Saturday, 13 December 2008

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock

I have liked Herbie Hancock ever since I first heard his music. I really started to get into his style and music a lot when I saw The Miles Davis Quintet’ DVD which featured Herbie Hancock on the piano. It featured other great Jazz musicians as well such as Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter. That DVD inspired me to get into Herbie’s music even more. My brother then bought another DVD called ‘Future 2 Future’ where Herbie Hancock is the main man. The music on the DVD was pretty funky and just makes you want to nod up and down. He plays a lot of songs in particular from his ‘Head Hunters’ album and his ‘Thrust’ album. He had a ‘Herbie Hancock quintet’ at the time and played with some excellent musicians.

Herbie Hancock is very experimental and like Miles Davis wanted to get different types of audiences. At the time, and still today there are plenty of black Jazz musicians but not many black people go to see Jazz. Herbie played Jazz at a time when it had grown the most. The 1960s had so many other great Jazz musicians including; Chick Corea, Chet Baker, Keith Jarrett and Eric Dolphy. They all have their own styles. The great thing about Herbie Hancock is his ability to make his music sound so simple, yet so cool and challenging. Miles Davis also played very simply. He and Herbie are extremely experimental and technical as well. The wonderful thing about Jazz is that it can appeal to so many people whether its people of art or practical people. It has similar qualities to film in a way because they both have a lot of intensity and a climax which drags on. Herbie’s music always keeps you on the edge and always makes you want more. You keep thinking that the song is going to end but it doesn’t. I have five of Herbie’s albums which are; ‘Head Hunter’s’, ‘The Herbie Hancock Trio in concert’, ‘Round Midnight’, ‘New Standard’, and ‘Thrust’. They all vary and all have their own unique qualities.

When I saw Branford Marsalis at the Barbican I saw a programme saying that Herbie Hancock was playing with his ‘Sextet’. I immediately wanted to go and booked up the tickets. I saw him on 19th November 2008. The Barbican is a great venue for art and culture. He played quite varied music, ranging from his funky Jazz to more subtle and sweet Jazz. Herbie Hancock really understands Jazz well and has played it for so many years now and with some revolutionary Jazz artists. When I saw him at the Barbican I felt so cool and I just reacted completely to his music by nodding a lot and just feeling great. I would highly recommend his music to anybody. The concert had a bit of rock in it as well which was unusual for Herbie. All of the musicians he played with were fantastic and they all played excellently. Herbie Hancock said on stage that ‘nobody plays the harmonia like ‘Gregoire Maret’ and he was absolutely right. I have never heard anyone play the harmonica that works with Jazz. I never really thought it could work. Additionally all the drummers in Jazz I have seen so far have all played mind-blowing solos and this concert was no exception. It was jaw dropping to hear drums played so technically and so fast. They constantly get you on the edge and concentrate your mind intensely. The ‘Herbie Hancock Sextet’ on that night included; Herbie Hancock: Acoustic piano, Keyboards and electronics, Terence Blanchard: Trumpet, Lionel Loueke: Guitar, Gregoire Mare: Harmonia, James Genus: Acoustic and electric base and Kendrick Scott on drums. These people really can play extremely well. Herbie Hancock is one of my favourite Jazz musicians and expresses his own style really well. He also has great intuition and takes the initiative well with his music. The man is a great entertainer as well as having a solid understanding in his field of music. When he speaks on stage as well he is perfectly calm and looks as though he has performed at so many concerts. He also likes to smile a lot. He looked as though he didn’t have a care in the world. I hope to see him play again sometime and just relax to his music. Herbie Hancock never disappoints and you can see that he puts 100% effort and commitment in his music. He is an accomplished musician and a great influence for anyone interested in Jazz.

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The Ockress

The Ockress

And so it came to pass that The Ockress was launched upon the world …

The Ockress is a mythological story about a young man named Perlone who is identified by circumstance as ‘the Chosen One’ of a religion that dedicates itself to a number of Gods, Indomnias being the most influential; a religion that is named quite simply as ‘the Faith’.





The Ockress was written by Victor Rikowski

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© The Ockress, 2007-08. All rights reserved.

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Friday, 12 December 2008

The Sleeping Beauty Ballet

The Sleeping Beauty Ballet

The Sleeping Beauty was performed by The European Ballet which I witnessed myself at the Kenneth More Theatre.

Act 1

The Christening

I saw The Sleeping Beauty Ballet at the Kenneth More Theatre on October 2008. The plot starts of with a christening of the Royal infant daughter, Princes Aurora. The fairy Carabosse was insulted by the fairies good wishes on the Princess and cursed that Aurora will grow up, but will die. The princess is assured she will not die, but is instead put into a deep sleep. A kiss from a prince would awaken her from her sleep.

Act 2

Scene 1- The Spell

On Aurora’s sixteenth birthday she is given some flowers and as she dances, she pricks her finger. She faints but recovers, yet nevertheless after a short dance she falls to the ground and appears to be dead. Carabosse’s curse on her was true. The lilac fairy arrives and casts a spell on the princess, sending her to sleep.

Scene 2- The vision

Prince Desire is hunting in the forest. He sees the lilac fairy. The fairy shows him to the way to the princess and then he is given a vision of princess aurora

Scene 3- The Awakening

Desire awakens the princess with a kiss. The spell is broken.

Act 3- The wedding

Aurora and desire get married. The lilac fairy appears to bless the marriage.

I had a really good view of the Sleeping Beauty Ballet from the front so I felt really engaged with it. I felt all the emotions they went through in the performance. The joy, the love, the anger and the beauty were all shown through out the Ballet. The elegance and flexibility of the ballerinas shows the dedication and commitment to their ambitions. Ballet in general I think feels extremely magical and subtle. It’s a very delicate and perfectionist piece of art. Sleeping beauty felt very magical and limitless. It was also very colourful and bright. I felt like the performance took me away to a dream world and I didn’t want to leave it. To me Ballet seems to be about co-ordination, expression and discipline. I could follow the synopsis fairly comfortably, even though it was a ballet. It just shows the power of action and the power of expression and movement. Ballet reflects the true human being instead of the false one which we live in today, in capitalism. It’s more to do with the feeling rather than the thought. Watching the Ballet made me realise that it’s about discipline but in a free way. Ballet is a very free art. Stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast presents some interesting ideas such as the conflict with good and evil, which in the end the good wins. This creates different kinds of emotions from very extreme angles. This is beyond the human emotions because of its use of magic and religion.

The Sleeping Beauty Ballet was a truly beautiful performance and reflects the wonders of people and what they are capable of. It was truly inspirational and a delight to witness such perfection.

I obtained the synopsis from the programme I bought from the Kenneth More Theatre.

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Partenope is a three act musical opera performed by Handel. It was one of the first operas I had ever witnessed before. On 7th November 2008 I saw the opera and it was an extremely powerful and enjoyable event. Handel’s opera emphases the problems in love relationships and how love can be cruel and harsh. The main characters are Emilio, Partenope, Arsaca, Armindo, Rosmira disguised as Eurimene and Ormente. I saw the opera live at the Coliseum theatre in London. Within all of these characters, love relationships get mightily confused because of the mix up of love in which they get themselves caught up in. Arsace, Eurimene and Armindo all begin within loving Partenope. Partenope is seen as the main character who speaks her mind, regardless of whether or not she hurts anybody. Partenope starts off loving Arsace but ends up rejecting him because she hopes to go with Armindo. Arsace wanted to run of with Rosmira.

In the end the characters end up in love and end up happy. What this performance shows more than anything is the unpredictable nature of love and emotions. Our instincts and our feelings can change depending on the situation. Partenope shows the conflict with love and friendship and the cruel nature of love. More than anything the performance showed deep passion and deep expression. The characters actively and verbally express to let themselves go wild. The opera shows how unfocused and wayward love can be. At the same time it can also be an overwhelming desire that is to powerful to neglect. I think also the opera showed the conflict that love can cause and that it’s not free and as beautiful as we might think. There can be two people loving the same person for example. This can lead to violence and hatred in the process. It’s our desires which make us behave in a certain way and feel in a certain way. The threat and violence is shown in Partenope when Emilio offers Partenope marriage which she refuses. Emilio threatens her in the process. Partenopes story does stereotype in some way. Those men such as Emilio are being violent to her and abusing her which shows the patriarchal dominance in some way. To some extent the opera treats men like active wolves and women as innocent and passive. All the characters show their affections for each other, but in the process are entangled. I suppose however during the 1730 when Handel wrote the opera, a completely male dominant society would have been perfectly normal. In the end the characters end up happy and the problems resolve themselves.

Handel’s music is brilliantly performed and blends with the words superbly. He mixes subtle pieces with louder and some with more disturbing pieces. His music is challenging and gripping and makes you feel for his characters on stage. The music drives you to feel for a character when he or she is fulfilling there passions expressively.

Overall the performance was excellent and Partenope is a great example of what opera is about and what kind of questions it raises. Not in terms of logical and rational but in terms of the human nature and the human form.

I obtained the synopsis information from a useful programme I bought from the London Coliseum theatre.

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at:

Terry Pratchett- The first Discworld novel

Terry Pratchett

'The Colour of Magic'

Terry Pratchetts first Discworld novel ‘The Colour of Magic’ is a story with a lot of humour and excitement. It’s a science-fiction fantasy novel that has some similarities with Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings. The characters in his book are quite original and well thought out. For example, Rincewind the Wizard is a coward who somehow manages to get out of all difficult situations and has much fortune.

Terry Pratchett gives his characters quite bold personalities and they all vary. Two- flower, who is a native tourist, moves on hundreds of little legs.

One of the things Terry Pratchett did for me was that for the first time in my life he encouraged me to have a big imagination. He makes you think of lots of different colours that are quite bright and cartoon like. Colours that come to my mind are blue, yellow, gold, red and black. The novel explores endless possibilities and endless ways of being. Also the creatures he creates eventually become unsurprising because in science-fiction fantasy there are so many different ways in creating characters in terms of shape, form, personality etc. This novel is a great example of that and so much happens in this book. For example towards the end Rincewind falls off the edge of the Discworld and miraculously survives.

Terry Pratchett’s humour throughout the book is very bold and mocks in many ways the human mind. In the book for example a conversation goes on.

‘You find chokeapples under a chokeapple tree’ he said. ‘You find treasure under altars. Logic’

His humour comes often by mocking his characters and making them appear to be stupid and clueless. Yet at the same time they seem to get by in life and be quite successful. Terry Pratchett mocks rationality because he makes his characters unfocused in terms of their actions and they seem to just get themselves caught up in situations which they did not intend to be in. Rincewind the wizard did not intend to leave his hometown. He got thrown out of his University because he could only do one spell. He is portrayed as a helpless old wizard.

You get a feeling for Terry Pratchett’s books by his covers. It’s not always true when people say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ because this book is that. The book cover gives you a feeling of the content inside. If you’re interested in novels and want to get started then this book is ideal. ‘The Colour of Magic’ entices you and encourages you to have a big imagination. It is full of strange creatures and strange landscapes. The Discworld itself is supported by four elephants and a turtle on top. This book is great if you like things such as myths and magic and a world which is distant from how we know it.

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First Blog

This Blog

In this blog I will be focusing on my interests which involve culture and art. Aspects such as films, music, opera and other activities which I enjoy and love.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog and hope it will be very interesting for you.


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