Music Team Spotlights #6

We've been keeping our eyes and ears open once again for the best and most interesting music around. It's all here for you to watch, listen to and explore. What have you discovered this week? Let us know on Twitter.


Festivals Spotlight (Online)

Jazz Re:Fest

23 August 2020

Jazz re:freshed, the brainchild of Justin McKenzie and Adam Moses, gives a brilliant platform to emerging and more established UK jazz talent. Their regular nights in West London place the music firmly at the centre of the action but without being hushed and reverent about it. In recent times their Jazz re:fest festival has spread the word beyond London and now, owing to Covid, this year's festival will head online. This week the re:freshed team scooped the prestigious Best Label award at the AIM Awards 2020 (Association of Independent Music) — high praise indeed for their ability to showcase UK jazz in its recorded form too! So what better time to experience the uniqueness of the exciting UK jazz scene than with these live performances online.

– Stephen Bloomfield, Music Marketing Manager


Proms Spotlight

This week the BBC released details of the live concerts they have programmed for the end of the Proms season. But before we get to the end of the season, there's plenty of material coming from the archives to keep us entertained over the next couple of weeks: from 1990's Proms, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, featuring the landmark premiere of James MacMillan’s The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (17 August); some late-night Stockhausen with Stimmung — a work for six singers with microphones performed by Theatre of Voices in 2008 (20 August); Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Collegium Vocale Ghent from 1998 (23 August); and from deeper in the archive a chance to hear American composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein with the Vienna Philharmonic from 1987 (26 August).

– Michael Duffy, Music Programme Manager


Talks and Webinars Spotlight

The Hub talks – Balance

Next session is 19 August

I’ve noticed a series of interesting and relevant sessions planned by our friends at the Hub called Balance. Times are tough for artists and freelancers but the Balance series aims to provide support in helping sort the ‘coulds’ from the ‘shoulds’ to enable forward movement in career and business planning. They’re billed as being ‘perfect for anyone who knows they need to be making some new plans, but just can’t seem to get started’ with an invite for their third talk to help identify what matters most ‘amidst all the noise, and find a path that gives them energy and motivation'. The sessions will be led by Andy Gibson, Founder Mindapples, and Julia Payne, Founder of the Hub.

– Cathy Graham, Director Music


Mix Spotlight

South Asian Heritage Month – Nabihah Iqbal Guest Mix

I can think of few other artists who are as 'well read' as Nabihah when it comes to knowledge of music from all corners of the world. Nabihah's special mix for Selector Radio draws from traditional and contemporary sounds of Pakistan, all as part of South Asian Heritage Month. For more mixtapes in the series, check out Tenma's mix covering the rich heritage of protest music. We first met Tenma last year when he was a guest of ours at The Great Escape 2019.

– Stephen Bloomfield, Music Marketing Manager


Resources Spotlight

Arup – Optimising Music Quality on Video Calls

There’s some great advice here from Arup, explaining how anyone working with video call software and music – and trying to improve the sound quality – can make big improvements to their sessions whether that’s on Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. This strikes me as hugely useful for instrumental teachers and performers alike, all now working predominantly online in a way few might have predicted at the start of this year.

– Cathy Graham, Director Music


New Music Spotlight

Hot B Stars – Jasmine Kent Rodgman

Hot B Stars is a collection of four miniatures — a digital installation providing fragments of memory and journey at a time of self-isolation. These snapshots offer a glimpse into Chinese and Malaysian culture through the eyes of the young transnational Chinese community in London and challenges audiences on outdated tropes and assumptions held of East Asia. Jasmin is an alumnus of our Musician in Residence China programme with PRS Foundation.

– Leah Zakss, Music Programme Manager


Hilang Child – Seen the Boreal

‘Seen the Boreal’ from Hilang Child was released on 11 August and follows hot on the heels of his last single 'Good to Be Young' last month. I'm generally a fan of anything Bella Union put out and have watched Hilang Child (Ed Riman) and his career with interest ever since he was part of our UK-Indonesia Season a few years back. The half-Welsh, half-Indonesian singer-songwriter has a captivating voice and a style that I can only describe as well-considered, pop for grown-ups – like a contemporary take on Peter Gabriel’s So years. The videos for both these new singles are also worth checking out.

– Stephen Bloomfield, Music Marketing Manager


Awate – The Unearthed Odyssey

Hear UK artist Awate in conversation with journalist Kieran Yates as they discuss ‘sonic time travel’, the legacy of immigrant communities in the UK and the importance of sound preservation to document events and share stories. Awate has just completed a creative residency as part of the British Library’s mammoth Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project. The resulting piece, 'The Unearthed Odyssey', weaves in spoken word, field recordings and music excerpts from countries such as Indonesia and Egypt, along with sound effects and wildlife recordings (listen carefully!). Also featured in the composition are children who participated with the help of Fairbeats — a music charity working with young refugees, asylum seekers, newly arrived migrants and their families.

– Leah Zakss, Music Programme Manager


Composing for Sitar 2020 YouTube Premiere

During the course of 2019–20, Psappha invited six composers – Jake Adams, Aaron Breeze, Nathanial Chivers, Atefeh Einali, Kevin Leomo and Electra Perivolaris – to write new pieces for sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun who worked closely with each composer during the process. Now each piece is available to watch online.

– Leah Zakss, Music Programme Manager