The Spiral Earth guide to UK folk, roots and alternative festivals

by Ken Hunt, London] Planning a trip to England, Scotland and/or Wales? Hoping your visit coincides with some musical adventures? The highly recommended Spiral Earth guide is the ideal place to start planning your time and trip.

20. 2. 2011 |

Best of 2010

[by Ken Hunt, London] The year started brilliantly, thanks to the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Then nothing much seemed to happen for the longest while – well, a month or so – and then the sluice gates opened and a wonderful year’s musical experiences began pouring out. It did, however, prove a disappointing year for quality new recordings of Indian music.

13. 12. 2010 |

The Indian Portrait 1560-1860 National Portrait Gallery, London – 11 March to 20 June 2010

[by Ken Hunt, London] London’s National Portrait Gallery is currently offering two marvellous exhibitions of Indian art. Admission is free and while they may not appear to cast much light of the subcontinent’s musical arts, amid the huqqa smokers, the military figures, nobility and royalty, there are a few correlations between Indian portraiture and aspects of the subcontinent’s music to interest the musically minded.

7. 5. 2010 |

Giant Donut Discs® – March 2010

[by Ken Hunt, London] March’s stuff and nonsense comes from Mickey Hart and chums, Joni Mitchell, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bob Bralove and Henry Kaiser, Wajahat Khan and the Medici String Quartet, The Six and Seven-Eights String Band, Jo Ann Kelly, Dillard & Clark, Farida Khanum and Sohan Nath ‘Sapera’.

11. 3. 2010 |

Best of 2009

[by Ken Hunt, London] The doom and gloom of recession and depression, inflation and deflation affected people’s lives enormously during 2009. Some say it put dampeners on life. Musically though, on balance it was a year of hope, despite losses.

2. 1. 2010 |

Alim Qasimov and the domino principle

[by Ken Hunt, London] In 1998 Alim Qasimov appeared at Tanz&FolkFest Rudolstadt. He was pretty much an unknown quantity. His recordings were little known outside the Azerbaijani domestic market or France and Switzerland. Qasimov truly was a Francophone find. Queuing outside the Landestheater the German Liederdichter – poet-songwriter – Christof Stählin and I got to talking and he recommended Alim Qasimov’s concert at the town church in a way that brooked no dissent. Once again, I must credit Christof with one of the musical discoveries of my life.

15. 6. 2009 |

Eddie Reader and Robert Burns – Ae Fond Kiss

[by Ken Hunt, London] England and the world have their William Shakespeare. Russia and the world have their Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin. Elsewhere, when it comes to the international stage, few nations have produced a literary giant to compare with Scots poet-sangster Robert Burns (1759-1796). Likely as not, time will see Bob Dylan as similarly internationalist but that is a judgement for posterity not for here and now, for none of us will ever know that with the certainty that we can say that of Burns, Pushkin or Shakespeare in our lifetimes. That is not to say that Burns had an easy ride during his lifetime or his work has had an easy passage since his death. There is a lot of tartan and haggis out there to sidestep.

12. 3. 2009 |

All the world’s a screen – India’s film magazines

[by Ken Hunt, London] Wherever there is a successful film industry, like the penumbra to the klieg lights, film magazines will mushroom in order to feed people’s apparently insatiable appetite for news – planted or otherwise – and tittle-tattle. In the Anglophone world, from Picture Show (when ‘picture’ was the British Empire equivalent of ‘movie’) to the “Hollywood girls and gags!” of Movie Humor, cinema was well served from the silent era onwards. But India’s was, is and shall ever remain a special case.

3. 3. 2009 |

The MOFFOM Festival (2)

[by Ken Hunt, London] Chancing upon the final-cut premiere of Alex Reuben’s film Routes was kismet. Alex Reuben is a DJ and filmmaker – British out of Ukrainian Jewish stock – with shorts like Big Hair (2001) and A Prayer From The Living (2002) to his credit. “I was a DJ so that’s how I started making films,” he tells me in Prague “Through the money I made DJing, that’s how I made films. All of the films are related to DJing in some way. More in the method I make them, though.”

14. 2. 2009 |

The MOFFOM Festival (1)

[by Ken Hunt, London] It is October and the time of the season that has nothing of the Zombie or indeed Golem about it. Sitting in U Zavěšenýho, one of Prague’s minor miracles of a watering hole a stone’s throw from the castle, I am writing up notes about Prague’s MOFFOM (Music on Film Film on Music) festival. Loquacious as ever, I get into conversation with a French student from Grenoble. She is studying cinema in the city and studying film in this city makes total sense. Learning that I am working at the festival, we exchange viewing plans. Half an hour vanishes just talking about film and Prague’s cinemas. Her boyfriend has come from France to partake too. I leave them with a jaunty tourlou, a toodlepip, and carry off some wonderful insights into another cinéaste or cinephile nation’s appreciation of what we call in Czech pukka kino (‘true cinema’).

14. 2. 2009 |

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