Category Archives: Music

Review The Red Shoes, Matthew Bourne Company by Sian Thomas

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 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 https://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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Review Mother Africa, Khayelitsha – My Home , Peacock Theatre by Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Described as a crossbreed of traditional African dance and circus stunts, Mother Africa is an explosive and fun event to attend.

While I felt it more leaned to the Circus route, the setting, language, music and dance all had the essence of traditional Africa, or at least what we believe it to be. Implemented with short narratives, the performers keep to a native tongue, and so the use of the universal language of gesture is relied upon, giving us the essence of peering through to their way of life. The production looks at the difference levels of Africa- the poor, the average, areas of boosting economy and the rich, not relying purely upon the negative connotations that can be associated with this vibrant country.

The music is interesting, majority positive and easy to listen to. The dancing is incredible, fast paced and interesting – leaving you slightly awe inspired as to the earthly, natural positioning of their body and its movement.

But what struck me was the circus skills. As a (not so secret) wannabe circus performer, despite my 0 skills, I have seen many a circus show/act in my years in performance art . And when you have seen something as much as that, you would think that you would grow a sense of numbness to the awe, to the fear. And I have to some extent. This is not to mean I do not enjoy it as much as I would have with those feelings still, but I have grown a different sense to it – more inspirational and a sense of learning. But somehow, Mother Africa revoked those old feelings. They take skills to a new death defying level, and the gentle shake of my head and grin at being shocked at the unbelievable tricks was constant.

Speaking to Jolene, one of Sadler’s Wells press managers, we agreed that Mother Africa is a interesting, warm and welcoming show mid-week after a hard day of work, a boring time in life or in general, a fantastic show to invest in.

http://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2017/mother-africa-khayelitsha-my-home/

Review Kaiser Chiefs ‘Stay Together’ Tour Venue Cymru by Donna Poynton

Kaiser Chiefs ‘Stay Together’ Tour

Over the last few years the North Wales music scene has turned a massive corner with acts such as James Morrison at Rhyl Pavillion. The Shires and Bellowhead at Venue Cymru, Little Mix, Lionel Richie, and Elton John gracing the stage at Parc Eirias . And last night the Kaiser Chiefs kicked off the first leg of their UK tour at the Venue Cymru Arena in Llandudno.

The 2,500 capacity venue was sold out but with plenty of space to dance! The support acts warmed up the crowd suitably and just before 9pm we were treated to a large neon sign donned with a bright arrow pointing to the stage and the words ‘Tonite-Kaiser Chiefs’. With what seemed to be some kind of salute to 1940s-60s America the sign intermittently flickered and buzzed in the fifteen minutes before the band’s arrival-a suitable tease!

The show opened with the band on a small stage in the style of an American high school prom-the ones we are used to seeing in the movies (think Grease!) complete with silver tinsel curtain, a disco ball and lead vocalist Ricky Wilson in a green blazer throwing his best Elvis shapes!

Soon after, and in a little murmur of confusion, the band were behind the tinsel curtain as it suddenly fell, revealing the real size of the arena stage, a huge neon ‘K’ and ‘C’ and a plethora of lights and smoke machines. The perfect secret reveal!

The band, from Leeds, who originally formed in 2000, played all of their greatest hits including ‘I Predict a Riot’ (which shot them to stardom in 2005 reaching number 9 in the UK Singles Chart), ‘Ruby’ (which topped the charts in 2007), ‘Modern Way’ and ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’ along with some new stuff including the catchy ‘Hole in my Soul’ and ‘Parachute’.

Ricky Wilson is a brilliant showman with incredible energy and a voice with stunning control despite scaling scaffolding and jumping through the crowds, transforming most female fans into screaming teenagers as they stumbled to get closer!

The guys deserve every success on their latest tour and they’ve certainly started as they mean to go on in this little seaside town! They go on to perform in Bournemouth on Friday and then throughout the UK over February and March, including a huge show at the O2 in London.
Venue Cymru Arena, Llandudno
Wednesday February 22nd 2017 7pm
Supported by Howl Sounds and Spring King

Review: Babulus, Gwyn Emberton and ilDance by Helen Joy

Babulus

4 Stars

Tower of Babel, says a friend next to me.

 Communication, that’s what it’s about, she says, all the different ways of communicating.

 I’m not sure about the bear, I find the bear creepy. Oh, she says, I like the bear.

Did you like the dance as a whole? Oh yes, mesmerising. I like going to things with you, I see things I wouldn’t otherwise see.

I see things I wouldn’t otherwise see. This is one of them for me too.

 

I was facilitating art classes last week with older people in hospitals and care homes and one of them, Brian, was unable to speak or hear. Don’t worry, the nurse said, he will make you understand him. And he did. Brian painted flowers, big colourful flowers. We chatted with our hands, our faces and our paint. We did not need to use our voices. It was a dance between two people.

Babulus is a dance between five people, one of whom is a bear now and again. A bizarre, fluffy, comedic yet sentient and sympathetic character to foil the darker elements of tied hands and closed mouths. I still found it creepy. The clown in the classroom, the slapstick to the poignant. I realise that this is just me – everyone else loved the softer element, the balance, the reference to a childhood toy. I still have my Bear, he sleeps with me still and he is my most valuable possession so I do get it, I get the thinking, I just don’t like it until I watch her loose a dancer’s bonds, quietly, softly.

But the dance itself? Oh it is superb. The dancers come together, push apart, come together, push apart using movement, chatter, language, sticky tape, song and light. They are beautifully choreographed, they are beautifully lit. It is mesmerising. There are two themes I particularly like: the holding of hands over each other’s mouths; and the bunching together babbling in their mother tongues. I like that they emerge from behind us, that they make eye contact with us, that they threaten us and engage with us. They laugh with us too.

It is the dance between two people, one with his hand over her mouth with her twisting away to speak, that I will remember most – they roll into and over each other in a balletic, deceptive, controlling, power struggle. I wish I could see this again and again. It called to me.

It is also one of the best after show discussions I have ever attended. The performers, dancers, are as engaging vocally as they have been throughout their piece. Clever, open, responsive to their audience, they are indeed communicating at all levels. Not babbling at all, really.

 

Event:                   Bablulus

Seen:                    1930, 17th February, 2017

Reviewer:            Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics

Running:               Friday 17 February – Saturday 18 February

Cost :                    Tickets: £12/£10; Age 11+

Running time: approx. 50mins  

Links:     http://www.chapter.org/babulus

Production:         Gwyn Emberton and ilDance collaboration

Music:                  Oscar Collin

Lighting and design:         Joe Fletcher

Direction:            Sara Lloyd

Babulus was created and toured with the support of Arts Council Wales, Gothenburg International Theatre and Dance Festival, The Work Room, Wales Arts International, Göteborg Stad, Västra Götalandsregionen, NDCWales, Ballet Cymru, Balettakademien Stockholm, Konstnärsnämnden, and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

REVIEW ANTON AND ERIN SWING TIME, ST DAVID’S HALL BY JAMES BRIGGS

“I’m puttin’ on my top hat, Tyin’ up my white tie, Brushin’ off my tails” to welcome the fabulous Strictly Come Dancing duo Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag. On Sunday 19th February a packed crowd at the St David’s Hall was treated to an afternoon of high class ballroom dancing from two of Strictly Come Dancing’s most famous dancers.

I must say I was extremely excited before watching this show as I am a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing and really love ballroom dancing so for me this show was a dream. The brilliant dancing duo was accompanied by a whole host of other dancers who were just as brilliant. The three male dancers easily kept up with the style of Du Beke and they were Scott Coldwell, Luke Field-Wright and Adam Lyons. The ladies dancing within the show were equally as brilliant and gave the same grace as Erin Boag. The brilliant ladies dancing were Hayley Ainsley, Victoria Hinde and Francesca Moffat.

Alongside the brilliant dancers within the show there was also a fabulous orchestra namely that of the London Concert Orchestra. Anton Du Beke himself joked about how he would have had the Welsh Concert Orchestra only they were too expensive. The London Concert orchestra was conducted by renowned conductor Richard Balcombe. The orchestra accompanied a very special guest singer for the show Lance Ellington who is one of the singers on the show Strictly Come Dancing. His voice was brilliant and worked very well with the music chosen for the show. He even joined in with some of the dances and certainly showed how massively talented all of the performers are on Strictly Come Dancing.

All of the brilliant dances were choreographed and directed by Nikki Woollaston who has worked on productions such as 42nd Street at the Theatre du Chatelet and many other tours with Anton Du Beke.

All in all Anton and Erin put on a fabulous show that really is a joy to behold. With such magical dance numbers and brilliant performances it really is a show not to be missed. So if you have chance to watch this amazing duo performing grasp it and just “face the music and dance”.

Tickets for the tour around he UK are available via – http://www.antonanderin.com/_blog/The-Anton-And-Erin-Blog/post/swing-time—our-2017-tour/