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My Funky (In)Disposition´╗┐

The LF soul music blog run by music-mad Imran Mirza, in conjunction
with his Starpoint Radio show, 'The Blue-in-Green Sessions'.


Saturday
Feb192011

The other side of the stage

LIVE MUSIC MONTH SPECIAL

Hopefully many of you have been keeping tabs on the updated Live Music Month page.  While we've spent time asking the you good people, and the team about our notable experiences, I also thought it would be good to put the question to some of our further friends of the site, the people who actually make the music themselves.

Ana Silvera, the stunning writer and vocalist that we found in 2009 and have loved ever since.  Having chalked up performing duties all around the world including London and New York, we asked the seasoned performer what it's like to step out onto a stage and describe the experience of performing:

"It’s kind of like sex, or a conversation, we give it a name and we may try to hold onto a fixed idea of how it should be, but it can be just so many different things. There is also the acceptance that I don't ultimately have control over that indefinable, subtle quality, as prepared or unprepared as I may be, and as hard as that can be sometimes. Other times, it can be total unexpected magic. I need enough ego to get myself out on stage in the first place, but ego has no place in the performance of the songs, I have to give it up."

Ana Silvera is like a living, breathing poem - In our feature on her, I described her live performances: "Watching Ana Silvera grace a stage is a real treat as, through her profound warmth and fluency, she manages to grasp your attention as you linger on every word she sings, and every piano note she plays."

Speaking of favourites, one of the artists I'm most proud of having had on this site is the awesome Jose James.  I genuinely can't remember the last time I was this excited about a new artist - well, I say 'new' but James has now blessed us with 3 albums and I live under the hope of much more on the way.  James is another artist with an incredible passion and respect to his craft - a massive touring schedule spanning the globe and an artist who encapsulates everything this blog and The Blue-in-Green Sessions has tried to be about.  Embarrassingly, since our site's redesign, our excellent interview with him hasn't yet made its way over (but I promise you it will soon!), but I did ask him about how he would describe his approach to live performances:

Creative. I never perform the same way twice and everything is very natural and in the moment. I want to bring my full self in performance and I give myself to it fully! I live for that moment and space and time.

Now, one to whet your appetites a little... next month, we'll be unveiling a brand new feature with Gizelle Smith - a wonderful performing and vocal talent that the UK should be proud to call their own.  With one album under her belt, with The Mighty Mocambos, we're eagerly anticipating new and exciting things from her over the next few years, so as a little bonus to that feature, we thought we'd talk live music with Gizelle:

Well... I can certainly tell you without hesitation what my LEAST favourite experience of performing has been. Singing at my sister's wedding. I cried (with joy, apparently) all the way through it. I was absolutely ridiculous. But I digress. I don't really have any one particular instance of a favourite experience... performing per se is my all-time favourite pastime and I don't tend to have favourites within a favourite but... y'know it's really something to be part of the performer vibe at festivals […]

Paris has so far been very exciting and welcoming. It's always an honour to play in Manchester (my home town) and I've got good memories of shows in really dingy clubs in Hamburg. But then, I was in Oslo the other day and was absolutely overwhelmed by the hospitality and the air of expectation when we arrived […] Ultimately, I just love performing anywhere with a stage, to a responsive crowd... it really doesn't take much to make Gizella happy.

 

Thursday
Feb172011

Esperanza Spalding: If you didn't already know...

 …then you probably do now thanks to her shocking upset Grammy victory this week where the double bass-playing jazz vocalist trumped hip-hopper-of-the-moment, Drake, along with toppling the goliath that is Justin Bieber.  [Just so we’re clear on the David and Goliath reference here - the role of David is being played by a mid-to-late twenties jazz songstress and Goliath is being played by a 16/17 year old boy.]

If you’ve just released an album and feel like you’ve been passed over for a ‘best newcomer’ honour, don’t worry - it took Spalding three albums over five years to receive the commendation, so there’s definitely still time J  I feel like that came off bitter for some reason but it wasn’t meant to be - I think it’s fantastic that her genuine talent has received such an accolade and it’s irrelevant at what point that recognition has come.  So, while the world is now asking, ‘Who is Esperanza Spalding?’, I’m thrilled to say I’ve been a fan for some time and have been playing her sublime jazz-fusion on air for some months now.  Her albums have actually been on my ‘to buy’ list for a while [ there genuinely is a list with some albums having been on it for many years], but it wasn’t until late last year that I finally picked one up, starting with ‘Esperanza’ (her second release).  I think I actually need to start purchasing more fairly quickly seeing as her fourth is due out this year. 

Aside from winning the one award that it doesn’t seem Colin Firth has been voted for, Spalding has quashed Bieber fever, she’s made believers out of Beliebers, she’s taken away his Bieberlicious moment (any more….? I think that’s it)…  In seriousness, congratulations to Esperanza Spalding - we hope this is the beginning of a brand new platform for her too!

Wednesday
Feb092011

11 Songs ...#1

While flicking through the books section of Canary Wharf's Waterstones, I stumbled upon a book by Nick Hornby called '31 Songs'.  I don't know too much about him but I have read the excellent 'High Fidelity' and seen the movie 'About A Boy' (does that count?).  Anyway, he really seems to have such a strong affection for music (anyone who's assessed the top 5 breakup songs from 'High Fidelity' will know that) and '31 Songs' seems to be the love letter to the songs he grew up with and have meant the most to him through that time.

What a great idea.

I can do that.

Well, any aspiring writer will tell you they can do that, but the question is if they will do that.  I know me pretty well and the chances of me bombarding this blog with 31 songs that have meant the most to me will be close to impossible.

So what's a good number?  9?  9 Songs.  Actually, wasn't that the name of an art house porno movie?  Ok, how about... 11? 

11 sounds good.  Welcome to Part 1 of 11 Songs!

#1: Soon I'll Be Loving You Again

A pretty good way to kick this off would be with a confession.  I didn't hear Marvin Gaye's version first.  In 1999, Motown Records put out an album of original recordings for the album 'Marvin is 60', whereby contemporary soul and R&B artists, like D'angelo, Erykah Badu, Tony Rich, Gerald Levert, etc., covered 13 classic and favourite Marvin Gaye songs for what would have been Gaye's 60th birthday.  R&B crooner, Joe, tackled 'Soon I'll Be Loving You Again'.

The song's been quite a big deal for me - at that point, I was really just getting into soul music and I initially bought the album for the contemporary names, but it's one that made me want to dig through the Motown crates - starting with 'I Want You' - the album where Gaye's original can be found.

Also, around this time, I started working for a company in Blackfriars, and Joe's version became the soundtrack to the googly eyes I would make across the office at the most beautiful production assistant you could hope to lay eyes on.  I went from dreaming about dancing with my wife to this song, to dancing with my wife to this song.

It's kind've a toss up as to which version of the song I'm including in this list, but if I'm being honest - I think it's fair to say that Joe's version actually holds more sentimental value for me, even though I credit Gaye fully for it. 

Saturday
Jan222011

Impulse buys

While I have you guys here, it's Saturday 3:45pm and I'm just sorting through my music to take for tomorrow morning's show, and two CDs I'll definitely be taking with me are two CDs I wanted to take a quick time out for and let you know about... 

I heard Curly CJ on Starpoint play a wonderful song by Lou Courtney and his album, 'I'm in Need of Love', which was originally recorded in 1973 and reissued in 1999 on Soul Brother Records.  He played 'I Don't Need Nobody Else' in December and after much mixup with Amazon, my copy finally arrived in the post last week, along with...

the self-titled album by Shirley Brown.  This album didn't come with any recomendations though - this is what is commonly referred to as an 'impulse buy'.  Yes, an 'impulse buy', and one that's been a fantastic addition.  Also re-released via Soul Brother Records, this incredible gem was released in 1977 and I think reissued in 2007. 

I seem to be in a 70s soul purchasing zone so I'm really glad and relieved that these hit the right spot.  I'll be playing a song from each album tomorrow and for many more weeks I imagine.  If anyone reading this happens to be keen to pick up some authentic, sensual, string-laden soul music, I couldn't recommend these two albums more.

 

Saturday
Jan222011

Episode 0

 

Well, well, well... Liberation Frequency has finally taken that next step in our quest to conquer the world, and have ventured into the realm of the podcast.  In case you hadn't noticed that link at the top right of your screen that says 'The LF Podcast'... it's brand, spanking new and it's waiting to be downloaded.

We'll have to add that to the endless list of 'thank yous' we owe The Evil Hood in spearheading it and doing a great job of putting it all together.  (He's actually incredibly helpful for someone sooo evil

...Sounds alright, huh? 

Whenever someone puts a microphone in front of me, I'm one of those people that clam up and become ridiculously self-conscious of everything I say, or don't say as the matter may be, so I hope I came across well.  Don't you have a radio show though? Yes, yes, I do.  Well remembered, but the joy of that is that you're sitting in a room with no one looking at you, plus people listen to hear the music, not me, so the pressure's alleviated somewhat.  (There's logic in there somewhere but I can't find it!)

The podcast was really our official, and final, farewell to 2010 through looking back at music, films and graphic novels and reviewing some of our highlights, so as I say, we hope you enjoyed it.  Plans are already under way for Episode 1, which I'll let you guys know about in the following blog.