Neneh Cherry

Neneh Cherry at Sydney Opera House

“For her first time in Australia, it would have been good to have some more of her older songs”, my friend said, as we made our way out of the Sydney Opera House tonight. I agree with that assessment. As much as I really do like her new material, it was classics like “Buffalo Stance” and (my personal favourite) “Manchild” that really got the audience excited. I read with jealousy, Youssou N’Dour had joined her on stage at Womadelaide the other the day, performing their wonderful duet “7 Seconds”, and […]

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Melodifestivalen 2015 #3

Melodifestivalen 2015 #3

Even though I’m no longer part of the culture of “Friday Afternoon Work Drinks”, I do remember this stage of my life very well. You would go to the pub, talk about work, and then, as the drinks kicked in, you would turn to other topics, and before you knew it, you were in a dodgy karaoke bar singing “Dancing Queen”. Through your “beer ears” you thought you sounded okay, when it fact you sounded pretty awful. And what happened to remind you of this was the appearance on stage […]

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Melodifestivalen 2015 #2

Magnus Carlsson

I’m quite a fan of the Swedish pop singer, Magnus Carlsson. To be precise, Magnus who was in Swedish pop bands Barbados and Alcazar, not Magnus Carlson (one “s”) who was in Swedish indie band, “Weeping Willows”. I even met him once, briefly, at a bar in Stockholm (see photo below). Although his obsession with recording Christmas albums is something I still don’t understand (beyond the fact they sell well), he can be relied upon for really great pop tunes. His self-titled solo album remains a firm favourite. Along the […]

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Song Of The Year – Tove Lo Habits

Of all the new music I saw/heard in 2014, this was the one that stood out. Yeah, of course it’s from a Swedish artist, and I love the fact she doesn’t try to hide that in her video clip (unlike a lot of other Swedish artists these days who are doing their best to hide their Swedishness by filming their clips in the US). I love the song musically, as it has a good melody and lyrics. But I really love the video clip, as it captures both the elements of “the selfie” and the self-destructiveness of youth culture. I also really love the vulnerability she shows in the clip. Hopefully honest. Can’t go home alone again Need someone to numb the pain PS… Here’s another song from her with lots of Sthlm scenery.

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The Vinyl Lounge

Vinyl Lounge at the National Film & Sound Archive

As I entered the room (a few minutes late) they were playing some early-70s rock music from Rod Argent. Shortly afterwards, they played some Captain Beefheart. “Oh dear, this is not my kind of music”, I thought to myself. But I decided to stick around, because I thought it was such a cool idea: a once a month vinyl records “party” in a theatrette at the National Film and Sound Archive. Although I grew up with vinyl, and am aware of the recent re-discovery of vinyl by the “young folk”, […]

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Monica Z

The last couple of weeks have been reasonably busy, and so I haven’t managed to immerse myself in the Scandinavian Film Festival as I’d hoped. There was one film, however, I definitely wanted to see on the big screen, having previously seen it only a small screen: the movie about the life of Swedish jazz singer, Monica Zetterlund. I’d first heard about Monica twenty or thirty years ago, as Frida from ABBA had described her as one of her idols. The story of a jazz singer from a small country town who, in 1960s Sweden, has to find a balance between career and family is a theme in both their lives. In the time since, I’ve come to know and really enjoy Monica’s work. I think my favourite song of hers is her Swedish language version of “Take 5″: it’s a great tune, sung with passion and energy. The film explains this particular song, and many of her others, comes from Monica’s desire to sing (mostly in Swedish) about things in her life. The film details a meeting with Ella Fitzgerald, where Ella, quite directly tells her not to sing about New Orleans and other such things (the staples of 1950s and 1960s jazz), but about stuff she knows. Monica’s own experiences of travelling to New York are documented in the film: an early disastrous performance where the show was shut down because her backing musicians were black; and a […]

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Walking In The Rain

Grace Jones

I first heard/saw the song “Walking In The Rain” when the video clip of Grace Jones performing the song was first played on Countdown. I was about seventeen years old at the time and was completely blown away by the clip. In particular, the strong androgynous imagery of Grace Jones echoed by the song line “Feeling like a woman, looking like a man”. For me, Grace Jones’ version has always been the definitive version, even though it was first performed (and written) by the Australian group, “Flash & The Pan”. […]

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