Music

Music

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Ultra Mono by Idles
Since 2018’s Joy as an Act of Resistance, Idles’ rise to fame has been rapid. Selling out Alexandra Palace and winning a Brit Award is no easy feat for a left-wing punk/hardcore band with lyrics such as, “My race and class ain’t suitable, so I raise my pink fist and say black is beautiful”. Idles have managed to form a committed base of fans and get their message out to the mainstream. In Ultra Mono, the message of working-class pride and unity is consistent throughout. No doubt the album is shaped by their experiences growing up in austerity Britain.

Music & Movements: The Skiffle revolution

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Following the Second World War, austerity and rationing loomed large in British society. The rebuilding of post-war Britain would change the country forever. The Windrush generation saw new cultural influences appear, rationing ended and the longest sustained boom in the history of capitalism began. Musically, the US was the most important place in the world and young people looked there for their inspiration, leading to four musical developments that would profoundly influence British youth in the 1950s: traditional jazz, rock’n’roll, skiffle and modern jazz.

BLM in music

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The explosive impact of this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests was bound to stir music makers into creative action. Public Enemy’s Chuck D, once described rap as “Black America’s CNN”, the genre that provides the soundtrack and commentary to life in the ghettos. Fight The Power, released in 1989 is arguably the band’s magnum opus. Remixed for 2020 it includes a stellar line up of collaborators such as Questlove and Black Thought from The Roots, Rapsody and Nas. Meanwhile the images in Anderson.

Jimi Hendrix Soundtrack of Revolt

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Fifty years after his death in1970 at the peak of his fame, Hendrix is still revered as the premium electric guitarist. His music became part of the soundtrack of a generation’s revolt. In the six years of his recorded output, he produced just four albums. But these, the hit singles from them and the new tonal and emotional territories he established with the electric guitar, make him one of the most important musicians of the century. Hendrix began playing on the Chitlin’ Circuit with, amongst others, the Isley Brothers and Little Richard.

Classical Music - Beethoven

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What marked his artistic development was the impact of the Enlightenment revolution in ideas, particularly of freedom, equality and fraternity, that found material expression in the French Revolution.

This is the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers, whose enduring power stems from the close relationship between his creativity and the social turmoil that engulfed the world he grew up in.

Beethoven came from a family of court musicians. In 1792 he settled in Vienna, the great social and cultural centre of the Habsburg Empire.

Catching the New Wave

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Cultural flows have proved more multi-directional than commentators could have imagined

The English-speaking world has dominated global pop culture for as long as anyone can remember, but when it comes to the wave of South Korean cultural exports, we suddenly find ourselves two steps behind everyone else. The term Korean Wave, or Hallyu in Korean, was coined from the Chinese characters han liu in the late 1990s, and has since taken off as a description for the increasing popularity of South Korean film, television and pop music.

An open letter to Nick Cave

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Acclaimed rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds played two shows in Tel Aviv in November in contravention of the international cultural boycott of Israel. Arts journalist and BDS activist Mark Brown has written the following open letter to Cave.

Dear Nick,
“Some people say it’s just rock and roll. Oh, but it gets you right down to your soul.” This lyric from your song “Push the Sky Away” could function as a shorthand expression of the relationship I have had with your work for much of my adult life.

As a theatre critic and arts journalist, I spend much of my professional life trying to find art works that transcend the banalities of everyday life and touch something profound in the human experience. Rarely am I as affected by the work I review as I am by your music.

Memphis 68

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From resistance to the American war in Vietnam to the instantly recognisable image of Tommy Smith and John Carlos holding high their clenched fists on the Olympic podium, 1968 was a year of uprisings and resistance.

But it was also a year of tragedy, of the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis, and the fall out from the death of Stax star Otis Redding at the end of 1967. Stuart Cosgrove’s Memphis 68 is the second in a trilogy looking at soul music in one of the most inspiring decades of US history and a bittersweet tribute to the city.

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