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  • LIFE

    Bangkok loses stalwart of city's music scene

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 16/08/2022

    » Bangkok's local Irish music scene has been in in mourning since news reached the City of Angels that resident Irish music expert Dr Mick Moloney passed away in his Greenwich Village apartment in New York on July 27. He was 77. Mick had been a part-time resident in the city for more than 20 years. Irish President Michael D. Higgins released a statement noting that "his passing is a loss to the musical heritage of Ireland, to Irish America, and to Irish music worldwide".

  • LIFE

    Mambo madness

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 02/08/2022

    » Latin music has been circling the globe for more than a century, creating dance crazes and inspiring local forms of music. From tango to reggaeton, with stops for mambo, rumba, son and salsa, bolero, Latin jazz and more, the Latin music juggernaut just keeps rolling on.

  • LIFE

    A woman in a man's world

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 19/07/2022

    » US R&B legend Big Mama Thornton is one of the forgotten "originators", to use Dr John's term for Professor Longhair, of rock'n'roll. The late Alabama native, who died almost exactly 38 years ago on July 25, 1984, recorded the first version of Leiber and Stoller's Hound Dog in 1952. After the record was released in 1953, it reached the top spot on Billboard's Rhythm & Blues Records Chart and sold 2 million copies. It was her biggest hit, but it paled in comparison to young Elvis Presley's version, which sold more than 10 million copies and helped propel Presley to global fame.

  • LIFE

    Where cowboys rule

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 05/07/2022

    » The Colombian writer and journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. At his award ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, a delegation of Colombian musicians performed for the event. Harp player Carlos "Cuco" Rojas, the founder of the Cimarron band, and lead singer Ana Veydo joined the musicians, adding their festive joropo dance music from plains of the Orinoco River (in Colombia and Venezuela) to the music on the Nobel stage.

  • LIFE

    Spellbinding collaboration proves less is more

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 21/06/2022

    » I once had the rare privilege to see the great bluesman and songwriter Earl King, who wrote the New Orleans Mardi Gras anthem Big Chief, perform in a small club in Tokyo. Before he took to the stage another band performed, with a well-known young blues guitarist playing fast action licks and riffs at breakneck speed. In complete contrast, when Earl King played guitar he played far fewer notes, paring down the music to its essentials. I can still remember King's playing, but I can't recall anything the young pretender played.

  • LIFE

    Songs of hope

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 07/06/2022

    » The award-winning Canadian-Czech singer and composer Lenka Lichtenberg was going through her mother's effects in 2016 in Prague when she made a startling discovery. She found two small notebooks that belonged to her artist grandmother, Anna Hana Friesova (1901-1987). Inside each notebook, small enough to fit into a back pocket, were poems written while she was imprisoned in the Terazin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp during WWII.

  • LIFE

    Summer vibes

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 24/05/2022

    » The Thai entertainment scene got a welcome boost this past week with news that bars, clubs and pubs will reopen from June 1, albeit with a closing time of midnight. The government also announced that the lifting of restrictions would apply to 31 provinces that have successfully controlled potential outbreaks of Covid-19, with the other 46 provinces still under Covid-based surveillance and restrictions.

  • LIFE

    The sounds of the jungle

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 10/05/2022

    » The acclaimed traditional music ensemble Fong Naam was founded in 1981 by American Bruce Gaston and "Teacher" Boonyong Khetkong. Even after the death of some of the original masters, all of whom were national artists, the band remains Thailand's most well-known musical group internationally.

  • LIFE

    Adventure in new lands

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 26/04/2022

    » British-Sudanese writer Jamal Mahjoub's latest novel The Fugitives is a delightful tale of a fictional Sudanese dance band, the Kamanga Kings, and how the son of one of the founders, an English teacher called Rushdy, reforms the band and goes on a raucous road trip to play their music in the US.

  • LIFE

    Gatemouth is the swingingest

    Life, John Clewley, Published on 12/04/2022

    » The Half Moon Pub in Putney, London, has been hosting rock'n'roll gigs since 1963, making it one of the oldest live venues in the capital. In 1980, I was studying at Garnett College (now University of Westminster) and living in Roehampton. Every Friday night, I would join a group of fellow students to check out the live music at the Half Moon.

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