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World Service Music Documentaries

World Service Music Documentaries Carla Bruni: C’est la Vie

Carla Bruni plays her favourite songs in French and English on the subjects of love, sadness and joy. France’s former First Lady recently released French Touch, her fifth studio album featuring her interpretations of songs by Depeche Mode, The Clash and AC/DC. With music from Francoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Barbara and Stromae.

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World Service Music Documentaries Martin Morales’s Peruvian Roadtrip

Peruvian-born chef and record producer Martin Morales heads back to his homeland to explore the inherent link between food and music in Andean culture.

Martin starts his journey at the famous La Chomba restaurant in Cusco, where musicians queue to serenade the diners, and then heads to the tiny village of Lamay where the local delicacy is guinea pig on a stick.

He then visits the Centre for Native Arts in Cusco where food and music come together with a dance about the Oca potato. Providing the soundtrack to the dance is the legendary violinist Reynaldo Pillco.

Martin also meets singer Sylvia Falcon who enchants with a song that highlights the importance of the Coca leaf in Peruvian cuisine and culture. And, he talks to Peruvian music legend Manuelcha Prado aka the “Saqra” of the guitar – or the devil of the guitar. Plus, talented travelling musician Carlos – whose lack of teeth does not affect his ability to connect the with his appreciative audience.

(Photo: Martin Morales. Credit: Dave Brown)

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World Service Music Documentaries Yevgeny Murzin: Master of the Synthesiser

Due to the political climate in Soviet Russia of the day, Yevgeny Murzin was forced to build his synthesizer in secret with little access to electronic parts. Over next two decades (pre and post war), the ANS as it was known, was a self-financed, largely secret labour of love; Murzin had to work on it in his spare time over two decades with help from a like-minded, tight-knit circle of composers and technicians.

Murzin finally completed construction of the ANS in 1958 and it was subsequently used by a number of pioneering 20th Century Russian composers such as Stanislav Kreichi, Alfred Schnittke, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidulina and Edward Artemiev. The unearthly tones of the ANS were perfectly suited to the era of Soviet space exploration, and became the soundtrack instrument of choice for a series of classic Russian sci-fi films, the most famous being Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris released in 1972.

Meet those who knew Murzin and saved his instrument from obscurity: Eduard Artemiev (celebrated soundtrack composer and Tarkovsky collaborator), Stanislav Kreichi (composer and de facto guardian of the ANS), Andrei Smirnov (Theremin Institute Moscow). Other synthesiser pioneers contribute including Suzanne Ciani (US composer) and Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory (Russian synth collector) as well as current synthesiser aficionados Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.

Presented by keyboard player and long-standing Russophile, Jon Ouin.

Image: Yevgeny Murzin

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World Service Music Documentaries Aretha at 75

Known as the Queen of Soul, voice artists have been in awe of Aretha Franklin for 50 years. In Aretha at 75 Mark Coles talks to musicians, fans and producers from different parts of the world about what makes her so special.

Including contributions from South African singer Lira, American musician Valerie June, record company mogul Clive Davis, producer Narada Michael Walden, singer Sarah Dash and music journalist David Nathan.

Producer: Bob Howard

Photo: Aretha Franklin, Credit: Getty Images

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World Service Music Documentaries Symphony of the Stones

Ancient history was not silent, so why is our study of it? The oldest-known musical instruments – bone flutes found in southern Germany – date back a little over 40,000 years. But how long humans have been making music in one form or another is a matter of great speculation. What did ‘music’ mean in the context of our Palaeolithic and Neolithic forebears? And, how did the human voice, archaeological artefacts and ancient sites themselves affect the sounds of their world.

Travelling from Stonehenge and West Kennet in the United Kingdom to Cueva de la Pileta in Spain and on to Little Black Mountain in the United States, archaeologist and musician Miriam Cooke, witnesses how the techniques of archaeoacoustics – the study of sound in archaeological contexts – can help connect us to the past. She attempts to recover the soundtrack of our ancestors and then write a song about it.

Contributors include professor Rupert Till from the University of Huddersfield, sound artist Oliver Beer, psychoacoustician Chris Kyriakakis, Native American cultural historians Ernest Siva and Walter Holmes, Prehistory of Music author Iain Morley, and Steven J Waller, who researches the links between rock art and the sound of the spaces they inhabit.

(Photo: Stonehenge at sunset, Wiltshire, England. Credit: Getty Images)

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World Service Music Documentaries Where Stars Are Born: The Harlem Apollo

Over 80 years since its doors first opened, ‘Mr Apollo’ Billy Mitchell reveals how the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York became one of the world’s most celebrated music venues, launching the careers of stars like Ella Fitzgerald, The Jackson 5 and James Brown. Shortly after the Apollo opened in 1934, Ella Fitzgerald became the first female to win their renowned Amateur Night talent contest when she was only 17.

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World Service Music Documentaries Sweet Mother

Prince Nico Mbarga and Rocafil Jazz’s 1976 recording Sweet Mother is estimated to have sold 13 million copies in markets and record shops across Africa – that is more than The Beatles’ biggest-selling single I Want To Hold Your Hand. Yet outside the continent, it is barely recognised. On the 20th anniversary of Prince Nico’s early death in 1997, DJ Edu tells the incredible story of this one-hit wonder.

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World Service Music Documentaries How Sgt. Pepper Changed the World

To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which was released on 1 June 1967, we examine the cultural impact of the album regarded by many social historians as the most important and influential LP ever released. It inspired changes in prevailing political, social and religious attitudes – borne from the ideology of peace, love and true respect for one another.

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World Service Music Documentaries Up Close and Personal

Actor and singer Clarke Peters follows the croon and practitioners of the art, including Rudy Vallee, Russ Columbo, Al Bowlly and Bing Crosby. He discovers how their romantic style of singing made the ladies swoon but inflamed the critics. In the ’20s and ’30s, electric microphones and amplifiers enabled singers with soft, untrained voices to finally be heard.

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