New CD from the Contemporary Music Centre

We’ll be meeting with the project partners in Dublin from 19th-20th June during a busy period for the Contemporary Music Centre, the Irish partners on the project. Here’s a post from the CMC blog on one of those activities which is the launch of a new promotional CD.

CMC

 

The first release in CMC’s new promotional CD series new music::new Ireland will be launched at 4.30pm on 20 June at the National Concert Hall by RTÉ lyric fm presenter Bernard Clarke, following CMC’s Future of Music in the Digital World 2 conference.

The series, new music::new Ireland, aims to showcase some of the current work of Irish composers. Like CMC’s previous CD series,Contemporary Music from Ireland,new music::new Ireland inherits the range and generational representation of the earlier series, taking the listener on a journey into the vibrant world of new Irish music.

Funded by Culture Ireland, the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the release presents 11 works selected by an artistic panel from over 45 submissions in a smart new design and layout. Featured composers include Linda Buckley, Seán Clancy, Roger Doyle, Stephen Gardner, Dave Flynn, Daniel Jacobson, Deirdre McKay, Karen Power, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, Eric Sweeney, and Ian Wilson.

The launch will feature a live performance by traditional Irish flautist Harry Bradley of an extract from one of the featured works on the CD, Dave Flynn’s The Forest of Ornaments.

Following the launch, the CD will be distributed nationally and internationally to radio stations, festivals, concert promoters, performers and universities amongst other places. A digital-only mini series, featuring works by four other composers drawn from the submissions, will also be released in the Autumn.

 

The Harkive Project

The Harkive Logo

The Harkive Logo

Craig Hamilton is a student/teacher who has recently joined the BCU team. His background and new Harkive project speak to some of the concepts behind the IMMIVE project.

Craig  is in the final stages of his MA Music Industries at BCU, where he is also employed as a visiting lecturer and teaches elements of the undergraduate degree program in the School of Media.

He has worked in music retail, the live music sector, digitial distribution and as a musician and songwriter during his 20-year involvement in the music industries.

Alongside his studies and teaching at BCU Craig also works as a consultant for a number of independent record labels and artists and runs the successful music blog, Rock and Roll Tedium.

The Harkive Project is his final project for his MA, following which he hopes to embark on further post-graduate study and research. This is his account of the project:

We live in exciting times. In the entire history of Popular Music fans have never had so many ways in which to consume our passion than we have right now. Technology has brought millions and millions of songs, videos, performances, as well as related items such as artwork, opinion, and information, just a click away. Armed with this technology, our music consumption habits have been changing rapidly over the last decade. We are increasingly becoming highly individualised in our listening, yet well all share a common bond in our love of noise. I’m interested in the ways we differ, and in the ways we are all the same.

It is my belief that no two people have ever listened to music in precisely the same way, and I think this is particularly, increasingly true today. Some of us may use technology or services common to many others, or we may listen to music on the same type of journeys, or in similar spaces, and for similar reasons, but each of us nevertheless creates our own, unique patchwork from what is available to us. The Harkive Project wants to find out how and why you listen to music in the way that you do, and how the devices, technologies, formats, services and time available to you are combined to create your personal listening experience.

On 9th July 2013 I will be gathering stories from music fans across the globe in order to create a unique snapshot of the many listening cultures, habits and practices that exist on that day. I want to repeat this process every year and map how these change over time. My hope is that the results of my analysis into the responses to various instances of Harkive develop into a useful, informative and interesting resource for anyone interested in Popular Music. In order for this to happen, I need your help: I’d like you to tell me your story.

You’ll be able to contribute your story in a number of ways; by writing a few words, or taking some photographs, or even recording some audio or video. You’ll also be able to contribute using Twitter, or by commenting on the Harkive Facebook page, or a number of other online and social networking services. My intention is to make contributing as easy as possible, because I want to gather as many responses as I can. The more people I hear from, the better.

If you’d like to be kept informed of developments as I build up towards Harkive 2013, please join the mailing list. Alternatively, you can follow Harkive on Twitter, or ‘Like’ the Harkive page on Facebook.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing your story.

Music Education Expo – Second day report

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Thanks to the Birmingham City University, I had the opportunity to attend the second day of the Music Education Expo held in London at the Barbican Centre on 21st March.

The Music Education Expo is the UK largest exhibition and professional development conference for anyone who teaches music. This year offered 54 seminars and debates for primary, secondary and instrumental music teachers to provide a supporting platform to get updated in latest technology, resources and music educational thinking, to strengthen their CVs and to implement their own network.

I had the opportunity to attend some of these debates and listened which issues are more relevants according to the operators of the educational sector. Leaving aside merely educational themes and concentrating on the economic side instead, I noticed that the central theme was the effects that technological evolution has produced and will continue to produce in music learning. The technological phenomenon has a significant extent on the proposal of new digital tools that rely on online resources, but is also affecting the musical instruments industry itself, which in recent years has started to offer new types of musical instruments to facilitate music learning, especially for children, but has also begun to modify the classical musical instruments as I will report further.

To describe this impact, I selected three debates among those I attended.

LUNCHTIME DEBATE: MUSIC EDUCATION IN TEN YEARS TIME


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The debate’s panel was composed of Scott Price, secondary music teacher and MMA president; David Barnard, head of education, Roland UK; Deborah Annets, chief executive Incorporated Society of Musicians; and Alison Wolf, the author of the government-commissioned Wolf report, a review of vocational education. The discussion’s aim was to describe the path that music teaching followed during the last decade and to try to make a prediction of what could happen in the next one. One of the first items of discussion has developed around the role of technology in our lives in general and how this is affecting educational methodologies too, giving greater access to endless knowledge resources and also facilitating creativity through the use of new tools. However, there are different opinions about the relevance that technologies should cover in education. As pointed out by Barnard, it will have an important role in the future, and above all we do not know in which direction it will be pushed, since, for instance, thinking about the ‘iPad 10 years ago would have been impossible. At the same time we have to keep in mind that digital innovation must be seen as a tool to better learn and practice music, but it can’t replace the fact that music has strong affinities with the feelings and the human soul. Therefore, the challenge in this path is to create tools that can help us to develop those feelings and facilitate music knowledge sharing. However, as pointed out by Scott Price, technology is not the definitive answer to the educational needs, because the primary need is a financial one, which reflects the aim to provide an equal access to education to a high level for everybody. What is more, music education must consider the effects that technology has caused in other areas of the music business, in particular the copyright infringement issue, and that future generations of musicians need to be educated about their rights as professionals workers within the music industry.

Another point on which has been placed emphasis is the lack of importance suffered by the classical music in contemporary music education. This is a significant problem, firstly because music teachers have to ensure an education the most eclectic as possible to their students, but also stressed a lack in distributing this musical culture. This theme is intertwined itself with the necessity of innovation in teaching methods to provide a more attractive packaging particularly for the youngsters, who approach the music in completely different ways than in the past, particularly outside the classrooms.

In my opinion, this is probably the biggest need that new education methodologies should try to answer, and new technologies can help in developing new and more charming tools, but the real challenge is to find the right mix between high level tools and high level contents.

IDEAS FOR INNOVATION IN CLASSROOM MUSIC TEACHING

During this seminar, Simon Dutton the managing Director at Paritor Ltd has officially launched an innovative social network community designed for the education market: Schooble. The aim of this project is to answer to the need for improved communication between primary and secondary educators, students, parents and educational organizations. In fact, as reported by Mr Dutton, Schooble connects everyone involved in the sphere of education in a highly secure and interactive environment, allowing users to create their own unique online space. In particular, teachers can use this tool to create a career portfolio, view and support children’s work online; students can record examples or work, produce evidence of educations achievements in their own portfolio, interact with other students, access to learning materials online and finally create an e-learning passport. As regards the students point of view, this project aims to give connotations of fun to technical education. Moreover, parents can view their child’s work and catch up with teachers, and at the same time, education organizations can create their own profile to show their documents, videos, projects, teaching methods and curricula as well as inviting other “Schoobees” to join the organisation where they will automatically be updated with news posted from the organisation itself.

At the moment we can’t say if the project will succeed and if it will be an useful tool in education development, but I think this is an interesting example of how new technologies can be used to create an extensive educational environment that breaks the limits of the classroom, creating the possibility for all the actors involved in education to better interact and spread music culture.

For more informations about this project this is the website: www.schooble.com

MUSIC TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE


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This seminar exhibited two recent technological developments in music and music education, including a demonstration of how virtual music tuition is working in remote, sparsely populated areas and a long distance piano performance on Yamaha’ Disklavier.

Regarding the virtual music tuition, it’s been showed as the video conferencing technology is largely used for teaching, especially within remote areas. In this way education costs can be cut in order to ensure that all students can receive an equal education. As pointed out, this technology hasn’t been created specifically for this purpose, but both public and private teachers are using distance learning to teach music playing and the results at the moment are really enthusiastic. The central point is understanding that the virtual environment is just a tool and the good results of education depend on the quality of teaching itself. The only reported limit is the impossibility for the student and the teacher to play simultaneously, but this might be one of the technical developments to be made in the future.

The last music technology example showcased in this seminar was the Yamaha Disklavier. It consists of a normal grand piano, but has additional technological implementations: it can record performances in MIDI and above all it can reproduce it accurately! Yes, it plays alone what performers recorded and even other piano-music you want to be played! Disklaviers are already known for their educational features, can be used as compositional tools, recording improvisation and reviewing the mistakes, giving the possibility to the students or generally to performers to reflect on their own performances and transferring their works on the music scores. Further more it can be used in distance learning because it’s possible to connect Disklaviers around the world using an internet connection.

Finally, I found the whole event really interesting. It was an opportunity to give a closer look to an area of the music business that is usually not immediately perceived as such. I say this because, as a Music Industries student, I always thought only about the commercial process that is used to push a musical product and that allows an artist to be known and appreciated, but I made no considerations about the process which allows the artist to be such: music education. This area of the music industry is relevant, primarily because it plays a fundamental role in the construction of future generations of musicians, but also because is probably the leverage most directly involved in the distribution of musical culture.

Music Education Expo in London

This report was written by Max Kiyoshi, an MA Music Industries at Birmingham City University

On 20th and 21th March 2013 at Barbican Centre in London, Music Education Expo, the UK’s largest music exhibition and conference chiefly for music teachers, was held with a focus on classical music. I attended several sessions on day 1, each of which discusses a different subject with different speaker(s). Although there were few sessions directly related to the popular music industries, it really was in many ways an eye-opening conference with regard to how music education in the UK has been and will be conducted and advanced as I grew up in Japan and had my education background there.

The first session I attended was “Making more of classroom music technology” mainly aimed at primary school teachers, explaining how one simple piece of music technology and software, not initially intended to be used for classroom, could be utilised to engage a whole classroom with music. In particular, I found the second half of the session where the presenters showed how to utilise GarageBand to immerse students in music quite fascinating. Deploying a song from the film, The Proud Valley, they have demonstrated how everyone is capable of improvising the melody and fill the space in the song through using GarageBand instruments such as acoustic/electric guitar and synthesiser with a little trick. As seen in the video, whatever attendees played blended in with the music and it would make anyone who gives it a go think they can genuinely play instruments, which is obviously an illusion. This demonstration really was impressive for a number of reasons. It would, first of all, certainly encourage school children to pick up a real instrument by getting them to experience this illusion. In addition, there has never been an idea of utilising GarageBand as a teaching method in primary school in Japan, nor have I seen any similar examples in the past considering even though my both parents are primary school teachers and so I know a little bit about music education in primary school in Japan. Hence the session successfully convinced me that music education in the UK was quite advanced compared to Japan although the method demonstrated may not be applied everywhere in the UK.

“Government music education policy” was the next session I went to, with the room packed, presented by Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture, communications and creative industries. The session was about how the government’s funding has helped music education in the UK in order to ensure every single child has a chance to learn an musical instrument, alongside the minister describing some of the achievements to which the funding has contributed. For instance, Mr Vaizey proudly stated that the funding has resulted in having remarkable outcomes in Liverpool and Northampton whilst Nottingham has successfully formed choral groups from deprived areas as a consequence of the funding. Further, university students are involved and offer positive influences to children in the choirs as a result. Although the minister emphasised the successful instances of the government’s aid, one female music teacher from Hertfordshire raised a very critical question in the Q&A session. She claimed that the government’s funding has not yet reached out throughout the country since many of the school children she teaches are enthusiastic about learning an instrument, but 98% of their parents are not able to afford for tuitions. Also, a man from a music organisation expressed his worry over the threat of possible job losses of charity and other music organisations due to the establishment of Music education hubs, which was funded by Art council. What could be discovered from this session was, therefore, the government’s funding has brought some positive impacts on music education, though has not yet been distributed in some parts, as well as negative implications that might accompany with the funding.

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“How the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians raised £1.25m for music” was the third session in which I was interested, telling us how the Fund was formed and used. The Fund was basically established to offer chances to young disadvantaged children to receive musical tuition and learn about music continuing for four years. So far, the Fund has raised just over £1.25m and helped 166 children from disadvantaged families in London in collaboration with London orchestra. Thus the scholarship and tuition are inclined to be distributed to classical music. What appealed to me more, though, was the talk regarding how one could set up a fundraising organisation. Taking what the speaker explained into consideration, founding such an organisation sounded very difficult and time-consuming as one needed to bear a number of things in mind. For instance, being crystal-clear about the idea, meeting demands of society, forming a team, having wide network, and having someone top in that particular field are only some of the crucial components of setting up a successful and sustainable fundraising organisation. When applying to the popular music context, I have seen several fundraising bodies in the UK providing either financial aid or recording studios for musicians to record their music and distribute afterwards. In my opinion, it is more important to give young aspirant musicians accesses to social capital (e.g. sound engineers), instruments, equipment, and studios because recording and distributing their music is extremely crucial for them more than anything else. And I hope there will be some more organisations that will let them access to these things.
The last session was “Music education in London: discussion and showcase” with four different speakers presenting projects that they were taking part and were taking place in London. Particularly focussing on classical music projects, they have been providing opportunities for youths’ arts participation and used to develop talents. The most outstanding project to me was “Performing arts project” that took place once a year, yet it involves students from year 6, secondary schools to even postgraduate students in order to enhance the children’s abilities of composition and listening. Moreover, this project invites professional musicians in classical music to schools so that they inspire pupils to go to proper concerts afterwards where these pupils can expose themselves to atmospheres of authentic and real classical music. For the success of this kind of project, one of the presenters explained the ingredients: equal recognition and relationship between schools and musicians; working closely with organisations. While listening about this project, I thought a same thing could be applied to the popular music industry. Whilst British pop stars like Jessie J has visited colleges such as Birmingham Ormiston Academy to encourage students to pursue their musical career, instances of them visiting primary and/or secondary schools are unheard of to me. Acknowledging that they barely have time to spare for such things, I still believe it is a good idea for them to visit those schools to encourage many school children to learn more of music as popular music is liked by many by definition.

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Overall, the conference was quite an enjoyable experience. I learnt so much about music education in the UK that I would have not if I had not attended. Albeit the focus on classical music, I also found some sessions discussed at the conference could be applied to the popular music context not just to get students interested in learning music but to possibly increase marketability for the sake of music companies. Although there seems to be an invisible wall between classical music and the other genres, one thing for certain is that they are undoubtedly interconnected and live under the same tree.

 

“Voda” (in English: “Water”) – A Bulgarian modern folk song by Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov

Elitsa Todorova is a Bulgarian folk singer and a musician percussionist. In 2007, together with her music partner, Stoyan Yankulov, she got selected to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest with the ethno-drum interpretation of the folk song “Вода” (“Water”) and represented Bulgaria at the finals in Helsinki, winning fifth place. The participation of the two musicians is so far the best representation of Bulgaria on Eurovision.

In May 2013, at the coming Eurovision Song Contest, Elitsa and Stoyan will perform for the second time. They will offer an initial selection of five songs that fit the rules of the contest – with a length of not more than three minutes and a date of release not earlier than September 1, 2012. A Commission of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) will eventually select three of them.

The admitted songs will be performed in a television show on March 3, 2013, when the viewers and a jury will evaluate the tracks. During the live broadcast, the viewers will have the opportunity to vote by sending a text message to given phone numbers. The song, which has gathered the highest number of votes by both the viewers and the elected jury, will be the one to be performed on Eurovision.

The two semi-finals and the grand final of Eurovision 2013 will be held on 14, 16 and 18 May 2013 in Sweden, where the last year’s Eurovision winner Loreen comes from.

The story behind the Bulgarian song in space – “Излел е Дельо хайдутин” (in English: “Delio rebel has come out”) – A Bulgarian folk song, interpreted by Valya Balkanska

The story behind the Bulgarian song in space – “Излел е Дельо хайдутин” (in English: “Delio rebel has come out”) – A Bulgarian folk song, interpreted by Valya Balkanska

The story of the song:

Delio rebel was born in Zlatograd, Bulgaria. During the most powerful conversion to Islam of the Bulgarian Rhodope population in the last quarter of the XVIII century, he was strongly defending the Christians. According to the legend, Delio fell in love with the Bulgarian Muslim Gyulsyume. Although the Turks were torturing her to betray him, she stayed true to her love and warned Delio that the Turks were prosecuting him.It has been claimed that the song used to have 40 verses.

The song in space:

Its brilliant interpretation by the Bulgarian folk singer, Valya Balkanska, which you can find in the link below, made the song Излел е Дельо хайдутин (“Delio rebel has come out”) the first one to sound in the space in 1977 as a message from the Earth.

 

Europopmusic

Project members and subscribers to this site will be interested in Europopmusic, an organisation whose newsletter is reproduced below.

The newsletter makes mention of the POPID conference held in Rotterdam earlier this month at which project members Jez Collins and Emilia Barna presented research papers.

Europopmusic’s originators outline their background as follows:

We are DOUBLE BASS (1969) and PAUL ROYAL (1971) and we live in the Netherlands. We’ve been buying and collecting music since the eighties. One strictly on vinyl, the other strictly on compact disc. Starting as most music lovers with radio and the anglo-saxon music, we gradually became aware of the music that could not be heard on Dutch radio but was popular in other countries.

Influencial for this was early MTV (shows like ‘120 minutes’ always had a keen eye for international underground acts), the Europarade and of course the Eurovision song contest. On our visits to other European countries we started to collect pop music that was typical for that country or region. Mind you, we wanted pop and rock, not folk. Or not esspecially because we do like the hybrid forms.

In doing so we not only moved away from the common ground of regular collectors but also from the genre shops file under ‘world music’ and collectors that focussed on the sixties (when italian and french music was popular and still is highly collectable). We realised we were operating in a niche; each time when we visited the European music fair in Utrecht, we had to weed through truckloads of Deep Purple and Pink Floyd in order to find the gems we seek.

This left us in a sort of twilight zone where we discovered artists, music scenes and genres while we went along. The language barrier and different musical traditions make it even more difficult. Talking to shopkeepers across Europe always was a source of information although they we always suprised that we were genuinly interested in THEIR pop scene and not the international one.

Altogether we assembled a record collection that is a cross section of European pop. Maybe is not one of it’s kind, although we like to think so, but gathering from reactions of other collectors it is special in it’s own way due to the fact that all items are assembled in one collection. Instead of sitting on this treasure chest of Europop we decided to build a website filled with all the info we gathered on our trips

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“Hello Europopmusic fans…”

Somehow the past month revolved around the European Union and wether or not European popmusic excists. Prior to the EBBA (European Border Breaker Awards) a documentary was shown about European popmusic with the title ‘Rockin’ Europe’. The filmcrew followed a fresh Estonian EBBA winner Ewert and the Two Dragons and interviewed EBBA patron Jools Holland and journalist Emmanuel Legrand (and our humble office gave background info but were cut from the film in the end, boohoo!). Bottom line was that European popmusic has a hard time when you’re not from the UK or you’re not singing in English. The lack of media exposure for Non-English music was deemed the biggest threshold. Another problem is the licensing At the end of January the European Commission launched a stakeholder dialogue about ‘Licenses for Europe’ urging industry to deliver innovative solutions for greater access to online content. And to overcome the problem that digital music (amongst others) can not profit from the open borders. The discussion is still going online. We wish commisioner Androulla Vassiliou much wisdom.

On a more scientific level we were asked to join a panel at the Erasmus University for the international conference of Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity (POPID). It was an ‘exchange session which focusses on the role of DIY (Do-it-yourself) preservationism in the construction of popular music heritage”. In plain English we were present as an example of how European culture is preserved and promoted outside the usual scientific mainframe. It was an interesting session and the three day conference held more interesting lectures and dialogues. We will try and see of we can get permission from the scientists to rewrite their abstracts and publish them on the site. There were enough interesting insights.

But enough with social-cultural/political mumbo jumbo. Back to what really European popmusic is about with reviews of great new albums, interviews with interesting people and new biographies of artists you probably have never heard of before. As always: ENJOY THE MUSIC.

DOUBLE BASS & PAUL ROYAL

Music news and background articles


Portugal in 1968, music and dissidents in exile

And we continue our search for the source of European popmusic located around the year 1968. This time Portugal. Like his neighbour Franco in Spain dictator Salazar’s regime after WW2 relied heavily on promoting certain folkloristic culture. In Portugal’s case that was the three Fs namely – Football (soccer), Fatima and fado (although some say the third F stands for fascism). It tried to sketch an image to the outside world of a peaceful country. Meanwile anyone who dared to speak up was thrown in prison or fled into exile. And so Portugues protest culture largely was made outside Portugal. The minor political change in 1968 eventually did not come from student protests, passionate music or pamphlets. Nature itself intervened with Salazar falling on his head and ending up in a catatonic state. Read more on Portugal in 1968 and how it influenced Portuguese pop culture


Etienne Daho speaks: “the older I get, the more I am amazed”
Five years after the release of “L’Invitation” which went certified platinum album and got a Victoire de la Musique 2008, Etienne Daho is currently in the studio from London to New York to record his new album. The new album, which will be co-produced with Richard Woodcraft, mixer and engineer the album “The Last Shadow Puppets” and Jean-Louis Pierot, producer albums including “Fantaisie Militaire” Alain Bashung and “lie Supplements “Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine, So Stephane Hauser picked up the phone and called singer in London for Le Catalog. Go to the interview


Francesco Bianconi (Baustelle) speaks: I began to live in a more relaxed relationship with my origins

 

A recurring theme in the discography of Baustelle  is that the experience of the province as living in a ‘cage’. Growing up in the Tuscan town of Montepulciano in the late seventies and eighties they wanted nothing more then escape. Not anymore: the new album ‘Fantasma’ marked the return of Francesco Bianconi, Rachel Bastreghi and Claudio Brasini to this native town of Siena. “Fantasma is a very hardcore Tuscany” says the singer and lyricist. He talks about the new album ‘Fantasma’ which evokes memories to the work of Charles Dickens, Dario Argento, Edgar Allen Poe and the end of time. ” Death as a central theme: “Perhaps we in the West see death more important than what he really is: if you believe in the afterlife, death is only a passage, and if you do not believe that just see it as a change in biological state. So do not fear it. Perhaps we should learn from the cultures of other parts of the world where death is considered something less traumatic.” Go to the interview


Controversial Bulgarian Chalga Company Gets Major EU Funding

Sofia’s press agency Novinite comes with news that Bulgarian record producer Payner, which is known as the largest label for the so called popfolk or chalga music, has secured major funding under EU Operational Program Competitiveness, according to a report. Payner’s EU funds boost, whose payments are yet to made, was reported Tuesday by the Bulgarian daily Presa (“Press”). Payner is largely controversial precisely because of the nature of the so called chalga music – a notorious style that emerged in Bulgaria in the 1990s with oriental motifs focusing on money and sexual allusions. Payner’s total approved funding will be BGN 3.197 M, including a grant of almost BGN 2 M from the EU. Read more

Reviews


Tre allegri ragazzi morti:
Nel giardino dei fantasmi
♪♪♪
Mor ve Ötesi:
Güneşi Beklerken
♪♪♪♪
Hande Yener:
Kralice
♪♪½
Gianna Nannini:
Inno
♪♪♪♪
Tocotronic:
Wie wir leben wollen
♪♪♪♪♪
Severina:
Dobrodošao u klub
♪♪♪
Sheila:
Solide
♪♪½
‘Astro’n’out:
Lauvas
♪♪♪½
Manolis Aggelakis:
O anthropos vomva
♪♪½
Europopmusic artists (added to the encyclopedia)

Marianne Mendt (Austria)

If it wasn’t for her singing the first ever Austrian pophit her fame would probably be much less. Not that Marianne has a bad voice, her first two albums are really worth seeking out. Her musical output has been somewhat arredicate. From pop, to beat, to jazz, to schlager, to musical. Actually you could say Mendt is more an actress then a singer although her jazz festival is quite popular and she always makes an appearance there. Still, for some original light Austrian pop you cannot go around Mendt.Go to artist page

Heróis do Mar (Portugal)

It’s hard to believe for fans of Madredeus but the frontman in that band actually has a rock-past in one of Portugal’s groundbreaking new wave bands. Pedro Ayres and his friends sounded much rawer and punky in those days. For Portuguese their 1981 debut is the pinnacle of social youth culture at the start of the Eighties. An album filled with anger and teenage energy. To my opinion they gradually perfected and shaped their sound on the 1986 ‘Macau’. No longer punk but poprock. From there each member went their seperate path leaving the legend-making to Portugese pop history.Go to artist page


The europopmusicnewsletter is published by DOUBLE BASS & PAUL ROYAL, the Netherlands
as part of the website WWW.EUROPOPMUSIC.EU. Contact us via e-mail: info@europopmusic.eu

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Music and Interactive Media – Examples from Groningen/Eurosonic Noorderslag

One of the reasons why the meeting at Groningen proved important in terms of the overall purposes of the project is that here, the relationship between music and new/interactive media gained more emphasis than during our previous Leonardo meetings. This is in part thanks our hosts Ard Boer and Eva van Netten and New Music Labs – a very exciting, dynamic enterprise developing interactive digital solutions for a variety of music projects, located in a pleasant office on Brugstraat whose interior attests to creativity and subcultural credibility (see photos). (As an aside: walking in Groningen, I was struck by the multiplicity of small galleries, busy workshops, (sub)cultural venues and stores, indicative of the amount of creative activity in the city.)

Eurosonic Noorderslag (as is mentioned in Ann Branch’s talk) also devoted a lot of time and space to the digital shift, framing it more in terms of opportunities and creative solutions than challenges. We heard presentations about the new, and already hugely popular French on-demand music streaming service, Deezer (also available in Hungary, as opposed to, for instance, Spotify, along with 160 countries worldwide – but not yet in the US). Another exciting service that I had not heard about previously is 22tracks – which is also streaming site, but based on selected DJs curating 22 songs according to 22 different genres, in different locations, such as London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. The idea is that individual curation can act as a guide amongst the vast amount of music online. Furthermore, the individual tastes of the DJs are also supposed to represent the given city, the local character, as well as a particular genre.

Ard also introduced his own app, Giglocker:

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However, the main excitement was the Interactive Awards panel and ceremony the next day, where Ard won the Artist award with his fabulous augmented reality app for the band BLØF.

Here is Ard explaining augmented reality during the interrogation phase:

[wpvideo MDF9D3Mo]

And demonstrating how it works:

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Congratulations, Ard!

The Company award was won by the equally fascinating Vyclone – a social video platform that enables members of an audience (or any people gathered within the same space) to upload their iPhone/iPad video footage, which material will then be edited together automatically and the end result published on the website. The platform is based on the idea of Joe Sumner (you can read about it here), and has already been used by such artists as Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons and Alice Cooper. It appears to be a wonderful way of conjoining fans and artists within the creative process, illustrating the overall trend of consumers becoming active producers through via interactive online media. It also makes use of a vast amount of fan material that exists out there anyway, and would otherwise remain marginal. Lastly, there are great possibilities in applying the editing algorithm within a variety of fields. 

The online platform of Eurosonic Noorderslag itself provided a good example of interacivity, with the possibility of personalising the programme. Also, our wristbands containted a chip that was scanned during the evening gigs when we entered and left a venue. Based on this information, the following morning we received a personalised email notification containing the list of gigs we had attended, which was indeed really handy (the idea is thus similar to Giglocker). Moreover, you were also able to scan your wristband at panels in order to get additional materials emailed to you (slides, links), where it was available.

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Ann Branch explains Creative Europe at Eurosonic Noorderslag Conference

Our visit to Groningen was interesting and informative in so many different aspects that rather than providing a single summarising account, I am opting for creating a number of posts that deal with different themes. Also, many important themes are covered in Matt Grimes’ account, so I will not repeat those points.

At the Eurosonic Noorderslag conference, I listened to Ann Branch (Head of Unit, Culture Programme and Actions, European Commission) explain the importance of the EU’s new Culture Programme for the music industries (EU Funding for the Cultural and Creative Sectors, 10 January 2013 15:00). The second half of the panel consisted of Sylvain Pasqua (Policy Officer, Culture Programme and Actions, European Commission) talking about how EU Cohesion Policy Fundscan be used for strategic cultural investment.

My summary of Ann Branch’s talk is attached – and here you find some related links:

Creative Europe http://ec.europa.eu/culture/creative-europe/

Ann Branch explaining Creative Europe http://ec.europa.eu/culture/creative-europe/video-interviews_en.htm

European Music Council http://www.emc-imc.org/

EMC Statement on the EU Commission’s Creative Europe programme proposal http://www.emc-imc.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Cultural_Policy/creative_europe/EMC_statement_Creative_Europe.pdf

European Music Office http://www.emo.org/

Report commissioned by EMO and Eurosonic Noorderslag (Music Crossing Borders. Monitoring the cross-border circulation of European repertoire within the European Union)http://dl.dropbox.com/u/59105500/new%20report.pdf

European Audiovisual Observatory http://www.obs.coe.int/

European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP) http://www.etep.nl/en/

CEETEP http://www.etep.nl/en/festivals/ceetep-festivals/

International Association of Music Information Centres http://www.iamic.net/

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