The Undefinable Lisa Richards

How often is it that you can’t place a musician in a genre or style? Probably not very often as it’s natural to do this when we first hear music; we like to associate and put it in a little box, partly just for our own peace of mind.

However, Australia’s singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Lisa Richards, is one of those artists that simply confounds convention and causes that uncomfortable feeling, like when you can’t remember what other films an actor has been in whilst you’re watching a film. We shouldn’t blame her for this though, in fact, we should commend her for it because coming across an artist like this is not something that happens every day.

Saying this, what we can do is give you an idea of all the little fragmented pieces that make up Lisa’s undefinable style: there’s hints of jazz, a good lashing of folk, touches of blues and the slightest sprinkle of roots and americana – it’s quite the recipe.

But perhaps the most undefinable aspect of her music is her voice, and it is this that arguably makes her music so difficult to categorise. There isn’t much that can be said apart from the fact that it’s liken nothing you’ll have heard before, but it’s sweet and mind-soothing nature seems to fit with all these jigsaw-piece styles that make up her music.

Take a listen to ‘Frank Sinatra’ from her new album A Light From The Otherside which is out now. You can make your mind up for yourself, but I defy you to put this exemplary artist in a box!

 

Links:

http://www.lisarichardsmusic.com

http://www.twitter.com/mymadmusic

https://soundcloud.com/lisarichardsmusic

http://www.facebook.com/lisarichardssongs

https://www.youtube.com/user/lisamrichards

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‘Gaodhal’s Vision’ set for reissue

The classic celtic-rock concept album of 1977 by Joe O’Donnell is being re-issued by the legendary violinist and his band Shkayla as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.

The reissue is set for release on 14th July and the band have already begun the celebrations by playing two lives shows at The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry at the end of March.

Gaodhal’s Vision was considered a masterpiece when it was originally released back in the 70s due to its unique instrumentation and powerful concept relating to the folklore of Ireland and its cultural heritage. As well as this, guitar god Rory Gallagher featured on the album, playing a number of intricate solos to accompany Joe’s violin. Fortunately, the reissue of the record has managed to remaster these solos, enhancing the overall sound, bringing  Joe’s quality musicianship into the digital age.

Joe was a classically trained musician, but he then went on to join a number f rock bands and realised the connection between Celtic modal and Indian music. Now, with Shkayla, he blends this experience with rock, jazz and even orchestral styles.

Check out more on Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla here:

Links:

http://joeodonnellsshkayla.com/

https://soundcloud.com/shkayla

https://www.facebook.com/shkaylaband/

https://twitter.com/shkayla

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHfqphCzdhiwEgpykm1SQyg

 

Warsaw Radio: ‘After Eve’

Using a classic love story as the basis for their latest track, Warsaw Radio have returned with a beautiful combination of orchestral folk in ‘After Eve’.

The band have taken the story of Adam and  Eve and re-imagined it to create their new track. The narrative of the song takes on a unique perspective, imagining if Adam and Eve separated after they are forced out of the Garden of Eden, sung from the perspective of Adam. The imagination present here in the songwriting of Warsaw Radio truly sets their music apart from the crowd before you’ve even heard it!

Warsaw Radio was incarnated in Brighton, 2013 after front-man Brían McNamara read about the siege of Warsaw in 1939. During this time, the Orchestra of Warsaw Radio continued to perform live on the station throughout the siege until their transmitter was destroyed by an artillery shell. McNamara fell in love with the story explaining that “The story really inspired me. Working as an original artist in what can be a tough industry can be hard and having an inspiration like these guys in 1939 helps to keep you going”.

The band are also influenced by a number of cult bands such as Fleetwood Mac, The Waterboys, Wilco and The Frames. With their upcoming tour kicking off at Komedia Brighton on February 8th, Warsaw Radio are ready to take their unique brand of musical storytelling to the masses.

“Irish frontman McNamara has a knack of enveloping the listener with his story telling style song-writing” – Source Magazine, UK

www.soundcloud.com/warsawradio

www.facebook.com/warsawradio

www.twitter.com/warsawradio

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCewwSB_EMjEUjztuaPKNFJg

www.warsaw-radio.com

 

Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla release ‘Noel Nouvelet’

Fuelled by five instrumentalists, Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla blend Celtic, jazz and Indian musical influences to form a completely unique sound for their single ‘Noel Nouvelet’.

Joe grew up in Limerick, Ireland, but in 1996 he moved to Coventry where he first became aware of the Coventry Carol, teaching it to violin students at a evening class. Whilst touring Brittany he learnt the traditional Christmas carol ‘Noel Nouvelet’, which he has now blended with the Coventry Carol to create a truly unique Christmas single – combining Celtic music with Jazz and Indian musical influences.

O’Donnell is famed for his 1977 violin led concept album with Rory Gallagher, ‘Gaodhal’s Vision’.

Shkayla (Gaelic for ‘stories’) blends traditional Celtic melodies, rock and jazz, creating an entirely unique sound.

On Wednesday 14th December Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla will be playing Leam Jazz, held at Leamington Rugby Club, Leamington spa, which will allow the band to feature more of their instrumental and improvisational capability!

Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla is now a power-house five-piece able to generate great energy and excitement, and also capable of the sensitivity and delicacy needed in keeping faith with Celtic music.

Links:

http://joeodonnellsshkayla.com/

https://soundcloud.com/shkayla

https://www.facebook.com/shkaylaband/

https://twitter.com/shkayla

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHfqphCzdhiwEgpykm1SQyg

Richard Rhys O’Brien’s Debut Album Made Available Online for All Music Lovers Worldwide

Richard Rhys O’Brien’s debut album is now made available online for all music lovers worldwide. “I Know A Little Place” is an album full of inspirational songs, fun lyrics and great musical arrangement that audiences around the world would surely love to include in their playlist.

Listen to the album here: http://richardrhysobrien.com/albums/iknowalittleplace/

Richard Rhys O’Brien is a singer songwriter who started writing in 2009, after a career as an economist and futurist. This background has taught him many things about how the world revolves, inspiring him to write his songs of love and life, accompanied by wry commentary on contemporary issues such as climate change (as in “cloud on the horizon”- video included) and consumerism – with the accompanying video “ choice would be a fine thing”.

Richard Rhys O’Brien style draws on folk, rock, blues, country and classical influences – particularly inspired by a lifelong following of Loudon Wainwright III, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. He has been singing with the North London choir Eclectic Voices since 2000 (jazz, gospel, classical and world music) and plays piano and keyboards.

Some of his popular songs that are included in his debut album are “Take it as it Comes”, “Audition Blues”, “Silvery Moon”, “Rollercoaster”, “She Said Yes!”The song “No truth, No Lies” is one of the more serious songs where Richard Rhys O’Brien reveals a little bit  of a preachy  tone and “Heroes or zeroes” reflects on the slide from great leadership to dictatorship . in contrast other songs on the album like ““If You Say You Cannot See My Shadow” and “Be Like a Bird” display his playful and lighter tones.

His songs feature other professional and talented musicians and singers like Bruce Knapp (guitars), Tony Shepherd (drums), Richard Sadler (bass), Christine Axelle and Callie Howard (supporting vocals) all produced with Matthew Knapp and recorded in Brighton.

His debut album, composing 14 songs, is mainly inspired by the blues, tangos, waltz and lullaby, reflecting modern life and love with accompaniment of sparkling guitar, tinkling piano, pulsating bass and drums as well as great lyrics that are sung with remarkable clarity.

Songwriter Richard Rhys O’Brien knows exactly how to strike a delicate balance between playful arrangements and heartfelt songwriting that infuses great musical direction from different band’s muses. Richard Rhys O’Brien’s debut album is available on iTunes and Amazon Store.

http://richardrhysobrien.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-Rhys-OBrien/128587320578684

https://twitter.com/RROBrien

http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardRhysObrien

Album review – Emily Smith – ‘Echoes’

Emily SmithOut February 24th on White Fall Records, ‘Echoes’ is the 5th album from Scottish singer-songwriter Emily Smith. It’s an album that, by Smith’s own admission, is a return to the traditional sound of folk, giving her excellent voice an excellent backdrop to shine against.

Recorded over the course of a year, the album shifts from folky ballads to balls out stomping roots music and brings together a huge array of musicians to make the sound fuller than some of Smith’s earlier work.

But there’s a versatile streak too. Based on acoustic folk structures, these are songs that would be just as comfortable being played solo on a stage as they are backed by a band of multi-instrumentalists. It all adds to the folksy, flowing feel of the band, with interchangeable members trading instruments according to the song.

Organically shifting. Just like Emily Smith’s rootsy sound.

Ben Okafor: The Voice of Change

Ben Okafor is a unique musician who makes roots reggae music and bridges an artistic gap between Jamaican reggae, Afro-pop and UK folk. He has shared a stage with popular music giants like Cliff Richard, Van Morrison and Billy Bragg and has been touring and making new music since 1985. 

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Perhaps the most pertinent thing about Ben’s music is his political focus and drive for social change. He was born in Enugu in eastern Nigeria with 7 siblings and his early life was defined by the Biafran civil war which erupted when he was 12. He enlisted in the Biafran military intelligence arm known as ‘the Boys Company’ without telling his parents, but luckily missed his mission rendezvous which failed with horrendous consequences. Nevertheless Ben witnessed the fighting, terror and violence first hand and has experienced being in the line of fire.

This fraught background coloured some of his musical experiences in writing and in performance. Indeed, his music has such power in his native Nigeria that he has even been threatened not to play “Raise your Conscience” by a Nigerian military general and has had tanks at one of his gigs in Apartheid South Africa.

His music carries messages relating to these experiences and each one tells a fascinating story. It is for this reason that his music has received praise from the likes of Chris Rea, Bono and BBC Radio 2 DJ Simon Mayo and he has played at Glastonbury Festival, the Cambridge Folk Festival and the World Music Festival in Copenhagen.

Due to his political background Ben has also had the privilege to play at high profile events to influential world leaders such as Archbishop Rowan Williams and Gordon Brown at the Lambeth Conference in 2008, at the ‘Make Poverty History’ Gleneagles Summit and at a Commonwealth leader’s summit with HM the Queen and Prince Philip.

He is therefore used to gaining a great deal of attention through his music, he sees his art and art in general as a way of influencing people to do good in the world.  He currently runs a charity called ‘Amaka Beautiful Child’ (ABC) which is itself committed to ‘social and personal transformation through the arts’. It aims to use poetry, music, art, drama and dance (all interests of Ben’s) for the sake of social cohesion in order to bring communities together. Ben has been busy working on a number of projects such as the empowerment of young refugees, a campaign to make primary education free for all children globally (UN development goal for 2015), and the creation of a physical space for sociological artistic expression in his home town of Great Malvern.

Ben’s range of life experiences has provided him with some rich insight into the world around him. His albums like ‘Thing with War’ (2003) and ‘Child of Biafra’ (2007) investigate some of the effects of war and express Ben’s own experiences of conflict and violence. Whereas some of his other records such as ‘Nkiru’ (1989) and his most recent album, ‘Diverted Traffic’ (2009) delve more broadly into the human condition, self-identity, and the potential conflicts between artistic expression and a market centred music industry.

In early 2010, Ben’s youngest child was born which naturally took priority and caused him to take some time out from the industry. This didn’t stop him from continuing to write new music that will be recorded later this year for his new album. Overall, there is no doubt that Ben Okafor is a fascinating musical talent with a rich personal history. Together these two facets of talent and wisdom make for quite a special listen.

http://www.benokafor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ben-Okafor/140357829311212?ref=sgm

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnzejsHMNnkLrL7kP2lRuXg?feature=watch

Singing Sensation ‘Derek Ryan’ Releases Brand New Single ‘100 Numbers’

Irish country star set to release his new single in the UK on 24th March taken from new album ‘Country Soul’, out now.

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Derek Ryan’s career has already been an unquestionable success. He signed to WarnerMusic at the age of 17 with his band D-Side and went on to make a multi-platinum selling record with ‘Real World’. He has also been nominated for several Meteor Awards in Ireland and has had global success with a number 1 single in Japan.

He has already gained 3 top 10 hits in the UK, and is now looking to further establish himself  with the release of his new single ‘100 Numbers’ following the UK release of his new album Country Soul.

He commands a very loyal following of fans who have known and loved him since his D-Side days! The ‘Official Derek Ryan Fanclub’ Facebook is constantly buzzing with praise and love for Derek, along with a vibrant Twitter feed which keeps his fans hooked on his new gigs and music.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/derekryanmusic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/derekryanfanclubofficial

The track itself is a clear nod to his Irish country and folk music roots but also has an unmistakeable pop tone too with a very hooky melody and a catchy rhythm that is hard to shake!

Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_48VtJ4sjg

‘100 Numbers’ was, like most of Ryan’s music, self-penned. The lyrics speak of being surrounded by people once he’d moved to London to continue his career, but still suffering from homesickness and missing those he is closest to. It was inspired by a tough time in his life when he was living in a bedsit in the city and desperately wanted to get back to his home in Ireland and continue making the music which he loves and has grown up with.

These feelings came despite the ‘100 Numbers’ in his phone, and there was no one who could help him shake his thoughts of home. The song is therefore a look into Derek’s own journey out of loneliness and back to his roots both musically and personally.

Musically ‘100 Numbers’ is quite layered with a number of different instruments being used throughout to give it a warmth characteristic of Derek’s music. In terms of comparison, the Westlife pop style is tempting but it has a more contemporary Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling pop folk feel to it whilst retaining a traditional flavour. 

HADAR MANOR: The Year and Now

Counting Ed Sheeran amongst her many fans and having supported the likes of Beth Rowley and Ehud Banai, and winning the ‘Queen Of The Underground’ title, are only a few of the things along the journey Hadar embarked on since leaving the Negev Desert in Israel, after completing a compulsory service as a medical officer at the age of 20, and moving to London in the early 00’s to pursue her dream of performing.

Crowned ‘Queen of The Underground’ by the London Underground’s licensed buskers, singing songs of the life of an ‘urban gypsy’ with a voice not dissimilar to that of Joni Mitchell’s, Hadar Manor certainly knew how to brighten up the dull monotonous commute of many London workers.

With previous experience collaborating with award-winning producer Youth, DJ Sandy Riviera and experimental band ‘Oi Va Voi’, and no stranger to performing at Glastonbury, Hadar has already made an impact on the music industry, even performing on Radio 2 and being asked to tea at number 10 Downing Street.

When her son was born in 2011, she took all her busking earnings and innovatively built her own home studio, so she could still follow her passion for music. Despite not knowing how to produce records, Hadar took her first step to becoming a completely independent musician by deciding to teach herself, and vowed to write, record and produce a song for each month of her life, starting with the January Song.

Judging by the success and phenomenal reviews for her last album, Crossing London, Hadar’s next album, The Year And Now, is highly anticipated by her fans and the media, from whom she has already gained glowing reviews:

A Prodigy’ – The Observer

An Outstanding Talent’ – Melvyn Bragg

We thoroughly recommend listening to her album, ‘Crossing London, to soak in her storytelling lyrics recounting busking journeys from the Judas mountains to Charing Cross station’ – Recognise Magazine

Hadar has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise funds towards completing her brand new album, The Year And Now which will be released in January, following up her latest single My Wish. You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/hadar-manor/my-wish-hadar-manor

Join Hadar’s journey and help make her album possible: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hadar-manor-the-year-now-album

Social Media/Websites:

https://twitter.com/HadarManor

https://www.facebook.com/hadarmanormusic

http://instagram.com/hadarmanor

http://www.reverbnation.com/hadarmanor

https://soundcloud.com/hadar-manor

http://www.hadarmanor.com

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