This week, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu held its first performance with a live audience post-coronavirus, but it’s unclear whether the attendees were too green to appreciate Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” Seated in the red, velvet seats and among the gold balconies, 2,292 palms, ficus trees, and Swish cheese plants filled the iconic opera house to listen to the string quartet’s rendition.
A collaboration with Madrid-based artist Eugenio Ampudia and the Max Estrella gallery, the concert was meant to reflect on humans’ relationship with nature. “I thought why don’t we go into the Liceu like weeds, take it over and let nature start growing everywhere and turn it into something alive even when there are no people,” Ampudia said in an interview. After the performance, the leafy audience members were donated to healthcare workers who have been battling the virus during the last few months.
By any name, Yusuf Islam is a legend. The man who came to fame as Cat Stevens will soon release a new album, a collection of songs he made famous half a century ago and has now re-recorded with the perspective that 50 years of living can bring. Correspondent Tracy Smith talks with Yusuf about recording “Tea for the Tillerman 2,” including his duet with his younger self for the song “Father and Son.”
In this month’s episode, we learn that human brains differentiate musical pitch a way that macaque monkeys do not. In fact, speech and music shaped the human brain’s hearing circuits. Researchers are studying these circuits with an eye on developing treatments for neurological disorders.
“Monocle On Culture” speaks to Richard Russell, head of XL Recordings about his brand new book and his incredible career producing records for everyone from Damon Albarn to Bobby Womack, his life in New York that kicked everything off and the unusual start of his collaboration with Gil Scott Heron.
For almost 30 years as label boss, producer and talent conductor at XL Recordings, Richard Russell has discovered, shaped and nurtured the artists who have rewritten the musical dictionary of the 21st century, artists like The Prodigy, The White Stripes, Adele, M.I.A., Dizzee Rascal and Giggs. Growing up in north London in thrall to the raw energy of ’80s US hip hop, Russell emerged as one part of rave outfit Kicks Like a Mule in 1991 at a moment when new technology enabled a truly punk aesthetic on the fledgling free party scene. For most of the ’90s identified with breakbeat and hardcore, Russell’s stewardship at the label was always uncompromising and open to radical influences rather than conventional business decisions.
Liberation Through Hearing tells the remarkable story of XL Recordings and their three decades on the front line of innovation in music; the eclectic chorus of artists who came to define the label’s unique aesthetic and Russell’s own story; his highs and lows steering the fortunes of an independent label in a rapidly changing industry, his celebrated work with Bobby Womack and Gil Scot Heron on their late-career masterpieces; and his own development as a musician in Everything Is Recorded.
Always searching for new sounds and new truths, Liberation Through Hearing is a portrait of a man who believes in the spiritual power of music to change reality. It is also the story of a label that refused to be categorised by genre and in the process cut an idiosyncratic groove which was often underground in feel but mainstream in impact.
Singer-songwriter Graham Nash had recently embarked on a sold-out tour, until it was cancelled due to coronavirus. Anthony Mason sits down with Nash in New York City to talk with the former member of The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash about how he has maintained his productivity while remaining under lockdown.
The Met Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, performs the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana in a video assembled from individual takes and shown during the April 25, 2020, At-Home Gala.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to evolve unpredictably—and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community, including musicians, fans, participants, and staff—Jazz Fest 2020 will not occur this fall, as previously announced.
The Rolling Stones perform “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” during One World: Together At Home on April 18.
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