News — Artist Spotlight
Artist Spotlight: Madonna Mallon - Trombonist at London Metropolitan Brass Band 0
Cold Play. There’s something about Christmas carols being played live by a brass band, the soothing dreamy purr of a French horn, the wispy liquid slur of a mellow trumpet to the throaty drawl of the trombone, then there’s the joyful thrum-pump parp parp sonic characteristics of the big brass tuba.
A congested London Paddington Station on the Eve of said festive occasion, was indeed looking like a train strike had just been announced as I arrived. My first thoughts were, at least I have relaxing music to listen to while they sort it out.
Artist Spotlight: Shane Ó Fearghail - It's All About The Song 0
Defining the word ‘Nomad’ can be partly described as: ‘A person at one roaming about for pasture, pastoral tribe, a member of a community of people who live in different locations, moving from one place to another. Let’s add a sprinkling of: ‘Seriously good singer songwriter, solo artist and musician’ and we have Shane Ó Fearghail.
In an interview from his base in Vienna, Austria, Shane talks to me about performing live and his uncanny ability to write songs with catchy hook lines and melodies that are heavily influenced by his Irish background.
Artist Spotlight: Edgar K. Muzah - Bassist With A Heart Of Gold 0
The music scene is getting better in Zimbabwe now, although there wasn’t that much work for musicians when I was there. I used to love listening to rhythmic music especially traditional African sounds which I could relate to and found both innovative and inspiring. I still love the percussive feel and resonating warmth of established instruments like the kalimba and marimba, and the cununo drum played with bamboo sticks.Even now, I’ll regularly get together with friends and we’ll play traditional songs or just improvise, sometimes with just vocalists and with cow bells, but you know... music is music at the end of the day.
As a child I was very lucky, I had the opportunity to study Ethnomusicology at the Zim College of Music. I was mentored by a guru called Chaka Chawasarira who is an amazing mbira player, he also makes these instruments and taught me how to play one to a high level.
Artist Spotlight: Zoë Bestel - Award Winning Artist With Haunting Vocals 0
For centuries, some of the finest songs, poems and books have been written by authors who have taken to the hills for inspiration as they wander ‘lonely as cloud’ or watch the mist role in from the ‘Mull of Kyntyre’.
Scotland’s Galloway Hills and surrounding coastline is indeed the landscape from where award winning nu-folk singer-songwriter and musician, Zoë Bestel draws motivation and creativity.
“I live on a farm in a pretty remote area with forests and mountain views from my windows”, says Zoë, “So a lot of my songs are themed about nature. I’m also close to the coast here and I’ve written a lot of songs about the sea which features on my new album set for release around the Spring of 2017”.
Artist Spotlight: Chris Buono - Multi Media Guitar Madman 0
Chris Buono’s name can be found on numerous guitar instructional media. From book titles published by Hal Leonard, Alfred and Cengage Learning to myriad bylines as a contributor and columnist for Guitar One, Guitar Player and Just Jazz Guitar to his industrious output with TrueFire and Guitarinstructor.com, Chris Buono is everywhere.
You need only watch one of the hundreds of videos of Chris that have been viewed millions of times over on YouTube to witness his immense knowledge of comping techniques, complex harmony, neck visions as well as his mind-numbing soloing techniques.
Along with Chris’ tenure as a Berklee professor his best selling books, TrueFire courses and Guitar Gym online classroom and course series have earned him respect all around the world as one of the finest teachers on the subject of high-level guitar playing.
Artist Spotlight: Bagpiper Craig McFarlane - A Journey Around The World 0
When it comes to piping the distance, Scottish piper Craig McFarlane is literally miles ahead of the pack. We interviewed Craig about his life long connection to the bagpipes, which has taken them both on a journey around the world:
“Hearing a piper in the hills is very atmospheric, especially in the highlands, or anywhere for that matter. I lived at Glastonbury for 10 years and I used to go up the Tor at night and play at sunset and in the morning at sunrise, especially when there was a full moon or a storm. It’s very evocative and just seems to fit in. The sound is instantly recognisable and designed to be played outside for raising the blood or the gathering of clans, as heard back in the battle days of the pipes.
Artist Spotlight: Mikey Demus - Skindred 0
Skindred are a British Rock band, best described by their guitarist Mikey Demus, as the ‘US Heavy Metal band Pantera, having a punch up with Jamaican recording artist Sean Paul, in a free falling elevator’.
To the more faint hearted, a more accurate description would be to say Skindred are an exciting, loud, rock band with a host of strong musical influences thrown in the mix including Metal, Dance Hall, Punk, Hip Hop Reggae, Rock n Roll and Electronic.
Artist Spotlight: Irish guitar phenomenon Simon McBride 0
For most guitar players, if it hasn’t happened by their mid 30’s it probably isn’t going to happen at all. Irish guitar phenomenon Simon McBride was just 15 years old when he won the ‘New Guitarist Of the Year’ award in ’96, turned professional at the ripe old age of 16 and now is a sell out at large venues around the world as the headline act.
Artist Spotlight: Snow Owl - Bass Player, Virtuoso, Musical Genius 0
I’m thinking how to start the intro for this article on an amazing artist, after reading my notes it’s becoming clear that one word doesn’t quite fit-all.
There’s ‘virtuoso’ (a person highly skilled in music) or ‘musical genius’ (an exceptional intellectual with creative powers and natural abilities within musical creations) and ‘erudition’ (the quality of having and showing great knowledge within learning and the ability to teach).
Let’s leave it at that then, as they all narrate in fine detail to the extraordinary talents of Colombian born Juan García-Herreos, master of the electric Contrabass guitar. Juan does indeed have it all backed up with numerous prestigious musical awards, including the first electric bassist to receive a nomination for the highest recognition by all major bass and music publications for work with the Contrabass bass guitar.
Artist Spotlight: Chris Storr - Trumpet Player 0
Chris Storr is one of the most respected and sought after trumpet players in the music business, having played and recorded with more popular artists than you can think of, from Tom Jones, Amy Winehouse, Billy Ocean to Massive Attack. He’s performed and toured with the greats, and still called upon for active duties within a host of main stream bands including King Creole and the Coconuts, Jools Holland’s Rhythm And Blues Orchestra and his own band Fillet-o-Soul.
We catch up with a rather tired Chris Storr after a recent 5 week UK tour as trumpet player in the Strictly Come Dancing Band, a stripped back version of the band in the TV Series, but none the less demanding.
Interview: Lars Mullen