Defining Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature recently: for me this just reinforces the oddity of his career. A literature award for a recording artist is a one off, and the fact that his material has appeared on pop music charts is a real confusion. Pop music is not about excellence, it’s about … More Defining Bob Dylan

Singers with soul

Rolling Stone magazine has a list called “the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time”! They do explain that this is a list of the most influential artists (“recording artist” is a music industry term for vocal performer) in the history of rock and roll, which turns out to be pop music USA 1958-to the present. … More Singers with soul

Creole music

Once again I discovered something that everyone else has known about for some time: at least I’m consistent. I first came across Po’ Girl while watching the 2008  documentary Down the Tracks: The music that Influenced Bob Dylan (aka, The Roots of Bob Dylan). Po’ Girl played a version of Mississippi John Hurt’s My Creole … More Creole music

Voyager: an interview with Bïa Krieger

Bïa Krieger is a singer/songwriter, instrumentalist, dancer, broadcaster and author who has a unique ability to cross fertilise the musical cultures of Brazil, Spanish South America and France. She sings in many languages, and is the possessor of a lovely and beguiling voice which leads the listener into the emotion of the songs she interprets. … More Voyager: an interview with Bïa Krieger

National Anthems

I wonder how attached people still are to national anthems, and flags and all the paraphernalia of nationalism. Most of them date from the 19th century and are the vestiges of movements like imperialism and colonialism. We’re over that now. Nationalism has been associated with wasteful wars for a long time, ever since people went … More National Anthems

Salute to Vivaldi

Piazza San Marco in Venice by Vivaldi’s contemporary Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768) Everyone knows Antonio Vivaldi, right? The man from Venice who wrote The Four Seasons, a set of violin concertos you just can’t get away from. They’re in every lift, restaurant and shopping mall, so prevalent that some people develop an allergic reaction … More Salute to Vivaldi

Songs in C

Women have a vocal singing range that runs approximately over the notes between middle and high C in pitch (something to do with the comparative shortness of their vocal chords compared to men I read: though it hasn’t proven to be a handicap). I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a man, but women’s voices … More Songs in C