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
“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
Tre allegri ragazzi morti:
Nel giardino dei fantasmi
Mor ve Ötesi:
Wie wir leben wollen
Dobrodošao u klub
O anthropos vomva
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
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