in the area to perform Monday, Nov. 4, at Magicopolis in Santa Monica, but there's no word on whether he could join his former band mates at the screening.
October 8, 2012 |
Peter Gabriel long ago established himself as a master at merging music, image and theater, going back to his watershed music videos at the dawn of MTV in the '80s, and before that with the ambitious stage productions he and the members of prog-rock band Genesis assembled in the '70s. During his performance Saturday at the Hollywood Bowl, the singer, songwriter, artist and political activist was at the heart of another confluence of music, memory and imagery when actor John Cusack wandered onstage with a large boombox.
June 6, 2010 |
It's safe to say that if Renee Fleming appeared on "American Idol" and sang "Hallelujah," the Leonard Cohen song immortalized by Jeff Buckley, and a favorite of "Idol" contestants, judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi would not say she is "pitchy." "Thank you!" exclaimed the opera star, laughing. Dialing down her soprano to a tenor, Fleming sings a tender version of "Hallelujah" on her surprising new album, "Dark Hope," a set of rock songs by artists including the Arcade Fire, Band of Horses and Death Cab for Cutie.
May 7, 2010
BOOKS Greil Marcus In his new book, "When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison," formidable cultural critic Marcus waxes reverential on the Celtic bluesman's initially ignored, now-iconic "Astral Weeks," yet dismisses 16 albums' worth of Morrison's music from 1980 to 1996 as "characterless" and forgettable. Fighting words, to be sure, for Van Morrison's legion of devotees; but the author of "Lipstick Traces" and "The Old, Weird America" is nothing if not willfully idiosyncratic when it comes to writing about the legends of rock 'n' roll he adores.