Win ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’
The New Christmas CD
By Engelbert Humperdinck
Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with OK!Good Records to offer three lucky readers the chance to win Engelbert Humperdinck ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’.
Iconic singer Engelbert Humperdinck is releasing ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’, his first Christmas album in almost forty years, on Friday, November 9th 2018.
‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’ features 14 heartfelt holiday songs – including 2 brand new originals especially written for this album – and will be released in the UK via OK!Good Records.
Engelbert Humperdinck has decided to launch the next chapter of his illustrious career by surprising his fans with a brand new Christmas album – his first in almost forty years. Not satisfied with the yearlong celebration of his 50th showbiz anniversary in 2017, Engelbert is eager to begin his next decade in music on a celebratory note. Following the success of his first album in over a decade, the acclaimed ‘The Man I Want to Be’, Engelbert is excited to bring yuletide gladness to families everywhere.
Thrilled to bring holiday cheer to his fans once more, Engelbert says, “It’s been such a long time since I recorded a Christmas album, and fans have been asking me, ‘When are you going to do another one?’ …
“Finally, we decided to do it. I love (Christmas). From me growing up with a large family and everybody singing around the Christmas tree, it was a wonderful, wonderful upbringing. So (Christmas) is very special with me to share.”
Much like its predecessor, 1980’s ‘A Merry Christmas With Engelbert Humperdinck’, ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’ is a combination of classic, new and unexpected songs. Traditional holiday songs like ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O Tannenbaum’ sit next to festive standards like ‘Please Come Home for Christmas’ and ‘White Christmas’. Fans can expect to hear the latter reinvented in a Django Reinhardt-inspired swing arrangement.
Engelbert delivers Christmas cheer with contemporary tunes such as Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ and Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Christmas Song’. Two new original songs – ‘Christmas for the Family’ and ‘Around the Christmas Tree’ are bound to become instant holiday favourites. In all, there are 14 new holiday chestnuts to celebrate Christmas joy, delivered in Engelbert Humperdinck’s inimitable style.
The new album, like last year’s ‘The Man I Want to Be’, was produced by Jurgen Korduletsch, arranged by Geoff Stradling and long-time Engelbert collaborators Johnny Harris and the late Jeff Sturges. Recorded at some of Los Angeles’s most iconic studios, most prominently Capitol Studios Hollywood, with some of the finest musicians LA has to offer, ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’ is a Christmas gift to enjoy for everyone this holiday season.
‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’ Track Listing
Please Come Home for Christmas
Driving Home for Christmas
Christmas Song (I’m Not Dreaming of a White Christmas)
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Snowy Christmas – Medley (including Let It Snow, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Winter Wonderland)
A Christmas for the Family
Silently Falls the Snow
Still Still Still
Around the Christmas Tree
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
Leise rieselt der Schnee
About Engelbert Humperdinck
Iconic careers don’t come any bigger than Engelbert Humperdinck’s. One would be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t familiar with his multi-platinum selling hits such as ‘Release Me’, ‘The Last Waltz’ or ‘After the Lovin’’. These and many other of his hits have contributed greatly to 150 million worldwide album sales by the ‘King of Romance’, as Engelbert is lovingly nicknamed by his legion of fans.
Just having entered a new decade of his life, the very youthful Engelbert is also celebrating his 50th year in showbiz with the release of a brand new album ‘The Man I Want to Be’. Not content with being a legacy artist, Engelbert demonstrates effortlessly with this album (his first album of original material in over a decade), that he is very much a relevant artist for today’s audiences as he has been over the last five decades of his career.
Visit Engelbert Humperdinck’s website at www.engelbert.com
For Your Chance to Win
Tell us the name of the multi-platinum hit song by Engelbert Humperdinck which was about
a) The Jive King
b) The Last Waltz
c) The Slow Foxtrot
d) The Argentine Tango
To Enter the Competition
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Concert and Album News
Aled Jones & Russell Watson Release Debut Album ‘In Harmony’
On November 9th 2018, Aled Jones and Russell Watson, two of the world’s greatest classical voices, come together to release their debut album In Harmony, out via BMG.
The pair will take to the stage together for their first joint UK and Ireland tour throughout September and October next year.
Having moved in the same circles for nearly 20 years and since becoming firm friends; Aled approached Russell to collaborate for his next big project. The album features a wealth of well-loved hymns, arias, and popular songs – ranging from stunning arrangements of “Ave Maria” – to more modern classics such as “You Raise Me Up”.
Ian Tilley, who has worked with some of the biggest names in classical-crossover including Hayley Westenra, who has sold millions worldwide, platinum selling All Angels, The Choirboys and Libera, produced the record. Internationally renowned composer Sir Karl Jenkins wrote one of the tracks “Bright Horizons” especially for Aled and Russell.
The first single, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone/Here’s To The Heroes”, is a timely tribute celebrating the centenary of the end of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of the NHS – to the men and woman who inspired a generation.
Aled says, “We loved the idea of honouring service men and women through our music – as well as our everyday heroes such as doctors and nurses.”
In Harmony is the end product from two artists born with a predestined compatibility. Here, both Aled and Russell have embraced the spirit of collaboration and friendship, whilst each bringing their own sky-high level of talent to the table to create this beautiful record.
Of the album, Russell says, “What I particularly like is the way that it is not just a collaboration as such where I sing a verse, Aled sings a verse and everybody joins in on the chorus. It’s been really cleverly written and arranged so that our voices blend really well.”
Aled adds, “This album has created a real excitement for me – singing songs I don’t normally perform on my own. Recording ‘Volare’ with Russell was a hoot!”
Their instinctive understanding of one another is easy to hear. From the grandiose “Volare”a creative rendition of Dean Martin’s jazzy number, to closer “Silent Night”, the album’s heartfelt closer combining ethereal tones of the flute with the rich baritone vocals of Aled and tenor vocals of Russell – the pair’s natural chemistry exudes throughout, complimented by force and grandeur of the orchestra. In Harmony will be released November 9th via BMG.
Also announced, Aled and Russell will be taking the record on the road for their first ever joint UK and Ireland tour throughout September and October 2019, bringing their live experience to some of the country’s most beautiful venues including the London Palladium, Gateshead Sage and the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
As two of the classical world’s vocal powerhouses, Aled and Russell have received countless prestigious awards, record-breaking sales and chart successes. Over his extraordinary 30 year career, Aled’s outstanding performances have made smash-hit box office history.
He is the original crossover star and has sung for the Pope and the Royal Family, received an MBE, released over 30 albums – with over 10 million album sales and counting – and has over 40 silver, gold and platinum discs.
After beginning his career at the age of 12, Aled became one of the world’s most successful boy sopranos, releasing 12 hit albums in 4 years with the defining moment being ‘Walking in the Air’, the hit song from the family-favourite, Christmas animated film ‘The Snowman’.
As a broadcaster, Aled has forged an extensive career, having presented across BBC Radio 2 & 3 and BBC Radio Wales. Aled also hosts the Classic FM Sunday Breakfast Show and has become a popular favourite on the station and enjoyed his own show ITV Weekend.
Despite humble beginnings, Russell’s exceptional voice has led him to become one of Britain’s most popular and biggest-selling classical stars – triumphing on both sides of the Atlantic, spending fifty-two consecutive weeks at No.1 in the UK and the US classical charts at the same time. With over seven million albums sold, he has achieved six top ten albums and received four Classic BRIT Awards.
Like Aled, Russell has performed for some of the world’s most notable figures including the Royal Family, the Pope, former US presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush, the Emperor of Japan and in front a of a worldwide audience of one billion at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in 2002.
Aled and Russell’s friendship began almost 20 years ago. Their instant camaraderie and professional mutual admiration made for the perfect pairing and, no doubt, to the delight of their hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe, they are happy to announce their first album together, In Harmony – A testament to the popularity and talent of the UK’s finest classical voices, featuring a cherry-picked repertoire of personal favourites.
The new album is now available to pre-order here
In Harmony Track List
1. How Great Thou Art
2. Where Have All The Flowers
Gone/Here’s To The Heroes
3. Cinema Paradiso
4. May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You
5. Ave Maria
6. Where Should This Music Be? (Nimrod)
7. A Hymn Medley (I Vow To Thee My Country/Abide With Me/Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer)
8. You Raise Me Up
10. In Christ Alone
11. Bright Horizons
12. Cilfan Y Coed
14. Silent Night
2019 UK Tour Dates
Tues 17- Llandudno Venue Cymru
Wed 18 – Blackpool Opera House
Fri 20 – Northampton Royal & Derngate
Sat 21- London Palladium
Mon 23 – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Tues 24 – Eastbourne Congress Theatre
Thurs 26 – Cardiff St David’s Hall
Fri 27 – Oxford New Theatre
Sun 29 – Plymouth Pavilions
Mon 30 – Bournemouth Pavilion
Wed 2 – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Tues 3 – Ipswich Regent
Sat 5 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Sun 6 – Gateshead Sage
Tues 8 – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Wed 9 – York Barbican
Fri 11 – Stoke-on-Trent Victoria Hall
Sat 12 – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Mon 14 – Sheffield City Hall
Tues 15 – Warwick Arts Centre
Oct 17 – Belfast Waterfront Hall
Oct 18 – Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Concert tickets to see Aled Jones and Russell Watson and are available to buy from https://InHarmony.lnk.to/TourPR
NYC-Based Rachael Sage returns with her brand new album ‘Myopia’, a daring project that shows this multi-instrumentalist in a whole new light…
‘Myopia’ is Rachael’s 13th album since she founded her own record label MPress Records two decades ago, and it signals a departure from the piano-centric releases that we have come to expect from this musical enigma.
The album instead focuses on her guitar playing with some inspiring contributions from Hoboken based Guitarist James Mastro (Patti Smith, Ian Hunter) who Rachael has affectionately coined the ‘King of Wah’.
Comprised of the eponymous title track ‘Myopia’ (named after the eye condition from which Rachael suffers) and 13 additional songs, this album navigates delicate subject matter with ease and sensitivity, and in the process showcases Rachael’s true versatility as a musician and a performer.
It is an album about starting again, about new beginnings and seeing clearly. The title ‘Myopia’ acts as a metaphor for society’s often narrow-minded and short-sighted approach to diversity and difference, whilst the album itself is a protest against this bigoted outlook.
The tracks, with their infectiously catchy melodies and beautifully honest lyricism, come with a reminder to be compassionate and kind even in the face of prejudice.
‘Alive’, a gutsy and dynamic track, (inspired by the fierce talent and passion of Frida Kahlo) features a strong retro-rock electric guitar part, whilst ‘Snowed In’ (a track that taps into the global paranoia that surrounds Edward Snowden) is driven by an atmospheric, and almost cinematic, guitar riff.
The dark and electronic ‘Haunted By Objects’ describes the experience of a hoarder whose only option may be to set everything on fire, while ‘This Darkness’, a protest piece about the Dakota Pipeline, explores the courage of the Native Americans and their resistance to the destruction of their environment.
During her career Rachael has shared the stage with top artists such as Grammy nominee Beth Hart, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, and Ani DiFranco – to name but a few – and last Spring saw Rachael take to the stage in a UK tour with synth-pop icon Howard Jones.
Rachael’s beautifully distinctive sound has also landed her an invite to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as leading her to win awards such as The John Lennon Songwriting Contest and several Independent Music Awards.
She has also had 22 of her tracks featured on hit TV show ‘Dance Moms’, where they accompanied Sia’s breakout video star Maddie Ziegler and other stars of the show.
And now Rachael returns with her album ‘Myopia, an album that, at its core, is about the redemptive power and excitement of creativity.
“This is a warm-weather record,” says Rachael. “These are songs about getting out there, thawing things out, and unearthing the truth.
“Sometimes you can’t do that in the dead of winter. But when the sun is shining, even the murkiest future appears hopeful.”
To follow Rachael on Social Media, click on links below:
By Jenny Itzcovitz
Guild have released a fabulous new album Holst the Planets, conducted by Mike Batt. We caught up with him to find out about how he recorded it with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the early days of his career including his work with The Wombles, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Art Garfunkel. There’s also a video for you to enjoy of The Hunting Of The Snark.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?
“I was born in Southampton, but the family moved every few years as my dad would take jobs in other towns. He was a civil engineer in the local government. Hence, why we lived after Southampton in Eastbourne, York, Coventry, Bradford and Winchester.
“I am the second of four children – three boys and a girl.”
How old were you when you started playing the piano? How did you learn to play it? And who inspired you?
“I didn’t realise I was musical until I was about 10. My dad bought an old upright piano in a junk shop and used to bash out about three songs – the only ones he knew – using just the back keys. I became curious about the instrument and began to pick out tunes with my right hand.
“A kid at school in Bradford taught me to play the accordion. My knowledge of chord structure and relationships comes from learning the configuration of buttons on the left hand of the accordion. This was when I was about 11 or 12.
“I could play pretty much anything I heard by ear, not always perfectly, but well enough to impress girls which was what I have always thought music was for.”
How did you first start writing songs? I understand it began with a poem you wrote at school? Can you tell us more?
“My fascination with poems and lyrics began with AA Milne (“Now we are Six”, etc) – and Lewis Carroll (The Walrus And The Carpenter). I grew to respect the way they used imaginative, witty rhymes and colourful subject matter.
“When I was nine I wrote a poem that got into the school magazine in Bradford. It was called “A Man From Armada” (wherever that is). After that, apart from fooling around setting AA Milne to music occasionally, I didn’t write songs until I was about 15 and in a band.
“I wrote a song called “Wall To Wall Enthusiast” which was just a title I thought up whilst performing live. The Beatles were in full swing by then and it was great to discover that songwriting was a “thing”. It developed from there really.”
What is the process you usually use to compose a song from start to finish?
“How long have you got?! Like a lot of songwriters, I’ll often start with a title and at least a central idea. Even though people see me as a composer, conductor and musician, I think the lyrics are the mainstay of the song, and therefore even more important than the music.
“The song is saying SOMETHING. What is it saying? How is it saying it? I will often write on a train or a plane, because the feeling of going somewhere gives me some sort of creative energy. Sometimes I’ll write a whole lyric, but more often an idea for a chorus, often scribbling down a tune on a bit of paper, ready to write it properly when I get home. That’s the good bit about being able to jot down tunes in notation.
“When I have a chorus that I’m really happy with, and a verse that precedes it and sets it up, I have structure and rhyme scheme which I then have to follow when writing the second and subsequent verses. This is the bit where craftsmanship comes in because you have to apply yourself. If I can do it all in one sitting I feel very good because finishing off a lyric days or weeks later is a boring chore.”
How were you first discovered and how did you get started in your music career?
“I answered an advert in NME when I was 18. “LIBERTY WANTS TALENT”. Liberty Records were just setting up in this country, they were quite big in the States.
“An A&R guy called Ray Williams put that ad in the paper, which was unusual – record companies are more likely to be fending people off than advertising for them to apply. But I later realised that Elton John and Bernie Taupin (not knowing each other) both applied to Ray on that same day and he paired them up, one being a melodist who didn’t do lyrics, and one being a lyricist who didn’t do melodies. So that’s how their partnership was born.
“Ray signed me as an artist to the label, and that was how I started. A few months later he left to manage Elton and I got his job as head of A&R at the ripe old age of 19!”
I have many happy memories of you singing with The Wombles and my husband treasures his boxed Wombles record set. Can you tell us how you got involved with these lovable characters and what made it so special?
“Still signed to Liberty as an artist and after a few flop singles, I resigned my position as Head Of A&R (even though my time there had been successful with the acts I signed) and went freelance in order to further my ambitions as an arranger and artist.
“I made my living doing advertising jingles. I did Guinness, Smarties, Harmony Hairspray – the Humphries Unigate milk adverts. One day my jingles agent asked if I fancied this thing the BBC were making, and so I went along and met these puppet makers/animators, and they said they’d like a tune.
“I said “why not have a song – it would enable me to put some lyrics to it so that kids would get to know the characters?”. They agreed and so I wrote the first song (of about 50 songs, including the albums and the other 7 hits).
“It’s a long story about how I broke the record to become number 4 in the charts with CBS records almost pulling against me. They thought of it as a novelty, not as a hit. I really had to lead them. Kicking and screaming towards success. It’s a story I had to repeat many times in my career – making a record happen against the expectations of the record company.
“What made The Wombles so special was the fact that my mum made all the costumes and we loved the characters. It was great fun. It left me with an image problem though – and frankly, however many “Bright Eyes” I write or however many “Planets” I conduct, I’ll still always be known as the Womble bloke!”
What was it like to be dressed up in a Womble suit and appear on Top of the Pops singing ‘Remember You’re a Womble’? It must have been so much fun?
“All the singles were fun. They were “Wombling Song”, “Remember You’re A Womble”, “Banana Rock”. “Wombling Merry Christmas”, Minuetto Allegretto”, “Wombling White Tie And Tails”, “The Womble Shuffle” and “Let’s Womble To The Party”
Later on in 1975, you sang the cheery ‘Summertime in the City’ dressed in jeans, with long hair and a guitar, with the lovely Pan’s People dancing alongside you. What was it like to lose the Womble suit and do your own thing?
“I knew Pan’s People from the time I’d been on TOTP’s as a Womble. When I was asked to write the theme to Summertime City, I put it out as a single and it was a big hit.
“TOTP’s director asked me to do it with Pan’s People. Of course it was fun, sexy, a bit of a laugh. When the internet was invented I thought “Oh no, someone will post that footage!” but when they did, I quite liked it for its kitchness. Not many people have danced on TOTPs playing a guitar, particularly as I don’t play the guitar!
“I should have gone straight back into my more serious stuff after the Wombles though – because carrying on with essentially bubblegum style pop, was not the image I wanted. Before the Wombles I was into rock and pop and really I should have cast off my “fun, fun, fun” image and got a bit more pretentious. Seems people only take you seriously if you take yourself seriously.”
Over the years you’ve written and composed the most memorable songs including the heartfelt ‘Bright Eyes’ for the animated film version of Watership Down, recorded by Art Garfunkel. How did you write the song, and how did you feel when it reached Number one in the UK Singles Chart?
“Reaching number one with that song was a huge joy. I had written it 3 years earlier in 1976, and it had been thrown off the film (Watership Down) three times before being back in the film the moment when the film was released.
“Years later the producer told me the film was dying on its arse until we released the single. He attributed the film’s box office recovery to the music. Writing it had been difficult, because the director had asked me for a song “about death”.
“Eventually I came up with the idea of lively, bright eyes suddenly becoming lifeless, and that’s what sparked that moment. I sat down at the piano and wrote the chorus in one sitting, probably the whole song. It was preceded by about a week of deep thought though.”
There have also been some fabulous solo albums including Schizophonia and Tarot Suite with the London Symphony Orchestra. How did you record and make these albums?
“It was the commercial success of The Wombles that endeared me to CBS (now Sony) Records, and it was just a continuation of the same contract. I had got fed up with the Wombles after 4 gold albums so they just switched it to a solo contract.
“In the UK they didn’t get much attention because all the snotty DJs like John Peel just thought of me as a Womble. But in Germany, Holland, Australia, South Africa and many other countries, they sold hundreds of thousands of albums. I still maintain that they were innovative and more creative than what most “prog rockers” were doing. But because I was me, I was ignored in this country.
“I combined rock instruments with my own style of orchestral work, and the result was a wide pallet of colours. With a few guest singers joining me on vocals, we put together some good albums. I hope some day they’ll get recognised in this country.”
You co-wrote the title song for Phantom of the Opera with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Can you tell us what it was like to work with him? And the process of writing, recording it and then seeing it performed on the stage?
“Well, we started out writing the song “The Phantom Of The Opera” to a tune Andrew had written for “Aspects Of Love” (Trevor Nunn told me years later). I hadn’t known where the tune came from. It hadn’t made the cut for “Aspects”, but when Andrew was going to produce Ken Hill’s Phantom of the Opera with Cameron Mackintosh, they brought me in to write the lyrics for the Grand Opera tunes in Ken Hill’s version. There was no intention for Andrew to do a Phantom show at that stage.
“Cameron suggested Andrew contribute just ONE song to Ken Hill’s show, and he pulled this tune out of a drawer on a cassette and gave it to me. I wrote the lyrics, orchestrated it, and got Steve Harley in to sing it as a duet with Sarah Brightman. It was a massive hit. I think it was around this point that Andrew decided he wanted to write “Phantom” as his own next project, so they dropped Ken Hill’s version and started working on Andrew’s version.
“There were various discussions about me writing the lyrics, not writing them, producing the album, not producing it. Eventually many of my lyrics for the song were replaced by Richard Stilgoe, but I was one of the two original writers and came up with the hook and the shape of the “hit” part of the song, so I was credited as one of the writers.”
Can you tell us about your new album, Holst The Planets. What was it like to work with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra? How did you decide on the musical arrangements? And what was the mood and atmosphere you were looking to create?
“The musical arrangements, as in the orchestrations and composition, were done by Holst, so I didn’t change anything in that respect. Conducting other people’s work is very helpful and educational in informing how you write your own work. Similarly, being an arranger and composer can give you an insight into how to interpret and conduct another work.
“This was the first time I had “met” the RPO, although I was to work with them many times in the years that followed. I’d conducted the LSO many times, and the LPO amongst others, so I wasn’t entering new creative and practical space, but an orchestra is a roomful of 100 people, and so there is always a mutual feeling of “what’s this going to be like?”
“I’d like to think we “clicked” pretty well from the start. I asked them to pretend we were working live, and to try to synthesise the adrenalin they would feel on a stage. It seemed to work… they entered into the spirit of it and most of the takes are complete takes with very few, if any, edits.
“Classical recordings are notoriously full of edits, sometimes as many as a hundred edits in a symphony with retakes and patches. I prefer to get a “live” feel by pretending there isn’t a safety net (the chance to re-record). In a live performance there’s no second chance, and I think that comes over in the playing on this recording.
“Of course we did a couple of takes of each movement, but it’s amazing, looking back at how we did the whole of The Planets and Elgar’s “Pomp And Circumstance March No 1” in one day (three sessions). People usually allow at least two days. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my musical life.”
Who else did you work with on the album? And where was it recorded?
“The producer was Robert Matthew-Walker, an eminent classical critic, composer and executive – whom I had met when he was Head of Classics at CBS (later to become Sony). The engineer was Simon Rhodes from Abbey Road, using the Abbey Rd mobile studio. We recorded it at Watford Town Hall which I chose for its very warm and clear acoustic – perfect for recording a big classical piece.”
How will you promote the new album? Will you tour?
“You can’t really tour a classical album like this. It’s a massive orchestra, even by symphony orchestra standards. Triple woodwind, which means 3 Flutes instead of the usual two, and three each of oboes, clarinets and bassoons. In fact, it’s billed as a “suite for large orchestra and chorus”, so the musical forces required are uneconomical to tour.
“I am promoting it by the normal channels of press and doing this interview! That’s all we can really do to persuade people to go out and buy it or download it. For those who might be unsure – be assured that it DOES matter which version you buy! – There are so many versions and they are all different.”
As well as conducting on Holst The Planets, do you play any instruments the album? And what other aspects were you involved in?
“No, I’m just the conductor! I also set up the practicalities of booking the orchestra and the hall, as well as costing it all out and making it work practically.”
Over the years you’ve had many exciting musical collaborations. What have been your highlights and most rewarding?
“My work on ‘The Hunting Of The Snark’ in its various forms has been massively rewarding. It’s a Lewis Carroll poem which I illustrated with my concept albumin 1984 (I say “illustrated because I didn’t set the poem to music, but wrote new lyrics for my songs, interspersed with verses of the poem read by narrators) with the London Symphony Orchestra.
“We had a fantastic rhythm section including Chris Spedding on guitars, and Ray Cooper on percussion, Stephane Grappelli on violin and George Harrison even contributing a guitar solo. The singers were Art Garfunkel, Roger Daltrey, Denice Williams, Captain Sensible, Cliff Richard, Julian Lennon. The orchestra was The London Symphony Orchestra. Sir John Hurt and Sir John Gielgud narrated.
“A few years later we did it at the Royal Albert Hall and filmed it for for television (which can be seen in the video below) with Billy Connolly, instead of Cliff, played The Bellman, and Justin Hayward stood in brilliantly for Art Garfunkel as the Butcher.
“I later wrote the 45-minute piece out into a full length musical, and we mounted it very ambitiously at The Prince Edward Theatre in the West End. It was a fascinating and very demanding experience.
“It didn’t last long in the West End (about 7 weeks), because the critics slammed it and while audiences loved it, they weren’t growing in number quickly enough for us to stay on. With such a high overhead including a 50 piece orchestra live on stage every night! Kenny Everett and Philip Quast starred in it alongside David McCullum as Lewis Carroll.
“Now after all these years. I’m launching a PLEDGE MUSIC campaign to raise the funds to record – for the first time – the full two-hour show as an audio record. By the time this article is posted the campaign will probably be live, so folks can check it out at pledgemusic.com. We are looking forward to having fun with it next year.”
Do you ever nurture or help young musicians, schools or charities?
“Yes, I often speak at schools and colleges – I’m doing a talk at LIPA in Liverpool soon (November 2018) – and I often contribute work (sketches, memorabilia) to charity auctions and over the years have been involved In lots of charity things. In fact, the Royal Albert Hall Snark show in 1987, was in aid of the British Deaf Association.”
How do you relax in your spare time? What music do you tend to listen to at home?
“I like sketching, what I call “doodling” – sometimes quite elaborate things that aren’t really doodles at all. I used to paint a lot of my own clothes using fabric die on white jackets and suits. I don’t have much time for that these days. I usually surf around YouTube to find interesting things to listen to and watch. I am keen on classical, but I have very wide, eclectic musical taste.”
What other projects are you working on at the moment? And what are your plans for the future?
“My main focus is the new recording of The Hunting Of The Snark (Full version), but I have so many projects all lined up.
“Two musicals that are written and waiting to go on, so there’s a lot happening.”
Do you have a special message for readers of Sixtyplusurfers?
“Well, I AM a ‘Sixtyplusurfer’, (I’m 69) – so my message is, just keep on enjoying what you do. I’m lucky that I enjoy my job and will never retire unless it’s a matter of health.
“It’s hard enough to get me to go on holiday. But that’s because my work IS a holiday. I wish everyone the best of health and a bright and sunny future.”
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Learning to play a musical instrument is not just for youngsters, plenty of adults are rediscovering their love of music. One of the biggest myths about ageing is that the older we get the less able we are to learn new things.
This simply isn’t true, people of any age can learn to play and it’s reasonable for most people to think that if they start playing an instrument in later life, they can keep on playing and improving for decades, whatever instrument they choose.
Playing a musical instrument, even for just a few minutes a day, can help you stay mentally and physically agile. The Yamaha reface YC is light enough to move around the house to find the perfect practice spot.
The Ultimate Keyboard – The Genos Digital Workstation
The keyboard is particularly good to increase finger dexterity. Scales are a basic practicing technique and are an integral part of improving dexterity and flexibility in the muscles of the hand and fingers.
There have been many studies and research that show playing an instrument can also enhance emotional well-being, memory, cognition and hearing function.
The unique Piano Hall at Yamaha
If you are looking for Christmas present ideas – why not give the gift of music? It might just spark the beginnings of a hobby or a passion that will last a lifetime.
You will be sure of a warm welcome at Yamaha Music London and there are three floors of amazing musical instruments and accessories to discover. The new ProSound Zone is full of the latest music technology and our unique wood panelled Piano Hall is worth a visit in its own right.
Yamaha Music London is based at 152-160 Wardour Street, London W1.
Store telephone number 0207 432 4400
Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus
For store opening times and directions click here www.yamahamusiclondon.com
For Your Chance to Win
Tell us how many sliding drawbars are featured on the Yamaha Reface YC Mini Virtual Organ?
a) Two sliding drawbars
b) Six sliding drawbars
c) Eight sliding drawbars
d) Nine sliding drawbars
To Enter the Competition
Tell us how many sliding drawbars are featured on the Yamaha Reface YC Mini Virtual Organ? Then send in your answer together with your name, address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address below:
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Alfie Boe Announces UK Tour to Celebrate Classic New Album
One of the world’s greatest classical singers Alfie Boe brings it back to the UK, announcing a 2019 tour in what is becoming another landmark year for the much loved tenor. Alfie has also revealed his return to the solo spotlight with the release of his vibrant and instantly classic album As Time Goes By.
The record is released on 23rd November, and celebrates the golden era of music from the 30s and 40s, a time that is often overlooked – sandwiched as it is between the roaring twenties and rock ‘n’ roll.
Alfie is one of the best-loved vocalists of his generation and a hugely successful, multi-platinum selling artist. He has triumphed on theatre stages and in concert halls around the world and has two recent UK Number 1 albums under his belt for albums ‘Together’ and ‘Together Again’, made with his great friend Michael Ball. The duo also won two Classic BRIT Awards earlier this year for ‘Best Album’ and ‘Group of the Year’.
“I’m excited to get back on the road, especially with a new record that I’m so proud of. These songs are at their best when performed live!” says Alfie
He adds, “We’ll be enjoying some of great songs from my previous records, but I more than anything want to bring back to life an era when British audiences discovered a brand new kind of American music, full of energy, optimism and romance. I’d like to transport people to a time in their lives, a moment or even a style. I hope you all enjoy being transported there as much as I do!”
The tour will take place March and April next year, kicking off in Cardiff on 18th March, followed by a series of shows in some of the UK’s most stunning venues including the Liverpool Philharmonic, Brighton Dome and before coming to a close at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 17th April.
Tickets are on sale now and can be accessed by pre-ordering Alfie’s new album ‘As Time Goes By’ from www.HMV.com
Stone Foundation Tour to Celebrate Album
The monolithic Midlands musicians of modern soul, Stone Foundation, are back. Hitting the road for an exciting new UK tour to celebrate the release of their stunning new studio album, Everybody, Anyone.
Stone Foundation raise the bar yet again with their new album, Everybody, Anyone, unleashing a harder, heavier and ultimately funkier vibe for their live shows.
Emerging from the Midlands, Stone Foundation have often collaborated with icon Paul Weller, with Everybody, Anyone again featuring Weller and being recorded in his barn studio. Furthermore, the band has attracted the attention of many other artists who hold them in high esteem including: Hamish Stewart (Average White Band) Kathryn Williams, Doctor Robert, Steve White & Mick Talbot who also feature on Everybody, Anyone.
After Weller made a guest appearance at last year’s Stone Foundation sell-out date at Islington Assembly Hall, fans can again expect guest appearances from the artists featured on the album on the bands forthcoming UK tour.
Renowned for their extensive touring, John Bradbury, the drummer of the illustrious ska band The Specials, once invited them to support his band on a UK arena tour. This quickly raised their stature to a formidable live band, with the ability to shine on larger stages such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire and at Fuji Rock Festival.
According to CLASH, Stone Foundation, “Aren’t so much a band as a movement.” The group’s performances unite the forces of soul music from across the generations with a truly British Mod authenticity.
If you’d like to find out more about the band members, collaborations and their relationship and history with Paul Weller, there’s a very informative interview on Mod Culture here: www.modculture.co.uk
Watch the video to Stone Foundation’s latest Single from their latest album Carry The News here featuring Paul Weller, Mick Talbot and Steve White here.
For more information about their tour visit www.seetickets.com
For details about Stone Foundation click on www.stonefoundation.co.uk
Katie Melua Releases Ultimate Collection
15 years since the release of Katie Melua’s debut album, the chart topping ‘Call Off The Search’, BMG are releasing ‘Ultimate Collection’. Compiled by Katie, ‘Ultimate Collection’ features 30 songs from her 7 studio albums as well as her cover of ‘Fields Of Gold’ (the Children In Need 2017 single) and 2 brand new recordings: ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’.
‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, available as an ‘instant grat’ when ordering the album, was recorded earlier this year with The Gori Women’s Choir and the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nikoloz Rachveli, and was produced by Katie and Adam ‘Cecil’ Bartlett. The video of the recording can be watched HERE
‘Diamonds Are Forever’, which Katie first performed live at the Don Black Songbook concert at London’s The Royal Festival Hall, is produced by legendary American record producer and musician, T Bone Burnett. Katie is the sole performer on the track – on vocals and acoustic guitar – which was recorded at T Bone’s home studio in Los Angeles, on vintage gear and to tape.
It is Katie’s extraordinary voice, and the ability to truly inhabit a song, that has been the constant since the young 19 year-old first appeared in 2003 with her debut single ‘The Closest Thing To Crazy’. One of the UK’s highest-selling female recording artists of all time, Katie has released 7 top-10 studio albums: ‘Call Off The Search’, ‘Piece By Piece’, ‘Pictures’, ‘The House’, ‘Secret Symphony’, ‘Ketevan’ and, most recently, 2016’s self-produced and hugely acclaimed ‘In Winter’.
‘Ultimate Collection’ celebrates the singer, the songwriter, the musician and the collaborator while paying tribute to the musicians, arrangers, producers and songwriters with whom Katie has worked. The songs are musical landmarks – in both Katie’s life and those of her fans; classic songs that stand the test of time, chosen for this collection for their musicianship, the quality of the writing and the pure emotions they elicit.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of those that I’ve had the great pleasure of working with, even the ones I don’t see very often. You have coloured and filled these recordings with brilliance. May our work together last for many years in the hearts of anyone needing to hear a classic song.”
Following a run of summer concerts Katie will be on an extensive European tour in autumn/winter 2018, including 13 UK dates, in which she will be joined by a cast of stellar musicians, as well as members of The Gori Women’s Choir. The show will open with a set from up-and-coming Irish-Jordanian artist Keeva.
Ultimate Collection Track List
1. Nine Million Bicycles
2. What A Wonderful World
3. Plane Song
4. The One I Love Is Gone
5. Crawling Up A Hill
6. In My Secret Life
7. The Love I’m Frightened Of
8. Red Balloons
10. A Time To Buy
11. What I Miss About You
12. Spider’s Web
13. Thank You Stars
14. I Will Be There
1. The Closest Thing To Crazy
2. Dreams On Fire
3. Wonderful Life
4. If You Are So Beautiful
5. Piece By Piece
6. The Little Swallow
7. Just Like Heaven
8. Call Off The Search
9. The Walls of the World
10. The Flood
11. Tiger In The Night
12. I Cried For You
13. If You Were A Sailboat
14. Where Does The Ocean Go?
15. A Perfect World
16. Bridge Over Troubled Water
17. Diamonds Are Forever
18. Fields Of Gold
For more information about Katie Melua visit www.katiemelua.com
New Year's Concert
André Rieu New Year’s Concert in Cinemas
New Year’s: fresh starts, new beginnings, a new concert… but still the same King of the Waltz! The iconic André Rieu returns to cinemas across the country for a very special New Year’s concert – his first EVER for the big screen.
The iconic violinist presents a brand-new concert, recorded at Sydney’s Town Hall in Australia, to hundreds of thousands of fans in cinemas across the UK on Saturday 5th January & Sunday 6th January 2019 – the perfect way to chime in the New Year.
Commenting ahead of the concert, André says, “I am absolutely delighted to be bringing my first ever New Year’s concert to cinemas. To be able to perform at the historic Sydney Town Hall is a real thrill, and I can’t wait to share the concert with audiences around the world. We have lots of surprises planned so look forward to sharing on the night! New Years is always such a special time for me and my family, so I hope we can all come together to chime in the celebrations for 2019!”.
The majestic Sydney Town Hall in Sydney will provide a beautiful intimacy for this unique, first time performance, where he will be joined by his beloved Johann Strauss Orchestra, with whom he has performed with for over 30 years.
In addition, the maestro will welcome his world class Sopranos, the Platin Tenors, as well as plenty of surprises, as he presents a spectacular festive concert of hope and hits, with a repertoire consisting of pieces from the worlds of classical and popular music.
Presented by leading event cinema specialist Piece Of Magic Entertainment, the concert will be hosted by Good Morning Britain presenter Charlotte Hawkins, who takes cinema audiences behind the scenes of the concert presentation, soaking up the atmosphere with the fans, as well as André taking fans on a very special tour around the beautiful city of Sydney!
André’s 2018 Maastricht shows were broadcast in cinemas across the UK and Ireland in July 2018, taking over £1.7 million, making the top grossing concert event cinema release of all time.
About André Rieu
Known for his energetic and festive live performances and with album and DVD sales of more than 40 million worldwide, André is the world’s leading pop classical artist and consistently appears on the worldwide list of highest-grossing touring artists. His Johann Strauss Orchestra, with up to 60 musicians, began in 1987, and for over three decades his spectacular live concerts have gained him hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world.
About Piece Of Magic Entertainment
Piece Of Magic Entertainment is a one-stop production and worldwide distribution company for artists, organizations and licensors, housing its own production studio, post-production facilities and crew. Event cinema titles across genres include gaming (League Of Legends), documentaries (Avicii True Stories, Nureyev) and concerts (André Rieu).
For details www.pieceofmagic.com
For tickets visit www.andreincinemas.com