Not content wrth penning the new Beats International single. Billy Bragg is about to release The Internalr’mzale a collection of seven political songs he has become aware ofsince the Miners‘ Strike. The title song (the national anthem of the Soviet Union until I943 and sung by pro—democracy students in China) features new lyrics by Bragg as he felt the English translation was outdated. “Blake's Jerusalem‘. on the other hand. is an attempt to show it as an attack on capitalism rather than a companion piece to ‘Rule Britannia' and land of l lope and Glory".

For a number of reasons. the album will appear on his own Utility label rather than the regular GofDiscs outlet. ‘1 have no proper recording contract with GolDiscs. but I do have a good relationship with them. Secondly. it‘s an attempt to increase the profile of the label and. finally. I cart control the price. which isn't always possible now (io!l)iscs are part of Polygram.‘

Released on International Workers Day (1 May). the first since 'I‘ianenmen Square and the dismantling ofthe Berlin Wall. the album not only attempts to retain the tradition of socialist songs but also to update them in light of the changes in Eastern Europe. There is a danger. he feels. that like America since McCarthyism. we may lose our left-wing tradition; that voting for democracy is 'voting for (‘Ds and BMW's‘.

Throughout. Bragg tried to avoid using session men in fact. the version of ‘The Red Flag was recorded at Pier House studios in Leith with the help of Scottish folk musicians. including Dick Gaughan. It has also had its original musical backing "I'he White ('oekade‘ (a Jacobite air) returned. ‘lt was the same going to the Rhonda Valley to record the brass band for “The lnternationale".' says Bragg. ‘It was

important to use musicians who are part ofthat tradition.‘ (James Haliburton)





Lovers of fine traditional music will know Michael O’Suilleabhain’s championing of the piano in Irish music. Part classical, with a sometimes sombre lyricism, and always with an infectious and subtle rhythmic sense, he takes the forms, slow air, reel, jig or hornpipe and

, for sustained periods within the pulse. 3 Anyone interested in what the piano l could do in traditional music should

hear him or get a copy oi his solo album

‘The Dolphin's Way’.

Fittingly, he says, ‘I discovered traditional music from the man whose post I now hold at the Music

, days, the early 70s, there was so little traditional music. Groups with banjos and bad ceilidh bands. It was Sean 0 Biada who unlocked the doorto me in my late teens. I was studying classical piano and composition, and playing in some rock bands, but I was carried

explores them, sometimes improvising

Department at Cork University. In those

Not all academic



away by what he let me hear.’

O’Suilleabhain and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the combination that produced last year‘s superb Oilean/lsland album, will be appearing at Mayfest this year. As a composer, O’Suilleabhain uses the dense sonorities of the strings to underpin occasional solo traditional instruments in a manner that is accessible, yet somehow enigmatic and profound.

One of the beautitul new sets in what i will be one of Mayfest's most ! memorable musical events is an , arrangement of three harp pieces, two I by O’Carolan, the whole setting called after an ancient air, ‘King of the Blind’ which was discovered in Neal‘s ‘Celebrated Irish Melodies' of 1720, the only surviving copy otwhich is in i Queen’s University, Belfast. (Norman . Chalmers) Michael O’Suilleabhain and the Irish ! = Chamber Orchestra play at the City Hall, Glasgow, on Wed 9.

l v SOUL





, 5/337 I

' Once labelled The High Priestess of

Soul, Nina Simone is one at those singers who draws her audience, like

. her music, from all points of the musical compass. Equally at home in

:soul, pop, blues and jazz idioms, she is

i also a trained classical pianist.

Born Eunice Wayman into a poor llamin in North Carolina, she exhibited {an earlytalent for music. ‘I studied imuslc six to eight hours a day from when l was five years old,‘ she recalls of that period. ‘By the time I finished high school, I could play anything.’ A

sympathetic music teacher, and the fund-raising efforts of tamin and friends, ensured that She was able to further her education at the prestigious TJulliard School in New York. Turned down for a scholarship to the

Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia

3 when she was seventeen (‘I was too '3 good not to get it, but they turned me

Soul survivo

..~».' '. 5......-

- -. .- . 3,31; and uneasy relationship with the business ever since. Fuelled by that Curtis rejection, her black militancy (she wrote the black anthem ‘Young, Gifted and Black', and was an outspoken supporter of civil rights) ruffled feathers on both sides of the community. In the 19703, though, she largely . slipped from sight, living in Liberia and ' Switzerland, and making the headlines more for personal strife than artistic achievements. That career has revived in the 19803, boosted by the success of her 1957 recording ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me,‘ which topped European charts after its appearance in a Chanel ad. She is once again a major draw, but

i still insists she feels less than

comfortable with it. ‘Showbusiness was a deep mistake for me. I should never have gone to

i play for drunks in a bar in Atlantic City

' down. Black people were not supposed ?

I to be concert pianists in those

days . . .'), Nina moved Sideways into

3 popular music, starting as a singer and

pianist in an Irish bar in New Jersey.

' A massive hit in 1957 with ‘l Loves You Porgy’ catapulted her onto the

i national stage, but she has had a long



and wasted mytalent like that.’ Her many fans doubtless don‘t see it that way, but then again, she has never been a predictable lady. (Kenny Mathieson)

Nina Simone, Theatre Royal, 7 May, 7.30pm.

ln Mayfest‘s most ambitious classical music programme to date. the concert on Sat 12 by the Tallis Scholars is the first ofthis year's three recitals ofearly music. Founded in 1978 by its director. Peter Phillips. the choir now holds an enviable reputation throughout the world for its performances and recordings of Renaissance music. particularly English music ofthe sort it bringsto (ilasgow;

‘It all started at Oxford University with choral scholars.‘ explains Phillips just minutes belore setting off for a couple ofconccrts in Artistcrdam. ‘and that's why the word “scholars‘ is in our name. We‘ve gone beyond that world now though. and the choir consists totally of professiortal singers and me as full-time director.‘ The Mayfest cortccrt includes works by (iibbons. Morley. Weelkes. Byrd and. of course. 'I‘allis. with no particular theme except. says Phillips. ‘that they're all linglish and late lbtli century and all good pieces by good English Renaissance composers.‘

Phillips remains pleased with the choice of'l‘allis for the other halfofthe Scholars' name. ‘l le's the best composer of the linglish school of the loth century and he covers all the stylistic angles we wanted to esplorcf

For most choirs there is always the temptation to diversity to include other types of music in the repertoire. Willi SI) conccr Is and many recordings a y car. the

l‘allis Scholars are sowell established as international leaders in their field now that there are no financial pressures to do this. but equally Phillips is adamant that they sing strictly Renaissance music.

It's undoubtedly a magical sound. and if you can't make the Mayfest concert. there's a South Bank Show (‘hristmas special being shown mid-December. the day after their next appearance in Edinburgh. ((‘arol Main)

The lit/It's Scholars play a! (he ( 'r'ly Hall on Sat 1.? May.

22 the—List? : iifia} i 990