The Sampler: Grace Ives, Julmud, Oddisee

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Tony Stamp reviews albums from American indie pop musician Grace Ives, Palestinian producer Julmud, and hip-hop artist Oddisee.

Janky Star by Grace Ives

Photo: Supplied

If you’re like me, a certain type of music discovery holds a particular joy – finding something you have no reference point for, and realising that the people celebrating it were absolutely right. 

Janky Star, the second album by Grace Ives, came out in June of 2022, and Pitchfork reviewed it and interviewed her at the time. About a month ago they posted a social video of her, and tweeted that the album was one of the best pop records of last year, and noticing this special treatment, I pressed play.

Sometimes when I listen to pop it leaves me cold on first listen, then draws me back for a second, and then I’m hooked. That’s what happened here. Ives has a knack for minimal arrangement, and clever writing – the way she draws out the title of ‘Burn Bridges’ as she sings it, easily summarises a tricky social situation and changes up the kick drum to match the lyrics – these are things you start to notice on repeat listens.

Like all good pop, the songs feel like they’re leading you by the hand to a cathartic chorus, and that’s true here, although often, as on ‘Angel of Business’, they’ll simply serve up a new melody and tweak a few chords, rather than anything too explosive.

Checking the credits on Janky Star, it’s notable that Grace Ives wrote each song herself – I’ve become used to seeing a long list of composers when dealing with pop music, although she does live in Brooklyn, not LA, and has a distinctly indie bent. Regardless, these songs are pleasurable in the way their hooks feel inevitable, and never too sweet. 

On her wiki, Ives’s gear is simply listed as a Roland MC505, a kind of all-in-one drum machine and synth, but for Janky Star added guitar, piano, and a producer who’s worked with the likes of Charli XCX. Songs like ‘Loose’ benefit from a slightly grander canvas, moving from synth silliness into a breakbeat-assisted chorus.

It can be tricky talking about pop music, even the slightly spiky kind like this where the drums are louder and more distorted than usual. I keep coming back to the idea that these songs just sound exactly as they should, even though they could have turned out hundreds of different ways. They make me feel good and want to sing along, and that’s about the biggest compliment I can think of.

Tuqoos by Julmud

Photo: Supplied

Founded in London, the Boiler Room is an online broadcaster that films and streams dance parties onto the internet. They focus on the underground end of the spectrum and have proved massively successful. In 2021 when they began transmitting events from New Zealand it caused a flurry of excitement. 

A few years prior they hosted an event in Palestine, featuring a guy called Julmud on the decks, flanked by his MC Dakn. When Julmud grabbed the mic himself, he showed his ability to excite a crowd and proved his vocal ability was on par with his DJing. 

In 2022 he released his debut album Tuqoos, and while dancing and rapping are part of the equation, it’s exciting in the way it heads in every direction at once – alternating between incendiary and soothing.

‘Saree’ el thawaban’ features disembodied voices, marimba, and elements either performed or sampled. Although indebted to dub music and hip hop, and with an audible Middle Eastern lineage, it’s thrillingly new. Later on the record, ‘Kalma’’ steps further into what might have been labelled trip hop in the nineties, with sluggish guitar stabs and pitched-down vocals.

Julmud is based in the West Bank city Ramallah, part of a collective called Saleb Wahad, made up of MCs and producers, including his mentor Muqata’a, who’s been making instrumental hip hop for over ten years. The scene is focused on connecting with Palestinian musicians based in Israel, and celebrating their Arab identity through music. Simply by virtue of their location, events like the Boiler Room doubled as a kind of peaceful protest. 

Muqata’a was interviewed by The Guardian in 2018 and was specific about Palestinian hip-hop being inherently aggressive, a response to the sounds of checkpoints and military helicopters. Julmud’s music is more placid in some ways, but frequently indulges in distortion, and on tracks like ‘Harti’, ups the sense of confrontation when he switches from singing to rapping.   

As well as performing keys and percussion, Julmud often samples traditional Arabic music. Muqata’a refers to this as a way of preserving a culture that’s being muted, and the slinky string lines that weave through ‘Haras El Jabal’ seem to be a good example.

What’s exciting about a track like that is its lack of a traditional rhythm part, instead stacking disparate organic and electric elements over one another. Tuqoos is frequently spacious, sending various bleeps into the void in a way not dissimilar to dub producers in the 1970s and beyond. Elsewhere it draws on modern trap production, industrial noise, jazz, jungle and more, but it always feels like these genres have been taken apart and reassembled. 

This debut is just part of a burgeoning scene, but it’s emblematic of it: music made in the face of oppression, celebrating its Arabic roots while staying relentlessly creative.

To What End by Oddisee

Photo: Supplied

At the start of the 2000s, conscious rap was having a moment. Releases from groups like Jurassic Five, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and more aimed to educate and philosophize, tackling weighty topics while remaining generally amiable.

A producer and rapper called Oddisee started his career a few years later and is frequently tagged as ‘conscious’. His tenth album came out recently, and one of its first lines is “I don’t have enemies, just misunderstandings”, proceeding to run through sixteen tracks that are warm, and often nostalgic. 

Moving from Maryland to Washington to New York, Oddisee has been vocal about influences like De la Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, saying he could relate to them more because they didn’t rap about drugs or murder. Recently he stated he doesn’t consider himself a conscious rapper, but to the casual observer, he definitely fits the bill. Topics on recent albums include his status as an independent artist, starting a family and being an introvert. 

The framework of this album is in its title: To What End, as he grapples with the definition of success, and what it takes to achieve. In its hook one song asks “How far will you go?”, and on ‘Already Knew’, he reminisces about earlier days when he was “happy with a whole lot less”, then finds at least ten ways to rhyme with that.

There’s a newfound bluntness in moments like ‘People Watching’, where he raps about depression and introversion, and the way those things make him treat his fans, then in the chorus, he changes flow and apologises. 

The tracks are all self-produced, drawing on Washington’s Go Go music as an influence, and bolstered on some by his band Good Company. On ‘Ghetto to the Meadow’ he raps about success bringing its own series of complications, over a beat featuring live bass and guitar.

In a backstage interview from 2017, Oddisee spoke for the first time about why he stopped swearing on record: like many rappers, he said seeing an all-white crowd say the n-word along with him at shows was so unnerving he had to stop. He also had kids and realised parents might want to listen to rap with their children, and explained that not having to do radio edits meant less work. He also saw his sync deals start to soar: his music is frequently used in TV shows, films and games. 

It’s a typically multifaceted response from someone who’s open about introversion and using music as an outlet. The thesis behind To What End is similarly complex, but the repeat listens it’ll take to untangle definitely won’t be a chore.

2023 European Championship works revealed — 4barsrest

Four test pieces by Swedish composers will challenge the competing bands in Malmo later this year

The European Brass Band Association (EBBA) has announced the details of the four set-works that will be performed by competing bands at its festival event in Malmö later this year.

All come from Swedish composers and have been commissioned by the local organising committee, Brassmusik Skåne.

Test pieces

EBBC Championship Section: Aurora (Joel Thoor Engström)
EBBC Challenge Section: Tragic Overture (Tobias Broström)
EBBC Youth Championship Premier Section: Phoenix’ Chant (Daniel MöllÃ¥s)
EBBC Youth Development Section: Turning Torso (Magnus Hylander)

EBBC Championship Section: Aurora (Joel Thoor Engström)

Joel Thoor Engström (1987) is based in Stockholm. His works range from orchestra and choir to chamber/solo and opera and have been performed at several established Swedish venues. He was a finalist in the 2006 EBBC Composers’ Competition.

His music is characterised by colourful expressions in rhythm and harmony, influenced by neo-classical composers and the French tradition following Debussy and Ravel to electronic funk and progressive disco.

In describing his work, he states: “Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn. Every day she opened the gates of the east with her rosy fingers and riding her chariot in a glowing mantel across the sky, accompanied by children, she announced the coming arrival of her brother, Sol (the sun).

The natural phenomenon Aurora Borealis (or “northern lights”) is what inspired the Romans to this personification of the dawn and it can be a mysterious thing to behold, of both beauty and awe.

The dawn can be a symbol for many things, something beginning as well as something ending. The age old message of Aurora could therefore be considered timeless. Her call amid the joyous dance of the children of the stars that a new hope, a new light is on its way can be a comforting notion to all in the face of hardships.

This piece is in three movements, played attacca. Though not written with a programmatic intent, the writing process has evoked my thoughts on the symbolic themes of the Roman myth; the setting of an unstable and uncertain scene — like an endless fall — in the first movement, followed by a waiting and the “kindling of light” in the second, finishing with a festive song of praise in the third.

One of the key musical thematic features of this piece is a harmonic progression (first heard in the trombone section at bar 16).

It twists and turns around its axis like the waves of the northern lights, or the turns of Auroras chariot. Throughout the piece, its harmonic “magnetic fields”are constantly pulling and shaping the music into new forms.”

EBBC Challenge Section: Tragic Overture (Tobias Broström)

Tobias Broström (1978) was born in Helsingborg. Following four years of percussion studies at the Malmö Academy of Music, he undertook a Master’s degree in composition, studying with the composer Rolf Martinsson and Prof. Luca Francesconi.

Known for his rhythmically powerful music, colourful orchestration and a poignant harmonic sense, he has swiftly established himself among the foremost Scandinavian composers of his generation.

He describes his music as full of frenzy and power, appearing in attacks and waves.

He has collaborated with renowned conductors and soloists from HÃ¥kan Hardenberger to Rumon Gamba. Hardenberger has performed his work, ‘Lucernaris’ on numerous occasions.

Speaking about his work, he stated that despite the title he does not believe the work to be tragic in nature.

He stated: “Structurally, the piece has an overall A-B-A form with the first section an extended and ferocious passage in 6/8 time. It exploits the rhythmic possibilities in 6/8 and cross-rhythms and cross-dynamics are a feature and challenge that bands will need to overcome.

The Overture could be considered as absolute music, rather than having a fixed programme — the only potential tragedy being people attending the EBBC in Malmö and not hearing the performances of this exciting piece.”

Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn. Every day she opened the gates of the east with her rosy fingers and riding her chariot in a glowing mantel across the skycomposer

Youth Sections:

EBBC Youth Championship Premier Section: Phoenix’ Chant (Daniel MöllÃ¥s)

Daniel MöllÃ¥s (1993) is based in Malmö. He began his musical journey playing trombone and piano, through which he soon developed an interest in composing and arranging.

Since graduating he has studied composition at the Linnaeus University in Växjö (2012-13), Gotland School of Music Composition (2013-15) and at Malmö Academy of Music (MAM), including an exchange course at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2018.

He has worked with several ensembles, orchestras and soloists, such as the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Helsingborg SO and Norrköping SO amongst others.

Speaking about his work, ‘Phoenix’ Chant’ he said: “The initial sketches were written in the late Autumn of 2021; a time of increasing political tensions both nationally and worldwide, but also some relief that our society were starting to see the return of better times after the pandemic.

Whether this relief actually came or not might be quite hard, if not even impossible to say in today’s social climate. However just as it was then, hope remains as our strongest tool to cope with the difficult times — and above all to inspire us to work towards an actual better future.

Although maybe a bit of a cliché, the myth of the majestic firebird encapsulates this theme with an impeccable decisiveness. Consumed by its own flames, the old Phoenix is reborn from its ashes; younger, brighter and stronger than ever before.

As the sketches were developed and later on revised as the set piece commissioned by Brassmusik SkÃ¥ne for the European Brass Band Championships Youth Premier Section in Malmö 2023, the Phoenix theme became even more relevant, as it highlights the true importance and influence of the young for a sustainable journey ahead through time.

Although challenges will occur, hope remains through the voices of youth, calling for a brighter future.

This chant is for them. For all.”

EBBC Youth Development Section: Turning Torso (Magnus Hylander)

Magnus Hylander (1967) lives in Fristad and is a tuba player, who in addition to his composing can also be found conducting bands in the area.

He studied at the Malmö Academy of Music and played with the brass quintet Brassa Nova between 1992 and 1998. He has composed and arranged many pieces, mostly for brass, but also for other ensembles. Some of his works have been recorded by Göteborg Brassband, Flesland Musikklag, BrassaNova and Band of the Malmö Fire Brigade amongst others.

Speaking about his work he says: “The composition refers to the neo-futurist skyscraper built in the western harbour of Malmö in 2005.

It was designed by Spanish architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter Santiago Calatravo. One reason for building Turning Torso was to have a new symbol for Malmö in lieu of the shipbuilding crane that had been removed a few years earlier.

The piece starts off, quiet and calmly, from a distance where you just barely can see the building. The next section describes the odd shapes and quirkiness of the building. In the middle section we are up at the top level and enjoying the spectacular view of the city on one side and over to Denmark on the other.

At last, we take the speedy elevator down for a last look at the magnificent building using the music from the opening.”

What’s happening on music’s biggest night

A detail view of a giant Grammy trophy during the HBCU Love Tour Atlanta: Grammy U Masterclass at Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on October 10, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Terence Rushin/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Bad Bunny opened the Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles with a festive, high-energy performance that brought many of the audience including Taylor Swift who rose to her feet and danced near her table.

Host Trevor Noah introduced Bunny calling him a “global force” who is the most streamed and listened to artist in the world.

By the time the show started on CBS, Beyoncé had already won two Grammys, bringing her a step closer in her pursuit of being the most decorated artist in the show’s history.

During the Grammys pre-telecast ceremony, Beyoncé won for the first time ever in the best dance-electronic music recording category for “Break My Soul.” She also won for best traditional R&B performance for “Plastic Off the Sofa.”

Beyoncé, who now has 30 awards, only needs two more wins to eclipse the record held by the late Hungarian-British conductor Georg Solti, who has 31 Grammys. Solti has held on to the record since 1997.

It’s the first time Beyoncé has been nominated in the dance category. Her seventh studio project is up for best dance-electronic music album.

Beyoncé entered Sunday’s ceremony as the leading nominee including album, song and record of the year. If she wins in any of those major categories, it’ll be her first since since she received the song of the year honor for “Single Ladies” in 2010.

Trevor Noah is set to host the Grammy Awards this year for the third time in a row. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Muni Long — a best new artist candidate — beat out Beyoncé in the best R&B performance category for her song, “Hrs. and Hrs.”

Beyonce’s other nominations include best R&B song for “Cuff It” and song written for visual media for “Be Alive,” the Oscar-nominated song from the “King Richard” soundtrack.

That’s one of the main storylines heading into Sunday’s ceremony with several of music’s biggest names who are in the running for the night’s top honors — Harry Styles, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, ABBA and Lizzo are all among the nominees in for album of the year. Adele joins them in the record of the year competition.

Viola Davis is now an EGOT — a term for those who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — after she wins for best audio book, narration and storytelling recording. The actor gave an emotional speech and emphatically said “I just EGOT” after she marched on stage to collect her award.

Performers include, from left, Bad Bunny, Luke Combs and Sam Smith, who are all nominated for Grammys this year. (Getty Images)

“Oh, my God,” she said. “I wrote this book to honor the 6-year-old Viola, to honor her, her life, her joy, her trauma, everything,” Davis said. “It has just been such a journey.”

Tattered streetwear, T-shirts and denim mixed with blinged-out couture, wild patterns and plenty of skin on the Grammys carpet. Lizzo wowed in a bright orange Dolce & Gabbana robe adorned with flowers and a huge hood while Taylor Swift wore a long two-piece sparkly skirt with a high-neck and long-sleeve crop top in midnight blue.

Brandi Carlile made a rare appearance during the pre-telecast for a major artist. The singer showed up after her song “Broke Horses” won for best rock performance and best rock song, a songwriter’s award, and best Americana album.

“It’s rock ‘n’ roll, man,” said a smiling Carlile, who jogged on stage with a couple of her band members. “I cannot tell you how much this means to us. We’re born and raised in Seattle. When I met these guys 22 years ago we decided to get into a band.”

Carlile co-wrote “Broken Horses” with twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth.

“Oh my God, this is amazing,” she said. “Oh, I’ll never be the same.”

Kendrick Lamar extended his record in the best rap performance category with his sixth career trophy for “The Heart Part 5,” which also recognized his songwriting as a victor for best rap song.

The Tennessee State University Marching Band beat out the likes of Willie Nelson to win best roots gospel album for “The Urban Hymnal.” The band’s nomination marked the first time a college marching band had been nominated in the category.

Sir the Baptist accepted the award for the band, using his acceptance speech to highlight how underfunded historically Black colleges and universities like Tennessee State are, saying he had to “put my last dime in order to get us across the line.”

Trevor Noah returned for a third time to host the telecast live from downtown Los Angeles’ Arena. The show will include other performances by Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, Lizzo as well as special musical tributes to the late musicians Takeoff, Loretta Lynn and Christine McVie.

But with 91 Grammy categories, most of the awards were given out during the Recording Academy’s livestreamed Premiere Ceremony.

There could be many other firsts: If Bad Bunny wins album of the year for “Un Verano Sin Ti,” it would be the first time a Spanish-language album has taken home the top honor. Taylor Swift, whose latest album “Midnights” wasn’t eligible for this year’s Grammys, could win her first song of the year trophy for “All Too Well.” An Adele win for song of the year for her track “Easy on Me” would make her the most decorated artist in the category with three wins, the others coming for her megahits “Hello” and “Rolling in the Deep.”

This year’s Grammys have also introduced several new categories, including one for video game music composition, which went to the soundtrack for “Assassins Creed: Valhalla.”

Ozzy Osbourne won two Grammys, cementing the metal god’s late-career rejuvenation.

“Degradation Rules” by Ozzy Osbourne featuring Tony Iommi won the best metal performance and his album “Patient Number 9” won best rock album.

Earlier this year, Osbourne announced the cancellation of his 2023 tour dates in the U.K. and continental Europe and that his health would likely prevent him from touring again.

This year’s show marks a return to Los Angeles after the pandemic first delayed, then forced the Grammys to move to Las Vegas last year. Noah hosted the ceremony as well, which saw Jon Batiste take home album of the year.

AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.

Harry Styles Enrages Fans After Changing ‘As It Was’ Lyrics: Pop Star Not Coming Back to the UK?

Harry Styles is still traveling around the world for his “Love On Tour” series of concerts and he recently made a big change in one of his songs that left fans enraged as they wanted to “humble” him to look back where he came from; what happened?

Last year, as the lead single of his record-breaking album “Harry’s House,” the former One Direction singer released “As It Was” and during the bridge part, the original lyrics read, “Leave America, two kids follow her.”

Since then, many fans from the United Kingdom have been using the line to remind the musician that he spends a lot of time in the United States compared to his home country.

BuzzFeed News reported that concertgoers during his tour in the UK screamed the lyrics hard to send him the message. During those moments, Styles can be seen smiling and laughing as his fans shout the line in unison.

More recently, the Grammy Award-winning artist resumed his scheduled concerts in Los Angeles, California, after spending a holiday break.

At his second Kia Forum show, fans are debating if they heard him quietly say “I’m staying” after the line, but the following day, Styles made it clear that he is indeed staying after changing the lyrics to “never leave America.”

READ ALSO: Phil Collins New Album, Tour 2023: Genesis Vocalist Returning Onstage After Celebrating 72nd Birthday?

Following this, many fans jokingly shared their responses on Twitter, saying they felt “betrayed” over the singer’s decision.

“never leave america harry styles?? because you can stay there and we eat all the cheese bread stirring our tail without you ok. feeling betrayed,” one wrote, translated to English.

“i can’t tell if uk harry styles fans are actually mad that he changed “leave her America” to “never leave America” or if they’re just really good at pretending to be mad,” one joked.

“harry styles needs to be humbled after saying never during the leave america part last night,” one expressed.

As of this writing, Harry Styles has yet to confirm whether he’ll stay in the United States for good. Although he has several properties in the UK, as noted by Capital FM, he also reportedly owns an apartment in the Tribeca neighborhood in New York City.

His property features three bedrooms and three bathrooms which cost him a whopping $8.7 million.

READ MORE: Ashton Kutcher Wants To Apologize To Harry Styles For an Embarrassing Reason: ‘I Feel Like A Jerk’

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Essay prize on offer for Malcolm Arnold brass focus — 4barsrest

Students with an interest in the great brass music of Malcolm Arnold have the chance to put their thoughts into writing.

The Malcolm Arnold Society has informed 4BR that it hopes to receive entries from the brass banding world for its 2023 Essay Prize.

The focus of the topic to be explored is: ‘Malcolm Arnold and his contribution to music for brass instruments’.

Essay Prize

Supported by the Malcolm Arnold Trust, the Essay Prize is open to students under the age of 19. It is intended to encourage inquiry into Arnold’s work and to reflect on the experience of performing his music.

The completed essay of between 2500 and 3500 words should be typed in double spacing and will be assessed by Dr Timothy Bowers and Paul Harris (Chair of the Malcolm Arnold Society).

Entries should be submitted by 31st August 2023 to

The author of the winning essay will receive £300 which will also be published in ‘Maestro’, the annual magazine of the Malcolm Arnold Society. The winning author will also receive a personal letter from Katharine Arnold, Sir Malcolm’s daughter.

The Malcolm Arnold Society has also just announced a JustGiving campaign to raise £10,000 to fund the release of a new CD of Arnold’s brass music with Foden’s Band.

The author of the winning essay will receive £300 which will also be published in ‘Maestro’, the annual magazine of the Malcolm Arnold Society4BR

Performance help

Society secretary Ken Talbot told 4BR also hopes that bands will also take the opportunity in 2023 to let them know of all performances of his works in concerts, competitions and recordings.

“We are aware that Sir Malcolm’s works remain immensely popular for the brass band medium. We would encourage any band who is to perform one of his works to contact us.

We can then update our records and in return we will advertise the upcoming events through our extensive membership to hopefully help increase audiences for them.”



Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ Gets Reggae Makeover on New Tribute LP

David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars will receive a reggae makeover on a forthcoming tribute album titled Ziggy Stardub, courtesy of the Easy Star All-Stars collective.

Helmed by producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and Easy Star Records co-founder Michael Goldwasser, Ziggy Stardub will feature a wide range of guests, including Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid. It follows Easy Star All-Stars’ previous reggae takes on Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead’s OK Computer and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Lead single “Starman,” led by British vocalist Maxi Priest, can be heard below.

“I listened to Ziggy Stardust as a teenager but once we decided to do it as the tribute album, I listened to it like crazy,” Goldwasser told Rolling Stone. “I thought about elements from the original songs, the little details that would be cool to interpolate or just copy into the new versions because I want people to listen many times over and hear different things every time. David Bowie was a genius but in order to do what I do, it takes a certain level of craziness to execute every detail of every arrangement, and then keep track of the big picture.”

Goldwasser added that “Starman” was “the song most pivotal to the loose storyline of the original album,” and he knew it would require an adept vocalist. “The chorus of ‘Starman’ has this lift that really draws people in because it jumps an entire octave from the ‘star’ to ‘man,’” he explained. “We needed an accomplished singer who could do something like that. It’s not easy, and I suspected Maxi could pull that off, and, of course, he did.”

Easy Star All-Stars will release Ziggy Stardub on April 21. More details about the album are available on Bandcamp.

David Bowie Albums Ranked

David Bowie is not just rock’s greatest chameleon; he’s also one of music’s most imaginative conceptual artists. 

More classical music is the way to level up our state schools

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Joanna Lumley, the actress, campaigner and all-round Good Egg, is practically perfect in every way. The latest example of her ability to bring a light touch to a serious subject is a podcast with her husband, the composer and conductor Stephen Barlow, which launches tomorrow. Joanna & The Maestro explores their joint passion for (mainly) classical music, inspired by their concern about its dwindling accessibility and apparently inexorable decline into a niche subject for a mainly elite audience.

The Government’s National Plan for Music Education, set out in 2011 and reissued last June in a “refreshed” version, announces its “clear ambition to level up musical opportunities for all children, regardless of circumstance, needs or geography”.

But in the decade between versions, that ambition has not been realised: music A-level entries declined by 39 per cent; GCSE entries are down 31 per cent, with students in affluent areas far more likely to study the subject than those in deprived areas.

The star cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a shining example, with his equally talented siblings, of the excellence that a state music education can offer, seems likely to become part of a vanishing minority.

It was not always thus. My love of music began at my very ordinary state grammar school, where I took music GCSE, seriously considered music A-level and still stumble through Beethoven piano sonatas from a 19th-century edition of the complete sonatas given to me by my music teacher.

The Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for an extended maths education is apparently based on the belief that it will encourage financial literacy. Somehow, I manage my finances with a mere GCSE maths, but without the love of music nourished by my education, I’d be an entirely different person, with a hinterland stripped of the lifelong curiosity, resilience and delight that a musical education supplies.

Lumley is right: classical music is too important to be wasted on the elite. 

How to beat Satanism

The bad-boy allure of Satan, poetically illustrated in Milton’s Paradise Lost, may explain the rising popularity of Satanism recorded in the last census, with an increase of 167 per cent since 2011 in the numbers of Satanists in England and Wales. Meanwhile, Christianity became a minority religion for the first time in the history of the census.

Amid the shrinking congregations is a curious anomaly: the growing popularity of choral evensong. Writers with an interest in church matters have sought to explain the phenomenon, citing the allure of free music, and free entry to cathedrals that generally charge for the privilege. But there is a less venal explanation: humans crave the numinous, and choral evensong is the one service from which the beauty and spirituality of language and music has yet to be stripped.

The fact that beauty is a crucial element of belief has been obvious to every generation of Christians except our own. The connection between the decline in congregations and the hideous corporate-speak in which the Church of England largely chooses to conduct its worship is painfully evident – though not, apparently, to those in charge of such matters. For now, we should cherish choral evensong while we can, before that, too, is incorporated into what Private Eye used to call the Rocky Horror service book.

Riverside 7-Eleven store plays classical music to deter homeless population

If you’ve been at the 7-Eleven at Oltorf and Parker lately, you may have noticed classical music and opera playing. 

The owner says the goal is to deter homeless individuals from being there and harassing customers. Some customers say they’re all for the music, while others are annoyed by it. 

The city says they’ve gotten eight noise complaints at that location Jan. 1. The Austin Police Department says they do respond to noise complaints if it’s ongoing. If there is a complainant, and they are able to verify the offense, they will issue a verbal warning. If they have to return within a certain number of hours, they may issue a citation. 

The store owner, Jagat Patel, says no one from the city has shown up. He doesn’t know whether the actual decibel level falls within city ordinance, but is planning on lowering the sound.  

Patel says the homeless population has been a big problem. 

“Especially a lot of my female customers and my young customers are scared to come here, because there are people constantly hanging out in the parking lot soliciting for money,” he said.

He says he’s had to pay a professional to clean up needles. Others who work nearby say they’ve been attacked.

“I have to carry this big old knife with me just to defend myself, it’s sad that you have to do that,” Joe Miranda, who works nearby, said.

Patel says he started playing the music about 10 days ago and got the idea because other store owners have it. 

“Studies have shown that the classical music is annoying. Opera is annoying, and I’m assuming they are correct because it’s working,” he said.

“Now since they’ve had this music going on, we have less traffic down with the homeless out here,” Miranda said.

Miranda says he thinks it’s the right solution.

“It’s helping out, it’s not annoying to us because it doesn’t bother us, but it bothers probably them because they’re doing drugs,” he said.

Others think the opposite.

“I believe, just talk to them, and ask them not to hang around, or not to live around, whatever, I think that’s the best solution,” Frederick Carter, who lives nearby, said.

He says he’s started going to a different 7-Eleven that doesn’t have music.

“This music is not very good, it’s loud, it’s obnoxious to me, I don’t like it, you can hear it a long ways off, it’s very disturbing,” he said.

For now, the music will continue.

“We are in the process of turning it down, because people who live across the parking lot are also my customers, and we don’t want to make their life difficult,” Patel said.

He says something needs to be done about an encampment at an abandoned building next door.

“It’s becoming a huge headache to conduct business, and a lot of my customers are scared,” Patel said.

APD said they weren’t able to answer our questions about the nearby homeless population today. In the past, they’ve mentioned taking part in city outreach programs to get people connected to housing and services.

Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto praises BTS’ Suga for his love for music

BTS’ Suga recently interacted with popular Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, and the renowned composer has nothing but praise for the BTS member. Sakamoto has been publishing essays in the Japanese literary magazine Shincho since last July. While penning the final installment of the essay How Many Full Moons Will I See in the Future, he reflected on his meeting with Suga.

The latest issue was released on January 7, 2023, and featured Sakamoto’s take on BTS’ Suga as a musician. In the same essay, the composer also spoke about his experience of working as a music director for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s new film Monster.

Sakamoto and Suga had a private meeting in September when the Daechwita singer visited Tokyo. Although the two met for a short period of time, both Sakamoto and Suga were able to share their love for music and composing in the brief while. The 70-year-old artist spoke highly about his views on the K-pop idol in his Shincho essay.

Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto praises BTS’ SUGA for his love and dedication to music

[kmedia] World-renowned Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto revealed an anecdote about meeting BTS SUGA

“Although he is a top superstar, after talking to him, I felt that he is a modest and cool young man with no arrogance, but who is very serious about music”

[kmedia] World-renowned Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto revealed an anecdote about meeting BTS SUGA”Although he is a top superstar, after talking to him, I felt that he is a modest and cool young man with no arrogance, but who is very serious about music”

Ryuichi Sakamoto and BTS’ Suga’s meeting in Tokyo was truly meaningful for both the artists. Even though the two belong to different age groups, nationalities, and speak different languages, they were able to transcend the boundaries through their love for music.

Yoongi, a.k.a. Suga, impressed Sakamoto during this time, who lauded the Korean rapper in his anecdote about interacting with him. He commented:

“[SUGA] thinks so much about music that one could think he has no other hobbies.”

His words resonated with ARMYs (BTS fandom), who are well aware of Suga’s passion for making music. Suga has also been popular for composing most of the tracks performed by BTS since their debut. On top of that, he has also composed music for other artists such as IU, PSY, Giriboy, Epik High, Halsey, MAX, and Suran.

BTS’ Suga, who has a reputation for spending hours in his studio, has continuously proven his talent by producing, writing, rapping, and composing hit songs. He has also made music for popular brands like Samsung and Hyundai in the past.

#SUGA at Incheon International Airport heading to Los Angeles for overseas schedule (via media)

#SUGA at Incheon International Airport heading to Los Angeles for overseas schedule (via media)

Meanwhile, Ryuichi Sakamoto is known for his contributions to the music industry as a composer, singer, pianist, and record producer. For his work in movies like The Last Emperor, he has been honored with awards including an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Grammy, and two Golden Globes.

In 2009, he was also awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of France.

In other news, it is rumored that Suga will be traveling to LA to watch the game between the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets. Besides loving music, Yoongi is an avid basketball lover and visited Tokyo in September 2022, to witness an NBA match in Tokyo.

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We’re hoping to show how mischievous and fun Western classical compositions are, says musician Lars Fischer

On January 9, the Consulate General of Switzerland in Mumbai and the Poona Music Society will present an evening of opera, art song, and chamber music, titled ‘Monteverdi to Sondheim’, as a New Year’s gift to lovers of Western classical music in Pune.

The five performers – tenors Lars Fischer and Sandeep Gurrapadi; soprano Antonia Thwaites; violinist Martha-Maria Mitu and pianist Chiara Naldi – come from different countries, Switzerland, Italy, Romania, the US, the UK, and India.

“We are very excited to be here and to share our passion and love for this music with the audience,” says Lars Fischer. In an emailed interview, he speaks about the range of emotions that can be explored through the pieces during the performance and how mischievous and fun Western classical Masters could be. Excerpts from the interview:

Q. Western classical music is a niche segment in India. How did you design this concert for the Pune audience?

Fischer: A member of our group, Sandeep Gurrapadi, has done many concerts of Western classical music in India. From his experience, the audience was highly interested and excited by the music. However, names such as Beethoven and Mozart are not household names yet as there aren’t many live examples of what their music felt and sounded like. On the occasions when they are performed, it’s usually a very serious matter. So we’re hoping to showcase how mischievous and fun their compositions were.

Q. How did you decide on the pieces for the evening?

Fischer: Initially, we were leaning towards a deep dive into a more obscure repertoire that would have been artistically pushing a boundary. But, this then, would have only catered to an audience that was actively seeking out this sort of music. We, eventually, found a middle ground by having a mix of widely appealing pieces, along with some more overlooked 20th and 21st-century composers. We’re hoping to present a programme that has something for everyone to get immersed in.

Q. What is the spectrum of stories or emotions that the selection of pieces explores?

Fischer: The stories and emotions are manifold and reflect all aspects of human existence: joy, laughter, friendship, love, heartbreak, sadness, impending death, and even a little of what might be after. Though most of the music is several centuries old, the stories are relevant and relatable still today.

The event will be held at Mazda Hall, Pune, on January 9, 2023, from 7 pm onwards and at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai on January 13.