Archive for March, 2011

Jeremy Paxman interviews Noam Chomsky

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

If you fancy hearing a genuinely great intellect, interviewed by an uncharacteristically respectful and meek Jeremy Paxman (and the content is fascinating and controversial) click here

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Musical riches at the Brigidine School

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I just had a wonderful day at the Brigidine School in Windsor. Photographer Alistair Morrison asked me to donate a bit of time to the school to help with their fundraising concert, and today was a day or rehearsals and meeting students and teachers. The school has a wonderful atmosphere, and I’ve worked with an orchestra of beginner violins, 30 budding composers making their own graphic scores, and a couple of very talented youngsters with whom I’ll play duo. Great fun – lots of enthusiasm, and the perfect spirit for music-making.

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I’ve found the Gulf Pearl-Divers…

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

…well, nearly. For two years I’ve been trying to locate some bona fide pearl-divers in the Gulf region (who, by reputation, have a wonderfully rich collection of songs), in order to transcribe their music to use for workshop and composition inspiration. Last week in Abu Dhabi I was taken to meet the wonderful Major Ali, director or the Emirates Marine Environmental Group. Major Ali was taught pearl diving by his Grandfather nearly 60 years ago, and knows all the singers in what is obviously a very rich tradition. On my next trip there for the Festival in a few weeks time, he has promised to take me out for a pearl-diving lesson, and to meet some of these  musicians. I’m very excited – suddenly the rather enigmatic land of the UAE seems to be opening up, through its culture. Watch this space.

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