By Marjorie Gorospe WHEN passion for music is entirely pure, it becomes your life: This statement describes Tal Kravitz’ dedication to music. He got into music when he was four years old. His passion and mastery of ethnic including Israeli music is enriched by his travels to different parts of the world. He has been to Africa, Papua New Guinea and other countries which have musical instruments and traditions that are in danger of extinction. They say a musician will never run out of inspiration. Kravitz can play and entertain you with almost anything he get his hands on. Kravitz plays piano, harp, guitar, a variety of bagpipes, African percussion instruments, among others. His favorite is the harp. Aside from collecting various instruments, Kravitz also studies the ethnic languages in countries where he goes. “It is connected with the soul of the music,” Kravitz says, as he plays “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan,” which he learned through the Internet. Years of traveling, Kravitz has learned more than music. “It is the stories of the people I encounter in my musical journey that inspires me,” he says. His exposure to different cultures has made him value life more. Kravitz says he won’t stop learning about music, despite his stature today. He says he will continue doing this until the end of his days. As I watched him perform before Israeli dignitaries, it was clear that this passion emanates from his music. If I were to define passion for music, it will be called “Tal Kravitz.”
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By Candice Montenegro, Contributor INQUIRER.net THE INTERNET has proven to be a great way to discover talented amateur acts. All it takes is a great song, a musical instrument and a handy camcorder and you're well on your way to viral video stardom. Singers like Colbie Caillat and even our very own Charisse Pempengco were both discovered through online-generated buzz. MariÃ© Digby claimed her spotlight the same way; videos of her singing and playing the guitar in front of her living room couch endeared her to online viewers. MariÃ© (pronounced ma-ree-AY) Digby is a singer-songwriter who was catapulted into the music limelight, thanks to her homemade videos online. Her rendition of the popular hit "Umbrella" is viewed 20,000 times a day on YouTube and videos of her original compositions are well received by online fans. Her songs instantly became favorites, and she was dubbed the âBreakthrough YouTube Phenomenon.â What fans did not know, however, is that MariÃ© Digby is not new to all this singing superstardom. In 2005, she signed with Hollywood Records, the same record label that produces Disney stars Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff. The controversy suggested that Digby, with the help of Hollywood Records, intentionally feigned amateur status to generate buzz. "Raw" videos of her performing in her living room were uploaded online, and when people finally took notice, high-quality studio recordings of her songs were distributed to radio stations. Digby denies this, saying that the videos were not a marketing ploy. She says that the videos were simply her outlet for sharing her music while the album was still in the works, and that she did not intend to look amateur just so people would be amazed by her talent. But people were amazed just the same, and the issue does not seem to dampen her career. If anything, it only made more people type her name in search engines. Her MySpace page is flooded with comments and praise from fans who enjoy watching her two-minute performances. Her debut album "Unfold" was released this year, and her first single "Say It Again" debuted in the Billboard Adult Top 40 and is topping charts here and abroad. Her songs are also featured in hit TV shows like "Smallville" and "The Hills." The California-based singer stays true to her roots and still finds time to update her online accounts even with her busy schedule. Her YouTube channel contains updates on her shows and album tours, and she even talks about feeling overwhelmed and excited over the release of her album. She writes: "So many years of workâ¦ so many hours spent writing, recording, playing, dreamingâ¦ all comes down to this moment. I wouldn't trade one minute of it." And as for her videos, the grassroots feel does not matter at this point. Her musical prowess is definitely not amateur, and video or no video, thereâs no doubt that MariÃ© Digby is one gifted artist.
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net BOOKSALE rats may have found this already (and you must know it’s rare for magazines there to actually include promo CDs). The Spin Magazine July 2007 ish comes with a Smashing Pumpkins tribute CD courtesy of Myspace. Contemporary emo/alternative bands pay homage to some of Billy Corgan’s hit songs -- The New Amsterdams, The Bravery, Panic! At The Disco, Ben Kweller, etc. It does have some gems in it -- Panic! plays quite a gut-wrenching cover of "Tonight, Tonight" and an R&B-ish take on "1979." As a long-time SP fan, hearing the songs harks me back to my college dorm days, when everyone was head-banging to grunge staples Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains while I was commiserating with Billy’s endless whining. Steal this magazine for P130. If you’re not satisfied with the CD, then you at least get to read about Amy Winehouse. Her music (think 60s soul-jazz… Supremes!) is worth checking out, if you haven’t heard her yet.
By Erika Tapalla INQUIRER.net UPDATE: Editor's note: Added photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer I'M not much of a Beyonce fan, or an avid R&B/pop listener for that matter, so when I was asked to cover the concert, I was completely nonchalant about it. Upon discovering we were seated miles away from the actual platform and being nearsighted, I was so convinced my buttocks would just be warming up the uncomfortable plastic seat since I'd just be sitting there partly listening and mostly SMS-ing. Plus, the horrendous opening act by a local character named "Picasso" made me cringe as he rapped about God knows what, cause all I understood were "uhs," "yeahs," and the rest of whatever he said were so brilliantly slurred that when he said: "This is my last song," I actually heard people cheer. Minutes later, I saw the screen light up and standing in the middle of the stage, dressed in a tiny sparkly silver dress was the same figure we have come to recognize as Beyonce. She looked mighty fine and remarkably hot, and the moment she bellowed that she was there to entertain, the crowd screamed and jumped from their seats, which by then, they were already standing on. But that's them. INQUIRER.net reporter Alex Villafania, Strategic Edge account executive Rica Oquias and I ditched our seats and migrated closer to the screen in high hopes of at least getting a peek of Beyonce. Standing in the middle of the open field, only seconds into her hit single, "Crazy in Love," I lost regard for anything whatsoever and quickly joined the euphoria that contaminated every human being within the vicinity. She was utterly phenomenal and massively mesmerizing with her bodacious physique -- which by the way was insanely fit as no fat jiggled when she rocked her signature body thumps, commonly and locally known as the "ocho ocho." Singing approximately 15 songs including a fiery old school medley of songs she sung with Destiny's Child, Beyonce only left the stage for about six costume changes only to come back to further intoxicate the crowd with the no-lip-synching-pure-singing-and-dancing Beyonce Experience. In the times she was backstage slipping onto her super sultry outfits, her all-female band, and dancers grazed the stage with stupefying solos that touched upon a quarter of the spectrum of performing arts: breaking beats with the drummer, a classical remix of the "Flight of the Bumblebee" by her pianist, a pop-R&B improvisation by her other pianist, a sexy jazz piece by her saxophonist, a rock jam with her bassist; not to mention modern ballet, contemporary jazz, and back-breaking hip-hop dance numbers. I abused my vocal chords with excessive yelling by the time she sung her finale, "Irreplaceable," but I have no regrets being caught up and participating in the Beyonce Experience. The best part is, anyone of any age, any gender, and of any music genre fan, will definitely admire and appreciate for her heartfelt passion for entertaining, and her performance for its captivating variety. From an apathetic person, I am now a fan "ready for her jelly." Editor's note: Photo courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Billboard.com reported Tuesday. Spears' album "Blackout" sold 290,000 copies. The Eagles' first album in 28 years landed on top after Billboard revised a policy which considers albums sales even when they're only sold exclusively by one retailer. Billboard changed its policy after Wal-Mart, which had exclusive rights to sell the Eagles album in its stores and on its website, agreed to release its sales numbers, Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts said.LOS ANGELES, California--The Eagles beat Britney Spears for the top spot on the Billboard 200 Top Albums chart this week. The band's new album "Long Road Out of Eden" debuted at No. 1 on the chart by selling 711,000 copies during its first week of release,
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net GADGET maker Oregon Scientific is literally scaling through great heights to promote its new waterproof camera. The Portland-based manufacturer will sponsor Everest Rocks, touted as the first-ever rock concert to take place in Mount Everest. The company has formed a partnership with the Love Hope Strength Foundation as the concert's official sponsor. A fourteen-day trek up Mount Everest by 40 of the world's top musicians and mountaineers, Everest Rocks will culminate with the first-ever rock concert to take place at Mount Everest's Base Camp. Footage of the concert, the trek and events leading up to it will be filmed exclusively using Oregon Scientific's ATC2K Waterproof Action Cam. Forty ATC2K cameras have been donated to the Love Hope Strength Foundation. The climb also aims to raise money for cancer research conducted by the foundation, co-founded by two-time cancer survivor and rock icon, Mike Peters of the British band The Alarm. Joining Peters on the 18, 000-foot climb are rock icons Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats, Nick Harper, Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook, and The Fixx's Cy Curnin and Jamie West-Oram. The entire Everest Rocks journey will be captured using the ATC2K for a documentary directed by Alex Coletti, producer and creator of MTV's "Unplugged." The taping will include the training, kickoff events, trek, base camp acoustic set and rock show in Kathmandu. Daily videos live recordings, photos and daily blog entries will be posted on www.lovehopestrength.org throughout the event running from October 13 to 29.
TOMORROW, Oct. 10, at 9: 30 p.m., New Media Arts Manila (NMAM) will hold its first project, a sound art conference at Club Dredd, second floor of Gweilos Eastwood. The event is open to the public for free, and NMAM's event partners include Globe, Sony Ericsson and Asus. Here's more info from our friend and fellow tech journalist Jing Garcia:
New Media Arts Manila (NMAM) was formed to curate, stage, and promote New Media Art -- art made with electronic, audiovisual, and information technologies. It includes sound art, video art, interactive electronics, algorithmic art, computer music, and whatever art forms new technologies may yet spawn. As NMAM's first project, ELECTROSTATIC SOUND CONFERENCE will showcase the full range of performative sound art pieces through the performances of the following artists: Malek Lopez, Berklee-trained virtuoso who is the principal composer for the band Drip, and half of the abrasive electronica duo Rubber Inc.;
Mu Arae Transmission, (aka Moon Fear Moon aka John Sobrepena), who composes haunting and eerie instances of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music); Blums Borres, 3D animator, performative video artist, and sound artist who dedicates himself to expanding the sonic territory of the electric guitar; Jing Garcia, tech editor of The Manila Times who founded the seminal sound art group Children of Cathode Ray in 1989 and composes industrial/ambient pieces as autoceremony; Tengal, frenetic composer, a tireless sound artist, the founder of S.A.B.A.W . sound art collective, and a one-man record label; Lirio Salvador, sculptor and luthier whose ornate, chrome-plated instruments are featured on television, displayed in galleries, and played by his group Elemento; Tad Ermitano, filmmaker and video artist who creates custom programs and hardware for his art installations. His work has appeared in Time magazine.I understand from Jing that they're also raffling off a brand new Sony Ericsson Walkman phone :)
CHECK out this video of "The Police: The Early Years Live in Boston" where Boston Phoenix archivist David Bieber narrates the history of the Police's early shows.
By Eric S. Caruncho Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--Prophets of doom notwithstanding, these are boom times for music. The compact disc might be dead, and the music business as we know it dying, but make no mistake, there’s more music being made -- and listened to -- than ever before. It’s just that the local industry hasn’t figured out yet how to make money off file sharing, the dominant form of music distribution. While Apple quickly cornered the market with iTunes, cutting heavily into the CD retailing business, no comparable local model has yet emerged. But there can be little doubt that the future of local music will be digital. And it won’t wait for the Philippines to be online. Already, savvy entrepreneurs armed only with a PC and a dream have set up music “downloading” stations where new owners of the cheap MP3 players now flooding the market, as well as the new MP3-capable cellphones, can buy tunes even without owning an Internet connection. These are the same kiosks where you can get screensavers and ringtones for your phones, and sometimes mix CDs. Many of them serve squid balls too. So people on the street have got it all figured out, even if the music biz hasn’t. Despite the uncertainty of getting their royalty payments -- so what else is new? -- artists seem ready to take the plunge. After all, it’s a brave new world out there, where the ringtone charts matter more than the music retailers’ Top Ten, and landing a soap opera soundtrack deal is better than getting your video on MTV. Just ask Acel. If the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, the voice should. It’s the same voice TV audiences heard singing the theme of “Maria Flor de Luna.” Those with longer recall might also dimly remember a little ditty called “Torete” by an outfit called Moonstar 88 that was a radio staple a while back. And if that still doesn’t do it, not to worry: By October televiewers will be getting a daily dose of Acel since she’ll be singing the main theme of ABS-CBN’s new Koreanovela “Spring Waltz." Acel also has the distinction of being the first local artist to release an album without a CD. That’s right, the album “Silver Lining” will be available only online, at least for the moment. A CD release down the road remains a possibility, but for now it’s available by download only. “Almost all new releases are available as digital downloads, but mine is the first album to be released without an actual CD,” says the slender, waifish and hard-to-believe-she’s-32 Acel, Maria Cecilia Bisa van Ommen in real life. Two songs from the album, “Pakiusap” and “Laugh and Cry” are already enjoying airplay and video exposure. If these songs tickle the listener’s fancy, they’ll have to go online, either to www.acelbisa.com, Acel’s fansite, or to www.starrecords.ph, her label’s site, and log in. “They’ll need to get a prepaid card and an electronic PIN at a load or card central like Netopia, and log in at the website. Then they can download the songs at P12 per song,” she explains. You heard that right, P12 per song. Compare that with iTunes’ 99 cents (about P44) per song -- or the current P250 per CD -- and do the math. Acel admits it’s a stab into the unknown. “We don’t have any feedback yet as to how the downloads are doing,” she says. “We also don’t know if any anti-piracy software has been installed, but we think this is the next phase.” Although she only decided to go solo this year, Acel is already a veteran of the music scene, having come of age during the immediate post-Eraserheads alternative music boom of the mid-’90s. As an angsty, Doc Martens-clad punkette, Acel cut her teeth at the legendary venue Club Dredd with her first band, Orphan Lily. “I never thought I would be a performer,” she says. “I grew up insecure and with an inferiority complex because throughout high school, I had to wear a body brace for my scoliosis.” But she also grew up with a love for music. Her parents, both professors of creative writing, literature and grammar in Filipino and noted textbook authors, had a taste for Broadway musicals. Her elder brother was also into theater and influenced her toward the performing arts. So when a neighbor asked her to join his band, Acel immediately said yes. “If you love what you’re doing, you’ll really work to overcome whatever hinders you from doing that,” she says. “But even then, it took me years to overcome my shyness. At Club Dredd, I would sing with my eyes closed. I just stood there like a stump. But the other bands around encouraged and helped me out, and kind of mentored me in a way. They’d say, ‘Acel, tumingin ka naman sa tao.’” Eventually, she overcame her shyness, she says, because she had to shout Orphan Lily’s angsty, pop-punk lyrics. Orphan Lily managed to land a record deal with Polyeast Records, but disbanded soon after. Acel’s next outfit, Moonstar 88, was a mellower and more commercial proposition, steeped in Acel’s love for singer-songwriter music by the likes of the Sundays and Tori Amos. They immediately landed a record deal and released their debut “Popcorn” in 2001. The band scored with “Torete,” and followed up with a second album “Press to Play.” Meanwhile, Acel was discovering a talent for songwriting, inherited perhaps from her parents’ literary proclivities. “I started writing after I left Orphan Lily. I wrote almost all the songs for Moonstar’s first album,” she recalls. “Then for the second album, I encouraged the other members to write so we divided the songwriting duties. I write mostly in English, but a lot of people who’ve heard me, say my strength is in Tagalog lyrics and how I sing them.” In 2004, Acel left Moonstar 88 to marry her Dutch-Indonesian-Nepali fiancée and take a two-year hiatus from music. During that time, she helped a friend set up and manage a recording studio. But watching other artists recording their songs rekindled her love for music, and by last year, she had already written enough material for her solo debut. Earlier this year, she signed with Cornerstone Talent Management, the same outfit managing glamor-boy Sam Milby, which helped set her solo career in motion. Acel describes her current music as “easy listening, relaxed driving music” -- perhaps a reflection of her settled life and matured outlook on things. “It’s emotional, with stellar melodies,” she says, admitting to being influenced by Brit pop by the likes of Keane, Coldplay and U2. “My sister-in-law, who’s a graphic artist, told me, ‘when I listen to your music I feel like I’m swimming under the stars.’”
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net A GROUP of sound artists, collectively known as New Media Arts Manila (NMAM), is set to stage a gig featuring sound art made with electronic, audiovisual, and information technology. "It includes sound art, video art, interactive electronics, algorithmic art, computer music, and whatever art forms new technologies may yet spawn," the group said in an e-mail announcement. Calling their music "New Media Art," NMAM was formed to curate, stage, and promote their art. The gig, dubbed Electrostatic Sound Conference, will feature a range of "performative sound art pieces" done by several artists. The group is composed of:
- Malek Lopez, Berklee-trained virtuoso who is the principal composer for the band Drip, and half of the abrasive electronica duo Rubber Inc.;
- Mu Arae Transmission, (a.k.a. Moon Fear Moon a.k.a. John Sobrepena), who composes haunting and eerie instances of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music);
- Blums Borres, 3D animator, performative video artist, and sound artist who dedicates himself to expanding the sonic territory of the electric guitar;
- Jing Garcia, tech editor of The Manila Times who founded the seminal sound art group Children of Cathode Ray back in 1989 and composes industrial/ambient pieces as autoceremony;
- Tengal, frenetic composer, a tireless sound artist, the founder of S.A.B.A.W. sound art collective, and a one-man record label;
- Lirio Salvador, sculptor and luthier whose ornate, chrome-plated instruments are featured on television, displayed in galleries, and played by his group Elemento;
- Tad Ermitano, filmmaker and video artist who creates custom programs and hardware for his art installations. His work has appeared in Time magazine.