Music Supported Here is a web based community specifically focused on supporting grassroots musicians across all genres. Designed as a space for musicians to raise issues affecting their work, the campaign’s website is the home of valuable advice, information and opinions to help all musicians develop their careers. The campaign evolved out of an initiative developed by the Musicians’ Union at the beginning of 2010, in response to the rise in internet piracy. Visit the site and sign up to follow industry news and to show support for working musicians.
I was invited to the Summer Jazz event in Portcullis House event last night, which featured a performance by saxophonist Yolanda Brown and the presentation of the 2012 Yamaha Scholars in association with Jazzwise and PPL. Staged by the All-Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation group, and specifically Michael Connarty MP and Lord Colwyn, the evening was a celebration of the best of up and coming jazz talent in the UK. Present were a significant number of industry luminaries, including MU General Secretary John Smith, Jazz FM‘s Helen Mayhew and Jazz Services‘ Chris Hodgkins.
The Musician journal was Highly Commended and runner-up in the Best Journal and Magazine category at last night’s TUC Communications Awards held at Congress House in London. The event, sponsored by TU Ink, highlights the work of comms teams across the trade union movement in the last twelve months. The MU’s PLAY newspaper was also Highly Commended in the Best Publication category. As editor, I received the Awards on behalf of the MU from TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber.
I attended the UK Music Summer Reception at the Commonwealth Club in London’s Northumberland Avenue last night on behalf of the MU. Joining the industry’s umbrella organisation were representatives from PPL, PRS for Music, Music Week and other leading business interests. I met Boy George who was great company and was there as Dizzee Rascal received an award from the Official Charts Company. (See Music Week and the Official Charts for more on this).
The summer 2012 issue of The Musician contains a fascinating interview with the Gaelic singer and musician, Julie Fowlis. An extended audio version of this interview, conducted by Edi Stark, is available. Other features include an investigation into the value of streaming services for musicians, reports on gender balance in the industry and composing music for the video games market, plus profiles of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and The Portico Quartet.
Grassroots live music is the foundation and seed bed of so much that is vital, dynamic and joyful in British music. Having played so many of the small venues around London, in addition to having been to so many pubs, clubs and halls as a punter and for the industry, I tip my hat to the capital’s local venues that have nurtured live music and musicians since I moved to the city full-time in 1977. The following are just a mere handful of these, some of which are still staging gigs, others just a wonderful memory.
Blue Nose Acoustic Café, Highbury
Bull & Gate, Kentish Town (first solo gig 27/3/89)
Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush
Cabbage Patch, Twickenham
Chickenshed Theatre, Southgate
Corks’ Bar, London W1
Crown & Bull, Chingford
Diorama, Regent’s Park, NW1
Flounder & Firkin, Holloway Rd
Gillespie Park Festival, Arsenal, N4
God’s Little Joke, Old Bull, SW4
The Grapes, New Barnet
Grey Horse, Kingston, Surrey
Kings Head, Fulham
Marquee Café, Greek St, Soho
Mean Fiddler Acoustic Room, NW10
Pitcher & Piano, Richmond, Surrey
Pop Bar, Soho St, W1
Roadhouse, Covent Garden
Spitz, Spitalfields, E1
Subterania, Ladbroke Grove
Taylors, Soho St, W1
The Albany, Gt Portland St, W1
The Borderline, Orange Yard, W1
The Orange, North Kensington
The Standard, Walthamstow
The Troubadour, Earls Court
Torrington, High Rd, Finchley
Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts, Soho
White Horse, Brentford
Plus a nod to those function/party gigs, which are the lifeblood of many working musicians, i.e. the Gloucester Hotel, SW7 and the Tara Hotel, High St Kensington.
My heartfelt thanks to Ian McConnell, Simon Gardner, Rupert May, Fiona Soe Paing, James Reynolds, Jimmy Cannon, Patrick Gilbey, Tina Barron, Marianne de Chastelaine, Alistair James, John Park, Matt McKay, Dave Williamson, Jim Hawkins, Joanne Ruocco.
I have been quoted in print, broadcast and digital media in the last decade on a wide range of music related subjects. I have undertaken live interviews and been featured on, amongst others, Radio 4’s Today programme, Radio 5 Live, the World Service and local BBC radio. Here are just a few examples of my work, including coverage on behalf of the MU.
The Guardian (politics)
The Guardian (culture)
Los Angeles Times
I have been reviewing CD albums and single download tracks since 2005 and over one thousand have been published in print or online. Each issue of the The Musician journal includes around 25 reviews and you can see a sample of these in the current magazine. If you would like to see examples of where artists have quoted my reviews, please visit the pages below.
Edward Leaker (Blaze)
Deirdre Cartwright & Kathy Dyson