#Saxthem

It’s the NFC Championship game on the 22nd Jan 2017 between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. As traditional before a sporting event in the US, the national anthem was performed. This was a special one with saxophonist Mike Phillips stealing the show before the opening kickoff. 0
Hear how he uses the blues scale at 0:44 add a different ‘flavour’ to the anthem. He doesn’t play the anthem in strict time but instead emphasises different parts of the melody (0:37 for example) by adding extra notes and using particular saxophone techniques. He builds the anthem at 1:06 and uses a technique called circular breathing to extended the note on the word ‘free’. One of the reasons Mike Phillips’ version is so special is because you can hear that this is his clear interpretation of it. He isn’t trying to copy anyone else. He’s played with the late great Prince,  Stevie Wonder and countless other superstars but always retains his unique sound and energy.
National anthems, hymns or other songs with deep meaning do not have to be played in a solemn or sombre way. By watching this video and others like it, children can begin to understand that any song can be interpreted by a performer in any way, and like Mike Phillips demonstrated, if you can do this well, people will remember it forever.

Go Falcons!!

Reblogged from www.nateholdermusic.com

 

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Miriam Makeba

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Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 9 Nov 2008)

Miriam Makeba was born in South Africa, but spent the first 6 months of her life in jail after her mother was arrested and sentenced for selling homemade beer. She first started singing in her primary school choir, and was due to sing for the visit of King George VI, but he drove by her and her choir while they stood waiting for him in the rain. At the age of 18, not only gave birth to her daughter, but was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, she was treated successfully by her mother who was a traditional healer-herbalist.

Her musical career got a big break when she was first featured on a poster, and sang with the South African jazz group called the Manhatten Brothers. In 1956, she recorded and released the song Pata Pata, which made her a household name in South Africa, and over 10 years later, her album Pata Pata peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in 1967. She recorded over 100 songs with the Manhattans, which allowed her to sing with artists like Dorothy Masuka, Abigail Kubeka and Mary Rabatobi. She toured Africa for 18 months after being recruited as a soloist in the African Jazz and Variety Review and became the female lead role in the South African musical named King Kong.

Her career continued to take off and she appeared in a film entitled Come back Africa. She was invited to the screening at the 1959 Venice film festival, and later flew to New York and played the Village Vanguard jazz club. She met and sang with Harry Belafonte at John F. Kennedy’s birthday party at Madison Square Garden and met the President later that night. her South African passport was cancelled and she testified against apartheid at the United Nations, with Guinea, Belgium and Ghana offering her passports. She won a Grammy in 1966 for her album with Belafone called An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba, and other songs such as The Click Song and Malaika became famous worldwide.
This all came to an abrupt end when she married the Black Panther Stokely Carmichael in 1968 as her record contracts and tours were cancelled. She relocated to Guinea where she became their official delegate to the United nations, and in 1975, addressed the United Nations for the second time.

Everybody now admits that apartheid was wrong, and all I did was tell the people who wanted to know where I come from how we lived in South Africa. I just told the world the truth. And if my truth then becomes political, I can’t do anything about that.

Her career includes performances at the Rumble in the Jungle fight between Ali and Foreman in 1974, and the Graceland Tour. She went on to record with artists such as Dissy Gillespie, Hugh Masekela and Nina Simone, performing at Nelson Mandelas 70th birthday tribute, and even appeared in an episode of The Cosby Show in 1991. She was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the FAO of the United Nations in 1999, and won the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold by the United National Association of Germany in 2001. When she died in 2008, she the world mourned a woman who had stood up against apartheid, one of the first internationally famous African vocalists ever, and recorded music that still has relevance today.

And why is our music called world music? I think people are being polite. What they want to say is that it’s third world music. Like they use to call us under developed countries, not it has changed to developing countries, it’s much more polite – Miriam Makeba

Miriam+Makeba

Bob Marley – Redemption Song

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Redemption Song – Bob Marley

There aren’t many songs or artists for that matter, whose music and messages have stood for something much more than music to dance or sing along to. Bob Marley’s Redemption Song was written c.1979 and was part-inspired by a speech by Marcus Garvey. Although much more can be said about the man, his music and this song in particular, in this case, the lyrics say it all.

Redemption Song

Old pirates, yes, they rob I,
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.

But my ‘and was made strong
By the ‘and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.

Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have,
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,
None but our self can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it’s just a part of it,
We’ve got to fulfill de book.

Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have,
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,
None but our self can free our mind.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall dey kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it’s just a part of it,
We’ve got to fulfill de book.

Won’t you help to sing,
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever had,
Redemption songs.
All I ever had,
Redemption songs
These songs of freedom
Songs of freedom

Watch the great man sing and play it here

Lord Kitchener

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Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts)  (18 April 1922 – 11 Feb 2000)

Even as the Trinidadian Lord Kitchener stepped off the Empire Windrush in 1948, he was singing the song he wrote on the famous boat, ‘London is the place for me’. Kitch brought a twist to the calypso that already existed in London, with the likes of Sam Manning and Rudolph Dunbar already plying their trade in the capital. The difference was, that fresh from his 6 month tour of Jamaica, he was already adapting his music to his surroundings.

London is the place for me
London, this lovely city
You can go to France or America
India Asia or Australia,But you must come back to London city.

Kitch’s lyrics, instead of conforming to the norm and singing for pure entertainment, he took Calypso’s original meaning (coming from the word ‘kaiso’ in the Hausa language) by acting as a contemporary griot, commenting on social events and criticism of government. he wrote songs such as Cricket, Lovely Cricket to celebrate the West Indies beating England in 1950, My Landlady which spoke about struggles to pay rent, and If You’re Not White, You’re Black.

Your Negro hair is obvious,
You make it more conspicuous,
You use all sort of Vaseline,
To make out you are European…

He also commemorated Ghana’s Independence with the song Birth Of Ghana:

This day will never be forgotten,
The 6th of March 1957,
When the Gold Coast successfully,
Get their independence officially,
Ghana…

He also paid homage to some of the bebop artists of the day on Bebop Calypso and the jovial Love in the Cemetery. His most successfully commercial song was Sugar Bum Bum which was written in 1978. He made some of the funniest, introspective and historically significant calypso of his time, and had an influence on Ghanaian highlife music due to his tours there, and won many awards in his native Trinidad all the way into the 90’s.

Rudolph Dunbar

Rudolph DunbarRudolph Dunbar (26 Nov 1907 – 10 June 1988)

Rudolph Dunbar was born in Guyana, and began playing the clarinet in the British Guiana Militia Band after being inspired by their arrangements of Wagner and Elgar when he was 14 years old. He moved to New York at the age of 19 to study at the Institute of Musical Art (now Julliard), majoring in composition, piano and clarinet. He became involved in the Harlem Jazz scene and featured on recordings by The Plantation Orchestra.
He moved to Paris in 1925, and spent time in Vienna, studying with some of the top musicians in Europe including Felix Weingartner and Louis Calusac. He was once invited to give a private recital to the widow of Claude Debussy of members of the Paris Conservatoire. He then moved to London and set up the first ever clarinet school, which lead him to write the textbook Treatise on the Clarinet (Boehm System) which became the standard reference work for the clarinet.

In London, he made pioneering recordings with the All British Coloured Band and Rudolph Dunbar and his African Polyphony. He also composed a ballet score Dance of the Twenty-First Century, which was broadcast nationally. In the years following, he became the first black man to conduct the London and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as conducting in Russia and Poland in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

Unfortunately, he has never truly been recognised as a pioneer not only of classical music, not only of British classical music, but of Caribbean music too. With so much focus on the likes of Louis Armstrong and other African-American musicians, the feats of many Caribbean musicians in Europe and indeed has gone under the radar. Let’s help change that.

#hiddentalent

Why Ed Sheeran IS the most important act in Black and Urban music.

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What do Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman and Elvis Presley have in common? They have all been labelled as Kings of their craft.

The King of Swing, The King of Jazz, The King.

They were all White musicians, coronated standing on the shoulders of Black artists like Fletcher Henderson, Jackie Wilson and Count Basie.

Ed Sheeran joins the list of those White musicians who have risen to the top of music originally made by Blacks. Its nothing more than history repeating itself.

As I read inflammatory articles and status updates talking about BBC 1Xtras decision to name Ed Sheeran at the top of the list, I sat and smiled. People are getting too hyped about the inevitable its unreal. This post isn’t to knock Ed Sheeran as an artist at all. There is no doubt that he is talented and no doubt that he deserves all the recognition for his hard work. This is about the Black reaction to the list.

Q: How can a White man be the most important act in a category for Black people?

A: If the category isn’t representative of Black music.

What is Black music anyway?

Can you really define a genre of music by the colour of some peoples skin? If so, where is the White Music category? Brown Music? Somewhere-inbetween-Beige-and-Caramel-Music?

What is Urban Music?

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adjective \ˈər-bən\ : of or relating to cities and the people who live in them (Merriam-webster)

Why get annoyed?

‘Black music’ has always transcended physical, emotional, spiritual and legislative barriers. If the BBC decide to anoint Ed Sheeran as the King of Urban Music 2014 then so be it. If Blacks continue to identify with categories not defined by themselves, their identity will be lost and will only be resurrected by the next batch of Caribbean, African American or African immigrants whose identities are reflected even by their names. As much as you want to laugh at so called ghetto names like De’Vondra or TiAndre, maybe that expression of identity is not so different to Ornette Coleman and ‘The Shape Of Things To Come’ . It says ‘I refuse to be labelled as what you say I am, I refuse to do the norm. Here’s something different. Something I define and my people understand’.

Maybe the BBC needed to crown Ed in the Black and Urban music category because they didn’t know how else to define the music Blacks are making. Maybe they picked one of the most popular singer songwriter around today and unwisely compared him to a pioneers like Wiley and Dizzee. It shouldn’t have happened. But the fact that it did, shows that ‘Black and Urban Music’ is no longer for and no longer made by the very people it originated from. Lets all move on and keep calm.

After Tupac and Michael Jackson – 10 Holograms we’d like to see

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Michael Jackson performed on sunday night at the Billboard Music Awards. Ok so it wasn’t Michael himself, but a hologram of the King of Pop, ‘singing’ his new song, Slave to the Rhythm. The first time I saw a hologram like this was Tupacs ‘performance’ with Snoop Dogg in 2012 at Coachella which was mind-blowing. There seemed to be an improvement in graphics and fluidity, and was no doubt part of the inescapable marketing push for Michaels new album Xscape. The possibilities that these holograms open up are endless. The technology will undoubtedly improve and be able to handle bigger and better performances. It could mean that One Direction could be performing in Paris, Tokyo and NYC at the same time. An artist who falls ill on tour could opt to show a hologrammed performance instead of cancelling a show. I don’t know. Whatever happens with this technology, there will certainly be pros and cons. Maybe dancers will be replaced by holograms. Maybe some musicians too. It just goes to show that the way we enjoy music and concerts is changing rapidly.

Here is a link to the performance:

What are some holograms we’d like to see? Here are some hologram requests:

1) A fully clothed Miley Cyrus

2) ?uestlove with short back and sides

3) Jay-Z ALONE in a lift with Solange…

4) Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a lift with Solange…. Nigel Farage in a life with Solange…. The whole Coalition government in a lift with Solange…

5) ALL London Underground lines with Good Service for a month

6) Steven Gerrard lifting the World Cup in July

7) Russell Brand as Prime Minister

8) Michael Gove teaching in a north London secondary school for a day

9) Dave Chappelle, Cornel West, Mos Def, dream hampton, Malcolm Gladwell and Eric Michael Dyson in a round table discussion about ANYTHING

10) Jack Bauer vs B6-13

What hologram would you like to see?