Thursday, 7 May 2020

R.I.P. Florian Schneider, Kraftwerk founder member

Florian Schneider, the enigmatic founder member of Kraftwerk died aged 73 a week ago and was buried in a private funeral. Kraftwerk's live performances through the years show their development from Krautrock Hippies to electronic music pioneers!

Kling Klang (from 1972)

This track gave the name to Kraftwerk's own studio in Dusseldorf.

Kraftwerk - Ralf And Florian (Full Album) 1973
Ralf & Florian is the lost Kraftwerk album. Not only is it hard to get hold of as it was never released on CD, something it shares with their first two albums, but it's often overlooked even by hardcore fans. Lacking the harsh, industrial sounds of their earlier efforts, it's still some way off the metronomic proto-synth-pop of their famous works. Instead, 1973's Ralf & Florian is a fascinating collection of experimentations, representing both a bridge between what Kraftwerk had been and what it would become, and also an intriguing direction left tantalisingly half-explored

Ralf And Florian: the Kraftwerk sitcom
recently discovered in a Dusseldorf car boot sale is this rare pilot
 for the uncommissioned Kraftwerk sitcom, "Ralf and Florian".


Co-founder of the band Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider, had a significant influence on David Bowie, while he was in Berlin recording "Heroes". "V-2 Schneider" is a tribute to him:

The final song that night, as it was so many others, was the bands 1986 hit ‘Musique Non Stop’. Below watch the final moments Florian Schneider shared on stage with Kraftwerk back in 2006:


In 2015 he posted a new track Stop Plastic Pollution  to support the
Parley For The Oceans campaign


Ruhe in Frieden (R.I.P.), Florian!

Obituaries:

Guardian

Far Out

Clash

BBC


Kraftwerk: Future Music from Germany by Uwe Schütte

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Tony Allen has finally left his drum stool! R.I.P. Tony!

Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and Afrobeat co-founder, died unexpected aged 79 on 30 April 2020 in his Paris home.
Most widely known as the drummer and musical director in Fela Kuti's band, Africa '70, the pair created Afrobeat together by fusing west African sounds like highlife, and the drum patterns of Yoruba music, with jazz and funk. Kuti, who died in 1997, once commented that "without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat".
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Allen didn't learn to play the drums until he was 18, and he would join Africa '70 in 1968. Allen and Kuti  recorded over 30 albums before he left the collective in 1979 over . He went on to collaborate with artists including Jeff Mills and Sébastien Tellier, as well as Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, and Simon Tong, as The Good, the Bad & the Queen.




Fela in performance 1971

Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 - Open & Close (1971)


Tony Allen & The Africa 70 - Progress

No Agreement (from 1977) is easily one of the most danceable songs Allen ever made with Kuti — no small feat, considering their floor-filling prowess. The drummer spars with needling guitar and a darting keyboard during the graceful, kinetic opening. The sparse setting, with no horns and no other percussion, allows dancers to hone in on Allen’s hiccuping bass-drum pattern. His playing here is gleeful and a little reckless — he zooms forward and then pulls up sharply, like a driver speeding toward a red light. 

Tony Allen & The Africa 70 - Jealousy

By the mid 70s, Kuti’s politics of resistance was reaching its peak. Zombie was its most forceful expression, Kuti’s lyrics characterising the violent Nigerian army as mindless zombies. You can feel the force of his frustration through his blistering saxophone as it meanders over the highlife guitar line, while Allen’s snappy, shaker-heavy rhythm is the ever-reliable foundation for Kuti’s social message. The song’s success in Nigeria was not without consequences, leading to a severe beating for Kuti, the torching of his studio and his elderly mother being thrown from a window and killed.

After leaving Africa 70, because of payment dispute with Fela, Allen had what was probably his biggest hit with this beat:



Nine years after Fela’s death in 1997, Allen, then Paris-based, returned to Nigeria to revive the classic Africa ’70 sound. The resulting Lagos No Shaking instantly recalls the humid, perpetual-motion groove-scapes the drummer helped to pioneer with Fela. 
As heard on “Ise Nila,” Allen’s inimitable time sense, at once urgent and consummately laid-back, is fully intact, providing a velvety cushion for a rich melange of horns, guitars, and auxiliary percussion. The track lasts just over five minutes but could easily sprawl out to the jumbo running times favored by Africa ’70 without losing the slightest bit of intrigue.


The Same Blood (From Black Voices 1999)

Crazy Afrobeat (from Home Cooking 2002)


Allen is a cheerfully destabilizing presence on Charlotte Gainsbourg’s 5:55, an often somber album that’s heavy on stately ballads and light on rhythmic oomph. On the title track, Allen shows he can stick to the script, keeping his parts conservative and understated. But “Night-Time Intermission” is a welcome digression, full of spry, nimble playing — a parade-like pattern and the occasionally jarring cymbal splat. In Allen’s presence, even the keyboards become more energetic, and more percussive.

In 2001 Tony collaborated with Tweak on this excellent, but rare album:

Tweak - Leroy 




“Tony Allen … really got me dancing,” Damon Albarn sang on Blur’s 2000 single “Music Is My Radar,” which dedicated its entire third verse to the Afrobeat legend. Seven years later, Albarn would recruit Allen for the Good, the Bad and the Queen, a dub-influenced supergroup featuring the Clash’s Paul Simonon and the Verve’s Simon Tong. For their 2007 self-titled album, Allen plays the role of timekeeper and pacesetter while adding subtle polyrhythmic flourishes. However, on the band’s seven-minute eponymous song and album-closing track, Allen is finally unleashed for a percussive freakout reminiscent of the side-long aural adventures he embarked on with Africa ’70. 

From the 2009 album Information Inspiration

Five years after the Good, the Bad and the Queen, Albarn reconnected with Allen and recruited Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea to form the one-off trio Rocket Juice and the Moon, a collaboration borne out of Albarn’s Africa Express voyages. Their self-titled 2012 LP serves as a vessel for the groovy interplay between Allen and Flea, like on the album highlight “Benko.” “I’m a huge Fela Kuti fan and Tony Allen is one of my favorite drummers, so to get to talk and play with him was just phenomenal,” Flea said of the collaboration. “The way I approach rhythm and groove is very similar to the way he does, and I feel with him a special something that is difficult to put into words but it’s a beautiful thing.” Following Allen’s death, Flea penned a touching tribute to “my hero.”

In 2013 he collaborated with Brazilian group Metá Metá - Alakorô 



In 2014 he collborated with the Chicago Afrobeat Collective

They went on tour and recorded an excellent album together:
Cut the Infection (from What goes Up 2014)

Also in 2014 Tony produced (he played also drums and was the Musical Director) the excellent album "African Woman" by Sierra Leone born singer Sia Tolno.

The year 2014 Allen was particularly busy
as he created his own fantastic album "Film Of Life"
Tony Allen - Go Back (feat. Damon Albarn) 

Tony Allen - Asiko

Around 2015, Allen booked a studio in his adopted hometown of Paris and invited musicians to come jam with him. There was no defined expectation, just a veteran drummer looking for inspiration. Among those who showed up was German minimal Techno record producer and percussionist  Moritz von Oswald and Detroit techno OG Jeff Mills, replete with a Roland TR-909 drum machine and a small synth.

Perhaps the strangest and least well-known of Allen’s collaborations is that with the techno producer Moritz von Oswald, who replaced his longtime drummer Vladislav Delay with Allen for his 2015 album Sounding Line. Allen produces a truly remarkable sound: a warped and manipulated series of electronics. The opening track sees Allen superimpose an Afrobeat shuffle on to a wobbly dub that builds over 10 minutes to create a simmering, electro dancefloor odyssey.


Moritz von Oswald Trio feat. Tony Allen

Since 2016 he was appearing live with  techno wizard Jeff Mills

 Their sessions, which would lead to the mind-expanding Afrofuturist EP Tomorrow Comes the Harvest, were illuminating for both artists. Mills recounted how their conversations over lunch and on break would correlate with how they played together afterwards, and he marveled at Allen’s philosophy behind the function of each drum. Largely formulated for modular live performances, the record has a wonderfully loose, improvisatory feel. 

Wolf Eats Wolf (The Source, 2017)

Allen’s musical inspiration were American jazz drummers like Max Roach and Art Blakey — whose hard-driving pulse powered his storied Jazz Messengers from the Fifties through to his death in 1990. “The first jazz events that I really followed were Blue Note, and that was how I discovered my idol Art Blakey,” Allen said in 2017, the same year he joined up with Blue Note to release A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. This glorious EP features Allen adding his own inimitable sense of groove to the Messengers’ famously soulful tunes. The drummer and his band’s take on pianist Bobby Timmons’ 1958 landmark “Moanin'” shows that the stylistic union — spanning decades and continents — was as natural as hand in glove.

We've Landed (from Rejoice 2020)



Just released on 2 May by Damon Albarn a track from the upcoming Goriallz album as tribute to Tony. Let's give the last words to Tony:


and his drums:

Bye Tony Allen and thanks for the Afrobeat!

Obituaries:


Thursday, 23 April 2020

Corona virus video collection

Since the spread of the so called Corona virus and the resulting Covid 19 sickness from China around the world a new musical sub genre has emerged and spread via social media and online hosts. I have tried to collect here some of the (in my view) best  examples and I guess this genre will be around for  a while.
It started with the parody of well known songs from the history of Pop music, but longer into quarantine more orginal songs started to appear.

But before we start don't forget: Stay at Home, Wash your Hands and Stay Safe and don't forget to clean your phone screen / keyboard regularly!

And if you had enough of singing "Happy Birthday" while washing hands here are some 20 second alternatives: 

This was the first song I received in February, which start starts also my round up
Fight Coronavirus Song -Wuhan China
Sound of Silence Parody by Alvin Oon

Tom Jones Parody Corona Virus


Some prominent singers adapted their own songs:

Even Ralph McTell has updated his hit "Streets of London" for the coronavirus era: Here

Kaiser chiefs - Oh My God

Of course the Fab 4  song catalague is a popular target for parody:



Yesterday (Lockdown Acapella Version) by The Kiffness

Here Comes The Sun - Camden Voices (self-isolation/virtual choir cover)

Solo Beatles are in demand too:

Imagine (there’s no bog roll)


Can't Get No (Sanitiser) - A Covid-19 Parody [Family]

Some Bee Gees classics 

were also used:


 ABBA as well


Queen songs 

(especially Bohemian Rapsody)  are a very popular choice:

Coronavirus Rhapsody

Here they managed to include Donald Trump in the video:

Quarantine Song (Donald Trump Cover) Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song

Or here Trump vs Talking Heads

Bohemian Virus Rhapsody after Queen COVID-19  by Jennifer Corday

Coronavirus Rhapsody

The Kiffness - Lockdown Rhapsody 

Coronavirus Responders - You Are The Champions



My Corona by Chris Mann

Crappy (Pharrell - Happy 5G Conspiracy Parody)

Coronavirus Rising (CCR Parody) | Mike The Music Snob

Fifty Ways to Catch Corona - Paul Simon Coronavirus Parody (covid-19 Song Remix)

Bob Dylan

Margot Cotten - Stuck Inside Of Paris With The Virus Blues Again

Margot Cotten - I'm Your Virus

Corona (Parody of Lola by The Kinks)

Hello (from the Inside) An Adele Parody by Chris Mann

@Daycare Closed' by Chris Mann (A Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus Parody)

"U CAN'T TOUCH THIS" - COVID 19 Edition 
(Made Entirely With Healthcare Products)

There also original songs with a Corona / Covid 19 topic:


"Stay Home" by Big & Rich 

Coronavirus Song in London - Austrian Fun(k) Music by Prinz Leo

and there is already a Corona Dance:



Masaka Kids Africana Dancing Let's Fight COVID-19 


It spread to Germany:



Switzerland:

Italy

Spain

Zorman - Corona virus canzion

and of course there is a concerto:

and it spread around the world:

Corona Virus Alert by BOBI WINE & NUBIAN LI (Uganda)

Ndlovu Youth Choir - We've Got This  (South Africa)

 Coronavirus - Cumbia versión Hispanoamérica

So how long will this be going on?


I hope you enjoyed my collection of Corona Virus v/ Covid-19 Videos, but please don' t forget to support all this creative people out there in difficult times like this! A lot of performers are running out of dosh, cash, money, as they can't perform live! Most of the the artists have donation links on their YouTube channels and website or just support them through legally downloading & buying their content, merch & recordings!

As usual I am looking forward to any suggestions and feedback!



Thursday, 9 April 2020

Stay Awake, Stay Asleep... R.I.P. Hal Willner!

Just heard a couple of days ago the sad news, that Hal Willner, Music & Tribute concert Producer and Longtime ‘SNL’ Music Supervisor, died at 64 on 7/4/2020. The cause of his death has not been confirmed yet, but a representative told The Hollywood Reporter that Willner had symptoms consistent with coronavirus.
As a producer he was responsible for many lauded albums by Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, Gavin Friday, Bill Frisell and of course Marianne Faithfull and was pivotal in the career of Jeff Buckley.
Since 1985 he also produced and curated numerous tribute albums for Theolonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Nino Rota, Kurt Weill and Walt Disney's Film music with an illustrious cast of musicians from Rock, Pop, Jazz, Americana & Avantgarde background. According to Variety, which first reported news of Willner’s death, he was compiling a T. Rex tribute album at the time of his death. If you want to know more about the man behind all this projects read this extensive Interview with Hal from 2013 here.
Hal live in March 2020:

Gregory Corso with Marianne Faithfull (who has been in hospital with Covid 19 in April 20):
Thoughts Concerning A Sickness

Hal's appreciation of outsiders pirates & rogues resulted in 2 compilations:
Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads

He also appreciated composers like Nino Rota

and  issued even 2 tribute albums to Kurt Weill:


and an eclectic nod to the music for the classic Disney movies:

Jazz Giants:

THELONIOUS MONK TRIBUTE

Bird Up - The Charlie Parker Remix Project:

Charlie Mingus Weird Nightmares (album):

Weird Nightmares(film):

"Whoops, I'm an Indian" from 1998 is his only personal album:

At the time of his death he was working on a tribute album to Marc Bolan. He can be seen in the background in the studio while recording "Cosmic Dancer" the contribution of Nick Cave:
"Cosmic Dancer" is from "Angelheaded Hipster": The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex’
 Tribute Album Out in September, feat. U2 & Elton John, Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Joan Jett, Kesha & Many More and it has Sean & Julian Lennon on the same album (Albeit on different tracks)!
(Of course Produced and compiled by the late Hal Willner)

Obituaries

Rolling Stone, Hal Willner

The Guardian, Hal Willner

Stay tuned! In the coming weeks I will update this post with more infos, concerts & tributes!
Don't forget I am always grateful for suggestions & comments!



Sunday, 5 April 2020

R.I.P. Bill! Ain't no sunshine without you!

Bill Withers (4 July 1938 - 30 March 2020)  has been in retirement from the music industry since 1985, but his songs are still on the radio and are covered by many artists worldwide.
Bill Withers'  songs navigate heartbreak, friendship, youth, history, Harlem and much more across his high-quality discography – here are some of the brightest moments recorded live in concert:

Just As I Am Bill Withers

Bill Withers' performance for BBC in 1973. Tracklist: 00:00 Aint No Sunshine 03:18 Lonely Town Lonely Street 09:14 Grandma's Hands
(dedicated to his Grandma, who partly raised him) 11:40 Use Me 16:05 Let Me In Your Life 20:15 Lean On Me 24:47 Harlem - End

Friend of Mine
 (From the 1973 album, "Bill Withers Live At Carnegie Hall")

Just The Two Of Us (feat Grover Washington, Jr.)

Bill Withers tells about songwriting and why he stopped releasing music.

Who Is He (And What Is He To You)

Lean On Me feat. Stevie Wonder and John Legend 
at the 2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.


Still Bill - The Bill Withers Story
Very good BBC documentary from 2009

Lovely Day

So now have a Lovely Day and dig out Bill's albums, songs, playlists etc. and celebrate one of the greatest songwriters, singers & musicians and humble humans of his time! 

Obituaries:

The Guardian

Animal Cruelty Is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat | Rolling Stone


Wikipedia /Bill_Withers link

🎶

In the coming weeks I will update this post with more infos, concerts & tributes!
Don't forget I am always grateful for suggestions & comments!



Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Adieu "Papy Groove", Manu Dibango died due to covid-19

Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango died aged 86 on Tuesday March 24 after contracting the corona virus in a hospital in the Paris region. 

Manu live on tour 2019 (recorded at Mariac)


Cameroon born Manu Dibango, who was affectionately known as "Papy Groove" by his family & fans world wide, became one of the first African world stars through his 1972 hit Soul Makossa in the 70s. The song that became known around the world, had an astonishing fate. "Soul Makossa" started out as the B-side of a single, the A side "Hymne De La Coupe D'Afrique Des Nations" was an anthem for the Cameroonian football team at the African Cup of Nations. Spotted by a New York DJ, the track has touched thousand of lives. In 2009 Manu Dibango had accused Michael Jackson of plagiarism on "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" a track from the album “Thriller” he used the "Mama-say, mama-sa, ma-ma-ko-ssa" hook without his permission. An out of court financial agreement was reached after long negotiations.



I saw him a few times live in different places, and at different times, but a truly memorable concert was his 80th Birthday celebration at The Barbican in London.

Manu Dibango Interview 



with Courtney Pine - Aye Africa

The last time I saw Manu live was at the Afrikafestival in 2018 and he still had an amazing presence for someone in his mid eighties, turning up and jamming with many other musicians & friends like Angelique Kidjo. Over his long career he was constantly reinventing his music as well as his signature hit:
He gave Soul Makossa a Reggae treatment:


But he was more than just a Makossa Man:

In 1973 he went: Africadelic

Ah! Freak Sans Fric




In 1977 we danced all night to Manus' Big Blow 

In 1994 he released "Wakafrica" an album collboratting with some of the biggest names in Pop and World Music like Peter Gabriel, Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo & Papa Wemba
& Youssou N'Dour on a new version of his greatest hit:

He travelled 1998 to Cuba and recorded an album with Cuban musicians

and of course a Rhumba Makossa with Cuarteto Patria 

Or working with new musicians, which he helped to get international exposure.

Saw him in 2007 at the Fela Tribute in the Barbican with Courtney Pine

In his early years he moved to Brussels and played with Le Grand Kallé et l'African Jazz (also know as  Africa 60). Later in the 60s he formed his own orchestra and relocated back to Paris:


Live 2019 at Burghausen

Live in Dakar (Feat. Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 & Tony Allen)

Adieu pour toujours, Papa Groove!

Your many fans will truly miss you!

Obituaries:

Accessibility links

NPR logo

The Conversation

In the coming weeks I will update this post with more infos, concerts & tributes!
Don't forget I am always grateful for suggestions & comments!

R.I.P. Florian Schneider, Kraftwerk founder member

Florian Schneider, the enigmatic founder member of Kraftwerk died aged 73 a week ago and was buried in a private funeral. Kraftwerk's ...