Category Archives: links

Hamlet Sweeney live @ Whelan’s

This gig happened at the end of April this year in one of Dublin’s best-known venues, Whelan’s on Wexford Street.  Close enough to our place that I could wheel my Nord Stage to the gig – handy!  We had a team from record the show and you can see three songs (I Am A Man, Perfect Day, and Tie A Ribbon) on their website.  Discovery Gospel Choir sang with us for a couple of songs, which was great.  Enjoy!

Funky song for strutting with your iPod

I subscribe to about two dozen blogs and browse through them most days.  Today I heard this great cover of an Elliott Smith song, ‘Needle in the hay’, by a lady called Mélissa Laveaux.  On a blog with the marvellous name of Aurgasm.  Check it out…I just found a bangin’ track by a Swedish band called Damn!…on my very next click from the blog.

The internet can be great when people like this curate 🙂

Unfortunately there’s no mp3 file of Mademoiselle Laveaux’s available to buy, but scroll down on Aurgasm’s ‘About’ page and read the part (on the right) that says ‘Read this part’…

Videos from Budapest

I posted up the videos of New Dublin Voices in Budapest.  We won the chamber choir competition singing this programme:

  • Salve Regina – György Orbán
  • Ecco mormorar l’onde – Monteverdi
  • Bagairt na Marbh – Michael Holohan
  • Lullaby (from Four Shakespeare Songs) – Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
  • Double, Double Toil and Trouble (from Four Shakespeare Songs) – Jaakko Mäntyjärvi

Much to our surprise and delight we went on to win the Grand Prix the following day singing these pieces:

Anderson & Roe piano duo

I found The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo on YouTube yesterday.  Graduates from Julliard, these two have done some really fantastic work reimagining works such as Strauss’s The Blue Danube waltzes, Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango and John Williams’ Star Wars music to delight those who hear and see them.

The playing is flawless, but what really fizzes is the video work.  I haven’t played many piano duets, but it’s really quite an intimate experience.  Since they spend so much time alone there, I’m sure most pianists feel like the keyboard is theirs alone when they sit in front of the eighty-eight keys and so sharing the space with someone else is quite a charged environment.  One can only speculate as to the amount of piano duet music written for pretty students by admiring teachers!  (Greg) Anderson and (Elizabeth Joy) Roe’s videos allow the viewer access to the physical element of piano duetting and they use the medium to explore the narrative suggested by the music they play.  The most recent video, of Mozart’s Sonata in D for two pianos, is very well judged and uses various methods to sustain our visual interest, my favourite being the pianists’ hand reflections mirrored in a beautiful editing trick.

Of course Anderson & Roe are not writing music for the drawing room, but for 2000-seater concert halls, and so they purposefully rewrite the music to tangle themselves together.  It must take them so long to rehearse!  They claim not to do it for the ‘rock’-style, but some of their acrobatics are just plain dangerous (one false move and delicate pinky collides with sweeping elbow…ouch…piano career scuppered).  That’s what makes it such good viewing!  We love that stuff, right?  I personally could take less of their yearning, passionate moments.  Yeah, we love Eric Clapton’s/John Mayer’s guitar faces but for some reason that’s allowed in a way that some of this pair’s antics just aren’t.  IMHO.  (Which, when you think about it, should really be rendered imho, for extra humility…)

Enjoy 🙂

What you can do with the world at your fingertips…

Thanks to my old music-making friend, Alan, for showing me this amazing work by an Israeli musician called Kutiman.  Created painstakingly by sampling various YouTube videos, his music grooves big time.  The visuals are a testament to the countless enthusiastic music fans who have reached out across the globe via the internet.

The way it’s delivered is quite a departure, too.  The web site *is* the release – an exciting evolution of the MySpace idea (Kutiman’s own MySpace page is a great example).

Kutiman’s fourth track, Babylon Band, reminded me of the very cool “hyperactive editing” of Norwegian animator Lasse Gjertsen…

live MUZU TV video of one of Hamlet’s songs

Back in October, Hamlet and I went into the MUZU TV studios and recorded ‘I am a man’.  Looks good, methinks.  Keep watching and you’ll hear a couple of short interviews and ‘El Capitane’ as well as a video of David Bowie talking to Russell Harty, Hamlet’s choice from the fascinating archive available on the MUZU site.

For example, this video of Dionne Warwick interviewed on ITV.  Which runs into a fabulous little chat on a tower block roof with Ian Dury…stick around for Jonathan Richman, Kate Bush being cute…you could be there all day!  I was going to write that I thought there should be more tags, ways to search for a subject, but I actually quite like just diving in and discovering new things.  Like TV, I suppose…

And what is it with presenters and names?  “Dionne War-wick”… “Kate Bush…or is it Bush (rhyming with Lush)?”

A friend of mine posted a video of Arcade Fire, recorded in an elevator by the wonderful Vincent Moon for La Blogotheque, on Facebook.  I’ve mentioned the site before, but it really is superb.  Don’t be afraid of the fact that it’s in French – click on the archive, find your favourite band in the list and, chances are, you’ll find some great, inventive video.

cover versions

One of Rowan Manahan’s first posts of the new year was about finding your voice.  It is, for most of us, our primary tool and yet we often don’t think about how best to vocalise our message.

Rowan mentioned a number of actors renowned for their fine speaking voices, all of whom I recognised except one: Anna Deavere Smith.  (I’ve never seen The West Wing.)  I did a quick search for her and, since it was on the quality of her voice that she was being recommended, I looked at this video of her speaking at a TED conference.

She has travelled America recording conversations with people and, in her performances, she faithfully replicates those characters.  Truly breathtaking skill.  She must have a wonderful ear to be able to mimic the (remarkably) various voices.  The idea of a ‘cover version’ is very common in music, but it’s viewed differently when a singer mimics another.  I was talking about this in a guitar lesson today – how, when we learn to play songs, the final step is to make it our own.  It’s useful to study other players and singers to learn new techniques, but then there’s the extra step of finding your own voice.  To me that’s the same thing as Rowan’s talking about – being believable and fluent in what you say, sing or play.

While searching for cover versions on YouTube, I found this wee dote, Sam Scott: