Category Archives: Music

Gilad Atzmon Promotes Upcoming ‘Jazza Festival’ in London for Palestinians

Gilad Atzmon Special Announcement In The Muffin Post

Hello Everybody,

Sarah Gillespie, myself and at least 40 other leading artists from UK and Palestine are trying to achieve the impossible next week.

We are promoting and playing together in a massive music festival for Palestine. We are flying musicians to London, we are mixing jazz with folk with hip hop and roots music. We all believe one thing – that artists who support Palestine must say so loudly and proudly using our notes and our voices. Jazza Festival is serious but is also a big party and we want you to join in.

Jazza Music Festival 12 & 13 October 2010 @ THE SCALA

275 Pentonville Road, London

For line up: click here

From 7.30 pm

The funds raised in these 2 nights will help Free Palestine Movement deliver more and more humanitarian aid to Palestine.

I am also proud and delighted to announce that Shadia Mansour, the Palestinian Hip Hop queen also joined the Jazza Festival line up.

You can listen to the amazing Shadia and mind blowing Stormtrap (ex- Ramallah Underground) singing together on a track I produced recently together with Robert Wyatt and Ros Stephen.

Where Are They Now (Wyatt, Atzmon, Mansur,Stormtrap) by Gilad Atzmon.

Please circulate this message as far as you can.

Book Tickets on line for Tuesday, October 12

Book Tickets on line for Wednesday, October 13

You can also send us donations.

We need your support. Palestine needs your support.

Music against oppression.


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Activist Gilad Atzmon says ‘The Tide Has Changed’

The Muffin Post

Jazz saxophonist, novelist and anti-Zionist political activist Gilad Atzmon’s album “The Tide Has Changed” addresses how his support of Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has brought meaning to his music and his life.

To Gilad, the fact that more people from all walks of life are now willing to confront Israel and Zionism represents that the tide has changed to favor the Palestinians’ struggle. Born in Israel, his criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists.

More about Gilad Atzmon and his new album can be visited here.

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Caribbean Performance Rights Licensing Organisation pays first royalties

By John Francis

The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc. on Thursday 12th August 2010, distributed royalties to its members and affiliates around the world for performances of their music in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

This is the first payout from the organization (formerly HMS) from funds raised under ECCO and relate to royalties collected from music users in 2009 Financial year.

Members and affiliates benefited from a total payout of approximately EC$200,000 with $45,300 being paid directly to ECCO members in the form of Allocations, and the balance being paid on performance details provided by radio stations and major live events such as St. Lucia jazz.

As ECCO expands its operations throughout the OECS it is expected that royalties received and paid out to members and sister societies around the world will increase.

ECCO is an association of composers and publishers of musical works which administers on behalf of its members the performing right within the musical works which are assigned to it.

By virtue of a network of reciprocal agreements with affiliated societies all over the world, ECCO’s repertoire comprises not only the works of its own members but virtually all copyright musical works existing today.

ECCO issues annually renewable licenses to broadcasters, cable operators and premises which play copyright music to the public, from concert venues and discotheques, to hotels, bars, banks, cinemas, shops and offices. In return for a modest royalty payment, licensees are entitled to unlimited access to virtually the entire copyright music repertoire in the world today and saved from the impossible task of contacting and negotiating with individual composers, authors and publishers throughout the world.

ECCO has the mandate to administer the performing right in its repertoire in the OECS, which include Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands.

ECCO was officially launched in St Lucia in January last year. It is governed by a board of directors comprising persons from the OECS with agents in each territory.

Visit Dancebeat Records.
About John Francis.

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Saxophonist George Howard crossed my Mind

Attitude Adjustment

By Francis Anthony Govia

During Easter I felt inspired to complete an article about the Rocket RS850 Signature speakers produced by Perpetual Technologies in Colorado. Read the article here. The speakers can be bought at which is the audio emporium for the company. It was while writing the article that I reflected on the music and artists that were most endearing to me over the years. The music of soprano saxophonist and jazz musician George Howard came to mind.

Love and Understanding

The first album I ever heard by George Howard was “Love and Understanding.” It was the early 90s when I carried a cassette with his music in my back pocket. I had ordered the album from Columbia, carefully filling out the little X on the form that company sent through the mail.

I lived in Connecticut at the time, but it was CD101.9 FM, the radio station based in New York that fueled my passion for the artist, and for contemporary Jazz.

In the summer of 1993, a junior in college at Boston University, I returned to Stamford, and got a job working at Macy’s in its electronics department where Joe Conte was my manager. I would whip out my trusted cassette with George Howard, and demonstrate the quality of a system. Invariably, customers would ask me, “Who is that? He’s really good.” And I would respond rather proudly, “That’s George Howard, the Jazz musician.”

As my passion for George Howard grew so did my sales at the Macy’s department. By the time I returned to college that fall, I was outselling the more senior salespersons in the department of electronics.

In college, it was not George Howard that was the rage. The world had already been introduced to Kenny G, and it was his smooth saxophone that had broad appeal, and became linked to other famous artists of the 80s and 90s like Michael Bolton. I kept my treasured cassette to myself in my apartment on Arundel Street – fully aware that more and more customers had moved to the CD format.

Do I Ever Cross Your Mind

I acquired other albums by George Howard, among them “A Home Far Away” and “Attitude Adjustment.” Then in the fall of 1996 I went to law school and became overworked with responsibilities, and my love for contemporary jazz waned. In the mid-West other popular forms of music were also more accessible.

These days in New York, CD101.9 has passed from the ordinary air waves, and replaced by classic rock. I am told that contemporary jazz is being played on High Definition radio – something that is still being promoted on the traditional stations – which means that HD radio has yet to take hold. Like Rip Van Winkle I was shaken out of my stupor in Easter. I felt the desire to connect with the artist and music that I once so loved. I wondered if George Howard had anything new. I scoured the Internet for his name.

There’s a Riot Goin’ On

On Wikipedia, I discovered that George Howard had died of Lymphoma (a cancer that begins in the lymphatic cells of the immune system) in 1998, my second year at law school. His last album, “There’s a Riot Goin’ On” was released posthumously on the Blue Note label.

He left behind a music business that is steadily stripping away the creativity of gifted musicians, and replacing them with grooves that are too often replicated on computers.

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I.T.Y.C. releases new red hot single

The Valentine weekend approaches with a new hot Indie released by St. Kitts and Nevis based Rap/R&B artist I.T.Y.C. The artist whose real name is Talvert Clarke is accompanied on the chorus of the song by another young and upcoming artist, Marshall C.

The Muffin Post features the video which was shot at the Ballahoo restaurant in Basseterre, the Federal Capital of St. Kitts-Nevis, giving viewers a taste of this exciting new prospect. In the video, Clarke shows his affection to a bootilicious young lady played by Kimberly Ward.

According to sources at SKNVibes, the video was shot by Nigel Lewis for Tru Capo Productions, and the song was recorded at SKNE Studios.

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Joan Armatrading to release new CD

A new album from Joan Armatrading will feature eleven songs and is entitled “This Charming Life.” It is scheduled for release internationally on March 30, 2010.

The singer songwriter previous album “Into the Blues” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart in 2007, and was nominated for a Grammy in the blues category.

Tracks on “This Charming Life” are:

• This Charming Life
• Love Love Love
• People Who Win
• Two Tears
• Heading Back to New York City
• Goddess of Change
• Diamond
• Promises
• Virtual Reality
• Best Dress On
• Cry

The new CD can be preordered at the following links in the UK, Germany, and USA. Fans can also visit the artist’s website here.

More about Armatrading’s career and discography can be read here.

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Jah is Real

Jah Is Real

By Francis Anthony Govia

Greetings and blessings are sent to Winston Rodney, otherwise known internationally as Jamaican reggae sensation, Burning Spear. Just in case you missed it, Burning Spear has been involved in a controversy and legal battle with MegaForce/MRI. The reggae artist contends that Megaforce/MRI owes him approximately $500,000 for the destruction of 14,000 copies of his compact discs, including back payments, and 5000 compact discs that the distribution company has been selling behind the scenes. Much of this matter can be heard directly from the artist himself at his website. The artist contends that when she could not have her way with him and his wife, she went as far as to have his wife arrested claiming that his wife threatened her. “She,” obviously, is a representative of MegaForce/MRI.

According to Burning Spear, no true lovers of music destroy music. I tend to agree that music should not be destroyed, but loved. Let us hope that the artist’s struggles will engender new creative fervor, and more accolades, and that he and MegaForce/MRI will come to terms.

Burning Spear began his music career with the help of the late Bob Marley, another artist from Saint Ann, Jamaica. He won two Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album; the first in 2000 for Calling Rastafari, and one for 2009 for Jah Is Real. He has been nominated for a total of 12 Grammy Awards.

Burning Spear’s Grammy Nominations for Best Reggae Album:

• 1986 Resistance
• 1988 People of the World
• 1990 Live in Paris Zenith ’88
• 1991 Mek We Dweet
• 1994 The World Should Know
• 1996 Rasta Business
• 1998 Appointment with His Majesty
• 2000 Calling Rastafari
• 2004 Free Man
• 2005 Our Music
• 2008 The Burning Spear Experience
• 2009 Jah Is Real

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For PIF Stars It’s strickly about the Cash!

PIF Stars

PIF Stars

By Francis Anthony Govia

It is not every genre of music a person will like or understand, but true lovers of music let the music speak for itself, and consumers engender the demand for the product. Recently I hit the streets to find out what was out there and ran into Pif Stars pushing their album “Strictly Bout My Cash”. The two guys behind the “Stars” were standing outside a Starbucks on the corner of Jarolem and Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. These guys were young, ebullient and confident, the type of guys that you enjoy talking to at a first greeting. I purchased the music, and decided to give the disc a whirl.

The album lists 18 songs, but the first four could be combined into one song. The album has more than its fair share of invectives, and is clearly geared to those who love gangster rap even though one of the songs is entitled, “These Niggas Aint Gansta”. I was reminded by a friend that if we performed these songs in some countries we would be put in jail. I shot back that a time ago, I would be slapped about the face by my aunt for using some words being thrown about on the album. Now, for some people at least, these words fall in the artist domain.

PiF Stars

PIF Stars

After a while, the featured artist, Lazy Z settled down into caring about the beat, and spitting out the lyrics. Things get better with the beat, but not much better when it comes to calling women offensive names, and cursing the punks that want to mess with the Stars. As you may guess, “Strictly Bout My Cash” is all about guys who make their living off the street – guys with egos bigger than Rush Limbaugh, and the women they disrespect, intermixed with swagga about violence. The best songs on the album are “Swagga Right,” “Freestyle”, “Gettn Doe”, “Top Draft Picks” and “Pif Stars Interview”.

I had my share of apprehension about an artist with a name like Lazy K cutting it in the business but I decided to give Pif Stars a call to set up an interview. The telephone number on the album lead me to a sleepy sounding message from a guy who claimed to have lost his phone and referred me to another telephone number. Unfazed I called the second number, and after a few tries got an equally sleepy sounding live person on the line who said that he would call me back when he woke up. I never heard from second Mr. Sleepy. Nevermind, Pif Stars may still be worth your while to give a listen, even though I am willing to bet they will not impress your Grandmother. You can hear songs on “Strictly Bout My Cash” here, or see the video promotion here. PIF means Paid In Full.

Orf the Street is a column dedicated to those who make a living off the street. We hope that you have success pursuing your dreams, and all that is good soon rise to the top.

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Joan Armatrading Shines For The Music

By Francis Anthony Govia

Joan Armatrading is focused these days on recording a new album before her planned tour of Europe in 2010. That is, when she is not presenting on BBC one of her favorite guitarists like Mark Knopfler, legendary front man for Dire Straits, or earning even more honors for her work for charity and music career. The artist’s previous recording “Into the Blues” was received by the music industry and supporters with much fanfare, debuting at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart in 2007. This distinction made Armatrading the first black UK artist to debut at #1 on Billboard blues charts, and the first black UK artist to be nominated for a Grammy in the blues category. The singer, songwriter, and guitarist is also a trailblazer for her place of birth, the micronation in the Caribbean called St. Kitts and Nevis, for being also the first musician from the Federation to earn those distinctions. But accolades are not new to Joan. In addition to her three times nomination for the American Grammy Awards, and twice as Best Female for the Brit awards, she has received the Ivor Novello, awarded for Outstanding Contemporary Song Collection, and numerous platinum, gold, and silver albums, which are consistent with her immeasurable creative talents.

For Joan, it is not the accolades, but the music that drives her. “I write,” she says. “Because I love it.” These simple, spoken words are testament to her passion and honesty. Who does not see her joyful mood in “Play the Blues” in which she sings that she takes off her clothes for (what would be otherwise) an ordinary bastard were it not for the way he sings… or feel her sweet rendition of unreciprocated love in “Willow”?

A fight with your best girl
Prettiest thing you ever saw
You know I’ll listen
Try to get a message to her

And if it’s money you want
Or trouble halved
Whatever you want me to do
All you got to do is ask

I said I’m strong
To be a shelter
In a storm
Your willow
Oh willow
When the sun is out.

According to Carole A. Lane in a piece written for the San Diego Traveler, “If you’re not familiar with Armatrading’s music, you’re probably from the States. The rest of the world has been listening to and honoring [Joan] for decades.” Her voice is rich, warm, and textual. It sings almost always about love. She works only with the best in the trade, and the best respect her and also work with her peers: musicians like Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones), Tony Levin (King Crimson), Manu Katche (Sting), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty) and studio stalwart Greg Phillingames. Her impressive list of producers and co-producers include Glyn Johns, Gus Dudgeon, Steve Lillywhite, and David Tickle. In the United States, her closest comparison in sound is Tracy Chapman, another child prodigy of music, but Joan has been making the rounds longer.

A consummate guitarist by nature, whose blues guitar is considered to be second to none, Armatrading first guitar was a gift from her mother – a pawn shop exchange for two old prams. One wonders what magic came out of that guitar? Did the prams end up carrying a modern day version of BB King before they fell apart?

429 Records

429 Records

Among the guitarists that Joan says that she admires most are Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits; blues singer and songwriter Bonnie Raitt; classical guitarist, John Williams; Russell Lissack , lead guitarist for the Indie Rock band Block Party; and folk guitarist Bert Jansch. So why them and not a score of others including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Johnny Marr or, maybe, Muddy Waters? “Well of course I could have chosen five others, or 50,” says Armatrading. “My list of favorite guitarists goes on for miles. But if you ask, Why those? It’s like the joke about the woman standing in the street, and a policeman walks up and stands beside her. She says, What have I done wrong? and the policeman says, Lady, I got to stand somewhere!'”

Joan goes on to reveal that Knopfler and Waters are two guitarists that would be in her top ten for live performances. Her presentations of her favorite guitarists can be heard online on the BBC for a limited time.

Armatrading’s musical career now spans almost four decades. She was born in Basseterre, St. Kitts on December 9th, 1950; moved with her family to Birmingham, England, in 1957, and began writing music and lyrics at age fourteen. According to sources at Wikipedia, her first job in the UK was at Rabone Chesterman (makers of fine engineering tools), in Hockley Birmingham, a company which later became part of Dial Engineering with Stanley Tools and other brands. She was fired from this job because she insisted on bringing her guitar to work and playing during tea breaks. Her dedication to her craft seemingly never wanes, even now.

Her first recording effort began in the 1970s after she had moved to London to perform in a production of Hair. There she and lyrist Pam Nestor collaborated to record her first album, entitled “Whatever’s for Us”, which was released on the Cube Label in 1972. Her soundtracks have been in movies like “The Wild Geese”, “Boys On the Side”, “10 things I hate About You” and “Moonlight and Valentino”, “Oz” as well as the Showtime Series “The L Word”. Armatrading also made a vocal cameo appearance in the 1986 Queen album “A Kind of Magic” on the song “Don’t Lose Your Head”.

Joan was conferred Member of the British Empire by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2001. She has received the Key to Sydney. In addition to her Bachelors degree which she earned in History from Open University in England, she has received honorary degrees from Aston University, Birmingham University, John Moores University of Liverpool and Northampton University. In 2008, she was conferred an honorary degree by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She has been a trustee of her alma mater since 2003, and was elected President of Women of the Year in the United Kingdom in 2005 for a term of five years. In 1999, VH1 named her to the list of 100 most influential women in rock music.

Joan was invited to play for Nelson Mandela twice. Once, on his 70th birthday at Wembley Stadium in London, and in 2000, when backed by the Kingdom Choir, she paid tribute to the former President of South Africa, by singing “The Messenger” which she wrote for him. Mandela smiled and danced on stage though out the song.

Armatrading was part of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour in 2008. She appeared in Episode 4 of Live from Abbey Road performing “Tall In the Saddle” from her 1979 self-entitled album, and “Woman In Love”, the first track on the album “Into the Blues”. In 2008, one month from her 58th birthday, she ran the New York marathon of 26.24 miles and helped to raise more than £76,000 for the Women of the Year Foundation.



* Delux Edition Into The Blues – 2008 (DVD)
* Into The Blues – 2007
* Live: All The Way From America – 2005 (DVD)
* Lovers Speak – 2003
* ‘The Messenger’
A tribute song for Nelson Mandela 1999
* Lullabies With A Difference – 1998
* What’s Inside – 1995
* Square the Circle – 1992
* Hearts and Flowers – 1990
* The Shouting Stage – 1988
* Sleight of Hand – 1986
* Secret Secrets – 1985
* The Key – 1983
* Walk Under Ladders – 1982
* Me, Myself, I – 1980
* To the Limit – 1978
* Show Some Emotion – 1977
* Joan Armatrading – 1976
* Back to the Night – 1974
* Whatever’s for Us – 1972

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Creature: The Art of the Hustle



By Francis Anthony Govia

It was a lazy afternoon when I ran into Creature. Two hours earlier I had met a colleague from a previous job for lunch at Pound & Pence. We washed down burgers and French fries with bottles of beer before saying our goodbyes on Broadway, and I wandered off to J&R, the electronic store near City Hall. The 42 inch Panasonic plasma TV I had purchased about six months ago was now 899, or two hundred dollars less than before. I reminded myself that six years ago, it would have probably cost me ten grand. I was playing with these thoughts in my mind when out of the corner of my eye I connected with his, and he pressed the CD into my hand. My mood became increasingly better. Was it free? As quickly as the thought entered my mind it was dispelled. Creature shrewdly cut off my escape, forcing me gently into a conversation with him.
“Where are you from?” he asked.
“Why?” I replied, acknowledging in my mind for the first time that the CD was for sale.
“Because people always have something interesting to say about where they are from,” he said.
“I was born in the Caribbean in a place called St. Kitts and Nevis. Do you know where that is?” I said, waiting to see some form of acknowledgement in his eyes, and seeing none, I continued. “It’s near the US Virgin Islands. And here is a piece of American history for you. Not all of the Founding Fathers were Europeans. Alexander Hamilton was born in St. Kitts and Nevis before he came here and devised our banking system.”
“So he sold out to the establishment,” said Creature.
”Not really,” I said, feeling a sense of justice rising within me. “The Founding Fathers were Statesmen. They really cared about the country. Not like today where politician care about their careers. But enough of that. Where are you from?”
“You ever heard about Cleveland, Ohio?”
“Yes,” I said, feeling another story about to develop.
“That’s not where I’m from,” said Creature, smiling amiably at me. “”I’m from New York. Born and raised in New York.”

The Underdog's Manifesto

“Tell me about the CD,” I said, smiling back at him.
“It’s independent music. You’re gonna like it.”
“What is it selling for?”
“I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you 10,” I said, handing over a twenty dollar bill, and watching Creature make change while the flow of New York’s traffic passed inconspicuously around us.
“Take a look at this,” he said, whipping a book from out of nowhere. I glanced at the cover of the book. The Underdog’s Manifesto: A Guerilla Artist’s Path to Independence.
I turned over the book and quickly perused a few lines on the back.
“Who is the guy who attended GWU law?” I asked. Is that you?”
“No. It’s a brother much smarter than me,” Creature responded. “Are you a Counselor, Sir?”
“I used to work for a law firm up to a few months ago,” I said. “But I resigned. Why are you asking?”
“Because usually when a person quickly observes something, the first thing that they refer to and that person are usually connected,” said Creature.
“That was in another life,” I said. “I like you. I’ll take the book. How much is it?”
“It’s 12, but I don’t have change so I’ll take 10.”
“Thanks,” I said, smiling at him.
“What is your name, Sir?”
“Mine is Creature,” he said, looking me in the eye.
“See you again,” I said, turning away to catch the train to Brooklyn Heights.


Samples of Hustle to be Free can be heard at Amie St. or Tradebit.The Underdog’s Manifesto is available at Outside the Box Publishing. More about Creature can be discovered at Coffee Grind Media.“Orf the Street” is a column dedicated to those who make a living off the street.

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