Classical radio is preserved in America on a small island in public broadcasting. So stations dedicated to classical have the responsibility, if not the mission, to continually refine and improve their music service. Success is in the details, and some straightforward tweaks might make your sound more appealing. It is not easy stepping back from your enterprise to apply original ideas or reconsider old ones. Enter a fresh set of ears.
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Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, at 25, has already made a strong impression in the world of Baroque opera and beyond, with his powerful yet supple voice. The American countertenor, who has made several recordings (including contemporary music, such as by Kenneth Fuchs), specializes in 18th-century music when the male singer known as the Castrato reigned supreme. Nowadays a specially-developed voice technique, countertenors are prominent parts of productions such as in Handel's Saul, recorded recently by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas McGegan. Mr. Cohen shares some great stories about his experiences singing onstage, the history of countertenors, and his almost-Portland debut in "Bazajet" before the pandemic brought that opportunity to a standstill.
All Classical Portland Host John Pitman shares his interview, along with selections featuring this prominent young singer. LISTEN
Acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician Mary Chapin Carpenter's new single, "Secret Keepers," is debuting today. The song is the latest unveiled from Carpenter's anticipated new album, The Dirt And The Stars, which will be released August 7 on Lambent Light Records via Thirty Tigers.
Of the single, Carpenter shares, "‘Secret Keepers' is about holding onto things that feel too dangerous to let go of, too perilous to share, too complex to shine a light upon. The deeper you think you've buried something, the more power it seems to have over your life. The scars may be invisible but that doesn't mean the pain that caused them has disappeared. It's a constant reminder to be kind out in the world, because you never really know what someone is carrying around…"
Produced by Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon) and recorded entirely live at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in Bath, in southwest England, the album finds the 5-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter pondering life's intimate, personal moments and exploring its most universally challenging questions at an unprecedented time. Written at her rural Virginia farmhouse before stay-at-home orders became the "new normal," the songs celebrate invaluable experiences and irreplaceable wisdom, while also advocating exploration of the best in all of us. In advance of the release, the album's title track, "Between The Dirt And The Stars," premiered last month. Listen/share HERE.
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Canadian songwriter and children's entertainer Raffi is marking the 40th anniversary of his perennially popular "Baby Beluga" with a new version of the bouncy song about a little white whale. He has enlisted cellist Yo-Yo Ma to accompany him in a virtual performance. Pay special attention to the way Ma imitates whale song during the transition to Raffi's newly coined verse, written especially for adults - he calls them "beluga grads" - who remember the song from their youth.
'Beluga grads' bringing their kids to his shows, and Raffi couldn't be more pleased
"Grown-up beluga, sing a song of peace," he enjoins them. "Sing a song of diversity, child-honouring, social justice, climate action. We need to hear you."
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Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. Arguably the most influential movie composer who ever lived, his music is familiar to audiences around the world. Morricone passed away on Monday in Rome, city of his birth, where he'd lived all his life. Cause of death is reported as complications arising from a fall and broken femur. His collaborations with some of the true greats of cinema echo through the ages. Rising to prominence with Sergio Leone – with whom he went to school – he added the iconic twangs, whistles and harmonicas to the director's "Dollars trilogy" (1964-66).
"Added" is probably the wrong word – for Leone, his friend's compositions were an essential part of creating the film. The Guardian notes, "he once remarked that part of the reason Sergio Leone's westerns were so slow was that certain scenes were extended in order to accommodate his soundtrack, a luxury that seems almost unthinkable in today's film industry." In some cases the music was finished before a frame was shot.
Morricone disliked the term "spaghetti western", feeling there was more to his career. No arguing about that – his work moved viewers from the Old West to classic gangster battles in the big cities. His final collaboration with Leone was 1984 crime saga Once Upon A Time In America, which he regarded as his best. Three years later his score accompanied Eliot Ness's pursuit of Al Capone in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987). Robert De Niro starred in both movies, as well Morricone-scored historical drama The Mission (1986), directed by Roland Joffé.
Ennio Morricone in 2012 (Photo by Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Redferns via Getty Images)
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On March 13, 2020 Shabaka & The Ancestors made their Impulse! debut with the band's sophomore album 'We Are Sent Here By History.' Their breakout 2016 album, Wisdom of Elders, established Shabaka & The Ancestors as a sudden force in spiritual jazz. But where that record warned of impending societal collapse, this one unfolds within it. Shabaka refers to the album as a "meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning." On the lead single "Go My Heart, Go To Heaven," Siyabonga pays homage to his father's favorite church song. The word "hamba" (or "go") is repeated, and within the context of this track, it's "about the point where one gives in and wants out of this world," Siyabonga says. "But in times of darkness is a call to the light and the heart."
"We Are Sent Here by History" melds saxophone, trumpet, drums, percussion, bass, and piano notes to evoke images of South Africa's traditions and culture.
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Spike Lee's very new joint is an anguished, more funny, violent argument with and about the whole American history, also with an unforgettable performance from Delroy Lindo at its heart. Spike Lee's career can also be described as a lover's quarrel with American movies and with America, too. As he has demonstrated his mastery of established genres, he has also now reinvented them, pointing out the blind spots and filling the gap.
His all critiques of Hollywood's long history of ignoring and distorting, the black lives have altered the way we look at the movies. His all attempts to expand the frame and also correct the record have now changed the course of the cultural mainstream.
He said ‘I am tempted to say that with ‘Da Bloods', which debuts on Friday, Lee has done it again. But, when as he ever repeated himself? This whole long, anguished, funny, violent excursion into a hidden chamber of the nation's heart of the darkness is not like anything else, even if it all may put you in mind of a lot of other things. In all its anger, its humour and its exuberance in the emotional richness of the central performances and also of Terence Blanchard's score'.
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Sony Music Masterworks today releases Not Our First Goat Rodeo, the long-awaited follow-up album to the GRAMMY Award-winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile.
In the fall of 1968, a sixteen-year old high school student named Danny Scher had a dream to invite legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk and his all-star quartet to perform a concert at his local high school in Palo Alto, CA.
Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette has decided to release her stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" ahead of schedule as it says as much about the history of American racism and the state of the country today.
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.
At home, they are a group of south London schoolboys who pass through life without attracting much attention beyond their family and friends. But in Japan, the choirboys of Libera are treated like rock stars, with fans queuing to get their albums autographed.
The choir, a charity, consists of pupils as young as six from state primary schools in Balham, Brixton, Peckham and Wimbledon who practice together in south London churches. Although they perform in Britain, they find their most enthusiastic audiences overseas. The touring group of children aged eight and upwards has performed for two popes including a concert in 2016 in the presence of Pope Francis in Krakow Poland where 1.7 million pilgrims attended a prayer vigil on World Youth Day.
Robert Prizeman, who founded the choir, which had its first big international tour in 2004, said it was an extraordinary spectacle. "They were standing on the stage there and you couldn't see the edge of the audience," he told the Times.
Their most recent tour took place last month when they sold out the 2,500 seater Bunkamuri Orchard Hall in Tokyo for two nights. The boys then sat in the lobby as a queue of fans snaked around the building in the hope of meeting them.
Mr Prizeman said the group has a large following not only in Japan but South Korea and the Philippines. "In South Korea, audiences make a lot of noise and in the Philippines they go completely crazy, but in Japan they are silent until the music ends, then they will applaud for a long time. You get one thousand people literally queueing around the block to get CDs signed."
The group has 70 members, 30 of whom go on tour alongside former members who act as chaperones. "It's quite an extraordinary south London story." He said, "We did a thing for Brian Wilson at the Kennedy Center in front of George W Bush. [Wilson] sends us Christmas cards every year."
The smaller of their two papal audiences was a concert in 2008 at Yankee Stadium in New York, where they performed before a crowd of 60,000. They have been on the same bill as Meatloaf and Miley Cyrus and sang at the wedding of former choir boy Aled Jones. "Then they go and sing in a church with an organ in south London." Mr Prizeman said, "For some of them it will be life changing. For some it will be an activity like joining the Scouts. Hopefully it will inspire a love of music.The area where we work doesn't have much private education. They all come from state primaries. It's a bit of a hothouse for them. That's the extraordinary thing with children. They get as good as professional singers in their own way."
Their music includes covers of pop songs such as Orinoco Flow by Enya as well as more traditional choral music. "We're definitely not King's College Cambridge."
He said that their tours were not typical of the music industry. "You get this curious thing: you're going off and there are teddy bears hanging out of their backpacks. They boys are limited to one small cuddly companion of soft toys – no large teddies."
The children usually travel during school holidays so they get a lot of recreation time between performances. Boys play a lot of football in downtime – sometimes rounders – but they always play in silence because on tour they have to preserve their voices. Screaming on the pitch is a sure way to wreck them."
The boys who make up the choral group Libera are normal South London kids aged 7 to 16 years. The music they produce is truly extraordinary. Their new album ‘Christmas Carols With Libera' is available on 15 November 2019 on CD plus digital formats through Invisible Hands Music.
Libera are one of the leading worldwide exponents of the British choral tradition and this special collection includes 16 popular carols and a bonus song from the ‘The Snowman'; the evergreen ‘Walking in the Air' is recreated Libera-style. From the traditional‘Once In Royal David's City' and the haunting ‘Carol Of The Bells' to the popular ‘In The Bleak Midwinter', this new CD is packed with favourites but also imbued with the unmistakable atmosphere of a Libera concert. There will be a launch show on 3 December 2019 at 1930 at St John Smith Square, London.
Taking on the mellow and the more upbeat songs in this collection, the boys of Libera had great fun. The likes of ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High' require real precision, as well as purity. Many of the tracks were recorded during a group ‘retreat' to a rehearsal space in an old school, this allowed a true live feel to the process. The boy who took the lead vocal on ‘The Snowman' had just turned 9 years old, whilst the introductions to the French ‘Noël Nouvelet' and the Irish ‘Wexford Carol' are both handled by native French and Gaelic speakers, Libera is as polyglot as ever.
Libera are a phenomenon with 65 million hits on You Tube, they have performed for Popes and Presidents and gained 3 Classical Brit nominations. With shimmering, mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies, they are unlike any other group you have ever heard. The distinctive sound of Libera has travelled the world and has endeared the group to fans all over the world, particularly in the USA, the UK, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan, where their CDs top the mainstream and classical charts and where they pack concert halls and Cathedrals appearing in their trademark flowing white robes on imaginatively lit stages.
The boys who make up the choral group Libera are normal South London kids aged 7 to 16 years. The music they produce is truly extraordinary. The group release their new album ?Beyond' on 12 October 2018 on CD plus digital formats through Invisible Hands Music. Libera make beautiful, progressive albums in the classical and the ambient/new age style, and ?Beyond', their eagerly-anticipated new album, is a transformative and spiritual musical experience. ?Beyond' comes hot on the heels of their globally successful 2017 ?Hope' album. On 17 October 2018, Libera will unveil ?Beyond' with a concert at London's Westminster Cathedral, which is followed by live dates in Japan and then concerts in the UK and Russia.
The British boy band Libera has recorded its fourth CD for EMI Classics, New Dawn. The program includes arrangements of well-known works such as Jerusalem and Bach's Air on the G string as well as less familiar melodies and new compositions. One of the CD's highlights is Love and Mercy by former Beach Boy Brian Wilson, which Libera performed at the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors in December 2007, America's national celebration of the arts.
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Unlike any other group you have ever heard, the twenty-four boys, aged seven to sixteen who make up the vocal band Libera, have now released Visions, their second album for EMI Classics. Libera's hard work has payed off, as they meet several hours each week in a South London church to rehearse and perform. Visions has , mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies and with Free topping both the mainstream and classical charts in many countries, Visions is a shimmering CD with a future
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Syndicated includes: Hearts Of Space, Echoes Direct: XM, Worldspace Markets include: Los Angeles, Washington DC, Philadelphia(ADI), Baltimore(ADI), Cleveland, Long Island NY, Berkeley CA, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Orlando FL, Memphis, Columbus OH, Honolulu, The Netherlands
The inspirational quality of Angel Voices, the latest release by Libera, displays the uniquely talented, and best-selling 24 piece British vocal group. Following the success of Free and Visions, Angel Voices presents new & newly-arranged material. Libera is an eclectic group of 7-16 year old's, who assemble each week at a south London church to rehearse and perform.
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Angel Voices – The Concert, CD & DVD showcases the pure and inspirational quality of a truly unique vocal ensemble. Filmed live at the Pieterskerk, St. Peter's Church in Leiden, Holland, earlier this year and broadcast nationally on Public Television stations throughout the U.S., The double release sets the stage for Libera's U.S. tour in Spring 2008. Profiled in Time Magazine For Kids and already wildly popular in their home country, Libera is poised to take North America by storm.
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Libera, a group of all-male singers aged between seven and fourteen, are releasing Free, their first release under their new contract with EMI Classics. Their sound is a unique and original mixture of traditional choral, spiritual and new age music and over the last two years this distinctive sound has travelled the world.
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