It is the time of year when the voice of Jona Lewie, a musician since school and a composer and performer across several genre for over half a century, becomes frequently heard in shops and on radio. Stop the Cavalry is a single from 1980 (live:   ); the arguably anti-war protest song was not originally intended to be a Christmas single, and was kept off the #1 UK chart spot by songs from the recently deceased John Lennon and the St Winifred's School Choir. The tune, often covered by brass bands, is more well-known in the USA through the cover by The Cory Band with The Gwalia Singers (also Gwalia Singers on own and background). However, Jona was successful before this... [more inside]
New York City brass group Lucky Chops makes the 34th st subway station feel good.
Last year, English conceptual artist Jeremy Deller went to Trinidad to have "Pacific State", the English dance anthem by 808 State, reworked on steel drums. He gave the project to Michelle Huggins-Watts and the Valley Harps steel pan drum group to see where they'd take it. Here is the result. Before that, he also brought a similar idea to the Williams Fairey Brass Band, and they re-arranged 808 State's "Pacific 202" (original version, for comparison).
Let's say you're a drummer, and you have seven mates who play brass instruments. What do you do? Cover Thrift Shop (by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis). Broken Brass Ensemble have three more demo tracks on Soundcloud, if you dig their mix of traditional New Orleans brass with hiphop, balkan, funk, fanfare, and more. Or you could just listen to a ton of brass band cover songs on YouTube, if that's you're thing.
"Smoke on the Water", as performed by Germany's military brass band and Berlins guard battalion, part of the farewell to German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. [more inside]
'If I die,' Brandon Franklin had said, 'I want all the bands at my funeral.' As Franklin’s family filed out of the eastern New Orleans church and the hearse waited, nearly 300 current and former band members performed a final salute. Via.
Bad Hotel - a FlashMob direct action for San Francisco hotel workers' right to health care by Pride At Work, Sleep With The Right People, and the Brass Liberation Orchestra. [more inside]
The James Koetting Ghana Field Recordings has 142 reels of Ghanaian music, almost all of which have more than one track, collected by ethnomusicologist James Koetting. There is a glossary of musical terms should you want to know a bit more about Ghanaian music and Koetting's notebooks should you want to know a whole lot more. All the music is wonderful but here are a few that stood out to me. Here are two tracks featuring postal workers whistling over a rhythm beat with scissors and stampers. Flute and drum ensemble. Brass band blues. And finally, twenty teenage girls singing over some nice rhythms. [requires RealPlayer]
The Mehterhane or Mehter, as they are often known, are thought to be the oldest military marching band in the world. Starting around the 13th century, the band accompanied the Ottoman empire troops (Janissaries, or yeniçeri, roughly meaning "new troops" and were comprised mostly of young men from the Balkans) into battle, spreading their music along the way and influencing western classical composers like Mozart and Beethoven. [more inside]