Category Archives: Music & Gigs

Spellbound by Benjamin Clementine
at Somerset House

Somerset House

I’m very new to the world of Benjamin Clementine. I’ve caught snippets of his music here and there and have been aware of him gaining space in the musical landscape, while not having ever had the opportunity to see him perform.

This all changed on Saturday night, when I was invited to Somerset House by American Express, to see the Mercury Prize winner himself, transfixing the crowds with his dazzling vocals, complete with a string section from the Gods…

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Things to see in London this month

Off The Kings Road

Off The Kings Road

Some dates for your diary, my friends – open the month to June and plot these theatrical charms in, before July sneaks up on us…

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Two Spectacular Silent Discos in London

Silent Disco: psfk.com, pic: Vandana Nagaraj

Silent Disco: psfk.com, pic: Vandana Nagaraj

Hello one and all and a very happy Monday to you all. For those of you that follow me on Snapchat, you will know that so far today I’ve taken delivery of a hamper full of Bailey’s and Vodka, listened to most of Spotify, announced a new book club and am very, VERY excited as my blog is back up and running…

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My Funny Valentine

Emma Bridgewater Hearts Radio

I am a romantic.

Not a hearts and chocolates and champagne romantic, but a letter writing, sitting on a bench, kite flying, no words necessary, foxtrotting romantic.

My grandpa used to serenade my grandma at tea time. Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, you name it – he knew the entire Cole Porter songbook…. and for this reason, so do I.

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5 Steps to get you Promming like a Pro

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 23/04/2015 - Programme Name: BBC Proms 2015 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: The Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall   - (C) BBC/Chris Christodoulou - Photographer: Chris Christodoulou

Pic: The Telegraph

It’s that time again… and for those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain.

What are The Proms?

The Proms is an eight week Summer season of brilliant orchestral classical music concerts,  of which there are often two daily, held mostly in the Royal Albert Hall, here in London.

What is Promming?

‘Prom’ is actually short for ‘promenade concert’, which used refer to outdoor concerts in London, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing… all very calm and gentile, don’t you know.

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Wilderness Festival 2014


The Wilderness Festival 2014 - Poppy Loves

Hix gourmet banquets, wild swimming, aromatherapy massages, sunrise yoga, unicorn hunting, discussing the Sunday papers, tea and crumpets, clean loos (kinda), showers, handmade gelato, Burt Bacharach, leotards, glitter, champagne, the BEST BACON SANDWICHES IN THE WORLD (on some kind of organic sourdough. Obvs) and impromptu cricket matches… it can only be the Wilderness Festival.

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Liane Carroll Trio with John Etheridge
at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho

Pizza Express

Pizza? Jazz? Pizza and jazz? Yes. Pizza and jazz. There is no better combo since jelly and ice cream. Cheese and pineapple. Um. Peanut butter and tomato! (Just me?)

If you have never been to this legendary basement jazz club, then it’s time you went. Jazz lovers have been flocking to this 120-capacity club in the heart of Soho for years, to hear and see some of the best jazz players in the world.

Pizza Express

Liane Carroll and John Etheridge at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Pizza Express

Liana Carroll at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Pizza Express

John Etheridge at Pizza Express Jazz Club

Top jazz players have been playing the club for years and more recently, more mainstream musicians like Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum, Diana Krall and Amy Winehouse all sharpened their chops here.. Also, as an audience member you really couldn’t get much more up close and personal. (Which reminds me, don’t have the chilli sauce on your pizza if you can’t hack it, or you’ll be sneezing olives into the piano. This definitely did not happen to me.)

Last Friday night I was lucky enough to catch the fantastic Liane Carroll Trio with guest guitarist-amazers, John Etheridge. John, whose career has taken him from a long-term collaboration with legendary violinist Staphane Grapelli to being a key member of seminal jazz-fusion band ‘Soft Machine,’ has a way of being completely yet understatedly brilliant.  It’s rather unnerving, how you suddenly realise that your jaw has dropped open in awe… and you have a bit of rocket in your teeth. (Again, this definitely did not happen to me.) Pat Metheney has named him as ‘one of the best guitarists in the world’ so I feel entirely justified in being utterly bowled over.

Pizza Express

Liane Carroll and John Etheridge

Pizza Express

Pizza Express

John Etheridge

Liane is dynamite on stage. Funny, self deprecating, hilarious, silly and wonderful. She is a hugely skilled and inventive singer and pianist, who manages to redefine the boundaries between jazz, pop and blues… She was joined on stage by Roger Carey on bass and Mark Fletcher on drums. Oof, they were good. I’m glad I can now do dirty whistles with my fingers – I was making a happy racket.  Her heart melting and emotional version of ‘The Nearness of You’ was my highlight.. and I still managed to whistle, even though I was sobbing into my Fiorentina pizza…

I love this jazz club. It makes me feel excited and alive and lucky to be in London. It’s moody, it’s intimate and it’s the real deal. It’s steeped in jazz history and its walls are packed to the hilt with pictures of faces gone by to prove it…

It’s a total gem of a venue and with jazz music pulsing through it seven nights a week, there will always be a gig on the horizon for you to catch.

See you there,

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Pizza Express Jazz Club
10 Dean Street
Soho, London
W1D 3RW

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Music, Mohitos, Magic…and Mexico

Switzerland Festival

Weekend at The Edge of The Lake Festival, Switzerland

I don’t know about you.. but I am thinking about Summer. I’m not just thinking about it, I’m dreaming in Magnums and bikinis.. and in my dream I also look like a super model in my bikini… even if I’m eating 7 Magnums a day.

Even though I love my city, getting out of London for a little bit during the Summer months is fairly normal for me, and if I can combine this with friends, food, sunshine and music.. so much the better.

Last year I was lucky enough to get to Wilderness and this year I will be there again with bells on. Actual bells.  And recently, there have also been some other twinkly festivals which have made themselves known to me.. slightly off the beaten track.. and perhaps not ones you would usually consider… Ready?

Pic pilfered from Yukatan

Pic pilfered from Yukatan

CANCUN MUSIC FESTIVAL – Aug 28th – Sept 1st

 

Cancun? Yes, Cancun. Cancun in Mexico. Did you know they have an annual music festival? Well they do. The Cancun Music Festival hosts thousands of guests from around the world, who all converge in one of the world’s arguably, most beautiful and tranquil destinations. The music includes nationally recognized artists from around the world as well as local musicians from the Cancun area, which I love. I’ve never been to Cancun myself, but after a wee bit of research it appears that First Choice will whizz you over there (in a plane and everything) and you can choose your humble dwellings from their selection of STUNNING hotels.

MEADOWS IN THE MOUNTAINS FESTIVAL
Bulgaria, June 13th – 15th

Completely unlike any festival in the world, Meadows is nestled high up in the stunning Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria, very proud of its quirky and different attitude that doesn’t follow trends and other festivals’ concepts.
I love this – look at these ridiculously happy festival highlights:“Dance in the ethereal half-light of dawn and dusk as the sunrise and sunset stages provide some of the best un-signed, underground artists spanning eclectic musical genres from across the world”
  
“Watch the morning mist cascade over the mountain range as shadowy forms convulse and glide to the rhythmic beats of house and techno…”
 
“Dwell at the forefront of sound as jazz, folk and disco float through the intricacies of melody.”
 
“Indulge your primordial appetites with hearty food to feed the soul; all locally grown and locally produced.”
 
Wowee. And if you need more convincing – have a little looksie at this video…

WEEKEND ON THE EDGE OF THE LAKE FESTIVAL
Switzerland, June 27th – 29th


Visual art, live painting, ‘Groove Music’, beach animations and balloon modelling. Who would not want to go? Set in the heart of the Alps and on the stunning Geronde Lake in Switzerland, this boutique festival is in its 8th year of fabulousness.

On their website they rave about their beach volleyball, lake pedaloes, petangue, local vineyards & hill walks and oodles more family friendly activities… it’s also fully sustainable and eco friendly.

So, there you have it. Three magical getaways for you to explore… and if you go, please tell me! I’ll be the one with a Magnum.

Or seven.

 

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Sing for Your Supper
– Ana Silvera –

ANA-SILVERA5_KateKearaPelen

Welcome to Sing For Your Supper – the cosiest gig you’ll ever stumble across. A monthly gig in my kitchen, among my pots and pans.

I’m working with the brilliant Karousel Music Collective to bring you the very best in songwriting and musicianship, straight from my kitchen, into yours. (If you happen to be watching this in your kitchen.) Described as ‘a bedroll and campfire of the soul for great artistes, songwriters, musicians and independent music industry professionals both UK based and beyond,’ Karousel Music Collective have tapped into something rather unique and I’m so pleased to be working with them.

But now, may I introduce the beautiful Ana Silvera

‘Stunning.. a gorgeous album that mixes operatic and folk elements with magical storytelling’ The Guardian

She arrived at my flat with her guitar, we chatted, shared stories and had a wonderful day. Read on for lots more about Ana, what she listens to when she cooks and what Time Out  say about her.. (it’s good. It’s really good.)

Here she is, singing for her supper, in Poppy’s kitchen. (Do watch to the end, it always makes me laugh…)

Ana Silvera, ‘Letter From New York’

 

The last couple of years have been phenomenal  for the extraordinary, multi-talented artist Ana Silvera. She released her debut album ‘The Aviary’ through Karamel Music to great praise. Recorded in New York with Maxim Moston (Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright) and produced by Brad Albetta (Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson) in New York and Ray Singer (Peter Sarstedt, Japan) in London, the album prompted critics to pen words such as ‘utterly beguiling’, ‘dark and delicious’, ‘stunning’, ‘a joy’, ‘magical’, ‘gorgeous’ and ‘a genius composer’. Songs of deeply personal experiences sit alongside tales of romance and tragedy, with drama, complexity, darkness and exuberance all found within.

Ana was also invited to perform her seven part song cycle ‘Oracles’ at the 2012 Reverb Festival at London’s Roundhouse and at The Sage, Gateshead. Composed both as a creative reaction and as an expression of grief to the death of her brother Daniel, the songs were sung alongside the thirty strong Estonian Television Girls Choir. Yet to be recorded, Oracles was also nominated for an award at the prestigious tenth anniversary BASCA ceremony (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors), held in London on December 3rd at Goldsmiths’ Hall.

The sold out shows – both streamed by The Guardian website – also featured Imogen Heap and the Holst Choir with Ana, Imogen and the two choirs all singing ‘Letter From New York’ taken from The Aviary’, as a finale.

‘Melodies that just won’t leave you alone, and a voice that tugs at your heart’
Late Junction, BBC Radio 3

‘Silvera’s voice.. has a Björk-like spontaneity – an ability to be gritty and fragile one minute, warm, rich and ripe the next’ Arts Desk

‘A stunning, beautiful and genius composer’ Camden New Journal

‘An emerging star singer/multi-instrumentalist making waves here and in the US, winning acclaim for her recent ‘Oracles’ composition’ Time Out

Currently, Ana is living in Copenhagen working on her next record and several other projects including a collaboration with the Royal Ballet.

Meet Ana Silvera…

 

What’s your favourite supper?

“I have a lovely friend in Copenhagen who spent a lot of time in Thailand, and learnt how to make the most delicious dishes. Vegetable curry with about fifteen different spices all hand-ground; massive piles of shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chilli, nam pla, tamarind juice,…they’re my favourite flavours. When I lived in Berlin, there was also an Vietnamese restaurant called Monsieur Vuong (I believe it’s still there) that made an incredible spicy shrimp salad with glass noodles and hazelnuts. I’d always have a pineapple and coconut juice alongside it. I still dream of those meals…one day I’ll go back!”

What’s your favourite London eaterie?

“My favourite eatery is Lanka Cake Shop and Tea Salon, just off Finchley Road, which is run by Masayuki Hara and his wife Mina. Masa, from Japan, is a master pastry chef who makes the best cakes I’ve ever tasted – and I’ve tasted a lot of cake in my time. Strangely, Masa says he likes steak better than cake, but I guess cake must seem like a bit of a bus man’s holiday to him by now.

There have been days when I’ve felt totally miserable, and then wandered into Lanka and my day has been transformed by the soothing atmosphere, the impeccable service but most of all by.. the cakes! One bite of the pear and almond slice, the lemon tart or the croissant bread and butter pudding alongside some select black or jasmine tea, and all is well once again with the world.”

What’s your cooking soundtrack?

“Funk accompanied by a large glass of wine (my chef role-model is vintage Keith Floyd). Throwing tabasco around: Earth, Wind and Fire; chopping the carrots: Sly and the Family Stone. As much as I love cooking, rather like going to the gym there are tedious and sometimes even painful moments (any kind of grating is pretty dull, hand-grinding spices is hard on the forearm, slicing onions, ouch), so you need a bit of cheer and a soulful groove to make it through.”

ana

www.AnaSilvera.com

Sing for your Supper will be returning next month, when Thom Byles will be singing in my kitchen…

Have a wonderful weekend all,

NEW SIGNATURE

 

 

If you’d like to get involved with Sing for Your Supper, just contact the Karousel Music Collective here.

Ben Katzler of Head Photographic directed this film. If you’d like to contact him for any snapping or shooting, you can reach him here.

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Music to my ears (..and win a pair of Philips Downtown Denim Headphones!)

Philips Downtown Denim Headphones

Philips Downtown Denim Headphones

I love listening to music when I’m out and about.. it’s like having a soundtrack to my life. Somedays I’ll be skipping down the street in the sunshine to Rosi Golan, and other days I’ll be listening secretly to Les Mis on the tube. ONE DAY MOREEEEE!! (I have been known to cry at ‘Bring Him Home’ on the Northern Line. It wasn’t my greatest moment..)

The headphones I wear really makes or breaks the listening experience, and I have been lucky enough to be in the possession of a pair of the new Philips Downtown Denims. (Cue ‘Ooooooooh’) 

Philips sent them to me to try out over a four week period, as part of their You Need to Hear This campaign. They have been coming with me on all my adventures over the last few weeks and the verdict is in. Poppy Loves.

Not only are these headphones great for sound quality, but they Look Awesome. (Can I say ‘awesome’ and not be American and get away with it? Do I sound ridiculous? I need a better word.) The main headband is covered in white stitched denim – it’s looks really cool (can I say ‘cool’?) and stylish and they have certainly been causing heads (three, so far) to turn.


Back to the sound quality – Philips have integrated MusicSeal Technology into the headphones, which essentially means your music won’t leak out and annoy all the people around you. And it really works. I turned my music up to a silly level (ouch!) and still it couldn’t be a heard by my friend sitting next to me on the tube. It works both ways too – sitting on the Central Line (I do get around you know) listening to my tunes, I was blissfully unaware of the chattering commuters, the argumentative child next to me and the ricketty rumbling of the train.

The headphones are incredibly comfortable to wear – they are so soft! Made of a faux leather, they feel like you are wearing giant marshmallows on your ears. I wore them for 4 hours on the trot recently, on the train home from Edinburgh, and they remained comfortable for the entire journey.


The really good news is that I have a pair to give away! See below for competition details, and in the meantime I suggest you give your tinny smartphone headphones the heave-ho and jump on board the sound revolution with me. I am SO COOL! 

(I’m listening to My Fair Lady. Shhhh.)

Philips Downtown Denim Headphones
£60

WIN a pair of Philips Downtown Denim Headphones!

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Poppy in the Wilderness…


“Cast away your consternations and plunge into a pastoral paradise of inspiration, entertainments and tranquility.”

Last weekend I was not in Kansas anymore.. no siree. I was deep, up to my sparkly eyelashes, into The Wilderness.. (um, in Oxfordshire.)

I should mention at this point that sadly, in my switch from Blogger over to WordPress I lost the originals of these images and so they are all a bit blurry.. however you can see them in their fighting sparkly form over here, if you fancy a nose.

 


The third season of Wilderness ran from the 8th – 11th August and we were treated to a magical weekend of glorious sunshine, arcadian arts, dazzling discourse, restorative rituals and after dark escapades… with processions and parades, boating lakes and banquets, debates and discussions, spas, circus spectaculars and some of the best music I’ve ever encountered…

The Tea Bus

The rolling landscapes of Cornbury played host to a sell-out crowd of over 15,000 festival-goers, who were treated to some sun-drenched escapades and sensational shows…

Martha Wainwright


Rodriguez (of Searching for Sugarman) made his only festival-headline appearance of the Summer, Empire of the Sun thrilled us, Noah and the Whale stunned us and the sounds of Martha Wainwright, John Newman, Michael Kiwanuka, and Tom Odell were to be heard throughout the Wilderness land, as were many others, including a host of acts from the London Folk Guild.

J Sheekey

Food lovers were in their element as they were treated to sumptuous dining experiences from some of Britain’s own foodie Gods, including banquets from Ottolenghi, Mark Hix and Polpo. Feasts from Moro and St John were also there to make us dribble and drool… it’s a miracle I fit in the car on the way home..I don’t believe I stopped eating. I actually don’t think I did. 

Transe Express

House of Davai

There is so much more to tell you.. the amazing French theatre groups Transe Express and Les Pepones brought their sensational outdoor circus performances to life, while we lay back under the stars, sipped gourmet hot chocs and guzzled organic baked potatoes with goats cheese and beetroot chutney, (I know.) and watched aerial performers elevated fifty feet up in the air and death defying trapeze acts, choreographed to a 1920’s musical swing score…


RSPLB saving the love-seeker’s day..

Jon Ronson at The Secret Forum

Chess in the Village Hall

The RSPLB (Royal Society of Pursuit of Love Birds) were there in force, bringing rockin romance and birdy naughtiness to the love seekers of the festival, there was swing dancing from Swing Patrol, Talks and debates in their hundreds at the Secret Forum, (led by The Huffington Post) and if I wasn’t swimming in the boating lake, watching Shakespeare’s at The Globe on the water’s edge, lounging at the lakeside spa, doing an Eggs Benedict masterclass at the Thyme Cookery School, getting sparkled up at Smashbox, playing chess in the Village Hall, hanging at the House of Fairytales or indulging in crumpets and tea in the Tea Bus, then I would be lazing in the sun, reading my book and letting the wonders of Wilderness waft over me and into the tips of my toes…


And I haven’t even scratched the surface… you can see my full photo album here, but it will still tell you only a fraction of the story that was Wilderness 2013… it’s a sensory explosion and I loved it.



Early bird tickets for Wilderness 2014 went on sale this week, so if you don’t want to miss out on the rompus and revelries next year, go and catch that worm here..

I will see you there..

NEW SIGNATURE

www.wilderness.com

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Interview: Rob Wood, founder of Music Concierge

Picture courtesy of Eve Wilson

Picture courtesy of Eve Wilson

“Where words fail, music speaks” Hans Christian Anderson

This is one of the opening lines on the opening page of a rather super duper website, belonging to a rather super duper company; Music Concierge. Music Concierge

Who? What? Well yes, this was a predicted reaction, so let me fill you in…

When you wander into your favourite store or hotel, do you find that the space represents you in some way, and you feel instantly at home, peaceful and happy? So much so that you don’t even notice the music that’s gently wafting out over the speakers, into your ears and trickling into the most hidden and deepest parts of your soul..?

Well there you have it. That’s because Music Concierge are BRILLIANT at what they do. A ground-breaking and award winning music consultancy service for luxury brands, hotels and retailers all over the big wide world.. They create bespoke playlists for their clients, (think Harrods, Clarridges.. oooooh) which reflect their brand personality and ethos in a beautiful and inspiring way. Clever stuff.

Music Concierge creates the ultimate mix tapes.. with all the romance and everything...

Music Concierge creates the ultimate mix tapes.. with all the romance and everything…

Music Concierge consider themselves to be the ‘guardians of your signature sound’ and this top notch company was founded by the brilliant Rob Wood in 2007. Rob’s passion for music began at the grand old age of 9 and he now has an unbelievable amount of in-depth knowledge across all genres, from music through the decades to bleeding-edge contemporary sounds, to the very best international repertoire from Africa to India and beyond.. so his brain is like, um, iTunes. But better.

Rob Wood (piccie pilfered from Boe Magazine)

Rob Wood (piccie pilfered from Boe Magazine)

Here’s my interview with the hugely impressive Rob Wood – what a terribly clever chap. (He also uses the word ‘cripes’, which obviously means he’s a gentleman as well – what a guy.)


How important do you think the relationship is between music and brands?

 

To create a great brand experience all the ways a customer interacts with a brand, whether online or offline, in-store or on-hold, need to be carefully considered. This includes sound. How a brand looks through its logo and interior design is no longer enough. You can affect people in a positive way through all the senses. Because hearing is our second most important sense, it stands to reason to make sure a brand sounds attractive and appropriate, if not inspiring.

 

Using the right music choices is a great way to connect with an audience. Associating a brand with the right artist can add kudos or build an emotional connection with people. And creating the perfect mood and atmosphere with music in a branded environment such as a store or hotel is a great way to keep them engaged and coming back for more. Music is indeed a powerful medium that can help bring the emotional qualities of buildings, products and services to life

What’s the most unusual project you’ve worked on?

 

At Music Concierge we have done some amazing projects. Going up the world’s tallest building in Dubai whilst it was still being built was fascinating and a little hair-raising. Designing music for the bar and lounge at the top is a real privilege. We do a particularly good Blade Runner-esque night-time soundscape there!

 

At the other end of the height spectrum we have also created the soundtrack for the world’s first underwater nightclub at Niyama in the Maldives which is completely ground-breaking.

 

Going to Bhutan to work with COMO Hotels was magical. I needed to visit their Uma Paro hotel and it was immediately clear that their music identity needed to include an authentic sense of local culture. The hotel staff kindly drove me on a winding dirt track through the Himalayas until we reach a large town. They took me to what was apparently the only record shop in Bhutan. I bought all 25 CDs they had to the shopkeeper’s amazement and then we headed back through the mountains. Half way back to the hotel, the jeep suddenly pulled off to a small farm and I was unexpectedly taken to what looked to me like a large barn that was probably more used to housing chickens than music consultants. In the empty barn stood a single chair and I was told it was for me. As I sat down a troupe of about 12 male and female traditionally dressed dancers and musicians began a mesmerizing showcase of authentic Bhutanese songs and dance performances. It was a private insight into the culture of a still feudal society that seemed blissfully out of synch with the rest of the world. That insight went on to influence a key part of the hotel’s music design.

Pic courtesy of Libertod Leal

Pic courtesy of Libertod Leal

Are there any brands you haven’t worked with but would like to?

 

I’d love to work with Agnes B. They feel savvy, interesting and culturally finger-on-the-pulse so choosing music to reflect their personality would be fun. 

 

Is there a particular song, album or playlist which you feel best represents you and your life?

 

Cripes. That’s a hard one. I don’t think one song or album could necessarily sum up a person. But there are plenty of records that mean a hell of a lot to me. Almost impossible to pick a few. London Calling by The Clash is an album I can never tire of. I played it relentlessly as a kid until the tape wore out.

 

John Martyn’s Solid Air or One World albums are both very special pieces of music. Check out his live performance of Devil May Care on Old Grey Whistle Test if you can. It’s simply astonishing.

 

It says nothing about my life but Bowie’s Heroes is one of my favourite songs of all time. I once was DJing to about 500 people in Camden on a Saturday night. It was my birthday and I selfishly played the track at the end of a raucous night and completely killed the dancefloor. But it was my birthday and I had to hear it! I was lucky enough to meet Robert Fripp recently the man who did the guitar lick on Fashion and played on a lot of Bowie’s music at that time including this song. He agreed Heroes was something special.

 

I could go on to name countless jazz, reggae, soul, classical, world and electronic records that I adore, but to prove I’m not completely retro in my music tastes, I advise everyone with ears to buy and repeatedly listen to Steve Mason’s new album Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time. It’s guaranteed to improve your life and make the world a better place. The ex-front man of The Beta Band solo work is very satisfying. He was also very good live at Lattitude this year.

 
Which 5 tracks would you pick for my blog, Poppy Loves?
 

Rhye – The Fall
Catherine Howe – It Comes With Breezes
FM Laeti – Out Of My Hands
Terry Callier – Ride Suite Ride
Haim – Falling

And here they are for your listening pleasure, (although I couldn’t get Catherine Howe’s ‘It Comes With Breezes’ on Grooveshark, but you can listen to this track here..

NEW SIGNATURE

Rob Wood Creative Director and Founder
Music Concierge
www.musicconcierge.co.uk

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Going to The Chapel

Pic by Andrew Firth

I do like a freebie. A pretty nail varnish in a magazine, or a massive Galaxy bar when you buy Grazia in WH Smith in Euston Station**… but FREE music in one of the most beautiful venues in London? Now that is something else altogether.

The completely gorgeous Union Chapel has opened its brilliant doors at noon to offer you the chance to hear some of the best contemporary, acoustic, folky and even classical tunes this fair city has to offer. All for free. FREE. I shall say it again. Free.

Daylight Music is a rocking notion, produced by Arctic Circle, who not only see the value of bringing top music to a shiny new bunch of people, (that’s you again) but recognise the need to have fresh and exciting platforms for up and coming artists to showcase their stuff. By stuff I mean ditties. 

There’s no standing around waiting for narky musicians to grace us with their presence, or being fobbed off with flat beer and soggy crisps. Nope. The music kicks off pronto and you can grab yourself a warming mug of tea and a scrummy cake from the Margins Union Cafe to nibble as you settle back at your FREE lunchtime concert. Lovely. What’s more, all the profits from the cafe go straight to the Margins Homelessness Project, so do spend your pennies – you’ll be doing a swell thing.

Folk like the The Leisure Society and Laura Marling have made a bit of a name for themselves here, so get your skates on and whizz on over…you never know who you might spot.

Did I mention it was free?

**This occurred once and it was one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me. In a train station. I have no idea if this will ever occur again, or if I was the only one but I am writing this so I don’t get in trouble. 

NEW SIGNATURE

Daylight Music at Union Chapel
Compton Avenue, London, N1 2XD
Saturdays 12pm – 2pm
Free (See? FREE)

Schedule:

May
5th The Lowland Hundred, Olivia Chaney & Domingo Candelario
12th Geek Night Out: Cherry White, Tricity Vogue & Vikki Stone
19th Stephanie O’Brien, Sweet Lights & tbc
26th Idiot Son, Samson & Delilah & Emma Gatrill


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Face the music: Karamel Music

Tucked away down a weeny street, (so weeny Red and I couldn’t find it) lies one of London’s best kept musical secrets – The Karamel Music Club, a true magical gem nestled in the heart of the Chocolate Factory 2.

Every second Wednesday, the Karamel Klub hosts a glorious cosy and high class musical evening of songwriting, stellar musicianship and merriment, which is completely and utterly free. FREE. They’ve had some outstanding people play over this last year, including Rosi Golan, (rising star) Jacqui Dankworth (Jazz royalty) Chris Helme (Sea Horses) Chris Difford (Double Ivor Novello)… etc.. (Am I name dropping?) So we were excited.

Red and I stumbled into Karamel out of the rain after walking in the wrong direction for 20 mins, (I blame my iPhone. Red blames me) and were immediately welcomed by a gigantic grin, which belonged to one Mr Chris Sheehan – the host, energy and brains behind the event. He escorted us (through a throng of happy people chittering and chattering excitedly) to our table and we ordered our dins. Fish and chips pleasey. 

Within minutes our food had arrived and while we ate, Chris explained why this particular evening was a bit different from the norm.. he also kept pinching my chips. (No biggie – the portions were enormous.)

All the artists playing that night were all outstanding session musicians, so you won’t necessarily have heard of them, but you will probably have heard of many of the people they’ve played for – Tim Minchin, Jarvis Cocker, Elbow… there I go again. 

Their musicianship is second to none – they’ve all trained their socks off and are at the very top of their game…and they were all jolly nice people too. The Karamel Club gave them a platform to perform their pieces in their way, with all eyes on them. And it was very special indeed. 

Helen Whitaker

They all played some amazingly dramatic, colourful, exciting and diverse pieces, which I can’t possibly explain but you’re going to have to take my word for it. It was nothing like I nor Red, (she said so) had ever heard before. I know that’s what Simon Cowell says on Britain’s Got Talent, but this was different. This was Really Good.

They were received brilliantly. There were whoops! and woohoos! and clever whistles that I can’t do but wish I could.

Next Wednesday, 25th April, the Karamel Music Club is back to its old tricks and you’ll find Matt Woosey, Vive and Sophie Smiles performing for your pleasure. 

I suggest you get yourselves down there. And may I also recommend the fish and chips. (But eat fast – Chris has got eyes like an eagle…)

The Karamel Music Club
4 Coburg Road
Wood Green
London, N22

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Dingle Bells

 

 
In an industry so cut throat and where X-Factor holds status (sob) I always cheer when a true musician, with scruffy hair and a gloriously undeterred happy outlook comes my way. Enter Henry Dingle. A real life, guitar playing gent who grew up on an orchard and can out-eat me in cake. (That’s unusual).
 
Henry’s new album, ‘The Boy Who Never Learned’ is a beautiful scrapbook of everything he holds dear. Real life, real sentiment, real musicians and no nonsense. Many people who know and love Henry (and there are many) played a part in the creation of this album, from baking cakes for his album launch to designing the cover sleeve – and it is all the sweeter for it.
 
Henry is gracing the stage at the Portobello Acoustic Sessions on the 3rd June, but for those of you who can’t wait to sample a bit of Mr Dingle, here is my fave – ‘January’ (Track 4 – on repeat). His brother Fergus and he shot the film together, and I have had jumper envy ever since. Enjoy.
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