New Music Strategies

New Music Strategies is a pan-European strategy group for music culture, creativity and development created by Andrew Dubber, Professor of Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University. The members of the NMS group are based in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, and represent a wide range of expertise in the music and cultural industries.

NMS initiates ideas and projects, and work in partnership with organisations to make the most of music in response to transformative media technologies. They use their creativity, curiosity and expertise to make a difference and simplify the new music environment.

As their website states,”We work with people we like on cool projects about music and culture – and help bring more music to more people in more places.”

Some examples of the work NMS undertakes:

  • Help music businesses make strategic decisions about innovative projects.
  • Work with NGOs to use music to achieve their objectives.
  • Generate new ideas with music organisations.
  • Create information products and run workshops within existing industry events.
  • Combine our expertise to initiate innovative projects that enhance and celebrate music culture.

For more information about New Music Strategies visit their website: http://newmusicstrategies.com/

UK Music launches Skills Academies

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Some interesting news from the world of Vocational Education and Music Industry Training here in the UK.

UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry, from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to major and independent record labels, managers, music publishers, studio producers and collecting societies, have joined forces with Creative & Cultural Skills to launch The UK Music Skills Academy, the first industry-led effort to improve recruitment practices in the music business.

Music Week, the leading Music Industry trade publication in the UK, has more here: http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/uk-music-skills-academy-launches-to-bridge-gap-between-education-and-music-industry/055330

Independent Music Innovation from Birmingham City University

The Independent Music Innovation course is a 2-day programme designed by staff of the School of Media at Birmingham City University aimed at individuals and organisations operating in the local independent music industries

The 2-day course will address concepts surrounding the operation of independent music businesses in the Digital Age, with the aim of aiding participants in the creation of a new online business tool, product, or service that will enhance the performance of their operation and help make their businesses more sustainable.

This course is suitable for people working in one or more of the following areas and organisations: Record Production; Record Labels; Artist Management; Live Music Promotion; Music PR; Bands/Artists/Musicians; Sound Engineering; Music Journalism; Music Photography; Music Video

During the course attendees will:

  • Evaluate their own business activity in relation to the wider music industries
  • Examine the present industrial and economic landscape as it relates to their business activity
  • Explore concepts regarding sustainability, productivity, and entrepreneurship
  • Identify new opportunities and areas for growth
  • Create a new online product, service, or business tool that will aid the operation of their organisation.

For a more information about the course visit the Independent Music Innovation website

Vocational Music Education in Birmingham

Here is a round-up of the Education Institutions in Birmingham, UK, offering vocational music education courses:

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Birmingham City University

Website: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/

“As the driving force behind the creative provision at Birmingham City University, the Faculty of Performance, Media and English comprises four distinctive centres of creative excellence based across the city: Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham School of Acting, the School of English and Birmingham School of Media”

Undergraduate courses include:

BA (Hons) Media and Communication – Music Industries

BSc (Hons) Music Technology

BMus Popular Music

BA (Hons) Music Business (offered in Partnership with Access to Music)

Post-graduate courses include:

MA Music Industries

MMus / PGDip Music Technology

MA Music Radio

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Birmingham Ormiston Academy

Website: http://www.boa-academy.co.uk/welcome.html

“Birmingham Ormiston Academy is an independent state-funded 14-19 Academy specialising in Creative, Digital and Performing Arts.

The Academy is now open in a brand new landmark building, geographically placed in an area at the hub of the digital and creative industries. It has superb facilities for academic, vocational and extra-curricular activities and will be at the forefront of the development of creative and digital arts.

Outstanding teaching coupled with constant support and guidance will underpin your personalised learning experiences. The curriculum is designed to develop the specific identified talents, gifts and potential of each student.

Performance, performing, production, creativity and excellence will be at the centre of your experiences. You will be taught by a combination of excellent teachers and skilled industry professionals. Admission to the academy will be via aptitude workshops within the key specialisms.”

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South & City College Birmingham

Website: www.sccb.ac.uk

“South and City College Birmingham is Birmingham’s newest and biggest college. Formed on 1 August 2012 through the merge of South Birmingham College and City College Birmingham, we provide vocational education to around 25,000 students.

With outstanding facilities, excellent pass rates and the only college in Birmingham to be awarded with Beacon status – recognition of excellence and innovation, South and City College Birmingham offer 100’s of courses from Level 1 to higher education for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Our music and performing arts courses in Birmingham are perfect if you want a career on, or behind the stage. Learning in our outstanding facilities and meeting industry experts will make you stand out from the crowd. We have a range of performing arts courses, music technology courses and music production courses in Birmingham from level 1 right up to higher education. We also have short and part time music courses and performing arts courses.”

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Access To Music, Birmingham

Website: http://www.accesstomusic.co.uk/centres/birmingham

“Learning with Access to Music is an exciting and unique experience which is refreshingly different to being in a big school or college. We are 100% dedicated to music and we work with people who are equally passionate about music.

Access to Music Birmingham runs from a commercial rehearsal and studio business which means that your place of learning is at the heart of the regional music scene.

Our staff are all experienced musicians and they get to know who you are and what you want to be. We have a proven track record of students going on to university and into the industry (e.g. EZ Rollers and Lady Leshuur).

Access to Music Birmingham benefits from being part of the UK’s leading popular music college which has pioneered popular music education in this country for 20 years. This means your education and training is quality-assured by our national team. Access to Music designs is own music qualifications in partnership with Rockschool so our courses are the most up-to-date and relevant for 16-18s looking to get into the music industry.

Finally, Birmingham is a great place to study music with a really vibrant music culture and we offer plenty of opportunities to get out and perform or work at venues and festivals. You’ll also benefit from the amazing industry opportunities provided by Atom Live.”

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Bournville College

Website: http://www.bournville.ac.uk/

  • Mission statement: To be the education and training provider of first choice
  • Bournville College was established in 1913 (then known as Bournville Day Continuation School) by George Cadbury.
  • The function of the school was ‘to provide young people with a sound general education which will fit them to meet the demands of life and work in the best possible way’.
  • In 1973, Bournville College relocated to a new campus on Bristol Road South in Birmingham, which it occupied till 2011.
  • In September 2011, Bournville College relocated to a new £66 million purpose built campus in Longbridge, kick-starting wider regeneration of the area after the collapse of MG-Rover in 2005. Click here to find out more about our new campus.
  • The new campus features state-of-the-art facilities which include Mac suites, motor vehicle maintenance workshops, music studios, training kitchens, over 1000 computers, Wi-Fi internet access, 3D cinema room, online learning material, conference centre for 200 delegates and much more.
  • The new campus also offers commercial facilities available to everyone, including: Urban Elegance hair salon, Urban Serenity beauty salon, Urban Flavours restaurant and Urban Fitness.
  • Bournville College offers courses for school leavers, adults, employers and international students.
  • Qualifications include A Levels, BTECs, NVQs, Apprenticeships, Higher Education and bespoke training for businesses.
  • Bournville College is committed to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all students and to providing a positive environment where everyone can learn and work together.

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Academy of Music & Sound, Birmingham

Website: http://www.academyofmusic.ac.uk/locations/location.php?id=6

“The Academy of Music & Sound’s oldest centre opened in Birmingham in 2001 above the then music retail giant Sound Control; later taking on the whole building when Sound Control and its successor Reverb ceased trading.

The Academy of Music & Sound originally offered just Music Technology courses and lessons, only moving into instrument specific courses in 2004. Since then the offer has grown significantly and Birmingham now offers private lessons, short courses, BTEC programmes, Foundation Degrees and an Honours Degree programme.

Having outgrown the old premises the Academy of Music & Sound moved into modern premises just up the road in the summer of 2012 – a truly 21st century music centre. The new centre offers students their own venue, music shop, recording studios, Mac Suite, drum studio, rehearsal rooms,  various teaching rooms, keyboard facilities and a student lounge.”

The Record Karma Cycle – Recorder interview with Gábor Vályi

The following is a translation of the original Hungarian article on Recorder, published with permission from Gábor Vályi and Recorder.

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Photo from IASPM 2013 conference in Gijón (by E. Barna)

The first guest of Recorder’s LP Kollektor series features Gábor Vályi, a.k.a. as DJ Shuriken, whose doctoral dissertation is on the collective aspects of record collecting, and who runs a 2-hour radio show with DJ Keyser every Thursday from 22.00 on Tilos Radio.

Gábor Vályi is the perfect example of record collecting becoming an organising principle of one’s life: it started out as a hobby, later his love of music led him to doing the radio show, then being a DJ lended new momentum to crate digging, and as an academic he also wrote his PhD thesis on the topic, delving ever deeper into the world of shiny black records. It should be self-evident that the works of art that are album covers, the scratchy sounds, and the best sound quality provided by the trinity of record plus pickup plus a good sound system all guarantee that crate digging will continue to remain relevant – this is also evident from ever-growing vinyl sales. So let us look at a professional collector whose collection is in the tens of thousands.

‘There is a photo of me as a child staring into the world with headphones on my head. The picture obviously demonstrates that this was a characteristic childhood activity for me. At the same time I always had an inclination towards hoarding, collecting. Starting with my matchbox collection, everything was assembled in a compulsive manner’ – thus Gábor begins unfolding the foundations. His most important musical experience was Tilos Radio, then he started visiting Wave record shop [in Budapest], and competed with his secondary school friend in exploring new music after new music, both inspiring the other. ‘If I had only been buying for myself, it had been less entertaining. This way I was able to show the records to someone else’ – an important characteristic of any hobby that involves collecting.

‘In October 1995 I got a show on Tilos from 3 to 6 am. I met plenty of DJs there and I formed an interest in electronic music. It was around this time that I bought my first vinyl. The song Wilmo by Sabres Of Paradise was on MTV Chill Out, and because they didn’t have it on CD, I bought it in Underground Records on a 10’’. The other big record influence came from Belgium, where, funnily enough, I happened to be at a psychology conference, but then I quickly made friends with local rappers and chose to hang out with them instead. They only listened to vinyl and that stuck with me at the time.’

He started DJing in connection with the radio, first as a member of the Future Retro 2000 collective, together with Péter Nádori (a.k.a. DJ Parker) and Balázs Weyer (a.k.a. DJ Kretén). It was here that we began doing easy listening gigs, with mostly Hungarian dance singles. I learnt an awful lot about music from Nádori – that you had to read up on it in books, that the cultural context of this whole genre was important. This was the time when I started discovering where the samples were from. I preferred easy listening, crime jazz and similar music because they were better produced that electronic music at that time, so I began collecting these and then jazz followed and there was no way back.’ It was this mutual musical interest that brought him together with DJ Keyser: besides the radio show running up till today, they have also done live gigs and remixes together.

Initially the growth of the record collection is a natural process: ‘we began DJing, which made us some money, which one could invest. It has never earned me a living. The fact that I have hoarded this quantity is also thanks to the fact that I always had work to support myself. At the same time, that also proved an obstacle because I didn’t proceed to do music making as a career. I have had this album that I had promised ages ago and never completed. I really love my radio programme though, that helps me relax for two hours even in a bad week, and with live gigs, I can decide whether to do them or not, they are not a pressure, so record collecting has remained a nice hobby – in relation to which the quantity of accumulation is of course unrealistic.

It is undeniable that in any kind of collecting there is an element that seems to be taking over. ‘When opportunities are there, because you have money in your pocket and you are in places where you can find good records – for me these are Sixties’ and Seventies’ American jazz records, impossible to get in Budapest, well in that case it can easily happen that the buying instinct or desire gets hold of you. When I’m in America and I’m bringing 100 records back, then I’m getting into all this explanation of how much I had saved, how much cheaper they are than at home. There are these stories of me carrying the records all over New York in a trolley suitcase made in China, with the wheels coming off, my other suitcase full and I had also left two more cases of records at a friends’ place. At such moments you can sense that this is a story of obsession.

From Hungarian folk to Nineties’ drum’n’bass, from hip hop to rock, from Brazilian music to jazz, Gábor collects many different genres. His biggest collections are of American jazz albums (about 700) and Hungarian singles (about 1000). He talks about the fact that collecting only becomes difficult after a while, as it is possible to get hold of the records relating to your interest at a reasonable price category in 5-10 years, but once you have everything you come up against walls. Although nowadays almost anything can be found, ‘the internet and this “anything is available” approach has also ruined hings a little, the prices of rare records have really gone up.’

What is record collecting about? Fundamentally it is obviously about the love of music, but there is a part of it that points beyond this. ‘The excitement, the pleasure of discovery – from this point of view, the best records are those on which you don’t even find anything on the internet. It is the archaeology of urban people. You begin to look at the places you go to with different eyes. You go to a city and you don’t look for architectural sights but legendary record stores. It is not about what you have seen from the Eiffel Tower but whether you had been to the shop with one-euro records. You get to corners of the city you wouldn’t otherwise see. You learn a little bit about what kind of music the people who had lived in those places were listening to. But this is also true about individual collections.’

And finally, a very typical record collecting experience: ‘athletes dreams about the coming competition, while my dream was about a Zalatnay album that doesn’t exist in reality, but in your dream you don’t know this. Fold-out cover, you put it on and the goosebumps appear, mind-blowing funk and then you wake up.

Favourite Budapest record shops

For new releases, my favourite used to be Underground Records, for used, it is still Rockin’ Box.

Most expensive record purchased

Hungarian rarities around 10,000 HUF, I don’t buy very expensive records. 

Biggest margin

The Rubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby and Song Of Innocence by David Axelrod. I got both of them for 1590 HUF from Rockin’ Box, they are usually over 100 dollars. I have a Moses Smith single for 100 HUF which is selling for 2-400 dollars among Northern Soul collectors on eBay. Once I got the Körössy Jancsi LP released by Qualiton at a Pécs fair for 100 HUF, now it’s around 15,000 HUF, if you see it at all.

Coolest record shop experience

There is a store specialising in singles in Philadelphia with hundreds of thousands of singles, endless corridors, as if you were in a library. Then there’s a Brooklyn cellar called The Thing, with 100,000 cheap records. But my favourite is Groove Merchant in San Francisco, which is essentially like a museum, you can learn so much there.

Record karma

If you don’t feel a record close enough to yourself, you let it back into the cycle, and new things will start coming at you.

by Endre Dömötör

Links:

DJ Shuriken on Mixcloud

DJ Shuriken on Soundcloud

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.

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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.

“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.

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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