Category Archives: Music

Review Sister Act, WMC by Eloise Stingemore

 

5 Stars5 / 5

 

The smash hit musical production returned to the Centre with director and choreograph Craig Revel Horwood from Strictly Come Dancing at the helm. Who gave this tried and tested production that has gone through various permutations since the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg film a real musical heart.

Sister Act tells the hilarious story of Deloris Van Cartier, a sassy nightclub singer in 1977/78 in need of witness protection after witnessing a murder. Deloris is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a convent! Forced to wear a habit, and eat nothing but mutton, Deloris clashes with Mother Superior and begins to lead her fellow sisters astray, until she finds her calling in teaching them to sing.

Alexandra Burke really shines in the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier, each witty line or facial expression is delivered to perfection. However, it is when she opens her mouth to sing, we’re reminded of why audiences voted for her in there millions during 2008 X Factor. Burke’s voice never falters; her dancing is wonderfully expressive and comedic, it is her ability to make her audience laugh while ensuring their feet never stop tapping, makes her truly sensational as Deloris.

This show contains a fabulous group of musicians, who, instead of playing in the orchestra pit, take the role of various characters such as the trumpet playing Mother Superior played by Karen Mann. Who along with Burke are truly at the heart of this warm, funny and entertaining production but they are by no means the only ones. The whole cast displays a great deal of energy and enthusiasm and present as though they are loving life when signing Alan Menken original musical numbers including ‘Raise Your Voice,’ ‘Take Me to Heaven,’  and the show-stopping finale ‘Spread the Love Around.’

 From the first moment to the big finale, the show is wonderful. A perfect lead in Burke, a great cast as well as a superb script and songs have been combined perfectly by the director into perhaps the best show to grace the stage of the Centre in a long time.

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2017-2018/DonaldGordonTheatre/SisterAct/

 

Review: Rent by Gemma Treharne-Foose

First things first, let’s get one thing clear – I am a steadfast ‘Rent Head’ and after this show – will remain so probably for the rest of my life and I make no apologies for this.

That being said, it’s been a whole 19 years since I was wowed (age 17 – yikes) by Jonathan Larson’s rock opera for a modern age. I wasn’t sure if the years had been kind to this production – would I even like it anymore? The show’s UK tour marks the 20th anniversary of the show.

Rent may have been billed as a parable of the modern age (inspired by Puccini’s opera La bohème), but it was also a snapshot of the 90s era, too: the cusp of the digital revolution, the internet age, the crude expansion of gentrification or ‘hipsterfication’ of previously bohemian neighbourhoods, the effects of AIDS on young communities following the 80s epidemic and scare stories. Maybe it would have lost some of it’s relevance? I had my reservations.

Back in 1998 at Shaftesbury Theatre in London, Rent was still very much in it’s infancy and was at the peak of it’s popularity, having won a shower of critical acclaim stateside (Pulitzer drama prize,four Tony awards, six Drama desk Awards, ‘Best Musical’ Awards and an Obie Award).

In ‘98, this was a show unlike anything else I had seen before. When I last saw it. I was an idiot teenager with a questionable taste in ridiculous infantile men. By the time I emerged from that theatre though, it shifted my view of the world.

But suddenly, my childish attempts to write poetry suddenly had context and purpose. I too wanted to dance on the table wearing spandex and hang from poles singing at the top of my voice like Mimi Marquez, go on protests like Maureen and befriend drag queens just like Angel Schunard.

In fact I did all of things…even though I couldn’t legitimately call myself a bohemian due to my love for global coffee chains. But even so – it didn’t even matter that my poetry was shit! I loved the way Jonathan Larson had pushed boundaries in the theatre world. I even went on to study Theatre and Media Drama and found my own little theatre circle…and my battered Rent CD (original Broadway cast recording) has accompanied me on all my journeys around the world since my 17th birthday.

So how to go about fairly reviewing a show that I have such a strong personal attachment to?

It may have been 19 years since I last saw Rent, but I can certainly see the differences (and improvements).

Lee Proud’s choreography was electric (fans of La Vie Boheme will love the table and chair dance), Angel’s acrobatic dance routine and of course the memorable ‘Tango Maureen’ – better and edgier than I remember at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Anna Fleischle’s set design includes multiple scaffolding layers on all sides and there nice touches – projecting Mark’s film on an old sheet, a trapeze, a pole, moving structures as vehicles for the characters, cages during the song ‘Contact’ – Maureen’s hilarious costume surprise during her protest song.

Rent is centred around a group of young struggling artists in New York’s East Village – they are fighting the property expansion and development which threatens to take over their performance space and remain true to their artforms and to themselves. I know how this sounds! And yes – over the years Rent’s edgy style (and way of incorporating social commentary into a musical) has been mercilessly parodied and skewered by the likes of Team America.

And yet! There are so many layers to unwrap and musical styles to bask in throughout this show…and try as I might even all these years later after seeing the first show in 1998, I couldn’t get through the first three songs without ruining my mascara and blubbing (I also snorted out loud…in front of some minor Welsh celebs in the audience. Oh well!)

It’s sometimes a mistake to get so accustomed to an original cast recording that you can’t imagine anyone else singing those parts. All these years, I had no idea I was loving the voice of someone who would later become the voice of a Disney character (Idina Menzel, the original cast member for ‘Maureen’ went on to become the voice of Elsa, much to the annoyance of parents worldwide who had to listen to ‘Let it go’ 1,000 times a day).

I wasn’t sure how Lucie Jones (an X-Factor contestant – pah!) would handle the role of Maureen. And I was entirely wrong to pre-judge her due to my dislike of the X-Factor because not only did Lucie Jones absolutely SLAY the role of Maureen, she brought out even more of a kooky side to her (and single-handedly inspired me to lose three stone so I can look as amazing as she did in that body stocking! Wow).

Ryan O’Gorman’s sweet portrayal of Collins was beautiful – and his silky baritone vocals not only matched the calibre of the broadway version of Rent but perhaps even went one step beyond it.

The interaction between Leyton Williams (who previously had the title role of London’s Billy Elliot) as the lovely Angel and Collins was a joy to witness – and Layton brought a whole new talent to Angel’s ‘Today for you, tomorrow for me’ routine with astonishing leaps, spins and flips….and all in outrageous heels and a cloak coat.

You might think Jonathan Larson’s energy and optimism in the music and lyrics may come across as syrupy and hammy….but lord knows we need this more in 2017 than we did in 1996 when Rent opened.

For me Rent’s underlying sadness is that for all it’s popularity and influence, writer/composer Jonathan Larson’s early death (age 35) meant that he never got to see any of the success and joy that this musical has brought to people over the last 20 years.

Even all these years later, Larson ‘s story remains relevant and engaging for modern audiences. We are what we own. We’re knee-deep in a culture of mindless McJobs and as Mark and Roger sing: ‘We’re living in America…leave your conscience at the tone’. In the age of deportations and walls and blind gun laws (let along the way the tide is turning against LGBTQ communities), I really do question humanity sometimes.

I don’t know how many terms Donald Trump has or how many years of damage our current generation has ahead of them, but though it all I’ll still listen that old Rent CD of mine and remind myself that ‘We’re Okay’.

Bruce Guthrie’s production and Cardiff’s warm and inviting reception to Rent’s songs show me that there are still good people in the world. And I know this because all of them were mooing, crying, laughing and on their feet by my side at the end.

I’m definitely not leaving it another 19 years before I see this show again!

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2017-2018/DonaldGordonTheatre/Rent/?view=Standard

Type of show: Theatre

Title: Rent

Venue: Wales Millennium Centre (Cardiff)

Dates: 3-8 April

Book, Music and Lyrics: Jonathan Larson

Directed by: Bruce Guthtie

Director/choreographer: Chantelle Carey

Billy Cullum (Mark Cohen)

Ross Hunter (Roger Davis)

Ryan O’Gorman (Collins)

Layton Williams (Angel Schunard)

Phillippa Stefani (Mimi Marquez)

Lucie Jones (Maureen Johnson)

Shanay Holmes (Joanne Jefferson)

Running time: 2.5hrs (approx)

Produced by: Idili Theatricals Ltd / Theatr Clwyd

The Portrayal of Muslims In the Media, A Personal Response from Amina Elmi

 

Diversity in the media is already a huge issue that is still largely unsolved. As a Muslim, I have found that Muslims are often neglected from talks about diversity. This article aims to start a discussion on why this is and what needs to be done. Even the smallest gradual change will make a difference and will celebrate Britain as a multi-cultural nation.

In the media, we see Muslims play the role of terrorist number 3, speaking in a foreign tongue to intimidate the viewer. Many television shows and films are guilty of this. It’s tiring, stereotypical and only helps to further Islamophobia rhetoric. If that is the only version of Muslims people see, then it is no wonder that people harbour such negative views to a religion they know little about expect from what the media has shown them. Bigotry flourishes in this environment which is why change is required now more than ever.

As well as spreading prejudiced views, it is also giving the younger generation of Muslims the idea that they do not belong. With little to no representation it leaves young Muslims to perceive that the there is no play for them in the media industry. By excluding them, a whole narrative is missing, a unique perspective that won’t be shared. Yes, anyone can write a Muslim character or play one, but they will not be able to understand the unique British Muslim experience. It’s a whole generation of young people only seeing negative portrayals of themselves and accepting that’s how society sees them.

The solution? Muslims in influential roles such as directors and producers. Perhaps most crucially writers. Muslim writers have the ability to write from their own experiences that would resonate to not just Muslim viewers but to everyone. We have far more common than what divides us. If negative perceptions are tackled, then less people will be influenced by bigotry and unjustified hate. With the creation of more Muslim roles we could have more Muslim actors and actresses breaking into the industry.

However, we have seen an emergence of Muslim characters in the past few years. Riz Ahmed, whose career has exploded in the past year has grown from strength to strength. Raised in a Muslim family, he has starred in the Star Wars and The Night Of, the latter earning him a Golden Globe nomination. He is even an advocate of more representation. I highly recommended his speech to Parliament on the lack of diversity in Britain.

Watch Riz Ahmed warn Parliament about the danger of failing to improve TV diversity

Another example of positive Muslim representation, perhaps the most significant is Kamala Khan. A Marvel female Muslim superhero. It is difficult to get across how outstanding and crucial Ms Marvel (a.k.a Kamala Khan) is. She is the superhero the world needs right now.

I am envious of the young girls who get to grow up with a hero that they can see themselves reflected in. Yet I am more overjoyed that she exists and is inspiring girls all over the world.

However, this is a starting point. We need more positive Muslim representation in the media to overpower the toxic portrayals that are being shown today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms._Marvel_(Kamala_Khan)

http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/2/2/14457384/kamala-khan-captain-america-protest-icon

  • Amina Elmi, @queenchester, Young Critic

Review The Red Shoes, Matthew Bourne Company by Sian Thomas

4 Stars4 / 5

 

I don’t know very much about ballet. In fact, this was my first time ever seeing one. I was completely swept away by the beauty and the elegance of it.

I did manage to follow the story. Although at first I was definitely a little lost. I did pick up the conflict between choosing passion or choosing love, and the eventual consequences that come to light as a result of the character’s decisions.

The dancing was gorgeous. Every single person on stage managed to look beyond elegant, and way beyond beautiful. The music alongside was amazing to see. Everything was so in sync and perfectly aligned, like the cat wasn’t well-practiced, but more like dancing to it was intrinsically within them and not something they had to even think twice about. Like I said, I don’t know very much about ballet. My eyes aren’t critical to the specifics of the dances, but I was unaware of mistakes and critiques in a borderline blissful way. I enjoyed something pretty and stunning. And I really, really liked it.

The setting was cunning, and extremely clever. There were things I didn’t expect to be used at all – like shadows, or smoke, the front of a train, audio of clapping – which I did mistake for the audience – and so forth. The ideas behind the production seemed big and well-thought out. Something daring but equally safe.

 

Get the Chance announced as runners up in the Celebrating Diversity Award at this years Epic Awards

 

Get the Chance  have been announced as runners up in the Celebrating Diversity Award at the 2017 Epic Awards organised by Voluntary Arts. The ceremony took place on Sunday the 19th March at the Sage Gateshead as part of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival.

 The Epic Awards were set up in 2010 by Voluntary Arts, an organisation that works across the UK and Republic of Ireland to promote participation in creative cultural activities. They celebrate the amazing contribution voluntary-led creative groups make to their communities.

https://www.voluntaryarts.org/epic-awards

The Celebrating Diversity Award is selected from across the full shortlist of 32 groups by a panel of judges representing  teams in each nation. This award celebrates groups that have taken an innovative approach to highlighting the positive effects that come from living in a diverse society and is something that is central to the work that Voluntary Arts does all year round. Get the Chance were unanimously praised by the Epic Awards judges for

The project’s unique approach to encouraging a diversity of voices

 Guy O’Donnell, Director of Get the Chance said;

Get the Chance is honoured to be selected as runners up in the Celebrating Diversity Award. We strive to reflect the diverse nature of society in our voluntary membership. We learn from our team about barriers to sport and cultural provision and seek to work together to provide responses which are representative of all citizens in the UK.”

https://www.voluntaryarts.org/epic-awards-2017-winners

Membership of Get the Chance is free for further details please contact Guy O’Donnell, Director of Get the Chance

 getthechance1@gmail.com

Get The Chance

 

 

Top Tunes with Jon Pountney

Hi Jon great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

Hi, I have been a professional photographer since 2000, working in commercial and corporate areas. In 2010 I started the social history project ‘Cardiff before Cardiff’, which really kick started my imagination and drew me back into more artistic thought processes. My work revolves around the key themes developed when I was a student: memory, history and the devices we use to aid our understanding of the passage of time. Obviously these themes relate most readily to photography, but I also use painting, drawing, and moving image. Since 2010 I have exhibited throughout Wales (most notably in the Wales Millennium Centre with ‘Cardiff before Cardiff’), and in 2015 BBC Wales showed a documentary about one of my projects in ‘Forgotten Images of Valley Life’.

This chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to?

Currently I’m listening to the remastered re-release of ‘A Northern Soul’ by The Verve. It’s an astonishing album that didn’t get enough praise at the time it was released (1995), mainly because the band split during the period. I remember hearing ‘History’ for the first time on Radio 1 in my friend’s Mini, and I bought the album on tape in Music Junction in Leamington Spa.

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, so we want to ask you to list 5 records/albums which have personal resonance to you and why.

1 Dog Man Star by Suede

Suede have been a massive influence on me since 1993. I love their aesthetic, subject matter and outsider status. They made the London of the early 90’s (the subject of many of my paintings at the time) seem incredibly enticing, louche and exciting, to a 15 year old growing up on a farm in Warwickshire! There isn’t much I do creatively that isn’t reflected through the prism of Suede.

2 The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers

I didn’t buy this album until ’99 (it came out in ’94) for some reason. I knew the singles, particularly ‘Faster’, and already had ‘Everything Must Go’, which had been the soundtrack of learning to drive and moving to Cardiff in 1996. It’s a very dense album, lyrically and musically, an assault on the ears really. The song structures and concepts are disturbing and unapologetic, ranging from eating disorders to the Holocaust, but it really is a fascinating suite of music that prompts thought and research into the subjects raised.

3 Second Coming by The Stone Roses

I make no apologies for preferring this album to its much more famous predecessor. The band’s first album came out when I was 11 and I was a little too young for indie at that point. This album came out at the end of ’94 and I was completely onboard by then! Again I love the concepts in the many of the songs- the religious motifs that the band had played with in the first album take centre stage here, particularly in ‘Love Spreads’, which re-imagines the crucifixion of a Jesus who is a black woman.

4 Whatever by Oasis

It was around this time that you began to feel that what was underground was about the break out and become mainstream, like pressure that had to be released. It was an incredibly exciting time. The same couldn’t happen now, because the underground can stay where it is, on the internet. There is no TOTP, no NME. It’s a shame.

5.Adore Life Savages

Savages are an amazing band. Sonically, they are so exciting and visceral, in a time when I don’t hear much ‘rock’ music. They are really aggressive and ballsy, and confrontational. I think they are one of the only bands around at the moment doing something new with the tropes of rock ‘n roll.

Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?

1 We Are The Pigs,  Suede– Just for the title, and it was released as a single, hilarious!


2 Faster Manic Street, Preachers  A brilliant lyrical concept, turning self hate into cockiness.


3 Love Spreads, Stone Roses Best comeback single ever!


4 Whatever, Oasis Because the future seemed limitless


5 Adore Life, Savages The best song of 2016 for me

Many thanks for your time Jon

Top Tunes with Mari Lowe

Portrait photographs by Jon Pountney

Top Tunes is a new feature for Get the Chance in collaboration with Outpost Coffee and Vinyl http://www.outpostrecords.co.uk

The Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to chat to Mari Lowe.

Hi Mari great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

Hello. I’m from Bridgend and I work in heritage. Working in heritage basically means that I get paid to work on projects which explore the past, present and future of everyday people. Often this involves working with a museum or other cultural organisation.

I went to a school called Archbishop McGrath in Bridgend which has since moved to a bigger (and better!) site. It was a small, modest secondary school with teachers who were very caring. Thanks to their encouragement I applied and got into the University of Oxford to study Archaeology and Anthropology. Archaeology is all about the people and societies of the past and anthropology is all about the people and societies of the present. Before I went to University I didn’t know much about Anthropology but I had watched a lot of episodes of Time Team so I felt well-qualified to study Archaeology.

Going away to University was such an important time for me. I really enjoyed the course and I also met people who lived or worked in other countries. I have been lucky enough to visit Sarawak, Spain, Mexico, Singapore, Kenya and South Africa, all because of people I met at University.

After that I did my masters in Museum Studies at Manchester University and I’ve worked in various jobs in museums and heritage. It hasn’t been simple. I’ve done everything from dressing up as a Victorian lady to making films with a refugee charity. Like many careers in arts and culture, it’s not that easy to pursue.

For the last 8 years I’ve lived in Cardiff and I’m pretty happy here. I’ve worked for The Cardiff Story museum and Oasis Cardiff among other things. I’m currently working for Sherman Theatre on a project called Love, Cardiff: City Road Stories. My job is to find people with connections to City Road and record interviews with them. Those recordings will be used to create a performance and an exhibition. It’s quite an ambitious project – we want to reach out to a lot of people and we’re doing it in a relatively short space of time.

http://www.shermantheatre.co.uk/performance/theatre/love-cardiff/

This chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to? 

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. I met him a couple of years ago and interviewed him. I can see why he has made it. His voice is very cool and he also comes across as a really genuine person. His first studio album is just about to be released but some of his tracks already exist on single and EP. Life in Her Yet is a beautiful song about his Gran.

Other than that the soundtrack to my life these days is actually BBC World Service. Obviously it’s the BBC so it’s very PC and from a British perspective but it helps to remind me each day that my country is not the centre of the Universe!

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, so we want to ask you to list 5 records/albums which have personal resonance to you and why. 

1) Different Light by The Bangles – this was the first record I singled out from my dad’s vinyl collection. I must have been very young but for some reason I liked it and would ask him to put it on the record player. It may have been because of the song September Girls – I was born in September. Looking back I was really lucky to live in a house with a real record collection. I grew up in a quiet, very ordinary home but there were always books, records and art materials around. I realise now what a positive influence that has had on me. When I got older, old enough to actually put the records on myself, I chose things like Paranoid by Black Sabbath, or Led Zeppelin II and another favourite was Eat to the Beat by Blondie – that one’s in my collection now.

2) Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins – I never bought a copy of this. I started listening to the Smashing Pumpkins because of my older brother. Anyone who has older brothers will know what a strong influence they have on you. We’re talking about 20 years ago – a new release would be up to £20 on CD. He would diligently save his pocket money or wait for Christmas to get the records he wanted. I started doing the same. The first album I chose and bought myself was 1977 by Ash. There was five years between me and my brother – I must have been so annoying trying to copy him and hang out with him. Sadly he passed away but I know that being an annoying little sister will always be part of who I am!

3) Cowboys from Hell – Pantera – this record is pretty silly but I still love it. In my mid-teens I got into metal. It was the era of bands like Deftones and System of a Down. Once I got into metal I started going to local gigs. Around that time there was a really fun and accessible music scene in Bridgend. I met a few people back then that have become friends for life. Actually, I hope they know this but they were the extended family I needed at a really hard time in my life. Listening to Pantera might not be everyone’s idea of sanctuary but it was for me.

4) Make Believe – self-titled EP– someone very special copied this EP onto a cassette tape for me along with some other related bands. That got me listening to the more thoughtful side of rock music and to honest I drifted away from the big noisy bands. I think that brand of American indie is also interesting because some of them had something to say about American life and the promise of the ‘American dream’. I travelled to the States on my own when I finished my degree at Oxford and I was surprised by how foreign it felt. I thought all the films I’d watched would be enough to make it feel familiar but it didn’t. It’s such a huge place you can go from one state top another and it feels like a different country – different landscape, different people, different values. And the inequality is so obvious. Just take the Greyhound.

5) Oh No Not My Baby – Maxine Brown – this is one of my favourite recordings from the ‘60s soul/Mowtown era. Her voice isn’t as big as some of the other soul divas but it has a kind of sweetness to it. I could listen to records from this era all day. Fantastic voices, but also I think the old-fashioned romance appeals to me too. My record collection in my teens and twenties was very male-dominated but since then I’ve made a conscious effort to listen to more female musicians and vocalists. It must have been tough for women going into the music industry back then. Now there are so many talented female musicians making it, but also promoters and producers. I hope that continues.

Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?

I’d have to choose Siamese Dream, maybe the track Cherub Rock. It’s got a great 90s rock sound and I think without seeing the physical cassette tape and appreciating that as an album maybe I wouldn’t have gone out and bought my own records.

Many thanks for your time Mari.

 

BSL Video, Why not join Get the Chance? with Steph Back

This video features Get the Chance member Steph Back inviting you to join our team. The BSL transcript is below.

Hi my name is Steph Back.

I am a member of Get the Chance. Get the Chance support members of the public to access sport and cultural events such as gigs, the theatre and performances. The members then review the activity they have attended. All of the reviews are posted on the Get the Chance website http://getthechance.wales
Get the Chance wants to support new deaf/hearing impaired critics. Get the Chance can run free workshops teaching you about how to be a critic.

If you are interested in getting involved you need to contact Guy O’Donnell, The Director of Get the Chance.

You can email him at odonnell.guy@gmail.com or text him on 07703 729079. Get the Chance also has a Facebook group and you can get in touch there as well.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GettheChance/

Thank You.

Top Tunes with Kully Thiarai Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales

Portrait photographs by Jon Pountney

Top Tunes is a new feature for Get the Chance in collaboration with Outpost Coffee and Vinyl http://www.outpostrecords.co.uk

The Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to chat to Kully Thiarai, Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales.

Hi Kully great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

“Hi I’m currently Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales and based in Cardiff. I grew up in Smethwick, near Birmingham and got into theatre quite by accident. I have over the years worked independently as a Theatre Director and also run organisations large and small –some with theatre buildings and others like National Theatre Wales whose work can happen anywhere.”

This chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to? 

“I’ve not listened to much recently. I’ve just bought the new XX album and looking forward to seeing them in Cardiff very soon. I’ve mostly been listening to Bowie recently– his greatest hits and Black Star. I was lucky enough to see Lazarus in London– the new work he made before he died and it made me want to listen to some of his older music as well as Black Star.”

Have you had the chance to catch up with any Welsh or Wales based singers or bands?

“I’ve always enjoyed Super Furry Animals and Catatonia and would obsessively play the Manics albums but I have a lot to catch up on the more recent Welsh scene. Swn Festival is of course a great event and it certainly helped me hook into some Welsh musical talent that I wasn’t aware of.”

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, so we want to ask you to list 5 records/albums which have personal resonance to you and why. 

“I’m struggling to list only 5 – but here are few that come to mind for very different reasons.”

“U2 – lots of albums that I love but ‘War’ which featured ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ was my introduction to the band and I still think it’s a wonderful anthem and rebel song. There are loads of other U2 songs that I play a lot but I could be here for hours naming them.”

“I can’t name one single album as such but I loved the Jam and then The Style Council and now all things Paul Weller. ‘A Town called Malice’ is one of my favourite songs – it somehow captured the times I grew up in. ‘Brand New Start’ is heartbreaking but I always hear it as a song to help pick yourself up when your down and ‘Why Walk When You Can Run’ just celebrates the joy of being young and full of life.”

“Tina Turner because I had to include a great woman singer who was feisty, extraordinary and such an entertainer, but I can’t name an album – she’s simply the best!”

 “Parallel Lines Blondie – I remember one of my Maths teacher at school being completely obsessed with Blondie and he used to try and sing her songs. She was such an iconic figure and the music felt so different from other things I was hearing at the time.”

“Monsoon Wedding soundtrack – I really enjoyed the film and the diversity of music from classical Indian tunes to contemporary compositions was really fun. It has a joyful quality and hooks into my Indian culture I suppose.”

Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?

“It’s really difficult to choose one but…..There is a beautiful song on the Monsoon Wedding Soundtrack called Aaj Mausam Bada Beimann Hai (Today the Weather Plays Tricks on Me) by Mohammed Rafi which always makes me smile. It’s playing as a young wedding planner is creating a heart of marigolds on the lawn as the rain is falling to show the maid of the house his feelings for her.”