French Horns and Tangos

Hombres_bailando_tango_en_el_río,_1904

On the second day of thinking about the music that has inspired me, having started with the first gig I ever saw, (Stevie Wonder at the NEC in Birmingham) it naturally drew me back a little further to my childhood.

The more I hear stories from other people, it’s incredible just how powerful their memories are and why they love a particular song; usually introduced to those sounds by their siblings, parents or friends at school. Cars seem to have played a big part in this too; a captive audience on the move…

At primary school I played descant / treble recorders and was into percussion in a big way; I can still remember the rhythm I had to play on a tambor all the way through a song for our Christmas production when I was nine years old….and don’t get me started on the ‘one ting of the triangle’ story!

Then followed a term on the violin at Ross Grammar School which transformed into the mighty French horn for four years – a beast of a brass instrument whose tone I adored. The only reason I stopped playing was down to my orthodontist, who gave me a permanent set of railroad tracks which put the kibosh on playing any kind of wind instrument for a few years.

What I do appreciate now more so than at the time, was that playing in the school orchestra and brass band gave you a valuable insight into being a part of a wider musical landscape where the voicing of other instruments worked together in service of the music; a proper team effort. 

In all honesty, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is one of my all time favourite pieces but I find that it’s just too sad for repeated listening; it almost always makes me cry and have subsequently found myself walking out of shops as a result. Also, the piece is now so strongly associated with tragic world events and war films that I don’t want to revisit it from a place other than that of innocence.

This beautiful piece of music I happened to hear on the radio, sat on a train on my way back from University, and was immediately transfixed, sought it out and bought the album; Fionnuela Hunt – Tangos and Dances.

It tracks the art form from its origins in the bordellos and back streets of Buenos Aires to the concert platforms of the world. Tangos & Dances charts the history of Tango through the 1900s up to the present day, from its early dance form to the more jazz-inspired music of contemporary times.

There is a certain melancholic beauty, underpinned by a rhythmic movement that both holds and rocks you gently. Within the sadness also lies the inspiration for courage and the choosing of forgiveness in order to move on… Oblivion.

 

Before You Take a Bite Out of the Apple

 

 

 

apple-music

The giant Apple, it doth appear, wants to help choose the music we hear.

Through tales of broken hearted girls and women bereft of intelligence pills,

The Prince will come and save the day – Be SAFE and shop the ‘curated’ way!

Jimmy Iovine did make me chuckle the other day with his befuddled meanderings regarding his ill-fated attempt to illustrate the perceived needs and interactions of Apple’s female consumers with the introduction of their new music curation service.

There were some real crackers in there, so much so that I had a fleeting worry for the state of his health, having lost a parent to early onset Alzheimers – but we all know he meant well right?

What did draw my attention however was the subsequent blog article written by Lauren Laverne, who has had a successful career in the UK music and entertainment industry for over twenty years, regarding the problems women face in the music industry.

Having worked in the entertainment/music industry as a performer and behind the scenes in production, I have experienced first hand misogynistic behaviour from both men and women, unequal pay – absolutely. Fortunately, the worst experience I have had physically, was having to make a hasty retreat from the front of a Doves gig at Manchester Apollo, having inadvertently put myself in the middle of what became a mosh pit!

It is obvious that there is still much work to be done to redress the balance of equality within the music industry but there is one point I find hard to swallow. According to PRS for Music, out of 95,000 plus UK registered members that identify themselves as songwriters and composers, only 13% of them are women.

Is this a direct result of inequality in the music industry and an accurate representation of the UK’s songwriting talent pool or have potentially thousands of women (and men) neglected to register for one reason or another?

I cannot answer this but would love to hear from you – but first, it may be in your interest to register and give yourself a chance, as I have done, to get paid for the valued work you do… before taking a bite out of the Apple.

I used to say that Walt Disney had ruined my life because he promised me that “One day my Prince will come.”

But not Willy Wonka, he said “We are the music makers, And we are the dreamer of dreams.”

 

 

 

Seven Days of music that has inspired…

The other day I was nominated by my friend Nick to take part in the ‘Seven  Days of Music that has inspired…’ challenge that has gone viral on some social media sites.

I’m not usually into that kind of thing, for example, you won’t find any short form video footage of me floating around the technological ether with a bucket of iced water anywhere near my head, but this particular idea got me thinking… who and what has inspired me from a musical perspective?

Honestly, I didn’t know where to start… it felt like trying to tidy up my bedroom when I was thirteen, so thought a good place would be the first ever concert I went to.

Four rows from the front when the gig started and on my feet right at the stage within the first song….soaking up every moment as if I was in heaven…

The absolute sense of joy and inspiration stayed with me for months… I think it was at that moment I realised just how powerful, inspirational and outright bloody wonderful live music can be!

Birmingham NEC Arena – Stevie Wonder

 

When Canada Meets Spain – The Supertone Show podcast with Claude Robillard

Suzy-Starlite-Claude-Robillard-Simon-Campbell-The-Supertone-Records-Show-PodcasrThe Supertone Show is a new music-based podcast where we play music and talk to musicians, producers, engineers and artists who are either on tour or working in Valencia, Spain.

In this episode,  Simon Campbell and I had a really interesting and informative chat with Canadian musician Claude Robillard from the band Daze of Dawn.

We covered everything from musical inspirations, the current political climate in Canada, life in Spain, Led Zeppelin, recording  approaches, to the intimate secrets of the contents of his fridge.

A new show is released every two weeks so please subscribe, share with your friends and if you want to get in contact with any cool ideas or comments, please email – podcast@supertonerecords.com

Thanks and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

It’s great fun meeting people and hearing their stories….

The Supertone Show Podcast

The-Supertone-Show-Podcast-Suzy-Starlite-Simon-Campbell-Angel-Vela-Supertone-Records-Estivella-Valencia-Spain

The Supertone Show is a brand new music-based podcast co-hosted by Simon Campbell and myself from Supertone Records.

Featuring GRAMMY Award nominees and winners, musicians, producers and artists from the creative community on tour or working in Valencia, we love to hear people’s stories and experiences with the aim of discovering something new…

The style is very much like a chat with your friends in the local bar and we talk (amongst other things) about what turns people off as well as on, backstage / tour stories, who inspires them, what’s in their fridge, a little gear-geekery, music industry trivia … plus a little taste of what life is like away from the tourist trail in beautiful España.

This show is sponsored by DWJ Boutique Pedals– the best boutique effects pedals we have heard!

We have some great guests lined up including :

Latin GRAMMY Award winning engineer – Manu Tomas

Canadian Musician – Claude Robillard 

Director of Music Technology Innovation, Berklee College of Music – Professor Stephen Webber

Artistic Director of Yamaha Music School, Valencia – Ricardo Curto

Musician and songwriter – Carola Mendoza (Limbotheque) 

GRAMMY nominated bluegrass fiddle player – Casey Driessen

Episode one features guitarist and music producer Angel Vela, who tells stories of his complete affinity with the UK music scene despite growing up in Spain – both fascinating and informative.

New episodes are released every two weeks: Sunday’s at 20:00 (BST/UT)

Please subscribe, say HELLO and join in the conversation…

Show e-mail address: podcast@supertonerecords.com