Music Review: Laura Mvula – ‘an Organic Talent Who Is Sweet To The Ears’

Pandit Jasraj: Earlier, classical music was like Himalaya — today, it’s like a sea

The issue is not that he performs a song about the queer equality movement. His video for “Same Love” was the obvious winner for “Video With a Message” given its popularity, viral outreach, and content. Support is support, and I don’t really feel the need to cut him down for using his fame to advocate for an important cause. Celebrities do that all the time. Sure, Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis made a pretty penny from the song’s success, but I’m willing to take the popularity as an indication of America’s shifting viewpoint on sexuality and not as a slimy moneymaking move on the part of the artist. Plus, Mary Lambert, who is featured on the track, is an out lesbian who writes about the social issues that affect her as a queer woman all the time. She’s not the one getting the credit, though, which brings me to my next point. Here’s the deal. Macklemore is not the first person to write a great song that could be celebrated as the gay marriage anthem. There are documented recordings by queer artists singing about queer issues (read: their lives) that date back as far as the 1920s, and there is an alliance of out queer artists who continue to sing out loud. They have read the YouTube comments lately, and they do have plenty of reasons to think that hip-hop hates them.

How much did they pay you to be here? she demands, subtly imposing centre stage in an odd combination of Virgin Mary-style headscarf and humungous spike-heels. Theres people upstairs as well. False modesty is a practised stage shtick, but with Mvula, a genuine from-nowhere phenomenon, it rings truer than most. The smoky charms of the following Is There Anybody Out There, with its glittering furl of harp and a sweet singalong snatch of Marleys One Love tacked on to the end, though, do all the chest-puffing necessary. Theres a decidedly 70s cosmic wonder to Mvulas jazzy, psychedelic tunes, and her crack band give full-flight to her elaborate, lushly arranged songs. Opener Like The Morning Dew eases you into her sound-world, soothed by Mvulas rich purr but rolling smoothly into a scintillating explosion of harmony. She is another particular standout, with a Bjorkish jazzy twinkle that segues without falter into a more formidable, muscular soul incarnation. Mvula herself is understated charm incarnate, wooing her already rapt crowd with an intro to Flying Without You, which she describes as about a little girl before conceding, lets not beat around the bush its about me when I was 15. The song charms no less with its tale of overcoming unrequited love couched in a curious clapping rhythm. If theres a downside at all, its that Mvulas key parts can sometimes err on the over-twinkly-twee, but its the tiniest of gripes, and the bareness of the soul ballad Sing To The Moon swings the balance back the other way with impressive heft. Mvula is all humble thanks, leaving the stage to allow full focus on her band during her encore, Make Me Lovely, but we dont escape tonight without a linguistic lesson. A lot of people say it Muhvula, she lectures.

The celebration in Cannes did not capture the popular imagination, but in the music business (where manipulators of the popular imagination were ranged in novel hierarchies sensitive to movement and to intimations of aristocracy) the convergence of Ahmet Ertegun and the Rolling Stones had its resonance. This was not entirely due to the eminence of the Rolling Stones. By 1971, the Rolling Stones had recorded eighteen albums; they had introduced Threat, Excess, and Androgyny into popular music; they had been at the center of a metaphoric event at Altamont, in Californiawhere a member of the audience was stabbed to death; and for nearly a decade they had made the most powerful mock-black music of their times. But Ahmet Ertegun, informed men knew, had done at least as much. He had founded a small record company; he had turned a small record company into a major record company; he had superintended the careers of celebrated people and had superintended for himself a success of unrivalled longevity; he had owned a Rolls-Royce for more than five years; he had dressed extremely well; and he had, at one or two important moments, applied his own aesthetic to the talents of certain singers and musicians in a way that had influenced the whole of the music. In a business in which entrepreneurs and executives, however successful, were overshadowed, as they saw it, by hippies, druggies, spies, spades, transvestites, and Englishmen, Ahmet Ertegun was an exception. He had the stature in his line of work that Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer had had in theirs. By 1971, Ahmet Ertegun (jaunty, well dressed, bald, forty-seven years old, and of very recent Turkish extraction) was the Greatest Rock-and-Roll Mogul in the World, and the men in the businesspromoters, producers, corporate functionaries, managers, P.R. peoplewho were often cynical about the eminence of performers, were fascinated and sometimes moved by the eminence they saw in him. Ben Paynter Businessweek November 2012 How a loathsome band makes gobs of money. In addition to masterminding Nickelbacks ascent, Kroeger, 37, has found ways for his band to make money onstage and off, through licensing, merchandising, and product-placement agreements. Hes also helped groom many other acts, including some that the haters might even like. He co-owns the record company that released Carly Rae Jepsens ubiquitous summer smash, Call Me Maybe. He co-writes songs for other major artists and helps to promote them.

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It’s useful. Are changes reshaping classical music itself? Change is life. I’m an extremely positive person. I never live in negativity. I believe people like me are present in all times. Therefore, there’s nothing like old times having gone present times are equally good. Classical music has moved along with the times. The fact that it’s performed all over exemplifies how classical music is alive and any art which is alive is subject to change. That’s natural. There’s no such thing like classical music being on the decline. In fact, i’d say classical music is moving forward, aesthetically and scientifically. Earlier, it was like a Himalaya today, it’s like a sea with rivers and tributaries. Given technology and media, do young people have the patience to learn over years?