Eddie & Elsie

“A friend of Nick’s, brilliant Irish filmmaker Myles O’Reilly, has made a beautiful short film with our new song To The Island as a soundtrack. It introduces an inspiring couple, lifelong partners Eddie and Elsie, with wise words about love, nature and dreams. It’s so hopeful and tender. We should take their words and their world to heart.” – Neil Finn (Crowded House)

Crowded House: To The Island – Myles O’Reilly’s Arbutus Yarns

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Shadows & Light

I’ve had the live album recording of this concert for as long as I can remember, first as a double LP then later as two CDs. It’s just about one of the best live albums ever, with Joni at the peak of her powers and she’s got a great little backing band! But I’d not realised that there’s also a film of the performance. And it’s a total delight! It doesn’t get any better than this.

Joni Mitchell – guitar, vocals; Pat Metheny – lead guitar; Jaco Pastorius – bass; Don Alias – drums; Lyle Mays – keyboards; Michael Brecker – saxophone; The Persuasions – backing vocals on “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” & “Shadows and Light”; Toller Cranston – skates.

Shadows and Light is Joni Mitchell’s 1980 double live album, recorded at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in September 1979 on the Mingus tour.

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Offertorium

One of a collection of new videodances created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Mark Morris Dance Group.

It features Lauren Grant who has been dancing with MMDG since 1996, and who I first saw perform with them twenty-one years ago at Sadlers Wells.

Offertorium / Mark Morris Dance Group

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Being John McLean

This time last year, as relief from the winter gloom, we went down to Margate to see an exhibition of paintings by Patrick Heron. This year there’s no need to travel quite so far; the Art Space Gallery in Islington is full of winter sunshine until the end of January. I don’t know why I’ve never been before. It’s an intimate series of rooms and alcoves and niches, presently framing some wonderfully joyful bursts of colour by John McLean. It’s a memorial exhibition for a sharp, bright and generous spirit. Continue reading “Being John McLean”

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For Ashley

These days I seem to be mostly listening to cello music. I was recently introduced to this wonderful video performance by Ashley Bathgate of a piece written for her by Andrew Norman, inspired by J S Bach’s Prelude from the Fourth Cello Suite. It’s energetic, bouncy, playfully repetitive and fantastic.

Ashley Bathgate

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Parabelo: Grupo Corpo

Brazilian dance ensemble Grupo Corpo performing their 1997 piece Parabelo, choreographed by Rodrigo Pederneiras with music by Tom Zé and Zé Miguel Wisnik. “From working and devotional chants, from the memory of the rhythmic baião and from the exuberant and an ever present, entangled, rhythmic points and counterpoints, emerges choreography full of hip swaying and feet stamping. It’s a ravishing statement of maturity and of the expressive teachings, developed throughout many years, by the maker of Missa do Orfanato and Sete ou Oito Peças para um Ballet.”

Grupo Corpo | Parabelo

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Bach: Grupo Corpo

Brazilian dance ensemble Grupo Corpo performing their 1996 piece Bach, (“it’s like a game between what one hears and what one sees”), choreographed by Rodrigo Pederneiras with music by Marco Antônio Guimarães (channelling J.S.Bach).

Grupo Corpo | Bach

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Ama

A breathtaking short film by underwater freediving artist and director Julie Gautier.

“Ama is a silent film. It tells a story everyone can interpret in their own way, based on their own experience. There is no imposition, only suggestions. I wanted to share my biggest pain in this life with this film. For this is not too crude, I covered it with grace. To make it not too heavy, I plunged it into the water. I dedicate this film to all the women of the world.”

海の女 (ama) is the Japanese word for “woman of the sea,” which is also the name for Japan’s traditional shell collectors. The film is a metaphoric nod to these united women, while also representing the relationship that connects women from all over the world.

“For me, this film is a way to say: you are not alone,” said Gautier, “open yourself to others, talk about your sufferings and your joys.”

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Polka

Polka by Mark Morris. The dance uses a piece for violin and piano by contemporary composer Lou Harrison. Morris was taken by its final movement, called, strangely enough, “polka.”

I always start with a piece of music. I’m not doing, like, a musicological analysis and writing a paper or anything, but I’m figuring out in my mind what makes that particular piece work. So my intention is to say through dancing exactly what I think is being said through music.

Because I heard that “polka,” I said I must choreograph this right now. And to me, it sounds very, very ancient. And so I wanted to make up a dance that was evocative and a little mysterious and seemed like maybe people had been doing it for hundreds or thousands of years. That was my assignment.

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