Roanoke Bluegrass Sat, 04 Dec 2021 01:07:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Roanoke Bluegrass 32 32 Best Recordings of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio Thu, 02 Dec 2021 14:18:34 +0000

When was the Bach Christmas Oratorio written?

Aassembled at the end of 1734, JS Bach‘s’ Oratorium Tempore Nativitatis Christi’ (Christmas Oratorio) constitutes a six-part Christmas present to the congregations of St. Thomas and St. Nicholas in Leipzig. Time is running out, but Bach had a trump card up his sleeve, as the Nativity to Epiphany cycle plunders pre-existing sources. His congregations may or may not have had the sophistication to recognize it – particularly over the 13-day performance – but Bach intended a unified design.

Given on consecutive days, parts I-III explore the Nativity; Parts V-VI the coming of the Magi. Isolated by the key and the appearance of two horns, Part IV stands out. Revisiting techniques already repeated in the sets of Bach’s Passion, the Christmas Oratorio in a way embodies their joyful photographic negative.

We have named Bach’s Christmas Oratorio one of the best classical Christmas pieces of all time.

What is the best recording of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio?

René Jacobs

RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für alte Musik Berlin

Harmonia Mundi HMX 2901630.31

Trying to find the perfect Christmas oratorio is no easy task. True, there may be few absolute turkeys, but playing it safe with performances offering the fewest caveats would be tantamount to bypassing a work whose exuberant and imaginative life force demands daring to match. Anyone familiar with René Jacobs’ recordings of Mozart knows not to expect “security” from himself, and they won’t be surprised to find that he is the only conductor to add lute to the continuo here, opening up enlightening possibilities in recitatives – where he generally approaches Bach’s story with invigorating immediacy. Nothing is taken for granted, no revealing detail is overlooked.

The opening chorus is electrifying, the thundering timpani allowed for additional unscripted bloom on the cover, and the soloists are one with a drama unfolding simultaneously on human and divine levels. Where some performances only tell the story of Christmas, Jacobs lives it. Werner Gura is a compelling narrator with weight as required, Klaus Hager a true bass, capable of majesty without boasting. Certainly, certain tempos raise eyebrows – given the soporific staging of the Sinfonia Part II, it would be happy if the shepherds could stay awake to watch over their flocks. But reservations aside, Jacobs draws you into mystery and wonder, majesty and celebration.

Three more excellent recordings of JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Masaaki suzuki

Bach Collegium Japan

CD BRI 941/942

Where an imposing basilica would seem to provide the perfect backdrop for Jacobs’ living tale, a spacious chapel could complement Masaaki Suzuki’s time-consuming and intimate approach – for all that he accesses to intentional jubilation with unerring sharpness. Like her former teacher Ton Koopman, Suzuki places great importance on supreme clarity, but while her quest for ideal purity has at times seemed almost an end in itself, here she unleashes some of the freshest musical creations imaginable – precision. and the alert the reactivity of the choir and the instrumentalists (beautifully recorded) enchants. Soloists, on the other hand, are more problematic. Gerd Türk’s evangelist is pretty reliable, but bass Peter Kooij isat times a bit abrupt, while Yoshikazu Mera’s colorful and unpredictable countertenor won’t appeal to everyone.

JoEliot Gardiner

Monteverdi choir

Archives 423 2322

For many, the recording of John Eliot Gardiner is probably the benign ghost of Christmases gone by, as familiar and warm as a beloved horseman. Once upon a time, his fast tempos have been the subject of much comment; these days they seem positively mainstream, as does, in a curious way, this performance as a whole – a vintage instrument version for those who think they don’t like vintage instruments. Anxious to distinguish between pomp and pomp, Gardiner’s incisive dramatic instincts provide an exciting “edge” to his Monteverdi Choir (the exhilarating “bounce” of “Ehre sei Gott” is a prime example). And his soloists seduce and reassure at all times – Anthony Rolfe Johnson a very self-effacing “English” evangelist, the honeyed but authoritarian baritone Olaf Bär, the mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter simply radiant.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Wiener Sängerknaben

Warner Classics Das Alte Werk 2564 698 540

Including Harnoncourt’s recording with the Wiener Sängerknaben Boys’ Choir may seem perverse when so many other versions offer more technically secure and less poised performances. But Christmas is about children, and relying on boys’ voices not only for the choir but also for the solos, Harnoncourt offers the closest approximation to the sound that the good citizens of Leipzig would have known in 1734. Among the other boy’s choir recordings available, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden’s pioneering 1973 version with the Tolzer Knabenchor is only available for download; a 1958 performance of Bach’s Thomanerchor conducted by Kurt Thomas threatens to last until Easter; and the soloists of the Dresden Kreuzchor and the Philharmonie are
all adults. So, Harnoncourt, it must be.

And one to avoid

Karl Richter’s heavy recording of 1965 opens a window into a vanished world of Bach’s performance, and with tenor Fritz Wunderlich in great shape and an impeccably pierced choir and orchestra, it has its attractions. Yet with a galaxy of Rolls-Royce soloists, it becomes a sort of star-studded production number streak amid recitatives whose well-padded presumption suggests a Hollywood biblical B-movie blockbuster.

Top illustration by Steve Rawlings / Beginner

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In Indian classical music, female percussionists tackle sexism by collectivizing Wed, 01 Dec 2021 06:00:00 +0000

Carnatic percussionists say they are infallibly remembered once a year. In March, as the world celebrates Women’s Day, they are sought after as symbols of “female power” on stage. Sometimes they are also busy in October or November when Navaratri is paying homage to “shakti”.

“It has become kind of a joke among us,” said ghatam player Sumana Chandrashekar, shishya of pioneer ghatam player Sukanya Ramgopal. “We are all full in March. This is the only time we can refuse concerts.

Mridangam artist Charu Hariharan compares the March rush to the elaborate reception given to elephants at temple festivals – caparisoned and celebrated briefly, then left to fend for themselves.

For the rest of the year, female percussionists are mostly forced to stay on the sidelines, struggling to establish themselves in male-dominated performance spaces.

In Indian classical music, percussion is primarily an art of sangat or accompaniment, taking place alongside the singer or instrumentalist on the stage. Think back to the last time you saw a woman occupy this place, playing tabla or mridangam. There is a good chance that you will draw a blank.

Despite this precariousness, female threshers stand out by doing what the marginalized do to strengthen their voice: collectivization. There are all-female ensembles of all kinds, experimenting and pushing the boundaries of creation with their hard-earned expertise in the tala system.

What has facilitated the collaborations is the lockdown induced by the pandemic, with digital media paving the way and crossing barriers in the establishment. Among these was a series where percussionists Ramgopal, Chandrashekar, Hariharan and Radha Kannan came together to perform konakkol, vocalized percussion syllables, to the poetry of Subramania Bharati.

Over the past three decades, Sthree Thala Tharanga, Stree Shakti, Rhythms of Shakti, Pravaham 2.0, Women of Rhythm, Karnataka Mahila Laya Madhuri and several other groups have come together in permanent or fluid forms so that women can find networks. and spaces of support.

“Me, my parents and my guru value my music so much that I can’t afford to ruminate.” [over lack of opportunities]”said Hariharan who recently collaborated with mridangam player Aswini Srinivasan, artist veena Anjani Srinivasan and violinist Rangapriya for Pravaham 2.0.” We women tend to be reluctant to ask for work. male musicians network with such ease. But if the environment is not favorable, we must find the strength from within. Women must support each other, collectivize and spread their music, create their own sound. Join forces and boost our self-esteem. Hariharan’s remembers her parents and guru, Mannarkoil Balaji, put talent above all else, including gender, even though she was the only girl in a class. ‘mridangam students.

Yet while collectivization is empowering, it also shows how much the musical circuit isolates female percussionists. This despite the fact that the last decades have seen more and more women musicians turn to tabla, mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, morsing or thavil. Their number may not be large, but their invisibility on traditional platforms is almost total.

All-female ensembles can be a slippery slope for another reason. These artists want to be recognized for their talents as a percussionist, not as men or women.

Mridangam artist Charu Hariharan.

“We try to make listeners forget that we are female percussionists, to be heard and not seen as new,” said Deepikaa Sreenivasan, a mridangam player based in Bengaluru. “But there are so few of us that we have no choice but to come together for the good of each other. Most ensembles are created for the same reason – we want to give ourselves and other young female percussionists opportunities.

It is not uncommon, she says, for female percussionists to abandon music because of social and family pressures, either give in to the demands of domestic life or are frustrated by the lack of opportunities. Collective work is a way of “working your muscles, making music and making noise,” she says.

“Manly art”

Percussion across genres is considered a manly art. It is only recently that women have entered into folkloric or rhythmic ritual traditions such as singari melam, chenda or dhol.

But the classical concert arena operates with a complex hierarchy. As an accompanying artist, a drummer faces not only the gender biases of the organizers and the audience, but also that of the lead musician. And if you are a ghatam and secondary mridangam player, being a woman can be a drag on your career.

It was the indefatigable Sukanya Ramgopal who refused to let rampant chauvinism push her into the shadows. In 1995, she created an all-female musical ensemble of drummers and instrumentalists, the lively Sthree Taal Tarang, largely in response to the traumatic experiences she suffered as a ghatam player.

Sukanya Ramgopal on the mridangam.

Ramgopal never shies away from the mortifications – of the legendary master mridangam who refused to perform with her, ordered not to play long or forceful interludes and crumbling in grief over the sheer toxicity of brotherhood in which she entered as a gifted and spirited child. . For narrow minds, it didn’t matter that she was trained and mentored by the best in the field, the family of the legendary TH Vikku Vinayakram.

For Ramgopal, an all-female collective and multi-ghatam dramatic solos have become the most effective way to get agency back on her career and her art. His house is an open space where young percussionists can practice, rehearse and converse. A fiery personality, his instinctive reaction to cynicism is a creative challenge.

“When I was turned away from a sabha because I was a woman, I decided to create opportunities for myself instead of waiting for them,” she said. “I started working on a set of ghatam with my students and presented it to Bengaluru Gayana Samaj. Then someone said it was only okay for the lec-dems, so I went ahead and did a three hour gig in 1997.

The Sthree Thaal Tharanga, made up of ghatams, violin, veena, morsing and mridangam, constantly features new and veteran percussionists – morsing artist Bhagyalakshmi Krishna, kanjira player Latha Ramachar among them. Almost all the women who play a rhythmic instrument have played for the tarang.

Sukanya Ramgopal on the mridangam.

“Without her we wouldn’t have dared to dream,” said Srinivasan, who recently conceptualized a complex ensemble work on Chaapu, a Carnatic tala, starring Srinivasan, Chandrashekar, Vijetha Hegde (tabla), Hrishitha Kedage ( violin) and Siri Chandrashekhar (konakkol).

Unjust world

Pudukottai Ranganayaki Ammal, born in 1909 into a family of traditional musicians from the Issaivellalar community, is said to be the first professional mridangam player. The information available on her life is limited, even if she would have played on prestigious platforms with the biggest names of her time. In Hindustani music, it was tabla artist Parsi, Aban Mistry, who led the way in the 1960s.

Much has changed for young women in the rhythm business since then. Their sheer presence and visibility, for example, and the strength of the #MeToo movement have made overt gender bias almost impossible. But passive prejudices are rife, say women musicians.

“My challenges are an extension of what my guru has faced and continues to face,” said Chandrashekar, who leads the program team at the Indian Foundation for the Arts. “The only difference is how the bias appears – 15 years ago it was more blunt, you were told clearly, ‘This is not a woman’s job.’ Now everyone is politically correct, but the aggression is more subtle. I hear jibes like “Ghatam needs a powerful game”, [and I] I am offered condescending advice on how to play. I have also noticed that presentations to female percussionists must have a line crediting a husband or father to “allow” them to perform. “

In a private conversation, most female musicians talk about the condescension and latent sexism on the pitch, of men seeing it as a tumble to perform with women. “They don’t test the limits of our musical virtuosity,” is a common line.

Singer TM Krishna, who is part of the Kalaikoodam initiative which trains girls to play kanjira, ghatam and parai, recalls performing at a sabha with a bright young woman from Meridang and condescending compliments that followed the concert: “We thought you were a man, you played so well.

The pervasive gender divide makes it difficult, Srinivasan says, to be just yourself as a musician. “There is so much condescension that if you have to prove yourself you have to do something drastic,” she said. “That or face frustration on the way up.” I don’t see any men taking care of this.

Are women’s sets the answer to the problem? One could argue that just like the zenana dabba of Indian trains, it ends up compartmentalizing women more, allowing sexism to flourish. In a remark, Transcend your rhythm, your rhythmUS-based Meridangist Rajna Swaminathan, who trained under Umayalpuram Sivaraman, talks about the lurking dangers of the binary trap. All-female teams can help increase the visibility of female artists, but it’s also important to work to erase sexist perceptions, says the musician, whose short hair and kurtis set her apart at concerts.

“The performances of women are always framed by very specific expectations: their improvisation is not supposed to be very rhythmic, they must always embody bhakti and chastity in all aspects of their presentation (from the way they render the compositions the way they dress), and if for some reason they don’t fit that image, they’re said to be playing at a “male” level or posture.

– Rajna Swaminathan

Hariharan believes that in a fiercely competitive and unfair world, women must make a place for themselves. “You could argue, why should it be a woman’s responsibility to be heard?” But if we don’t use our vulnerability as a force, pessimism could end up closing us off, ”she replied.

Ramgopal now wants to bring together all of the country’s female percussionists and ensembles for a concert that would recreate his 84-piece tribute to Vikku Vinayakram on his 75th birthday. “This is my dream,” she said.

Violin duo by Sindhu-Smitha, Deepikaa Sreenivasan on mridanga, Latha Ramachar on kanjira and Bhagyalakshmi Krishna on Morsing.

Malini Nair is a New Delhi-based writer and editor. She is Kalpalata Fellow for Classical Music Writings for 2021.

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Composer Jonathan Bingham: Changing the Course of Classical Music Mon, 29 Nov 2021 16:25:10 +0000

Composer Jonathan Bingham has been recognized for using electronic and acoustic instruments over the past decade. Bingham is a Donna Milanovich Composer in Residence with the Chicago Philharmonic and is delighted to be visiting Chicago for the first time for this premiere. An accomplished composer, Bingham has performed residencies with the Arapahoe Philharmonic and the Boulder Symphony. Additionally, through collaborations with filmmakers, dancers and painters, his works have been premiered internationally in concert halls, cinemas, galleries and theaters.

A composition graduate from Howard University and New York University, his most recent project is Cool Story, a platform for researching scores and producing recordings of lesser-known music.

Tammy Gibson: What made you decide to become a songwriter?

Jonathan Bingham: When I was in high school, I took a class where we started composing silent films. Composition was the only activity that kept my interest. I played basketball at one point. Then, for some reason, I started running away from everything else. Recording silent movies in high school led me to try and get into music production and popular music. While I was trying to do this, I discovered classical music, and I haven’t looked back since.

TG: Do you remember the first song you wrote?

JB: Absoutely. It’s a string quartet called “Diamond” and it still performs today. Usually, composers do not let their first pieces play. But, I needed it for a gig once, because I needed to fill up some space. The “Diamond” coin is named after my birthstone month in April.

TG: Which composer inspired you the most?

JB: I have two composers who have inspired me. Irénée Bergé is a French composer. Hearing his music, the idea of ​​stopping the music came to my mind because the bar was just too high. I felt that it was not the right time to make music, I had a well-paid job and Irénée Bergé had already done everything. I am still studying his work. I learn something new from him every time.

Samuel Barber was an American composer. He did it the right way by introducing the right amount of convention into his music and his experiments. He has a large catalog, and I think it’s important that every composer thinks about whether he’ll be making relevant music. You can’t just have music that looks like music from the last century or too far into the future because people won’t find it. Barber has found a nice balance in the career he has had. The numbers speak for themselves on its success.

TG: What is the life of a composer like today?

JB: Right now I have a scholarship in the Bay Area. I’ll be in San Francisco to work on the stock market. I was given a command and a space to write. It is a composer’s dream. I’m going to wake up, have a coffee and compose on the piano. Every once in a while someone would contact me to collaborate on a movie or a pop song. They will give me work to write string arrangements or electronic sounds for a movie. I’ll take a little trip.

TG: Is there a collaboration you’re most proud of?

JB: There was a collaboration that I did, but it was my project that I did a few years ago called “Equation”. It was a concert with a painter who made a painting with my string quartet. We rented a gallery in New York, and it was great fun.

TG: What are you doing to keep your creativity flowing?

JB: The most important thing is to keep listening to music. It doesn’t stop with classical music. If you want to be a classical composer, especially ten years in the game, you have to know another genre. Find one or two artists or two albums of specific artists and do your research. Next, look for books published about this artist and podcast episodes to listen to about the artist? It is essential to learn about different artists and different types of music.

Jonathan Bingham Chicago DefenderTG: Is it easy or difficult for you as an African American composer?

JB: Being a composer, whatever your race, is difficult. The industry is not very interested in it or shows a strong investment of composers under 40 years old. Apparently 40 is the age when people start to talk about you a little more. Until then, it’s about either continuously applying for schools, scholarships and scholarships to fund your projects, or creating your opportunities yourself, which can be difficult. I tell people I don’t recommend this path unless you think it’s a call to your life or find purpose or meaning in being a songwriter.

If you graduate from college at age 20-25, you have another 10-15 years before things start to happen for you, potentially. During this time, you need to focus on why you are doing this to keep improving and developing as a songwriter.

TG: As a composer, what stage of your career are you at now?

JB: I am 32 years old and I feel that there are elements in the music that I have performed. I knew I wanted to write certain pieces, write for an orchestra, and write for a string quartet when I was in college. I’ve done over ten shows in the past year, which is pretty good. It doesn’t sound like much in the classic world at 32, but I’d say it’s pretty good.

Where I am on the scale of things is hard to say. You feel like a rock star at times, and at other times you are in your room composing. I’m in a good position right now and consider myself lucky.

TG: What projects are you currently working on?

JB: I’m working on a project called “Cool Story”, where I’m researching lesser-known music. The first project is to research composers who have been associated with Howard University, where I studied. There is a lot of literature in the classical world that has passed through Howard University and has never been published. Unfortunately, some sheet music was sitting on the desks of these composers, and when they died, the sheet music was thrown in the trash. Fortunately, some partitions have been found and rearranged. I got sheet music from Mark Fax, who taught composers Dorothy Rudd Moore and Adolphus Hailstork, who were his students at Howard University.

Max Fax did not have many performances, especially his string quartet. I was able to attend, I believe, the creation of the Fax string quartet in 2010. Be careful, Fax died in the early 1970s. I was 20 when I heard the string quartet, and I loved it. I thought it had to be a first somewhere. I was still waiting for someone to come and publish a recording, and no one did.

In 2018, I created a website and got permission from the Fax family to register the work. I now have the digitized score to give to the musicians. I want to put the music from Fax on a platform where the 21st century audience can access the Internet. If I had left it alone, the score would have ended up in a library. How many people go to the library to look for sheet music? That’s why I launched, where people can listen to music and donate.

TG: What advice would you give to a budding composer?

JB: Don’t try to become a professional composer if that’s not your calling. There is a lot of time between when you start and when you can step onto the world stage and make it a lifestyle. You have to find meaning and purpose if you want to be a composer.

For more information on Jonathan Bingham, visit and

Tammy Gibson is a traveler and black history author. Find her on social networks @SankofaTravelHr

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Christmas Country Music Movie Roundup: Ring the Rings Over the Holidays with Reba, Scotty McCreery, Jana Kramer and more Wed, 24 Nov 2021 22:25:38 +0000

through Cindy watts


Country music and Christmas go hand in hand like milk and cookies. Some of the genre’s biggest stars have stepped up this year and joined a slew of heartwarming holiday flicks. Not to be overlooked, there are also decades of country music Christmas movies to dust off during the holiday season. Here’s a recap of upcoming country Christmas movies along with a few favorites over the years.

“Christmas in Tune” with Reba McEntire and John Schneider

McEntire and Schneider, best known for playing Bo Duke in the hit TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” co-starring in the new Lifetime Christmas movie “Christmas In Tune” which debuts at 8/7 p.m. Friday on Lifetime.

In the film, Georgia, the character of McEntire, and Joe of Schneider are a couple and estranged singing duo who come together to play their daughter Belle’s (played by Candice King) Christmas charity concert. True to the Christmas spirit, the characters reunite – on and off the stage – at the end of the wellness holiday movie.

Watch the trailer for “Christmas in Tune” here.

“Five more minutes” produced by Scotty McCreery

McCreery’s sentimental hit “Five More Minutes” is the inspiration for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries TV movie “Five More Minutes” which will have multiple covers on the network as part of their Miracles of Christmas celebration.

“Five More Minutes” was written by Nikki Deloach and Megan McNulty and stars Deloach and David Haydn-Jones. In the film, a woman’s Christmas wish is granted when her late grandfather’s diary appears and reveals a secret romance.

“They own the Christmas season,” McCreery says of Hallmark. “We’ve been in talks with them for some time. They heard the song and loved the song, and wanted to find a way to make it into a movie. It’s a cool way; they adopt the theme of the grandfather, so began “Five More Minutes”.

Watch the trailer for “Five more minutes” here.

Watch it on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 11 p.m. Saturday, 1 a.m. December 3, 11 p.m. December 9, 1 p.m. December 12, 7 p.m. December 18, or 9 p.m. December 24. (All times are central.)

“The Holiday Fix-Up” with Jana Kramer

Kramer plays Sam, an interior designer, who returns home during the holidays to help renovate the Bell Harbor Inn. She is paired with Coop, played by Ryan McPartlin, as an entrepreneur. But the couple have a story. Coop has broken his heart before and he never got over it.

Kristian Bush of Sugarland co-wrote and joined Kramer for a song “Second Chances” on the soundtrack.

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Watch a trailer here.

“The Holiday Fix Up” will premiere at 7 p.m. on December 11 on Lifetime.

“Paper Angels” with Jimmy Wayne

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree inspired Wayne to write his song “Paper Angels”. The song inspired a book and a movie, starring Matthew Settle and Josie Bissett. In the film, an abused woman takes her children and leaves her alcoholic husband and moves to another city. There, they meet another family facing their own difficulties.

“I read the script and knew about the paper angels race with the Salvation Army,” Settle told the Tennessean. “My father being a pastor, it’s similar to what we did growing up. How touching. I think giving never gets old.

Watch the movie for free here.

“Dolly Parton’s Christmas in the Square” with Dolly Parton

With her holiday TV series “Coat of Many Colors”, Dolly Parton is the queen of Christmas country music. In the 1980s, she starred in “A Smoky Mountain Christmas” alongside Lee Majors. But his most recent Christmas business is for Netflix. “Dolly Parton’s Christmas in the Square” stars Parton as an angel trying to unfreeze a woman (Christine Jane Baranski) and restore holiday cheer to a small town.

The film is now available on Netflix.

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“A Christmas in the Smoky Mountain” with Dolly Parton

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In addition to its many partnerships with Netflix, A Smoky Mountain Christmas is considered by many fans of the icon to be one of his most beloved cinematic moments. Directed by Henry Winkler, it starred Parton and Lee Majors and originally aired on ABC on December 14, 1986. The film is described as a fantasy in which “a country and western singer on a trip through the mountains of Tennessee runs into a reclusive lumberjack and a witch”. “Seven orphans and a country singer [will need] a Christmas miracle to keep them together, ”says the slogan of the popular 35-year-old film.


“Trail of Robin Hood” with Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers and many of the biggest stars of mid-20th century Western cinema join the “King of the Cowboys” horse, Trigger, “The Smartest Horse in the West” in this 1950 film. involves a retired actor who grows Christmas trees for sale, allowing every family to have one. A tree trading company tries to oust Holt from business, but the country music icon – as usual – saves the day.

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“Find Christmas” with JT Hodges

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On the wave of three consecutive singles from his self-titled debut album to the top 60 of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles charts, performer JT Hodges brought his acting skills to the Hallmark Channel in 2013. The result was Find Christmas, a movie in which a loving New York publicist travels to a budding musician’s cottage in North Carolina to find a vacation getaway. Oddly enough, Hodges still makes occasional appearances via Hallmark, both tied to his film and music career.

WATCH VIA: Brand chain

“A Christmas Carol from Nashville” by Hallmark

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Hallmark Channel 2020-released A Christmas Carol in Nashville, features country icons and emerging artists including Wynonna Judd, Kix Brooks, Sara Evans and RaeLynn. Wynonna plays the recently deceased mentor of a businesswoman who sends her to see the Spirit of Christmas Past (Kix Brooks) and Spirit of the Christmas Present (Brad Paisley’s wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley). If you’re looking for a celebrity cavalcade to spend the holiday season with, look no further.

WATCH VIA: YouTube Movies

John Shearer / WireImage

“Christmas in Graceland” with Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler’s country career, the American Idol’s fifth season in the Top 10, took her to Hallmark’s holiday screens via Christmas in Graceland, filmed in Memphis in 2018. The plot of the film involves an executive from midwestern company traveling to western Tennessee to work with one of the city’s oldest family banks. However, she reunites with her long-lost flame, Clay, a local music promoter looking for love.

WATCH VIA: YouTube Movies

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Will the Circle Be Unbroken # 4: Country Music Hall of Fame Fri, 19 Nov 2021 17:19:52 +0000

In the continuity of our main examiner; Lesley Hastings, we have the next installment in our new weekly series “Will The Circle Be Continued?” “. The team will provide a short news article, with a link to the previous article. Last week Lesley ( featured piece Patsy Cine ‘Crazy’.

Patsy cline was the first woman to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is no small feat. Here at Belles and Gals, it was about standing up for women in the music industry and Cline paved the way for many women to follow.

2021 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees include The Judds who will receive the Modern Era Artist medallion. Wyonna and Noami judd were a mother-daughter duo who rose to fame in the 1980s by winning 14 number 1 singles. Wyonna has a total of 19 number one singles to her credit, making her one of the best-selling country artists of all time.

With hits such as “Mama He ‘Crazy”, “Why Not Me” and “Grandpa (Tell Me’ bout the Good Old Days”), the duo became known for their ability to combine folk, bluegrass and blues, paving the way for a new sound for The Era.

Their story is one of a makeshift story having moved to Nashville in the late 1970s, struggling to make ends meet, the success of The Judds is even more poignant. Wyonna said, “This moment takes me back to 1983, when mom and I started. We got in the car and visited several radio stations a day. I feel like I have touched the lottery. It’s so surreal. John Lennon always said he just wanted to be remembered, and now we’re really part of the story, or should I say HERstory. What an honor, “

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Country music artist Phillip Michael Parsons hits the road after partial hearing loss Fri, 19 Nov 2021 00:51:51 +0000
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Country music artist Phillip Michael Parsons hits the road after partial hearing loss

Photograph by Mr. Rice Phillip michael parsons

It was in July 2021 and Phillip michael parsons found himself on the road once again, playing shows and meeting his growing legion of loyal fans in a bid to set his country music career on fire.

“We were driving home from a show in Myrtle Beach, and I was talking to my tour manager, and I realized I couldn’t hear with my right ear,” said Parsons, 29, in an interview with PEOPLE. “I was a little weird, but I woke up the next day and everything was fine.”

However, a few days later, the native of Maryland again lost hearing in that ear. And over the following weeks, Parsons would treat the disease on and off. But as he returned home from a family vacation to Costa Rica in September, he began to realize that this annoying problem with his ear could be far more serious than he once thought.

“I remember getting on that flight home and couldn’t hear anything in that ear, but this time I also had sinus pain,” Parsons recalls. “I fell asleep and when I woke up I looked around the plane and couldn’t even lift my head. I couldn’t really tell which way the plane was. The plane was turning. and I was feeling so weird, and I was starting to feel nauseous, I closed my eyes until we landed.

Country music artist Phillip Michael Parsons hits the road after partial hearing loss

Photograph by Mr. Rice Phillip michael parsons

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But when Parsons tried to get off the plane, he couldn’t walk.

“I tried to walk, and I ended up falling in this sign that was in front of one of the restaurants in the terminal,” he recalls. “And at that point, I knew it wasn’t normal.”

The next 48 hours were a mixture of dizziness and pain, confusion and brain fog that Parsons had never experienced before.

“I couldn’t think and I couldn’t function,” he recalls. “People were trying to talk to me, and I could hear them, and I would respond, but I wasn’t able to really speak or explain myself. I felt like I had been drugged or severely drunk.”

Parsons eventually went to the hospital, but the doctors seemed as confused as he was as to what was going on. And while an ear specialist would later confirm that Parsons’ outer and middle ear appeared healthy, the problem not only persisted… it got worse.

“I still couldn’t walk at all,” says Parsons, who has played alongside players like Chris Janson, Chris Lane, and Jimmie Allen. “There was a time when I was sitting, trying to get something out of my dresser, and I had no idea how to go from a sitting position to a standing position. It was so crazy. There’s no way to describe it I was trying I had no hearing in my right ear and my ear was ringing so loud that I got to the point that I couldn’t talk to people anymore.

And the same week that Parsons released his single “Give It to Me Country,” the doctors started to believe there must be a tumor pressing on Parsons’ inner ear, so they ordered an MRI. Ultimately, the MRI did not show any tumors. However, Parsons was diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020, and some wondered if there might be a correlation.

But currently, health professionals are puzzled. And Parsons too.

“At this point, I’m completely deaf in my right ear,” says Parsons, whose current single “Did It Work for You” debuted in the top 25 on the iTunes chart when it was released in September. “I think it’s starting to get a little more normal. Doctors say over time your brain can adjust to crazy things.”

Country music artist Phillip Michael Parsons hits the road after partial hearing loss

Country music artist Phillip Michael Parsons hits the road after partial hearing loss

Photograph by Mr. Rice Phillip michael parsons

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He pauses and the emotions of it all start to spill over.

“The first time I picked up my guitar after all of this, I just cried because I couldn’t sing and play guitar at the same time because the sounds seemed so crazy in my head,” he explains. -he. “It didn’t sound like music to me.”

But music is his livelihood, and in November, Parsons returned to the road for the first time in two months with an earplug in his right ear and a headset in the left.

“There have been so many things that I have dealt with in my life that are much worse and more serious than that,” he said quietly. “And I feel like every person who hit their goals has had a thousand of these types of roadblocks. I know that sounds cliché, but to me, I feel like it’s another. of those things that are just part of my story. “

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This horse trainer and country singer is living her childhood dream Wed, 17 Nov 2021 12:07:00 +0000 Kimberly Burke has always had two passions: music and horseback riding. “If you had asked me when I was 3, what did I want to do when I grew up?” I was like, ‘I want to be a singer and a cowgirl,’ ”she said. “It’s in my baby book.”

Burke, 49, who lives in Boyce, Va. On a 62-acre farm with an 18-stall barn, is living the job of his childhood dreams.

How many of us can say that?

On the one hand, she runs her own successful horse business. She is an accomplished trainer and show competitor at the A-level, or above, of the hunter-jumper world in the Southeastern United States.

And on the other, she starts a career in country music.

Burke got a taste of what a performance might look like in the dazzling heart of Nashville before the pandemic when she and her son took to Music City, and she took the stage to perform an original song at the legendary Bluebird Cafe.

“The whole history of this place,” she said. “It was cool. I’ve played for fun over the years in many different types of bands, from a bluegrass band, to a nine-piece funk band, to myself with an acoustic guitar. . I’m comfortable on stage and in game, but all of a sudden it was the Bluebird, and my knees were bumping a bit. You feel the power of the Bluebird. It was a great experience for me because I felt I had to do this.

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During the pandemic, she plunged back into writing and record country music and perform outdoors at local venues in the Virginia countryside for a growing fan base.

“I’m not getting any younger, and I really want to pursue more music,” Burke said. “I’m currently trying to find a balance between the two. “

Burke studied classical singing in college and sang opera. But after college, she landed a job on a horse farm and it took her down a different path. “Horses were an easier career in many ways,” she said. “I started my own business 22 years ago. My son, now 18, rode a horse and he was able to accompany me to the shows, so that I could be the kind of mom I wanted to be.

Her love and respect for horses has been attached to her ever since she took her first ride on a horse when she was very young. “Horses are amazing animals,” said Burke. “There have been studies recently on the heart of a horse and the energy that emanates from a horse is something that humans feel. That’s why they are good therapy animals. There is a real magic in having a partnership with horses. Fortunately, I was able to make a profession out of it.

That said, music has always been something that “I wished I had pursued to a higher level,” she said. “It’s just a huge part of who I am. But horses all consume – a seven-day-a-week commitment. “

For Burke, music has always been her “emotional release,” she said. “I have been composing music since I was a teenager. I write when things really affect me emotionally. The good thing about songs is that they are a frozen moment to me and they can mean something else to the person listening to them. I think it’s also therapy, like horses. And we’ve needed it over the past year.

Here’s what I like about Burke’s story. Yes, she’s still in the early stages of speeding up her second act, but it’s remarkable because she’s reinvent his professional life. It is a concept that should supplant the emphasis on “The Great Resignation” which keeps grabbing the headlines.

Let’s call it “The Great Reimagination”. Too bad for all the hand turmoil over disgruntled workers who quit their jobs. In my research, workers were thrown under the umbrella of the Great Resignation – some 4.4 million workers came out in September alone, according to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – don’t say take that work and push it. They are looking for a better life. It has nothing to do with “giving up” – one of the main meanings of the word “resignation”.

It’s a career pivot for Burke. This is precisely what many people who quit their jobs are also looking for. No, she doesn’t stray from her equestrian career, which still has meaning to her, but she rides and advances with guts in a new track, a second act with purpose and heart that will ideally coexist with her horse world. .

The pandemic break has prompted her to make a fresh start, new opportunities, but those who succeed in second acts never make rash moves. This new venture did not happen overnight, or when the Covid shutdown began.

A return to his musical roots had been moving. Burke began to re-explore his songwriting professionally four years ago after his father died.

“It was suddenly important for me to do it,” she said. “A sense of mortality has kicked in. I’m sure a lot of people feel that kind of your calling at times like this,” she said.

From my research on career transitions, she’s spot on. Most people who start a second act in their 40s are motivated by some sort of big life change or crisis, and it can be calamity to their health or the loss of someone they love.

“That’s when I started to feel like it was now or never – I have to step up that,” Burke said. “Then Covid hit, and the musicians weren’t playing, and I was like, OK, maybe this is not the time to try and play in a lot of places. But I focused on the writing. music and practice and, now I’m ready.

To me, stories like Burke’s shine a light on how the pandemic has motivated people to do this inner soul-searching about what matters to them, what they value, how they like to spend their time, and what dreams they want. to achieve. These dreams were often put aside while the children were raised and mortgages were paid off, or the walk of time simply trapped them in a path they were afraid to leave.

A recent investigation by Catalyst revealed that of the roughly 50% of employed Americans who intend to change careers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, about a third are interested in changing industries. And 22% plan to quit their current job and start their own business.

“I might be a little old to be a rock star,” said Burke. “But I’m not trying to be a rock star. I try to be a singer-songwriter. I like to play.

At the moment, she is on the verge of recording her second album, but Burke is fully aware that her musical expedition is only in its early stages. That said, “If someone came to see me tomorrow and said, ‘Hey, we love what you’re doing, are you willing to make that happen? The answer would be yes. I have enough of a support system for my family to make it work.

One of the perks of pursuing your dream second job: “I’ve thought about this a lot over the past year,” said Burke. “It sets an example for my son to be true to himself and to pursue whatever excites you. The most important job I will ever have will be to be his mother. And so, it is important to practice what you preach.

Kerry Hannon is an employment expert, workplace futurist, and entrepreneurship, personal finance and retirement strategist. Kerry is the author of over a dozen books, including Great Pajama Jobs: Your Complete Guide to Working From Home, Never Too Old to Get Rich: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Mid-Life Business. His next book is In Control at 50 and Over: How to Succeed in the New World of Work. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.

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New San Francisco Center to Share Classical Music with Everyone | national news Fri, 12 Nov 2021 22:56:08 +0000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Yo-Yo Ma has spent most of the pandemic playing cello to audiences online seeking solace in his music.

On Friday, he marked his return to San Francisco by performing an energetic Bach Cello Suite in front of a live audience to usher in the opening of a new performance center designed to increase public access to classical and jazz music. .

Ma praised the first-rate acoustics of the Bowes Center for Performing Arts at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the “safe space that provides students and faculty … with the prerequisites for creativity.” .

The towering Civic Center campus was one of a handful of construction projects that were allowed to continue during the pandemic to house students and provide them with classrooms, a recording studio, and a radio station under one roof.

The centerpiece of the $ 200 million building, however, is a street-level recital hall with floor-to-ceiling windows for passers-by to watch students perfect their art. Along with the recital hall and two other performance spaces in the building, the conservatory plans to offer free admission to 90% of its concerts each year.

The goal is to create a welcoming space and expand the audience to include those who may not be able to afford a live performance.

“It was very important for us to create a space that promotes access and opens up barriers,” said conservatory president David Stull. “For too long the world of classical music has been seen as exclusive, with a huge barrier to entry – in its transparency, the Bowes Center invites audiences and creates connections.

The glass design contrasts sharply with the towering neoclassical columns of the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, home to the city’s opera and ballet companies. The center, named after the late venture capitalist and donor William K. Bowes, Jr., is also within walking distance of the conservatory and performance halls of SFJAZZ and the San Francisco Symphony.

A penthouse performance space where Ma and pianist Garrick Ohlsson performed Chopin’s music overlooks City Hall and the bustling traffic of Van Ness Avenue. The thick glass walls allow natural light to enter and prevent noise and vibrations from the street.

“These two performance spaces, I think, will be magical for years to come,” said Mark Cavagnero, the building’s architect. “They will showcase the work of students and professional musicians and allow the public to enter. They will also highlight the city and the conservatory’s proud role within.

Construction was allowed to move forward during the pandemic to address the city’s housing shortage. The conservatory paid to relocate residents from a 27-unit apartment building previously on the site, covered their expenses temporarily, and offered to move them to rent-controlled housing in the new building. More than 400 students and teachers have also moved in.

The center was funded with money raised by the conservatory, including a $ 46 million donation from the family of late venture capitalist William K. Bowes, Jr. Construction began in 2018 and the facility was slated to open last year before pandemic supply chain issues slowed it down. down.

The Mayor of London Breed called the center a ‘real gem’ for the city and said she has supported the project since its inception ‘not just because of the amazing concert halls where you can have those experiences with those amazing views, but because it offered the opportunity to help the students. “

She joked that when she wants to play hooky, she can cross the street from her office to enjoy a free concert.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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At CMA 2021, country music is a diverse and inclusive family. IRL, not so much … Thu, 11 Nov 2021 21:39:43 +0000

Madeline Edwards, Mickey Guyton and Brittney Spencer perform at the 55th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday. (Terry Wyatt / Getty Images)

Chris Stapleton would probably have cleaned up at Wednesday night’s 55th CMAs, even though his latest album was called “14 Songs of Music by a Guy”. That it is actually called “Restarting”- well, you can bet the Country Music Assn in trouble. felt especially good to reward this idea.

Relentless no less than the Registration Academy In recent years, in criticizing its attitude to diversity and inclusion, the Nashville business group was unlikely to escape such scrutiny this year thanks to Morgan Wallen, whose use of the N word in a video released in February by TMZ triggered generalized conversation on the history of racism in the country’s industry.

And indeed, the CMA seemed to appease a few when it ruled that the young superstar would be banned from attending Wednesday, but that her blockbuster “Dangerous,” which only gained popularity after the release of video, would be allowed to compete for album of the year. . (Despite cheering from the audience in person at the mention of Wallen’s name, “Dangerous” lost to “Starting Over,” whose title song was also named Song of the Year and Single of the Year – the first time. that an artist has won all three of these awards in one night since 2002, when Alan Jackson did so with his album “Drive” and his post 9/11 anthem “Where were you when the world stopped turning. ”)

Yet if Wallen’s phantom presence weighed heavily on the CMAs – “I wake up every morning and thank the Lord for my blessings,” he said. tweeted minutes after the event, which was broadcast live on ABC from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville – it was a clear attempt by those in control to demonstrate that a once-hidden genre had evolved.

Jimmie Allen became only the second black artist to be named New Artist of the Year, while TJ Osborne of the Osborne Brothers, one of the very few openly gay men in country music, won the vocal duo of the year with his brother John.

“It’s been a crazy roller coaster year for us in so many ways, especially for me emotionally, and having all of you backing me up, I really feel like love wins tonight,” said TJ in his acceptance speech after kiss her boyfriend in the audience. (Beyond the universally admired Stapleton, which also won the Male Artist of the Year award, include Luke Combs, named Artist of the Year, and Carly Pearce, who won the Female Artist of the Year award. of the year.)

More important than the trophies, the show itself – the most publicized annual presentation in country music – was designed to focus on the performances of women and people of color, even though they are outnumbered by White Men nearly 3 to 1 on Billboard’s closely watched country broadcast chart. .

There was Mickey guyton, the 37-year-old black singer with a well-documented streak of professional frustrations, doing her “Love My Hair” as she was flanked by rising stars Brittney Spencer and Madeline Edwards, each wearing a natural “rarely (if ever) seen in The trio were introduced by Faith Fennidy, a Louisiana girl whose viral account that she was asked to quit college because her braids were seen as a distraction inspired Guyton to write “Love My Hair.”

There was Jennifer Hudson, visiting Nashville to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin’s love of country music – and to remind all Oscar voters who had listened to her lead role in Franklin’s biopic “Respect” by this year – with a sizzling rendition of Willie Nelson “Night life, for which she was joined by Stapleton, whose roots he had classically recognized in black music in his country-soul “Cold”.

There was Breland, the young hip-hop artist who joined Dierks Bentley and Hardy for a “Beers on me. And not least, there were Allen and Kane Brown with renditions of tunes as thankfully mediocre as those sung regularly for decades by white dudes on this program. – black male artists, that is – no longer have to be generational talents to make time on stage at the CMA Awards.

Or at least this year they haven’t: It’s unclear whether the newly welcoming mood announced Wednesday will continue in Nashville or if it was just some sort of demagoguery of a election year of an industry currently under the microscope.

Granted, Wednesday’s show featured plenty of status quo moments from Blake Shelton – “If my neck doesn’t turn red, then Lord keep me dead,” he sang in “Come back as a country boy“- and the duo of Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean, who delivered their power ballad”If i didn’t love youThe latter resisting any urge to trumpet the conservative talking points he is known to hammer out online. (Underwood made waves on Twitter early in the evening when she appeared to side host Luke Bryan after making a joke about Aaron Rodgers’ questionable stance on COVID-19 vaccines.)

Yet you couldn’t deny the emotion in Allen’s speech – the feeling that things were finally starting to change – as he tearfully accepted his award with a memento of his first trip to the CMAs, when he spent his last $ 100, he said, to come see Charley Pride sing.

“And I had the opportunity to play with him last year,” he added of the pioneering black country artist, who hired Allen for a rendition of the Pride classic “Kiss. an Angel Good Mornin ‘”at the 54th CMA Awards. Which Allen left in silence – no doubt much to the relief of the CMA, which drew general condemnation for summoning a largely unmasked crowd in 2020 at the height of the pandemic – is that Pride died of COVID-19 weeks later.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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These electronic musicians push the boundaries of contemporary classical music Mon, 08 Nov 2021 13:09:00 +0000

Growing up loving classical music – what she described as a “hijacking of the piano” as a child – Smith-Rolla took a roundabout path as a professional. Along with her now well-established DJ and production career, after moving to Manchester, she turned to events at the Royal Northern College of Music and Bridgewater Hall, and began to evolve in experimental circles which included Graham Massey of 808 State and the synth group Sisters Of Transistors. . But it took an agreement with a major publishing house for Smith-Rolla to enter the classical world.

“It wasn’t until I signed up with Decca Publishing that the opportunities started to present themselves,” she says. “I didn’t know this would be where my career would go, but they opened doors for me. This particular part of Decca is really focused on contemporary artists entering the classical world, who [in this context] is unheard of. “It’s a question of logistics – who knows who,” she continues. “When a director seeks to mark his film, he will go to an institution rather than to SoundCloud or Bandcamp, because that is how things are done. This means that these doors are not necessarily open to people who are not signed to the right publishers or record companies.

Decisively, Clark also notes that classical music does not have a monopoly on prejudice or door control. “There is a lot of snobbery in reverse. I constantly play on both sides. In a lot of techno, there’s one ingrained and traditionalist thing – the tradition is obviously newer, but it’s still there.

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic only made matters worse for many artists who were already struggling to make ends meet. Although Clark was able to weather the storm financially, his partner, choreographer Melanie Lane, had to apply for charitable funding for the arts in order to stay afloat.

“Dancing is one of the first things to do in an economic crisis and that’s a shame. We have now completed more than 10 works together. I really want to publish some of the work [with them]”- but that will have to wait for a more stable time.

For Smith-Rolla, the pandemic has been a steep learning curve. “To be self-employed is to be self-employed,” she says in a neutral tone. “You never know when your job is going to arrive, how much you are going to earn and what you are going to get paid. In this pandemic, every day there was a new challenge. “

Like the rest of the music industry, the contemporary classical world is not a paradise. It remains inextricably linked to the same network of patronage and private wealth through which it has been funded for generations, its conventions framed by elite conservatories, large institutions and educational structures which, with further subsidies or government support and weaker, have fewer working classes and otherwise marginalized. people can access.

There is money in circulation, but as is so often the case in closely watched circles, it does not easily reach the employing artists whose work makes the industry run. In 2020, with 34% of UK musicians on the verge of leaving the industry due to financial difficulties, heads of key arts institutions like the Southbank Center continued to earn six-figure salaries.

For Smith-Rolla, it’s a familiar story. “It’s not something that made a living for me,” she admits, of her work in classical music. “I wouldn’t expect that to be the case.” Klein says she is fortunate enough to make money, but points out that “my life hasn’t really changed. My rent is paid, but I’m still in the same house, still the same person.

These artists may find creative flourishing across genres, but that shouldn’t mask the very real economic imbalances that underpin the classical and electronic music industries. These imbalances now require our attention, perhaps more urgent than ever.

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