Music Team Spotlights #3

Our fortnightly spotlight series continues this week with more tips curated by our UK Music team, bringing you music news, online performances, blogs, playlists, podcasts and album releases. What have you discovered this week? Let us know on Twitter.


News Spotlight


AIM Awards 2020 Nominees

The Association of Independent Music recently announced the nominations for their 2020 AIM Awards. These awards celebrate the vibrant independent scene in the UK, and we were delighted to see a number of artists on the list who we have worked with and featured on Selector Radio, including: Sarathy Korwar, KOKOROKO, Arlo Parks and Greentea Peng. Congratulations to all those nominated. The results will be announced online on 12 August, and in the meantime the shortlist features exciting new music to discover.

- Michael Duffy (Music Programme Manager)


Performances Spotlight (Online)


Dancing at Dusk - A moment with Pina Bausch's The Rite of Spring

1 - 31 July

‘In this stunning film, Pina Bausch’s iconic choreography The Rite of Spring is danced in an extraordinary setting, on the beach in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal.
Filmed as the world descended into lockdown it captures the last rehearsal of a specially assembled company of 38 dancers from 14 African countries, and documents a unique moment in their preparations for an international tour. A rare opportunity to watch one of the world’s greatest dance works.’
You can read more about Dancing at Dusk and the story of the magical rehearsal before the world went into lockdown in this article.
You can rent this film throughout the month of July.

- Grace Pitkin (Music Programme Coordinator)


Birmingham Opera Company: Stockhausen's Mittwoch Aus Licht / Wednesday From Light

4 & 5 July at 5pm BST

Birmingham Opera Company offer the chance to catch their landmark production of 20th-century German composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s monumental opera, Mittwoch aus Licht (Wednesday from Light). The work is taken from Stockhausen’s large, 29-hour, opera cycle Licht: die sieben Tage der Woche (Light: The Seven Days of the Week), and Wednesday is perhaps most noted for it’s string quartet performed by players in four helicopters in flight, video streamed down to the audience, intertwining the sounds of strings and rotating propellers. Birmingham Opera Company and Graham Vick created this award-winning production for the London 2012 Festival, and in their hallmark style, the cast features volunteer and amateur performers from across Birmingham alongside professional musicians. Mittwoch was long considered too grandiose to scale in full, so this is a rare (and critically-acclaimed) opportunity to experience this extraordinary piece.

- Michael Duffy (Music Programme Manager)


Sons of Kemet Live - Somerset House Summer Series

9 July at 7.30pm

The 9th of July would have been the opening night of this year's Somerset House Summer Series. Even though the festival won't take place physically this time, a highlight from last year's series is being brought into our homes: a stream of the Sons of Kemet headline set. British Council has previosuly worked on several projects with bands led by Shabaka Hutchings whom The Guardian describes as "a virtuoso mover and shaker who divides himself up among a number of bands (and) saves his most muscular, most yang, most strident music for Sons of Kemet."  Playing jazz at its finest, the band is influenced by the African diaspora and cultural background of the band members. Performances are being used as a platform for polictical activism. During this concert in 2019, the band projected slogans on the stage while teleporting the crowd into a musical trance with polyrhythms and percussion beats: “The music allows you to get people to a point of intensity, and in those moments they are engrossed and sensitive. If you can suggest something to them then, it is deeply powerful.” (Shabaka Hutchings)

The concert also included special guests Kojey Radical, Sampa the Great and D Double E, all of whom have been featured before on British Council's Selector Radio with Kojey Radical appearing in the latest blog written by Jamz Supernova on the Black Lives Matter edition of the radio show

- Anna Bliner (Music Programme Coordinator)


Blog Spotlight

Tangram's 'Puzzle Pieces'

Launched in 2019, Tangram is a dynamic new UK-based artist collective. They say: Tangram’s compositions and performances delve into the richness and multiplicity of transnational Chinese experience, encouraging audiences to engage in nuanced cultural exchange and deep listening across perceived borders. Through the emotional languages of music, they hope to transcend the pervasive assumption that China and the West are mutually exclusive entities, in favour of imagining more interconnected futures.’ Check out their fascinating new Puzzle Pieces blog, their Youtube channel and follow them on Twitter.

- Leah Zakss (Music Programme Manager)


Playlist Spotlight


Belfast Music Recommends

Vibrant music hub Oh Yeah Music Centre curates a fortnightly playlist from Belfast and wider Northern Ireland. From all time classics to the newest sounds from artists you’ve yet to discover, there really is something here for everyone.

- Leah Zakss (Music Programme Manager)


Album Release Spotlight


Sault – Untitled (Black Is)

I stumbled upon this album last week and have been hooked since. The mysterious collective, Sault, remains anonymous and their whereabouts is relatively unknown. This adds to the brilliance of the album somehow which sounds timeless, with its elements of spoken word, hip-hop, classic soul and RnB. Though timeless in style it is also incredibly reflective of this moment in history with Black Lives Matter and the global outcries against racial injustice. The whole record delivers a powerful message of revolution and is a joyful celebration of black culture. Favourite tracks are ‘Monsters’ and ‘Hold Me’.

- Grace Pitkin (Music Programme Coordinator)


Podcast Spotlight


46-30: Quality Music of No Fixed Adobe

Songwriter James Yorkston and record label owner / brewer Stephen Marshall in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland, discussing and playing music 'of no fixed abode'.

- Leah Zakss (Music Programme Manager)