History for some reason defined the continent of Asia as east of a line joining the Urals with the Caucasus and the Black Sea. The incredible thing about this amazing landmass, is its enormous diversity in land, climate and people. Its music stretches back for over 3000 years and can be quite a stretch for Western ears, not just in the sounds, but in the philosophy behind it. And what incredible sounds, from the percussion based classical music of Thailand, Tuvan throat singers in Mongolia, Indonesian pop bands, the poetry of the Arab world to Ravi Shankar’s sitar music that influenced so many in the 1960’s. Read More
The incredible story of a singing revolution. This is a brief trailer telling the story – “The Singing Revolution shares how, between 1987 and 1991, hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly to sing forbidden patriotic songs and share protest speeches, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence. While violence and bloodshed was the unfortunate end result in other occupied nations of the USSR, the revolutionary songs of the Estonians anchored their struggle for freedom, which was ultimately accomplished without the loss of a single life.”
Great to be back at Pluto studios in Tel Aviv. Recording three projects – an English recording, one in Hebrew and a spontaneous instrumental with violin and percussion. I brought some instruments with me and mixed them with a few studio drums to create a hybrid kit and a special sound for the project. Read More
Our 5th time to visit Gateways Beyond, the international school in the mountains of central Cyprus. During our stay we experienced Easter with the Orthodox church (interestingly a year when Easter and Pesach fall on the same weekend and the following weekend is Orthodox Easter followed by Celtic Easter!). Read More
Great to be with Paul and Yam in Bangkok. We have had a wonderful few days hanging out and hearing each others stories. We also got to help on a couple of new tracks that they were recording – one which was just drums and voice. Yam enjoys using both traditional and modern styles of singing on her recordings. Her desire is to encourage the Thai church to write their own original Thai worship music.
Enjoying a few days in Tel Aviv @ Pluto studios I am here recording a Hebrew project with Ruth Fazal – Canadian violinist and singer/songwriter. Although I don’t have much down time – it has been very interesting being in Tel Aviv, a vibrant city that never seems to slow down, and as one taxi driver told me “This is one big party city, the world comes here to play”.
Just watched an amazing piece of journalism on BBC 4 … harrowing but well worth the watch.
It’s a documentary about Comrade Duch, who ran the Tuol Sleng prison camp in Phnom Penh and was the first Khmer Rouge leader to be tried by the Cambodian courts for the regime’s crimes. On 28 February 2009 Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, appeared in the ECCC courtroom and made a two-hour speech where he asked for forgiveness for the appalling torture and execution of at least 13,000 prisoners at Tuol Sleng and probably more in the security camps of M-13 and M-99. Until this date, with the exception of a handful of judges, lawyers and a priest, he had not been seen or heard of for the last thirty years. How did a man, known to be kind and generous to fellow students, possibly transform himself into Comrade Duch, the Khmer Rouge’s infamous executioner? This documentary revisits and searches for clues.
Before the sun had risen we set out travelling from the city of Phnom Penn along increasingly bumpy roads to rural Prassat. As we watched Cambodia raise her sleepy head, even at this early hour we saw an impoverished yet industrious people busy trying to eke out a living. Reaching the Mekong River we waited to catch a small over-loaded car ferry whilst being accosted by traders repeatedly urging us to buy cockroaches, beetles, grubs and all manner of delicious traveller’s snacks! Having paid for our crossing, the next step was not so easy. Bribing is now common occurrence through all strands of life, (a legacy some say of having to find any means to survive the Pol Pot genocide), and because our host wouldn’t play the game we had to wait whilst others were put on the impossibly rickety ferry first. Read More
Sitting on the slatted wooden flooring covered with a beautiful woven mat … we looked out from the tall stilted house we had come to visit towards the nearby river. We had stepped into another world – a community who’s lifeblood is entangled with that of the Mekong and it’s tributaries, in all it’s wonder and treachery.
For 3 months of the year during monsoon season the river rises many feet and our hosts home becomes an island on stilts. The dug out canoe becomes the vehicle of choice for travel during this season and food comes to your doorstep – fish that is! When the waters recede the fields are perfect for growing rice.