Category Archives: Music

Newcastles of the World 2012

Visitors from a dozen different Newcastles will gather in the original Newcastle in the last week of July. Around 70 delegates from “Newcastles of the World” will be getting together in Newcastle upon Tyne to discuss their branding and marketing and to explore setting up a joint Newcastles tourism initiative, with everyone promoting the other Newcastles as well as their own as a place to visit and invest in.

 John Nicolaou, once a resident of Newcastle but now living in Spain and the man behind the idea of bringing all the Newcastles together, said “I’m delighted that Newcastle upon Tyne will now be host to many of the towns and cities around the world who take or share our name”.

Delegates at the conference will also be taking part in a range of cultural projects that have been in progress over the past few months. There’s an exhibition at the City Library of photographs, films and postcards from the different Newcastles, and a publication of poetry to be launched, with poems about each Newcastle contributed by local writers.

Each school is also studying a different Newcastle from around the world, and they will share their projects with the visiting delegates, as well as making a welcome pack for them about Newcastle upon Tyne. This will be part of a more permanent link being developed with a school from the visiting Newcastle.

An even bigger project is the “Song for Newcastle”. Performers in Newcastles in Australia, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, and the USA, as well as Newcastle upon Tyne and Newcastle-under-Lyme in the UK have been writing, singing and filming their Song for Newcastle, all based upon the words and music of well-known local song “Home Newcastle” by “Busker”, the late Ronnie Lambert.  Busker’s song, about a Geordie exile homesick for Newcastle, has become a toon army anthem and is still often played at St James’ Park. The different international interpretations of Home Newcastle will be edited into a single version to be performed at the Newcastles conference.

Hazel Lambert, Ronnie’s widow, said “Ronnie would have been thrilled at the idea that people in other Newcastles around the world wanted to take part in this project based on his famous song and to write and sing about their Home Newcastle. I’ve been pleased to support this initiative and I look forward to hearing their versions and the final edit of the song.”

The “home” version of “Home Newcastle” is being sung by Voicebeat – a community choir based at The Sage Gateshead that  explores different musical styles, including gospel, reggae, pop and folk traditions from around the world. Other versions are being sung in gospel style by the Northern Kwazulu Natal Youth Choir choir in Newcastle, South Africa; by a school choir in New Castle, Indiana USA; by a men’s harmony singing group (“Novatones”) from Newcastle New South Wales in Australia; by the Leuchtfeuer (“Beacon”) youth choir in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany;  by a male voice choir in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and with an instrumental version by a youth showband Les Amourins in Switzerland.

The poetry and the Song for Newcastle will come together on Monday 23rd July at Newcastle’s Live Theatre for the “Night on the Tyne”, featuring the poets, with musicians and clog dancers and also Ouseburn Young Voices, a choir of young people from schools in the east end of Newcastle.

Delegates will also be using the time here to create a “proggy mat” depicting different types of castle turrets, with the help of the “Woodhorn Matters”. The Proggy (or clippy) mat is a rug-making technique traditional to the North East of England. The mat will be produced at the Newcastles conference by members of the public who can have a go, as well as by the delegates. Once complete it will be displayed at Newcastle Civic Centre and Newcastle Cathedral before going on to the other Newcastles.

The delegates will be welcomed to Newcastle with a service at the Cathedral on the morning Sunday 22 July, followed by a parade (with children from local schools) through the city from Eldon Square, along Northumberland Street to the civic centre. There they will open a “friendship garden” which is being designed by apprentice gardeners from the Newcastle city nurseries, before going on to the Mansion House for a welcome event with music and dancing from local performers.

Several of the Newcastle will be sending delegates from their youth councils, and they will have their own events hosted by Newcastle’s Youth Council. “We will have a welcome party, meeting up with young people from this Newcastle” said Gerry Hunwick of The Children’s Society. “We’ll also have important discussions between us on the global environmental challenges and how the voice of young people should be heard on this and other issues; about how young people can set up their own businesses and about perceptions of young people in the media”.

You can download the full programme of activities here

Programme

For more information and updates about the events

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https://twitter.com/NCLsoftheworld

http://newcastlesoftheworld.wordpress.com/


JesmondLocal presents Musical Flash Mob

As community festival approaches, local choirs take to the streets. Watch this video report by Alexandra Carr, Maria Loupa and Nelly Stavropoulou

Jesmond shoppers were greeted with an unexpected musical treat on Saturday morning (21st April) when a “flash mob” choir serenaded passers-by outside Oxfam, Waitrose and Pizza Express.

The purpose of this performance was to raise awareness for the upcoming Jesmond Community Festival, providing a taste of the various events running from 27th April to 14th May.

Chris Clarke, treasurer of Jesmond Community Forum and company secretary of Jesmond Community Leisure, told JesmondLocal: “Many people know about the concerts that are going on inside buildings, like inside a church hall, but unless you actually get out on the streets, a lot of other people don’t really know what’s going on. So the idea is to attract the attention of the people who don’t go to churches or schools.”

Those who participated in Saturday’s musical performance, organised by conductor Jonathan Scott, came from a number of different choirs in the north east, including the Jesmond Choral Group and the Tynemouth Priory Singers. Festival attendees can expect to hear more from these choirs during a performance of Dvorak’s Requiem on 3th0 April, which will also be conducted by Scott.

This is the first year a musical “flash mob” has been performed before the community festival.

For more information on the festival, please visit www.jesmondfestival.org.uk or have a look on our own festival page here.

ML


Live Review: Snow Patrol

Metro Arena – 5th February

The Scottish/Irish five piece kicked off 2012 announcing a third single is to be released from Fallen Empires.

‘In the End’ is to be released on February 13th, and they are celebrating it with a grandiose tour. Long before the release of their sixth album last November, the band suggested an open mind to the fans. Snow Patrol explored foreign territory and experimented with techno and electronic pop sounds. Melodies enriched with strings and brass, percussion and different keyboard sounds from the ever known melodica to dulcitone. The change in musical direction was evident even in the choice of support band, Everything Everything, a peculiar yet intriguing indie band.

Everything Everything’s witty lyrics, powerful off beat sounds, combined with front man Higgs’s signature falsettos, contributed to their own stigma. They started off strong, with beautifully arranged electronic elements, mesmerizing synths, and a Jack Black-esque performance from Newcastle native Higgs. Just when the crowd started warming up however, they were thrown off by Higgs high pitch vocals and mumbling lyrics which were impossible to follow. Everything Everything just did their own thing onstage; an unorthodox and eccentric band that can’t possibly cater for everyone’s taste. Unfortunately, after the nothing nothing reception from the crowd the awkwardness in the air was more than tangible.

Nonetheless, they set the mood for Snow Patrol to follow and they opened the concert with I’ll Never Let Go. A well organised set, with fantastic Muse-inspired lighting and elements that led back to their new album’s emblem were prominent: huge eagle’s feet-shaped screens, which moved and altered according to the needs of each song. Grand orchestral arrangements, and the singer’s engaging performance with intense body language; functioning almost as a maestro who brings this majestic symphony together.

“Let’s have some fuckin’ fun”, yelled an ecstatic Lightbody with his curls bouncing. And so it began. The band has clearly grown in confidence and stage presence over the years, Lightbody especially has evolved from the romantic shy guy of old into a true showman; his charming and comical persona finally shining through.

With a constant call for audience participation in ‘Shut Your Eyes’ and ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ the sold out arena complied with a massive chant-along. The band’s experiment with electronica was not always effective but when used conservatively to fit their signature style it felt more natural and effortless.

Some tracks when performed live brought more of a dance floor spirit with them, which came through unexpectedly better than on the album; like ‘Fallen Empires’. The rest of the night consisted of a brilliant mix of old and new tracks, sprinkled with hilarious intervals by the Lightbody, his attention to the audience was overwhelming.

Highlights like ‘Called Out In The Dark’, ‘Run’, and ‘Take Back The City’ followed with unmistakable vocals, crisp and clear sounds, managing to create a highly electrified atmosphere. Overall, the band engaged with the crowd to unprecedented levels, giving a very personal feel in such a large venue.

The much anticipated ‘Chasing Cars’ came as a catharsis for the fans, which burst into screams of joy and relief. Following an encore that featured all time favourite ‘Open Your Eyes’, the crowd went into a frenzy. Putting an end to an unforgettable night, the show reached its climax with the band asking us to ‘Just Say Yes’. Is there anything else left to say?

Yes Snow Patrol, a thousand times yes!

To read a review of Fallen Empires Click here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=llUMU1jy_4g

*As published in http://thecourieronline.co.uk/2012/02/live-review-snow-patrol/

ML


Interview: Morning Parade

Not heard of Morning Parade yet? You soon will. This hotly tipped Essex band took some time out during their headline UK tour to chat to Maria Loupa as they ventured to the Toon for the very first time.

Frontman Steve Sparrow was friendly, approachable and modest when asked about the band’s work – at first glance, he didn’t give the same impression as his passionate on-stage persona.

So… why “Morning Parade”?

A lot of reasons! We wanted something to symbolize a fresh start – we all came from different bands and this was kind of a clean slate for everyone, and “morning” has this fresh meaning that we were going for. It also stands for all the early mornings we have to get up and travel to go to work, like we were joining the labour queue or something.

Would you say that you are a rock band?

Well, we are definitely a rock band but we don’t play classic rock. We use elements of electronic, dance and cinematic music. We experiment with different sounds and rhythms, anything from Daft Punk to Radiohead.  We base our songs on lyrics and melody, but we also use layering techniques to achieve the result we want.

How long have you been together?

About four years. I’ve known Phil since I was 11; he was the one who taught me how to play the guitar and I turned out to be better, so he switched to playing the bass!

With Chad we were together in college, Ben and Andrew came later. We decided to get together and started jamming on Saturdays and stuff. Our music at the time was rubbish, our songs were 20 minutes long!

What inspires you?

Our inspirations are always changing.. We are inspired by what we see around us, you are always introduced to a different eye. I think our music is quite reflecting, our first single is a proof of that.

In what way is the new single, ‘Us and Ourselves’ reflecting?

We all try to get somewhere in life; no matter what we are doing, we are in a single journey, all in this together. It’s about looking to yourself and the world around us, like a universal kind of thing. Unfortunately some people don’t get our message, but that’s a risk you have to take; if you don’t get your feet in the challenge, you might as well say nothing.

How was the experience of performing in all these high profile support slots?

I don’t know how it came to be, we’ve been offered gigs from The Wombats, and it kind of spiraled from there. We’ve played with The Kooks, The Wombats, 30 Seconds to Mars. It was a great experience because we had the chance to play for a huge crowd. With 30 seconds to Mars in Switzerland there was 20,000 people , and with The Kooks about 10,000 a night in the UK.

We’ ve been touring a lot this year in the UK and mainland Europe ; Holland, Germany, Belgium, Russia.

What are your future plans?

Our main focus is on the album coming out on the first week of March and we’re really excited about it. These days, the way the world – and television – works, bands are not necessarily in the singles market; the album is what counts.

Having our own headline tour is amazing, and we’re looking forward to hitting the rest of the UK venues on our list. After the album is released, there’s going to be a lot of touring in the UK and the US next year.

I can’t do one, but can you give us your best Geordie accent?

I can’t even do it, and I’m from the South East!

*As published inhttp://thecourieronline.co.uk/2011/12/interview-morning-parade/

M.L.


Live Review: Morning Parade

O2 Academy2 – 22nd November

The upcoming Indie/Alt Rockers from Essex filled out Academy2 last week after the release of their first single.

The gig opened with support band Echohead, a bunch of fresh, enthusiastic lads with an unexpected amount of stage presence for their age. The mostly played songs from their demo; with the exception of some enjoyable jamming moments, which was interesting but not memorable. The lyrics struggled to get through and were often suffocated by the powerful music.

Nonetheless, they prepared the crowd for what was coming. At this point I have to admit that I hadn’t heard any of Morning Parade’s music until that night, but I was pleasantly surprised. After the first few moments of their performance, the comparison was inevitably in my head: these two bands are like a before and after shot. The young newcomers and the professionals, with Morning Parade being the latter of course. It wasn’t a matter of age, but a matter of musical ‘maturity’; Echohead were like an unripened fruit, not quite ready to harvest yet.

With their passionate, energetic performance, and the frontman’s standout vocals, it was hard not to parade with them; the connection with the audience was immediate. A combination of their 90s dance anthem influenced tunes combined with euphoric beats was enough to find myself dancing along. Swapping from electric/indie Muse-like sounds to more melodic and acoustic ones, like ‘Half Litre Bottle’, they owned the stage.

The gig only lasted for about an hour, which included singles  such as the popular ‘Under The Stars’ and the recently released ‘Us And Ourselves’. In songs like ‘Headlights’ and ‘A&E’ the synth parts with the distinct rhythms and layered grooves portrayed a togethered, in total control band.

‘Speechless’, ‘Carousel’, and ‘Running Down The Aisle’ were just some more of the songs performed that complete the impression of a polished, well rehearsed band. An honest and straight forward band whose music comes from the heart with clear influences from Elbow and Delphic. It’s real and down to Earth like they are; of which their fan time after the show is proof. A band with a plan, firm believers in ‘the more you do the more you get offered’, they delivered a captivating show, with the crowd’s dedicating hands waving almost all the way through.

Are they are doing something original? No. I don’t believe there can be a virgin birth in the music industry anymore.
Have I heard people saying that they are yet another teenage rock band? Yes. But so what?
Their lyrics might be predictable at times but that also makes them memorable, and that’s what makes their music contagious. I don’t know if they will stand the test of time, all I know is that I came here ignorant and left humming their songs.

* As published inhttp://thecourieronline.co.uk/2011/11/live-review-morning-parade/ M.L.


Fundraising jazz night for St George’s

 

Church Blue Jazz Quintet to raise money for lighting fund, report Nelly Stavropoulou and Maria Loupa

 

St George’s hosts a jazz evening this weekend in aid of the church’s lighting fund.

Blue Jazz Quintet (Karen Rann on soprano sax, Jeff Smith on tenor sax, Chris Finch on piano, Dave Parker on double bass and Michael Howard on drums) will be performing this Saturday, 26th November in St George’s Church Hall from 7pm.

Organisers say that despite the good acoustics that the Grade 1 listed church offers, many of the choirs and orchestras wishing to perform there are discouraged because of inadequate lighting facilities – extra lighting needs to be hired each time there a musical performance takes place.

Tickets can be purchased from the church office or at the door. Tickets cost £15 each (or £12 for Friends of St George’s members). The price also includes supper – home-made soup and rolls, plus sausages in buns.

*As published in http://jesmondlocal.com/2011/11/fundraising-jazz-night-st-georges/

M.L.

 


Interview with Mamma Mia star

Nelly Stavropoulou and Maria Loupa talk with singer Tasha Seale, minutes before her live performance at The Cherry Tree

Tasha Seale returned to The Cherry Tree this week (Monday 7th November), keeping a promise she had made to restaurant owner Peter Wardle while touring with the Mamma Mia cast. 

Seale, who was asked to step on stage for an impromptu song on her day off from a 2009 tour of the UK, was supported by the Stuart Collingwood Trio – Collingwood on piano, Neil Harland on bass and Paul Smith on drums. Working for the first time together, the ensemble offered their own twist on a selection of songs, the night opening with Frank Sinatra’s ‘The Lady is a Tramp’, which set the mood for a night of classic jazz and blues songs.

Her repertoire included songs by artists such as Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee who, as she told Jesmondlocal, shaped her musical taste while growing up. Seale also commented on the contemporary music landscape and the increasing return to the jazz element.

A Jesmond local herself – Seale used to live in the area – she described Jesmond’s atmosphere as friendly and vibrant. She said she was happy to be back and hopes to have the opportunity to visit again.

Listen to Seale’s interview: Tasha Seale talks to Jesmondlocal

Here’s a taste of Seale’s performance: Tasha Seale sings ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’

For more information on upcoming musical events, visit The Cherry Tree website.

*As published in http://jesmondlocal.com/2011/11/interview-mamma-mia-star/

p.s: You can also listen to a selection of Tashas’s songs here http://soundcloud.com/user9723680/tasha-seale-concert.. it could work as the ideal list to kick back with!

M.L.


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