Monday 27 November 2017

Eyebrow - Strata (Album art)

Album art inspiration
Eyebrow - Strata (2017)

Paul Wigens - drums, percussion, violin, bowed guitar
Pete Judge - trumpet, electronics

Images by Paul Wigens
Design by Jake McMurchie

Eyebrow are a trumpet and drums duo based in Bristol, UK. Formed in 2009, their music evolves out of improvisations which are reassembled into structured pieces with unexpectedly cinematic sweeps, like a journey through a slowly-changing landscape. The band’s 5th album, Strata, was released last month (October 2017).

The new album from the Bristolian duo Eyebrow was destined to be called Deep Time, a concept that is rooted in the work of  Scottish geologist, physician, naturalist and experimental agriculturalist James Hutton (1726-1797). It was his belief that the Earth was perpetually being formed, through a process of rock erosion, sedimentation and formation. The idea that the Earth is alive was first scientifically discussed by Hutton, he anticipated the Gaia hypothesis proposed by James Lovelock in the 1960s. This theory proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on our planet.

Paul Wigens
Unfortunately Eyebrow had to find a new title for their imminent CD release when Harrison Birtwistle premiered a new orchestral work titled Deep Time in June 2017. Yet the themes and metaphors of Deep Time (Erosion, Formation, Synergy and Gaia) still embed themselves in Eyebrow's 5th album Strata

Paul Wigens created the album cover artwork, he explains more about its creation,
"The original images were of sunlight through curtains and slatted blinds which created the abstract wavy lines. The images were created in the Brushes app on my phone and enlarged and enhanced in Photoshop. I used my finger to 'paint' over the pictures. Great fun!"

Pete Judge
To the viewer the album cover contains many stories, flowing far away from its sunshine origins. The purists see an anticline, a geological formation of folded rock strata. The more simple interpretation is as plain as black and white, two distinct personalities, Judge and Wigens. The lines don't sit beside each other in perfect definition though, they ebb and blur, moving as the eye scans over them. Symbolic perhaps of Eyebrow, whose music seeps and bleeds between genres, travelling towards new music landscapes that have yet to be defined.

Read an excellent review of Strata at The Jazzmann.

All Eyebrow’s albums are available to download at:

Maya Youssef - Qanun of the heart

Maya Youssef

Maya Youssef - qanun

Date - 22nd November 2017
Venue - A World In London, Resonance FM, London, UK

Album - Syrian Dreams (Harmonia Mundi, 2017)

Future performance
January 18th, 2018 - Celtic Connections 25th Anniversary Concert, Glasgow, UK.

Mesmerising conjurer of qanun, Maya Youssef on this A World in London!
Click to listen:

Maya Youssef
You can almost imagine the original advert on a dating app: ‘Qanun, ancient Persian zither seeks 21st century Queen of the heart'. A young girl living in Damascus saw this advert and replied, ‘I will be your heart, your queen, your life-partner, and together we will make beautiful music that will touch the hearts of everyone else’. That girl was Maya Youssef, and thus began a soul-filled romance with her Qanun that has taken the love-struck pair concerting around the world, via seas filled with Syrian Dreams. We first interviewed Maya Youssef in 2012, after she had just moved to London. She was on the brink of new discovery, and her homeland was on the brink of disaster - a lot has happened in the five years since then. Listen to this AWIL to hear one of our most poignant & moving interviews, plus Maya’s emotive & spellbinding compositions from her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Syrian Dreams’. 

Patrick Bernard - Resonance FM Sound Engineer
22/11/17 – AWIL at Res 145  Online:  Production & pics by Sofia Gaetani-Morris, Norman Druker, Sophie Darling & sketches by artist Alban Low. Also this week Latchepen at SOAS Radio:  Next week global music at SOAS. #AWorldinLondon – IN ITS ELEVENTH YEAR! Live on Wednesdays 6.30pm Resonance 104.4 & 4pm SOAS Radio 

Thursday 16 November 2017

James Patrick Gavin - Fanning the Flames

James Patrick Gavin
James Patrick Gavin - violin
Tad Sargent - bouzouki/guitar

Date - 15th November 2017
Venue - A World In London, Resonance FM, London, UK

Future performance
5th February 2018 - Chewing The Fat album launch, Union Chapel, London.

Tad Sargent
Charismatic music maestro James Patrick Gavin on this A World in London!
Click to listen:  

James Gavin and Tad Sargent share much common ground, from Irish roots to Islington’s Holloway Road, and previous appearances on AWIL, but most of all, their outstanding musicianship. It was pure joy to watch James Gavin’s finessed fiddle-playing working in tandem with Tad Sargent’s brilliant bouzouki-guitar in the studio! James has now embarked on his first solo adventure, producing a fantastic CD called Chewing the Fat which is scheduled for release on January 26th. It’s a concept album, centred around the life & times of his grandmother, Philomena, who lives on a remote Irish mountain and has plenty to say. Tracks on Chewing the Fat are equally conversational, taking unexpected twists and turns through weeping violin and furiously fast Irish reels. Our conversation during this AWIL was also unpredictable, covering debates about Folk music from across the British isles to the worrying loss of yet more grassroots music venues in London. ‘You want to be fanning the flames rather than worshipping the ashes’.

Tad Sargent 
15/11/17 – AWIL at Res 144  Online:  Production & pics by Sofia Gaetani-Morris, Norman Druker, Sophie Darling. Also this week Mary Ann Kennedy at SOAS Radio: Next week Latchepen at SOAS!  #AWorldinLondon – IN ITS ELEVENTH YEAR! Live on Wednesdays 6.30pm Resonance 104.4 & 4pm SOAS Radio

Monday 6 November 2017

SING4SANE - Houses Of Parliament

Melissa James
Melissa James
Helen Whately MP (Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health)
Luciana Berger MP
James Morris MP
Eugenie Arrowsmith
Marjore Wallace - SANE
Stephen Clift - Sidney de Haan Arts & Health Centre

Date - 30th October 2017
Venue - The Jubilee Room, Houses Of Parliament, London, UK
Video - Live Again

MPs gathered alongside mental health experts and supporters in the Houses of Parliament last week to talk (and sing) in support of SING4SANE. The project has been brought to life by singer-songwriter Melissa James, whose “pop-up” performances bond together an inclusive choir in the most unlikely places. In February 2017 she brought together a thirty strong choir at Caffe Nero in Heathrow Airport. It was a dramatic concert that illustrated that mental health issues can strike at the heart of any community. There are pinch points in all of lives and the stresses that revolve around travel and work can sometimes be masked by the busyness of our lives. No where can life be more stressful (nor fast paced) than the Houses of Parliament. Mental Health has been brought to the fore by our parliamentarians in recent months and the event was opened by talks from Helen Whately MP and Luciana Berger MP.

Helen Whately MP

"Mental illness should not be seen as an inevitable part of life. The current state of mental health treatment would simply never be accepted for a physical condition. I've pledged to take on the unacceptable lack of progress in tackling young people’s mental health. I joined MPs from all parties in swearing to tackle mental illness."
Helen Whately MP

Luciana Berger MP
"In my role as President of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health I have visited many services and organisations across the country. There is clearly a huge appetite out there, to work together to improve our mental health services."
Luciana Berger MP

Eugenie Arrowsmith
Melissa James and Eugenie Arrowsmith spoke to the audience about the pressures they have felt being musicians and vocalists. Arrowsmith was signed to Virgin 10 as a teen, and after making an album that cost more than £500,000, she watched as her work was ultimately locked away in a vault at EMI. Through no fault of her own the work she had put her life and soul into had been taken out her hands. Although the struggle of those years took it toll on Eugenie it didn't quell her desire and she is about to release music again after 20 years, this time on her own label.

“The pressures of the music industry, combined with the desire to be a working artist, are often at odds with each other. I constantly question whether agreeing to particular performances, or keeping-up with demands of social media posts, are really necessary if I am not fully stable and am not feeling mentally well. It does mean making sacrifices, which in turn can lead to feelings of guilt and uncertainty about your abilities as an artist and performer. The difficulty in feeling unable to speak about it doesn’t help. Singing with others who understand does somehow help to silently ease the pressure.”
Melissa James

Jonathon Holder
The Parliamentary Big Sing was a great success bringing together politicians from opposing parties to sing as one. Jonathon Holder on guitar accompanied choirs from Goresbrook School (Dagenham) and the George Green School (Isle of Dogs). Several talented singers bolstered the ranks, including composer Ross Lorriane and ex-Birmingham Cathedral chorister Hilgrove Kendrick. They demonstrated that there is great power being part of a collective. With everyone in the Jubilee Room braced shoulder to shoulder they sang for each other, and for the wellbeing of everyone who still suffers far beyond the confines of Westminster. You are not alone they sang, it is time to Live Again.

“The coming together was spine-tingling, I was overwhelmed to see people singing to raise awareness of such an important issue, because mental health matters to them.” Melissa James

Ross Lorraine
During the summer of 2017 members of the public joined Melissa James in a Big Sing at London’s celebrated RAK Studios. The recorded single, Live Again, sees all sale proceeds go to the mental health charity SANE. Live Again is planned for re-release in early November. It will be available to download via i-Tunes, Google Play and Amazon and other online music retailers.

Will Amor
Assistant to Helen Whately MP
“I wrote ‘Live Again’ a couple of years ago about someone close to me who was going through a difficult time,” Melissa explains.  “For me, this song was really about showing my vulnerabilities, and people often come to me saying because of that, they get it. For some people, it makes them cry.
“It’s about isolation, and so it made sense to use it as a tool to create feelings of togetherness by getting people to sing together.”

James Morris MP
Marjorie Wallace CBE (SANE), James Morris MP, Eugenie Arrowsmith and Sephen Clift (Sidney de Haan Arts & Health Centre) joined Melissa James in a panel discussion. The packed audience listened with emboldened hearts but were also chastened by the realities that face Mental Health services throughout the UK. Nothing can dispute that we need to come together, to listen to each other and to celebrate with voices that have found their life once again.

Marjorie Wallace
“It’s fantastic that Melissa has created this event to bring the SING4SANE initiative to this important audience. Singing can set the mind and spirit free, and help people who experience mental health problems.”
Marjorie Wallace CBE, founder and chief executive of SANE

Margaret Edwards SANE
SANE was established in 1986 to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness, following the overwhelming public response to a series of articles published in The Times entitled The Forgotten Illness. Written by the charity’s founder and chief executive, Marjorie Wallace, the articles exposed the neglect of people suffering from mental illness and the poverty of services and information for individuals and families.

Jonathan Robinson SANE
SANE's vision has remained consistent throughout its history: to raise public awareness, excite research, and bring more effective professional treatment and compassionate care to everyone affected by mental illness.
SANE Website

Stephen Clift is Professor of Health Education in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Canterbury Christ Church University, and Research Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health. He has worked in the field of health promotion and public health for over twenty-five years, and has made contributions to research, practice and training on HIV/AIDS prevention, sex education, international travel and health and the health promoting school. His current interests relate to arts and heath and particularly the potential value of group singing for health and wellbeing. He is one of the founding editors of  Arts & Health: An international journal for research, policy and practice  and Honorary President of the  Singing Hospitals International Network.


Friday 3 November 2017

Tse Tse Fly - Middle East

Shama Rahman

Tse Tse Fly: Middle East
Simon Coates
Shama Rahman
Afasia Yuri

Date - 1st November 2017
Venue - A World In London, Resonance FM, London, UK

Avant-garde world collective Tse Tse Fly Middle East on this A World in London!
Click to listen:  

Simon Coates
Tse Tse Fly Middle East was conceived by Simon Coates as an alternative clubbing concept while he was living in Dubai. Having relocated to London, the project has grown to include an array of experimental music artists and on this AWIL you’ll hear spatial electronica from Japan’s Afasia Yuri plus operatic sitar grooves by UAE born Shama Rahman. The common thread is a shared commitment to human rights, change for the better, and hope for the future! Find out more below this track-list!

Founded in the United Arab Emirates in 2015, Tse Tse Fly Middle East started life as the region's first ever sound art and experiments-in-noise platform. Now based in London, Tse Tse Fly Middle East is a registered Community Interest Company that highlights human rights, censorship and social issues in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent via live experimental arts events, workshops and interventions.  Typically a Tse Tse Fly event features curated short art films, mini-documentaries and animations on socio-political themes, and live experimental music, noise and sound art performances.  Tse Tse Fly has a fluid collective of experimental musicians and sound artists at its core. Collective members either have roots in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent or have a practise that features strong socio-political messages. As well as hosting regular club nights, Tse Tse Fly Middle East have performed live - and have produced and curated site-specific events - in Dubai, Sharjah and the UK, working with the Maraya Arts Centre, Alserkal Avenue, the Other Worlds Festival, the Other Worlds Music Video Festival, the Fully Booked international artist book project, London-based experimental music project Sonic Imperfections and more.

Shama Rahman
Shama Rahman - born in the United Arab Emirates and now based in the UK, Shama is a sitar-player, singer/songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, actress/spoken word artist and scientist.  Shama has spent the summer playing live - including performing at Bestival - and promoting her new album Truth Be Told.  

Afasia Yuri
Afasia Yuri - based between the UK and Japan, Yuri’s live sets mix fully absorbing field recordings with electronic beats and ethereal, siren-like vocals that shift between noise and ambience.  Yuri builds sometimes disorientating soundscapes that move back and forth through space.  

1/11/17 – AWIL at Res 142  Online:  Production & pics by Sofia Gaetani-Morris, Norman Druker, Sophie Darling & sketches by Alban Low. Also this week a Sheila Chandra at SOAS Radio. Next week Martin Alvarado at SOAS & Namvula at Resonance!  #AWorldinLondon – IN ITS ELEVENTH YEAR! Live on Wednesdays 6.30pm Resonance 104.4 & 4pm SOAS Radio