Music Team Spotlights #4

Our fortnightly spotlight series continues this week with more tips curated by our UK Music team, bringing you music news, online performances, blogs, playlists, podcasts and album releases. What have you discovered this week? Let us know on Twitter.


Album Releases Spotlight


Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas

During the national lockdown in the UK, I found myself listening to Lianne La Havas’s new single ‘Bittersweet’ on loop and picked it for our Lockdown Listening playlist back in early April. Inspired by her fantastic show at London’s Roundhouse this week, which I watched from the comfort of home – my first experience of a high quality, paid live stream – I now can’t see past Lianne La Havas for an album spotlight. Her songwriting, her voice and her inventive electric guitar picking is like a female neo-soul incarnation of Jeff Buckley at times – and I appreciate that comparison gets chucked around pretty loosely and often with no bearing in reality. The fact La Havas has gone for a self-titled album this time – her third album to date – to me points to an artist that is in confident mood: this is me, take it or leave it. And Prince was a fan so there you go. Lianne La Havas is out today.

- Stephen Bloomfield (Music Marketing Manager)


Anna Clyne - DANCE

Soloist: Inbal Segev / London Philharmonic / Conductor: Marin Alsop / Avie Label

The first time I encountered Anna Clyne's work was when her Prince of Clouds - Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra was nominated for the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The London born composer has since written many great works for orchestras and soloists but I was especially excited to hear that her recent composition is dedicated to her very own instrument – the cello. The albumDANCE, was released in Jun this year and includes Clyne's cello concerto alongside Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto. Written for Israeli soloist Inbal Segev, the concerto is inspired by Rumi's beautiful poem of the same name - each movement is named after a line in the poem:

Listening to this concerto evokes many different emotions during its 25 minutes' duration – melancholy and tristesse as well as resilience, elation, and ebullience. The latter are very encouraging during the current times, as is the premise of Rumi's poem. Another very distinct feature of the concerto is its fusion with folk elements. There is a certain nostalgia and blend of cultures and melodies present throughout the piece, especially in the last movement. In an interview with Boosey & Hawkes, Clyne says that cellist Inbal Segev "felt that the last melody reflects her Jewish heritage, it has that kind of tonality to it. And the music also reflects my Irish heritage (my mother was half Irish and half English). She could feel these two backgrounds mingling in this piece." Clyne dedicated the concerto to her father who also happens to be of Jewish descent and who supported her music at every stage of her career.

- Anna Bliner (Music Programme Coordinator)


Conversations Spotlight (Online)


The RPS Conversation - OPERA

With Sir Antonio Pappano (Music Director of the Royal Opera House), soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn, Lorna Price (Head of Costume at Scottish Opera) and tenor Trystan Llŷr Griffiths. Introduced by James Murphy (Chief Executive of Royal Philharmonic Society).

Here is a video addressing the pandemic’s impact on opera and all those who make opera for a living.  There are some very personal experiences described by articulate professionals – a lovely listen which I recommend - and some inspirational stories.  A particular treat is listening to Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House, speak – his love of music and musicians and sheer humanity shine through.

- Cathy Graham (Music Director)


Festival Spotlight (Online)


Sofasonic Festival

17-19 July

An online festival from the Supersonic festival team, run by Capsule in Birmingham. Check out playful, Bristol-based Japanese artist Ichi, Bulbibls (Richard Dawson and Sally Pilkington) presenting their first AND last gig developed during lockdown, trancendental folk from Lankum, or the intriguing UK-South Korean group Tirikilatops. In among an eclectic array of DJs sets, quizzes, films, poetry and workshops, Paul Purgas and Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley talk about India’s first electronic music studio, and we recommend catching the discussions with UK and international panelists; Space is The Place will examine the importance of musical communities and ecosystems, while Looking for Today will explore how musicians respond to social and political unrest.

- Leah Zakss (Music Programme Manager)


Music and Film Spotlights


STRASBOURG 1518 – Jonathan Glazer

STRASBOURG 1518 is a new short film by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth, Under The Skin, The Fall), inspired by a ‘dancing plague’ that took hold of citizens in the city of Strasbourg just over 500 years ago.  A ‘collaboration in isolation’ it sees Glazer collaborating with composer and artists Mica Levi who provides the score. If you’ve seen Under the Skin an unnerving film set in Glasgow, this is not to be missed!

The film will premiere to UK viewers on BBC Two at 10:00 BST, Monday 20 July 2020.

- Joel Mills (Senior Programme Manager)


Lockdown Rescore Challenge with Haiku Salut

Live Cinema UK are outstanding commissioners and presenters of live score film projects. For a lockdown special, they have  approached live re-score artists Haiku Salut with a challenge to create an alternative score for two archive films. They have two weeks to create an alternative score for each film. The first alternative score will be for eccentric 1940s exercise short 4 and 20 Fit Girls  - available for free on BFI Player, which will be premiered as a watch party and a live chat with Haiku Salut on Sunday 19th July at 6pm on Mixlr.

- Joel Mills (Senior Programme Manager)


Performances Spotlight (Online)


BBC Proms 2020

19 July - 23 August

With the usual summer season of live events at the Royal Albert Hall off the cards this year, The Proms have taken the opportunity to delve into the archives to bring together a series of memorable past performances. There are still plans for live events in the final weeks, but in the meantime the programme is available via BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds. Everything kicks of this evening (Friday 17 July) with a First Night concert featuring Harrison Birtwistle’s boisterous Proms commission Panic and a giant virtual Beethoven mash-up with the BBC ensembles.

Check out the full season

- Michael Duffy (Music Programme Manager)


Playlists Spotlight


Shabaka Hutchings: Masters of our Craft


Sofasonic: QUEEF

As part of the lead-up to Sofasonic Festival, a weekend of online events happening 17-19 July 2020, Supersonic are releasing an array of playlists on Spotify that have been carefully curated by artists & friends of the festival. Here is a selection from Birmingham’s QUEEF (Queer Experimental Futurism) - a brand new collective celebrating queerness and diversity in experimental art.


Radio Spotlight

No Signal Radio

Possibly one of the most exciting grassroots music initiatives to have come out of lockdown. When regular London club night Recess could no longer take place, the music went online and #blackradio station No Signal was born. Their flagship #NS10V10 DJ battles, which pitch the catalogues of Vybz Kartel against WizKid or Grime against Garage, alight social media with an engagement that is impossible to fake or emulate.

- Katie Weatherall (Music Programme Manager)


Workshops Spotlight (Online)


Nonclassical Academy

5 July - 14 October

Develop your creative practice through online workshops, bringing together the diverse and often unconventional talents of the extended Nonclassical community. Topics include extended violin techniques (with Aisha Orazbayeva), composing and improvising with turntables (with Mariam Rezaei) and two sessions on DIY synth-building.

- Leah Zakss (Music Programme Manager)