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Song of Contagion: Music and Science Unite

Posted on May 31st, 2017 in Recent posts by .


From June 13-17, Wilton’s Music Hall will be taken over by an alliance between music and science in Song of Contagion

East London’s Grand Union Orchestra are set to unite music and science in a brand new project this June. A week of events taking place in Wilton’s Music Hall, London will explore the relationship between the two disciplines, featuring some of the UK’s best musicians and singers with origins from across the globe.

The grand centrepiece of this unique programme will be Song of Contagion, a new creation by the orchestra. Thought-provoking and globally relevant, the piece questions why some diseases are covered extensively in the media, attracting billions in funding, while others are left to languish, largely unnoticed and unaided. Through a musical narrative, and using data compiled by epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani, the comparison between where money is spent and where disease is rife is explored. 

Audiences will journey with the orchestra to Central Africa where dengue fever has been claiming lives for years, to the Caribbean, where the disease has found an additional home, and to Brazil, where headlines of Zika came as often as Olympic medals from Rio. This is set to be a fascinating performance.

Find out more:

Image courtesy of Grand Union Orchestra.

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New single from Rio Mira: ‘Román Román’

Posted on May 24th, 2017 in Recent posts by .

Karla Kanora

Listen to a new single from an exciting new collective of musicians celebrating their shared heritage, and bridging borders to re-affirm neglected traditions

Rio Mira is a new collective of musicians from Ecuador and Colombia, fronted by Karla Kanora (pictured above). Based in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the project is committed to recognising the musical history of the area and shifting negative attitudes toward Afro-Ecuadorian music.

Their album Marimba del Pacifico (to be released on July 7) is arranged around the distinctive tones of the marimba, an instrument closely entwined in the stories of escaped slaves who made the region of Esmeraldas, and the stretch of land along the Pacific coast, their home. Over the years, a unique Afro-Pacific identity was formed incorporating traditions, like the marimba, from their West African roots. In 2015, the marimba music of South Pacific Colombia and the Esmeraldas Province was declared by UNESCO to be Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Their recently released second single from the album, ‘Román Román’, pays homage to the intimate connection between the El Pacífico communities and the rivers, and also features a poem by Esmeralda writer Jalisco González. It is a clear example of the enchanting tones of the marimba.

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Unicorn World Record Attempt

Posted on May 18th, 2017 in Recent posts by .

Photo by Colin Hattersley

Whereas the English consider the fiery Barbary lion to be their national symbol, the Scottish cherish an altogether more mystical creature. A stately unicorn adorns the Scottish coat of arms, and symbolises both harmony and peace across the land. This year’s Knockengorroch World Ceilidh Festival, deep in the majestic Galloway hills, is honouring the ancient beast with an official world record attempt for the highest number of unicorns in one place as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. Festival organiser Liz Holmes is anticipating a joyous occasion: “We wanted to do something exciting, fun and different to celebrate our 20th year. The unicorn is a truly multicultural symbol for us to celebrate, reflecting our international taste in music!”

The attempt has been fully accredited by the Guinness Book of Records, and attendees of all ages are encouraged to wear unicorn horns and be part of the effort. Performers at the four-day affair include Scottish folk stalwarts RURA, klezmer ensemble Tantz, roots reggae legend Max Romeo and Molotov Jukebox. The Kakatsitsi Drummers and the Gubi San Bushmen, Sheelanagig and Tonto Malembe are also amoung the vast list of artists set to perform at Knochengorroch.

 Knockengorroch World Ceilidh Festival takes place from May 25-28.

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La Chiva Gantiva releases new music video

Posted on May 16th, 2017 in Recent posts by .

In accordance with their usual mischievous style, La Chiva Gantiva are back with a new music video filled with humour, bordering on absurdity.

Loaded with Colombian slang, astronauts, scientist monkeys and mad air hostesses, this video is not short on entertainment!

The music video for ‘El Ritmo Lo Llevo Yo’, filmed in a Belgian airport hangar, was directed by the leader of the group Rafael Espinel in collaboration with his Belgian university partner Nicolas Moins. ‘El Ritmo Lo Llevo Yo’ is the first single from La Chiva Gantiva’s new album, entitled Despegue (Take-Off). Multiple tours across the world over the past few years have inspired the group to create this ‘Western galactic cumbia’, which invites us to ‘open our eyes and to be protagonists of our own lives.’ It announces an intergalactic take-off (despegue), as seen by astronauts from another world. Space-ships at the ready.

La Chiva Gantiva will be touring across the globe this summer, including a visit to the UK in August. For more info:

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