Coldplay are to receive the best British act award at this year’s Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards.
The Grammy award-winning group gained worldwide fame with their first top 10 track, Yellow, in 2000.
Since then they have sold more than 60 million records, had five number one albums and won several awards including eight Brit awards and seven Grammys.
Frontman Chris Martin said receiving the Silver Clef prize meant a “huge amount” to the band.
“Nordoff Robbins is an organisation that lies very close to our hearts,” he said.
“They provide life-changing music therapy for thousands of people each year and we’re humbled to collect this award in their honour.”
The band will receive their prize at a London ceremony on 28 June.
Backstreet Boys to go on 20th anniversary tour
The members of the Backstreet Boys will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with a summer tour that gets under way in Chicago on Aug. 2 and continues through early September. It’s hard to believe these guys have been around long enough to go on an anniversary tour. But the truth is, “Quit Playing Games (with My Heart)” was on the radio charts way back in 1996.
Tour support will be provided by pop singer Jesse McCartney and DJ Pauly D of “Jersey Shore” fame. Go here for a complete list of tour dates. Tickets go on sale Friday.
The tour coincides with the boy band celebrating two decades in music. The guys recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and previewed a new album. There’s also a documentary in the works about the band.
Jefferson Starship bassist reunited with custom-built guitar 35 years after it was stolen
Thirty five years ago, bassist Pete Sears’ prized custom bass guitar was stolen during a music festival in Germany. After decades of mourning its loss, the former Jefferson Starship member will soon be reunited with the one-of-a-kind instrument.
Sears had barely had the chance to play the brand-new Doug Irwin bass, nicknamed “Dragon” for it’s uniquely-shaped inlay, before looters made off with it during a riot at the 1978 festival, according to the Marin Journal. The British-born musician was devastated.
“I felt sick,” he told the Journal earlier this week, “It was like losing a work of art. I couldn’t believe it was gone. I was in shock. The whole band was in shock.”
Sears was never able to forget that guitar, he wrote in a recent Facebook post. Crafted by Tom Lieber from the same wood as rock legend Jerry Garcia’s own electric, “Dragon” was irreplaceable.
“Barely a week has gone by that I haven’t lamented on the loss of this beautiful instrument,” he wrote in the post. According to the Marin Journal, Lieber even put out an ad four years ago offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who came forward with the bass.
A few weeks ago, a German musician responded. He contacted Lieber saying he’d purchased the guitar in 1991 and kept it stored away for many years. According to the Journal, the man said he wouldn’t feel right about playing a stolen instrument and wanted to arrange for its return.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Sears told the paper. “I was absolutely ecstatic.”
The musicians eventually settled on an agreement of €2,500 (approximately $3,250) for its return, but Sears wrote in his Facebook post that the hefty price was well worth it: “I wanted it back so badly I didn’t haggle. You couldn’t build it today for $12,000.”
“Dragon” is currently in Lieber’s possession as he repairs some damage from over the years, but it will soon be on its way back to Sears’ home in San Rafael where he has big plans for it with his current band, Moonalice.
“I can’t wait to get it in my hands again and try it out onstage jamming with Barry, Roger and John in Moonalice,” he wrote in the post, “I never thought I’d see it again.”
BBC plans ‘Tweet of the Day,’ radio for birds
Remember when tweeting was for the birds?
The BBC is hoping to revive that simpler time with “Tweet of the Day” — an early-morning radio program dedicated to British birdsong.
The broadcaster announced Wednesday that veteran naturalist David Attenborough will host the 90-second show, which will feature the song of a different bird each weekday, along with background on the species’ behavior, habits and place in literature and folklore.
Attenborough, who has traveled the world for documentary series including “Planet Earth” and “Frozen Planet,” said he was delighted to be involved in something closer to home.
“I’ve seen some of the most incredible animals on my travels around the world, but ‘Tweet Of The Day’ is a nice reminder of the teeming world of birds on my doorstep,” he said.
The show on the BBC’s main speech station, Radio 4, may be best appreciated by those who rise with the birds. “Tweet of the Day” will be broadcast at 5:58 a.m.
The BBC said 265 different birds will be featured during the year-long series, which begins May 6 with a recording of the cuckoo and moves on to song thrushes, swifts and wood warblers.
Attenborough will host for the first month, and be followed by other BBC presenters.
As this is the 21st century, “Tweet of the Day” will be available online — and will be promoted on Twitter, under the hashtag “r4tweet.”
Massachusetts band raises $100,000 For Marathon explosion victims
Punk band Dropkick Murphys formed in Massachusetts in the ’90s, long celebrating their love for the city of Boston with live albums nodding to Fenway Park and singles with names like “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” and “The State of Massachusetts.” So when two explosions at this week’s Boston Marathon injured dozens of victims, the band members mobilized, doing their part to help their beloved city.
Dropkick Murphys, made up of Ken Casey, Matt Kelly, Al Barr, James Lynch, Tim Brennan, Josh Wallace, and Jeff DaRosa, began marketing a “For Boston” t-shirt on their band’s website, pledging all proceeds from the shirt sales to victims of the bombings, writing, “100 percent of all proceeds from this shirt will go directly to the victims and families of the Boston bombings.” The band was able to reach $65,000 in the first 15 hours of sales, approaching the $100,000 mark soon after.
Classical diplomacy: Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra to tour China next fall
Plans were announced Monday morning in Ottawa for a two-and-a-half-week tour the National Arts Centre Orchestra will make to China next fall.
From Oct. 4 to 20, the 70– member orchestra will perform in seven cities (including Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai), give eight major concerts, interact with hundreds of Chinese musical students in 80 educational events, and generally spread the excellence of Canadian music-making to one of the fastest-growing audiences for classical music in the world.
The universe’s cosmic microwave background is kind of like a recording of the Big Bang’s phat beat.
The Concertgebouw Royal Orchestra from Amsterdam will make a tour in Russia this autumn.
This event is a part of the cultural program of the Year of Russia in Holland and of Holland in Russia.
The orchestra’s Chief Conductor Mariss Jansons says that the orchestra will play two concerts in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg. The program includes Beethoven’s Third Concerto and Richard Straus’ symphony “Life of a Hero”.
The Concertgebouw Orchestra is the leading orchestra of the Netherlands. In 1988, when it was 100 years old, it received the title “Royal” from Queen Beatrix.
Mariss Jansons is the orchestra’s Chief Conductor since 2004.
Philly arts fest opens with ‘time travel’ theme
The city’s newest arts festival has returned with a month of music, dance, theater, visual arts and family activities, all loosely based on the topic of time travel.
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts kicked off Thursday and runs through April 27 at locations around the city.
The theme is “If You Had a Time Machine.” More than 50 events, installations and performances from local, national and international artists are exploring a wide range of questions related to time travel, many looking at historic events in a novel way or imagining what the future will bring.
The festival’s marquee names include Tony Award-winning choreographer and dancer Savion Glover, who is launching the festival’s opening weekend with “Dance Space,” a world premiere he says will take audiences back to the beginning of the universe.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright will pay homage toJudy Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall performance with his show “Prima! Rufus! Judy!” on April 21, while Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Danilo Perezon April 26 will use multi-instrumental jazz improvisation to commemorate Balboa’s discovery of the Pacific Ocean in 1513.
On April 12, Baltimore-based electronic musician Dan Deacon celebrates the first email, sent by inventor Ray Tomlinson in 1971, with an event that will allow audiences to participate in the performance with their smartphones.
The festival’s core exhibit in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is an imaginary time machine, actually a 100-feet-long corkscrew spiral that visitors can walk through and experience changing sights and sounds. Free performances are happening on most nights around the time machine, from a musical production called “Flash of Time” to a comedy troupe presenting the pitfalls of time travel with a show called “Shut Your Wormhole.”
A group of trapeze artists promise to fulfill the festival’s theme “in honor of the spunky women who first sported the raised hemlines of the 1960s” and will sell tickets for public trapeze lessons nearly every day of the monthlong event.
Also on the schedule are concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philly Pops, as well as smaller musical and theatrical performances inspired by events including the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the first moon landing in 1969, the founding of the Works Progress Administration in 1935, the emancipation of Puerto Rico in 1873 and the birth of Benjamin Britten in 1913.
The event culminates April 27 with a five-block stretch of downtown Broad Street closed to traffic and transformed into a daylong street fair with food vendors, a Ferris wheel, live music and street performers.
The inaugural PIFA festival in 2011, which had a Parisian theme, attracted more than 400,000 visitors over its 25 days of events. The closing street fair was attended by nearly 200,000 people.
London Underground strangers orchestra concert takes place
A concert performed by an orchestra made up entirely of strangers recruited on the London Underground has taken place.
Shaun Buswell, 36, from Swindon, recruited the musicians for the gig to raise money for charity.
Up to 70 people played at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire after he set himself the challenge of putting the orchestra together by 12 December 2012.
The money will go to the Daytrippers charity which works with ill children.
Mr Buswell said he approached more than 300 people on the Tube.
The always creative Neurowear company, creator of the overly successful brain-controlled Necomimi cat ears and the wearable tail accessory Shippo, has announced its newest invention, Mico, a system consisting of a pair of headphones, a brainwave sensor and an iOS app, aiming to free users from having to manually select songs ever again.
Mico -short for Music Inspiration from your Subconsciousness- is made up of two parts: the headphones with a sensor and an iPhone application. The headphones read the user’s brain signals and determines whether the person is focused, drowsy or stressed. The device sends this information to the iPhone app which searches for and plays music that matches the user’s mood. As a unique touch, LED signs on the side of the headphones light up, which also lets people know just what kind of state the user is in.
Neurowear recently revealed Zen Tunes, an application that analyses a user’s brainwaves when listening to music and then produces a recommended playlist based on their state of mind. Mico, takes this idea a step further.
According to Neurowear, “Mico frees the user from having to select songs and artists and allows users to encounter new music just by wearing the device. The device detects brainwaves through the sensor on your forehead. Our app then automatically plays music that fits your mood.”
If you like Necomimi, you will probably like Mico just as much. To learn more about the product check out the official Mico website where you can also find a recently posted photo gallery with j-pop star Julie Watai wearing the new device. If you look close enough (search for the indicator signs) you might be even able to tell in what mood Julie was during the photo session.
Release date or price not known at this point but Neurowear will demonstrate the device for the first time at the SXSW Trade Show in Austin, Texas from March 8-13.
Somalis enjoy first major music concert in two decades
Music is back in Mogadishu after being banned by Islamists who controlled much of south and central Somalia two years ago. A concert this week saw a top Somali performer appear before a happy crowd, which included government officials.
Rock, rap and love songs, which most Somalis deem among their few pleasures in life, were banned by al-Shebab, who ordered music off the radio waves and, of course, forbade live performaces.
The music ban faded away once al-Shebab pulled out of Mogadishu and other parts of the country over a year ago, paving the way for a return to security in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country.
Since then Mogadishu has seen rapid growth and developments in the music sector as Somali singers based in the diaspora have returned to entertain Somalis in the capital Mogadishu - a hugely symbolical and significant gesture.
Among the singers was Mohamed Hassan Lafoole, who is one of the most revered Somali music artists admired by many music-loving Somalis. His songs have became a real hit in the Somali music industy in recent years.
He performed one of his latest albums to hundreds of spectators in Mogadishu for the first time in two decades with government officials also in attendance.
Mogadishu mayor, Mohamud Ahmed Nur, also known as Tarsan, was present at the show. In his opening remarks he praised the Somali musicians for their contribution to creating peace in their country.
The mayor also added that the Somali musicians, singers and poets have had bad days, so that the government will give them the courage and the value they deserve.
“Where you now stay is Mogadishu,” he told them. “I understand that some of you may think are in London or New York but actually we are in Mogadishu, the theme of this show is ‘Mogadishu at night’ this is Mogadishu at night.
“We are really very delighted the homecomings of the Somali singers in the diaspora like Lafoole. This move is a clear indication that Mogadishu is regaining it is lost glory, so we need the people to make the most of it and enjoy yourself.”
Everyone was happy as this was the first live performance in the city since the fall of central government of Somalia.
There were many colourful dancers enjoying the vibrant music with many participants from the diaspora hitting the dance floor as the audience applauded and everyone tapped their feet in step to the beats.
Music and songs are what brings relief from anger, frustration, depression, fatigue and other emotional and physical pain, audience members said.
“The last 20 years we have been suffering but now we have a beautiful life,” said Rahma Hassan, who joined the dancing. “I am telling every Somali especially those of us who live abroad, come back, business is booming, we all have a peace now, we need people to come back.
“Please bring your flowers and new kids back home and your lovers. Happy Valentine night!”
“This is really amazing that Mogadishu is now 100 per cent safe and seen people coming here mostly young enjoying, dancing, partying, chatting,” said Yusuf Ahmed, who has returned from the UK. “It is really amazing so it is something that I can really tell my friends, it is something that I can tell my friends to come back here now and see how Mogadishu is improving.”
Many Somali artists, actors and singers have fled the violence over the last two decades, especially as al Shebab cracked down on any forms of art they deemed unislamic according to their strict interpretation of sharia law that they adhere to.
The tradition of Somali music can be traced back to the war of independence. Many freedom songs were composed, which called for the awakening of the people to rebuild their ideals and the nation in turn.
The awakening songs of Somalia still continue to inspire the people of Somalia.
At the present time in the country new challenges are emerging but music can make a call and help eradicate the social evils that are emerging from corruption, drugs and bribery.
Musicians from around the world join forces with UN to highlight women’s rights
More than 20 musicians from across the globe are joining forces with the United Nations to spotlight the importance of empowering women through a song that will be released on International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March.
The song, entitled “One Woman: A song for UN Women,” was inspired by the stories of women supported by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) since it began its work in 2011.
Initially performed during the launch event for UN Women in the General Assembly Hall in 2011, “One Woman” seeks to become a rallying cry that inspires listeners about the mission of UN Women and engages them to join in the drive for women’s empowerment and gender equality, according to the agency.
The song, which was written by Graham Lyle from Scotland and British/Somali singer-songwriter Fahan Hassan, features renowned artists from all regions. They include: Angélique Kidjo from Benin; Bassekou Kouyate from Mali; Brazilian musician Bebel Gilberto; Charice from the Philippines; and Jane Zhang from China, among others.
While the song will be released and available for download on 8 March, behind-the-scenes video chronicling the song’s year-long production is already available at UN Women’s website.
The software company, Microsoft, has sponsored the song and music video production, and all proceeds from its online sales on iTunes and Amazon will go directly to UN Women in support of its programmes to empower women on the ground.