The Beatles: Get Back

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music

Get Back is set to celebrate the iconic band’s influence

“The Beatles gave my generation their genius and their joy and they changed the world through their art,” says Nicholas Callaway, founder & publisher of Callaway Arts & Entertainment. “The creativity and inspiration expressed in this landmark book and in Peter Jackson’s film are as important and relevant today as ever.”

His company, along with Apple Corps Ltd. are set for the global publication of The Beatles: Get Back, the first official standalone book to be released by the band since international bestseller The Beatles Anthology.

The 240-page hardcover tells the story of The Beatles’ creation of their 1970 album, Let It Be, in their own words. You’re invited to travel back in time to January 1969, the beginning of The Beatles’ last year as a band. The “White Album” is still at number one in the charts, but the ever-prolific foursome regroup in London for a new project, initially titled Get Back. Over 21 days, first at Twickenham Film Studios and then at their own brand-new Apple Studios, with cameras and tape recorders documenting every day’s work, the band rehearse a huge number of songs, new and old, in preparation for what proves to be their final concert, which famously takes place on the rooftop of their own Apple Corps office building, bringing central London to a halt.

Legend now has it that these sessions were a grim time for a band falling apart, but, as acclaimed novelist Hanif Kureishi writes in his introduction: “In fact this was a productive time for them, when they created some of their best work. And it is here that we have the privilege of witnessing their early drafts, the mistakes, the drift and digressions, the boredom, the excitement, joyous jamming and sudden breakthroughs that led to the work we now know and admire.”

Presenting transcribed conversations drawn from over 120 recorded hours of the band’s studio sessions with hundreds of previously unpublished images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney, it also includes a foreword written by Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter Peter Jackson.

The book’s texts are edited by John Harris from original conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo spanning three weeks of recording, culminating in The Beatles’ historic final rooftop concert. The release will be a special and essential companion to director Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back feature documentary film, set for theatrical release on August 27, 2021.

To watch the book trailer and find out more, visit thebeatles.com

Pre-order at lnk.to/thebeatlesgetbackbook

Big Wild Weekend

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music

Celebrate the summer solstice and Big Wild Weekend by getting closer to nature with the Wildlife Trusts from today (19th) to Sunday (21st).

As part of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild campaign, you can enjoy an evening of music hosted by Radio 1 DJ Cel Spellman and special guests, have your very own summer sleep-out under the stars and join the Big Wild Quiz.

The weekend will be kicked off with actor & Radio 1 DJ Cel Spellman, and special guests including KT Tunstall, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. More special guests stars to be announced on The Wildlife Trust’s Youtube channel.

On Saturday 20th people can take part by setting up a tent or hammock in the back garden or building a den in the living room. Try your hand at making moth traps, do some night-time wildlife watching and sleep under the stars on this special night, celebrating Surrey’s natural world and the longest day of the year. There will be prizes from Cotswold Outdoor, Learning Resources UK and Jordans Cereals for the best dens and camps.

The Big Wild Quiz on Sunday 21st will be hosted live by The Wildlife Trusts ambassador Sophie Pavelle and actor and podcast ‘Trees a Crowd’ host David Oakes on its Facebook page, with special appearances from the likes of Liz Bonnin. So get ready for four rounds of fun questions on nature, movies/books/TV, music and nature photos.

Jo Foat, communications officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said it offers something different for the weekend: “Every year for 30 Days Wild, we hold a Big Wild Weekend with hands on events and open days. We’ve adapted it this year so that everyone can still join in from home in whatever way they can. With music, events and activities to enjoy online, families can get involved and even enjoy a wild sleep out in a tent outside or an indoor den. So get back to nature, sleep under the stars, listen to the wildlife around you and wake up to a magnificent dawn chorus.”

Take part

To join in with the Big Wild Weekend see website and on social media.

Looking on the Bright Side

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music

Sing along and smile with Farnham group in aid of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life couldn’t be more apt for the times we are living in with the promise of better days in the not-too-far-distant future.

We all need a bit of cheering up, and Farnham’s Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice has been starved of essential funds since scores of fundraising events were cancelled to comply with social distancing advice.

FAOS Musical Theatre Group has found a way to raise both our spirits and some money for the hospice and they invite you be their guests and take a front row seat at their virtual performance of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Business manager Nigel Morley said: “Most importantly, if you enjoy the performance, please show your appreciation not to us but at our JustGiving page for the Hospice. You can get there by clicking here

Watch FAOS Musical Theatre Group’s entertaining performance below

Don’t forget to sing along!

Save music venues campaign

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music

A new national campaign has been launched by Music Venue Trust to save hundreds of grassroots music venues at imminent risk of being closed down – permanently.

Without these independent venues the live music scene in the UK will die. These grassroots venues play a crucial role in the development of British music, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. These venues also play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any village, town or city.

Currently 556 venues are at risk including The Northcourt Centre, Abingdon; The Boileroom, Guildford and the Fiery Bird, Woking.

Artists will be performing ‘at home’ gigs in support of their local venues, chosen from a list of venues currently in crisis which can be found at the campaign website www.saveourvenues.co.uk.

Each venue will have their own fundraising page with a clear target of the funds it needs to raise to stay afloat throughout this difficult period. Once a target is reached any excess revenue will go to the central #saveourvenues fund to help the wider grassroots music venue community.

HOW CAN MUSIC FANS GET INVOLVED?

1. Donate to a specific venue’s fundraising page by clicking this link www.saveourvenues.co.uk to see a list of local venues that urgently need help.

2. Watch ‘at home’ shows by artists supporting the #saveourvenues campaign. Click here www.saveourvenues.co.uk to see a list of shows coming up.

3. Donate to the national #saveourvenues fund via the website www.saveourvenues.co.uk

4. Help spread the word on social media using the hashtag #saveourvenues and the campaign link www.saveourvenues.co.uk.

One of the main drivers of this initiative is the musician Frank Turner whose recent series of ‘Independent Venue Love’ shows for local venues raised thousands of pounds and provided a major inspiration for this campaign.

Turner said: “The UK live music industry is staring into the abyss right now. I’m not able to save the whole thing on my own, but I decided to do a series of livestream shows to raise money for specific independent venues that I know and love, and that are in serious risk of disappearing right now. The success of these shows demonstrated the love that exists between music fans and their favourite grassroots music venues so the #saveourvenues campaign is a brilliant way of building on that and hopefully giving artists and music fans a chance to get involved and play a big part in helping them survive.”

Music Venue Trust’s CEO Mark Davyd said: “Without the support of music fans and artists literally hundreds of the UK’s grassroots music venues could go out of business, never to return, in the coming months. Please help to save every single grassroots music venue in the UK so that it can reopen after this crisis and continue to be a home to our musicians and our communities.”

To find out more

Guildford Jazz Fest

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music

The team behind Guildford Jazz are getting ready to hold their first festival this month
with a variety of jazz –as well as funk and Latin – on the bill

Guildford Jazz are getting ready to blow their own trumpet as the first Guildford Jazz Fest is set to take place between 20th and 22nd March.

The three-day event at Guildford’s Electric Theatre will feature music from leading UK jazz, Latin and funk artists and begins on 20th by putting some of the best young jazz musicians from across Surrey in the spotlight, from small ensembles to big bands.

Ease yourself into Saturday with a New Orleans jazz brunch with live music from clarinet maestro Duncan Batchelor and his quartet. Follow that with a wide choice of jazz styles including rising star of the British jazz scene Nicolas Meier who is influenced by his love of Middle Eastern and Turkish music; funk and world-music roller coaster from renowned trombonist Dennis Rollins Velocity Trio and Sandy Burnett reliving The Age of Jazz.

Rounding off Saturday, Pete Churchill sings jazz before headliner Iain Ballamy performs 21st Century Pastoral, an arrangement for big band of music by Ballamy spanning his 30-year career.

Sunday brings Alan Barnes and Dave Newton before a Creole jazz lunch spices things up ahead of the afternoon offerings featuring a tribute to the music of Henry Mancini from The Mark Nightingale/Alan Barnes/Steve Waterman Sextet before a showing of classic Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill, Jr featuring live musical accompaniment by Gareth Williams, one of the country’s leading modern jazz pianists.

Photos from left: Ian Ballamy, event poster, Marianne Windham

The festival finishes with Latin jazz salsa 
courtesy of Heads South combining Cuban and other Latin rhythms.

Founder of Guildford Jazz which is behind the festival, Marianne Windham is excited about the first for the community-based arts organisation.

She said: “The festival represents a celebration of all that Guildford Jazz is about: bringing the finest UK jazz musicians to Guildford to play a wide spectrum of accessible music in a friendly-club like atmosphere. There is something for everyone in the programme whether you are just looking for great live music or are a committed jazzer.”

Guildford Jazz has been running regular events since 2011, has organised more than 250 gigs, holds two outdoor concerts a year as well as hosting a monthly jam session.

All profits from the festival will go the local charity partner Guildford Philanthropy which helps local people disadvantaged by disability, poor education, mental illness or caring responsibilities.

Find more details

For more details and to book tickets click below or call 01483 501200.

Cornering youth market

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music

Dance, theatre, yoga, music and making your own bedroom decorations are among the fun activities for young people at Cornerstone’s Youth Festival.

The week-long extravaganza which runs during half term, 16th to 23rd February begins on Sunday with The Elves and the Shoemakers. Meet Sam who is big on imagination but short on business knowhow until one night, two small green visitors climb in and start stitching, cutting and gluing… Suitable for ages 3 upwards, tickets £9.50, concs £7.50, family £30.

Get active with a series of classes focussing on movement with fun from 18th to 21st starting with a children’s art and yoga class, £15, for school years 1-6 and unleash your inner dancer on Wednesday with beginner’s Latin and ballroom dancing, £25, school years 1-6 – perfect for those with an eye on being a Strictly star in the future.

Thursday and Friday it’s the turn of those in years 7-13 with break dancing for beginners, £15, where you’ll learn the basics and then develop the confidence to explore your own style. Friday sees a physical theatre workshop, £20, in which you’ll learn techniques for creating a narrative through movement and storytelling which will be performed at the end of the session.

Award-winning comedy musicians Bowjangles will be putting on a magical show taking you through myths, legends and folklore through a portal in a cello case – where else? – to find a priceless relic, a magical violin bow known as Excalibow. Suitable for all ages, £14, and may contain a few well-known ABBA hits!

Join Yana on Sunday 23rd as she journeys through a strange land, all alone and far from home, unable to understand anything other children are saying and then she encounters a Yeti… This cast of extraordinary puppets  are out to show friends come in the most unexpected shapes and sizes in Yana and the Yeti, £9.50, concs £7.50.

If craft is your thing there’s also the opportunity to spruce up your bedroom for years 1-6 by making your own bedroom decorations on Saturday 22nd, £25, with collage, paint, printing and mark making.

Cornerstone also offers a range of courses for children and young people including theatre, photography, dance and young reviewers.

More info

For more details about these and the Youth Festival and to book any of the events visit cornerstone-arts.org or call 01235 515144

Unique Unicorn

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music

Photo: Shackleton Trio

The new year has already got off to a great start for Music at the Unicorn with two fantastic pieces of news.

Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention and guitar virtuoso PJ Wright have once again agreed to be patrons for MATU and they have a new programme curator in the form of Duncan Chappell of Big Ginger Tom Music.

Both Dave and PJ are delighted to be continuing their links with the popular music venue and Duncan has already been hard at work putting together an exciting mix of acts for the 2020 programme which will feature acts old and new as well as many local treats.

He said: “This is an exciting time for me and I’m very proud to be part of this wonderful organisation. I know I can do a great job for MATU. We’re all looking forward to a fantastic 2020.

“The new programme will be ready soon and we will be distributing it early in the new year. Come and see us!”

Among the goodies Duncan has lined up for the Unicorn are the stunning vocals of Me for Queen who kicked off the year in January. March brings Jim Moray with Tom Moore on the 26th, one of England’s finest interpreters of traditional song who has changed the sound of folk music.

Among other highlights Duncan has put together are the Shackleton Trio on 21st May. The musicians have played to great acclaim on the folk circuit with their original work blending with imaginative re-workings of traditional folk songs often with a twist.

Multi-award winning folk duo Ninebarrow have impressed audiences across the country with their innovative take on folk favourites and their delivery of old songs rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles and are named after Nine Barrow Down in Dorset’s Purbeck hills. Ninebarrow are at the Unicorn on 10th September, but definitely worth the wait.

As 2020 draws to a close there’s no let up in the great music on offer with the aptly-named  The Willows playing on 1st October as autumn blows in with their music influenced by both sides of the Atlantic.

Warm up with family trio Cup O’Joe on 12th November, the two brothers and sister have been playing together since they were in their teens and were due to release a new album in January featuring many original tracks.

More info

To find out more about the fabulous bands playing at the Unicorn in 2020 and ticket information

Ghost: The Ultimate Tour Named Death

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music

Steve Warner enjoys Ghost’s performance at SSE Arena Wembley on Friday

Live performances can be an amazing experience for any music fan and I can testify that the Swedish band Ghost are one of the best live rock acts around. Last year I saw them at The Royal Albert Hall on A Pale Horse Named Death Tour promoting their album, Prequelle. Ghost don’t just write and play great music, they provide an exhilarating, memorable show.

The Ultimate Tour Named Death arrived at Wembley for a Friday night show and was no exception. Opening with Rats, an instantly modern catchy classic song really set the scene. Amazing sound from the whole band, dazzling lighting across a huge mediaeval church backdrop made this a great gig. I have seen a lot of bands over many years and they stand out as such a tight band with powerful riffs and boundless energy, who effortlessly switch in and out of lighter moments. Having toured across America, Europe and much of the world, their fan base is expanding massively as more and more people become aware of what this band are capable of. I came across Ghost three years ago. The hypnotic and tuneful rock track Cirice was my introduction to this band through a friend I met at school. This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often. Pure magic!

Ghost comprises of melodic, talented, masked musicians, with Tobias Forge as the front man heading the nameless ghouls. Tobias has a unique, listenable voice which draws you in and he creates theatrical drama on stage. Between songs he interjects humorous interaction with the mesmerised audience. An air of mystery surrounds them that only adds to their complexity.

In March 2020 Ghost will celebrate 10 years since they initially posted three songs on MySpace and within two days became noticed by the music industry. Some people refer to Ghost as a Doom Metal band. The brilliant track Mummy Dust does fit that description but I’m not so sure I’d agree with that particular pigeon hole for this band as this might put off some people who I believe will love their music. Ghost is a modern day Blue Oyster Cult bearing a dark undertone in the lyrics of each song with hard rock guitars and drums, which hits the spot exactly how rock music should be written nowadays.

When you start exploring the writing styles of Ghost you come across Absolution, Square Hammer, He Is, From the Pinnacle to the Pit, Ritual, Faith and Year Zero you realise the variety of music this band can create. If any of this is catching your attention look them up on youtube. Their packaging of each of their albums is great too so treat yourself to discover what so many rock fans are talking about. Yes, I have all the CD’s and vinyl, and yes, the limited edition items are a joy to own, as is the merchandise! Did I remember to say I love their work…?

The Ghost world tour continues

Until 19th December

For tickets, merchandise and more please visit www.ghost-official.com/. Also follow @thebandghost for updates and more

Reading Thames Festival

Round & About

music

Photo: Cirque Bijou – Nic Kane

Reading Thames Festival returns for the third year with a new programme set to change the town’s cultural scene. The world-class festival is made locally, celebrating the incredible creativity of Reading and driven by it.

The four-day festival, which runs from today (26th September) until Sunday 29th, will present music, film, theatre, dance, circus, spoken word, and offer a variety of food and drink.

Taking inspiration from the Thames’ grand heritage as a rich source of creativity, this year, the festival programme addresses themes of change and transformation, exploring how music, performance and the arts can bring people together in times of social unrest.

The festival will bring together more than 20 Reading and Berkshire artists and organisations, including a new co-commission partnership with Reading University. A brand-new festival strand – Art After Dark – will be introduced by performer Janine Harrington this year, due to transform Reading for one unforgettable night. The free one-night event will present art and performances in public spaces you may encounter every day as well as secret, off-the-beaten-track sites and venues.

Among the highlights this year are:

never closer to midnight

Reading on Thames Festival and University of Reading Co Commission
Thursday 26 September
Time: Various from 12pm – 5pm
Venue: White Knights Campus, Reading University, Shinfield Road, Whiteknights Road, Reading RG6 6UA
Free, un-ticketed

A meditative, rhythmic outdoor live art installation, exploring the sense of urgency in the face of climate change by artist Janine Harrington. never closer to midnight will also feature as part of Art After Dark. Harrington’s practice involves choreography, installation, writing and performance. She is interested in game structures, play, access, neurodiversity and the poetics of movement practices.

Art After Dark

Thursday 26 September
Time: 5pm – 10.30pm
Venue: Various venues Reading town centre
Free, un-ticketed

Art After Dark is a new contemporary arts strand that will transform Reading for one night. The free one-night event will present art and performances in public spaces and venues around the town centre. The event invites you to explore Reading’s identity, culture and architecture, offering arts organisations, independent artists and curators the opportunity to present works responding to Reading and the 2019 festival themes.  The Art After Dark trail will bring Reading’s waterways, town centre, heritage quarter and University alive with artworks and pop-up performances in an array of locations. Art After Dark aims to be accessible for a broad audience, giving local people and visitors the chance to discover different places across the town and explore its hidden histories and architecture. The event aims to meet the ever-growing demand for night-time cultural events.

In A Wonderland They Lie – A Riverboat Salon

Friday 27 September
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Thames River Cruise
Meet Point: Thames River Cruise boarding pier
Ticketed: £10 full price, £6 concessions

In A Wonderland They Lie is a floating literary and musical salon. A riverboat tour showcasing writers and musicians whose work is haunted by a certain spirit of place. Partnering with Thames Cruisers, this event will take place on board one of their beautiful boats, set to sail along the quiet middle reaches of the Thames allowing audiences to see Berkshire from the water. This intimate event is curated by the writer, broadcaster and film-maker Michael Smith.

Acid Brass Fairey Brass Band

Sunday 29 September
Time: 7.30pm – 9pm
Venue: Reading Concert Hall
Ticketed: £12 full price, £7 concessions

Acid Brass is the brainchild of the Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller. It is the unlikely fusion of Acid House anthems with the sound of a traditional British Brass Band, the result of which has received much appreciation from varied audiences across Europe and beyond. Since its conception in 1998, Acid Brass has been performed in locations such as the Tate Modern (London), The Louvre (Paris), and at many large popular music festivals across Europe. The Fairey Band is one of the most successful contesting brass bands in the world. Founded in 1937 by a group of employees at the Fairey Aviation Works in Stockport, the band has won every elite band event on the contest calendar, including the National Championships of Great Britain on nine occasions and the British Open an incredible 16 times.

Cirque Bijou

Saturday 28 September
Time: 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Reading Abbey
Ticketed: £14 full price, £7 concessions

Following the sold out 2018 Reading on Thames finale event, Cirque Bijou return to perform against the beautiful and historic backdrop of Reading Abbey. They bring the party to Reading with an immersive evening of the most contemporary of circus. Combining traditional skills and daredevilry with modern technology, live music and sophisticated styling, with beautiful, graceful and inspiring performances supported by performances from the communities of Reading against this backdrop.

More info

For full details of all the events at Reading Thames Festival visit their website

Windsor Fringe 2019

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music

Theatre, comedy, music, dance, family shows, a pop up record stall and music around a fire pit are among some of the many amazing attractions at this year’s Windsor Fringe. 

There are more than 130 performers and artists, showcasing local and national talent at the event from 20th September to 6th October, the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. 

The launch party kicks off the festival with music from DJ Steve Nash and guests playing everything from reggae and jazz to funk and disco with drinks and food from street vendors to make it a great way to start. 

Among the many musical highlights of the festival are jazz singers Claire Martin and Ian Shaw with A Century of Song (21st); traditional music from Spain with The Maiden & The Thief (25th); The Magic of Motown (27th) and An Afternoon of Music & Colour brings R&B and funk on the 29th. 

There’s theatre in the form of The Red Balloon (21st) and a trip through Shakespeare in The battle of Love and Power (29th) before you go on Journey’s End on 1st and 2nd October. 

Join a Victorian Windsor walking tour, discover Queen Anne’s Windsor and enjoy some of the work put on display by more than 30 artists at open house events around the town.  

The family is well catered for entertainment to suit all ages from dance to an arts festival day and join The Last Puppet with an adventure aboard ship. 

The festival also features the 16th international Kenneth Branagh Award for new drama writing. The three finalists’ plays will be performed nightly on 3rd, 4th, and 5th October before a panel of judges chooses the overall winner – why not watch one a night at The Old Court and decide for yourself? 

Windsor Fringe

To find out more about all the events at Windsor Fringe and to book tickets