music

What freedom is… Nina Simone

This is one of the best films available on Netflix. I’m reposting, as a friend of mine saw it recently and was just as profoundly shaken and stirred by it. Totally absorbing.

Comma And

Last night I more or less idly began watching a documentary on Netflix about Nina Simone – and was right from the start transfixed by her words: “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me – no fear!”

From those opening comments in “What happened to you Miss Simone?” I was glued to the screen.  One of the words most used by the singer herself is “compelling” – and it fits her appearances.

Musically, she is electrifying: confident, powerful, emotional, unpredictable, distinctive.  Like all great artists in any genre (and this is something someone needs to tell warbly teenage wannabe popstars)

  • she inherited powerful art skills through her family (literature words and performance as her mother was a Bible preacher)
  • has invested depth into her art by years of studying and acquiring classical technique (classical piano study),
  • responding to her times and national culture (Civil Rights),
  • bringing in her most personal…

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Cooking with Georgia O’Keeffe

The artist Georgia O’Keeffe took a keen interest in health foods – believing that what you ate was important to creativity.  Delightfully, she lived to be 99, producing brilliant paintings to the end, her mind sharp as a tack.  So here are recipes for her wholemeal bread, a health shake, and Green Chillies with garlic, oil and a fried egg.

 

The recipes come from two books: “A Painter’s kitchen” edited by Margaret Wood, who worked as Georgia O’Keeffe’s companion and cook for 5 years – and “Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe: Recipes, art and landscape” by Robyn Lea, a well-researched book on the artist’s foods.  The latter book features 50 recipes drawn from Georgia’s own handwritten notes on recipes books, and her instructions to caterers.

Georgia O’Keeffe chose to live very much in her own style, settling in New Mexico, and organising the kitchen and garden so that there were organic vegetables to eat.  Her paintings show an awareness of the land, nature, living close to the earth and the beauty of simplicity.

The cooking is re-enacted for the video in a light, easty-to-follow humorous style.  In between the cooking, there is a time for a short but well-done overview of O’Keeffe’s life and works – with pictures!  A rather brilliant introduction to her work, if you’re not already in the know.

Spoiler alert: there are a few minutes of advertising for financial support at the end.

There’s no actual thematic link – but I don’t suppose it would hurt to listen to the song “Georgia on my mind” by Ray Charles while you’re cooking.  As a little amuse-le-chef.

BBC 13 October 2017

Today’s favourite quote…. Success is:

Nile Rogers said it:

Success is a by-product of hard work, consistency and luck.

Nile has 4 decades of success as innovative bassist and record producer/music arranger.

If you want to hear more of his insights – and music – then there is a new documentary series (3 programmes) by the BBC.  If you live in the UK and are a licence-player, it’s on BBC i-player here.

If you live outside the UK, keep an eye on your national TV channel, because this programme has such high quality footage on an international music performer, that it’s bound to feature on stations across the world, in due course.

 

birds on the wires, TedX

Creative Prompt: Sound: Birds on a wire

Today’s creative prompt is “Sound” – today, I came across and am now curating a true story on how picture became sound…. A composer, Jarbas Agnelli, saw a newspaper photo of birds sitting on telegraph wires, and decided to make music from their placement, like notes on musical notation paper.

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“Weather the Storm” Short Musical Animation

“Weather the Storm” by Trunk & Radish Pictures is just exquisite animation short set to  a song, examining a difficult time – in this case, bereavement, in under 5 minutes.  Unsurprisingly, it won an award in the 2016 British Animation Awards.

I heard the most wonderful quote recently from a TV presenter, Sandi Toksvig, almost a throwaway line as she chatted with a contestant on the Great British Bake Off: “Marriage is everything and nothing” meaning it’s made up of the seemingly insignificant daily stuff and yet it’s an important relationship which colours our life.  This video contemplates loss through a tiny part of daily life (toothpaste and toothbrushes) – gently observed and ultimately positive.

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Director Peter Baynton received 2016 British Award Animation for Public Choice Best Music Video

The song on the soundtrack is “Weather the Storm” by Benjamin Scheuer, from the album “The Lion”.  More about his work on his website here.

Director: Peter Baynton for Radish Pictures.

Producer: Daniel Negret

Exec producer: Richard Barnett

both at Trunk.

I love the gentle watercolour like textures and way it conveys the central figure as struggling to go forward despite a strong headwind against him, while other characters nonchalently and speedily bounce by, often in the opposite direction, through simple landscapes.  In this one still, shown below, you can see the contrast: the main character holding onto a bench arm for grim life, just to stay still in the storm of emotions, while another person sits nonchalently on the bench, reading a newspaper, chomping on a sandwich and drinking a cuppa.

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still from the film “Weather the Storm”