Browsing All Posts filed under »Opinion«

Is there a sustainable future for arts journalism?

December 30, 2013 by


As the New Year approaches, I wonder what 2014 holds for arts journalism. Which newspaper will be next to cut specialist music coverage? Which niche publications will go under? More than perhaps any other field within journalism, the arts is being attacked on all sides. While the industry continues to crave critical praise for its […]

Does the “jazzbro” exist in London?

August 1, 2013 by


Tweet this. What is a “jazzbro”? This is the description  from David A. Graham, an associate editor at The Atlantic, in response to another column in the Jazz Times by Nate Chinen about this rare breed, aficionados of the music with hipster-ish tendencies: …the jazzbro is usually between the ages of 18 and 34 and is most […]

New album must have: Simo Lagnawi – Gnawa London

June 25, 2013 by


Tweet this. Simo Lagnawi is Moroccan-Londoner and a musician you’re all going to hear a lot more about. He has been on the live music scene for a while, performing with world-fusion bands, but chose to record a debut album of the purest Gnawa, the trance-like, spiritual music from his homeland. It’s an outstanding piece […]

Preview: Amira & Bojan Z @ Arts Depot (LJF)

October 14, 2012 by

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I was in Sarajevo during the summer, attending Bascarsija Nights, the July-long, government-funded arts festival (named after the city’s famous Turkish quarter) in the Bosnian capital. You can read about my trip in the new edition, #88, of Songlines magazine. While there I attended a brilliant evening of Sevdah music, Bosnia’s national song, performed by […]

Opinion: Manifesto for a new Mercury Music Prize

September 15, 2012 by

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This article was written for the Voices section of the Independent website.  I am not a betting man but I know the difference between 4/1 and 10/1. It is the gap between Plan B, favourite to take the 2012 Mercury Music Prize, and the relative obscurity of the nominated artists languishing at the bottom of […]

Opinion: Confused by the Cultural Olympiad? Here’s why you should take notice

June 28, 2012 by

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Cultural Olympiad: what does it even mean? Much of the press coverage of the arty side of the 2012 Olympics – culminating at the moment with the London 2012 Festival – has involved head-scratching about what the hell it actually is. In Birmingham for its ‘launch’ last Thursday, Channel 4 News’ culture editor Matthew Cain stuck the […]

Opinion: Charting the routes of world music

March 23, 2012 by

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This piece was originally written for Independent blogs. There was a similar blog post on the Guardian today too.  World music. To some it’s a long-defunct marketing invention, a crude catch-all for bringing global folk styles – and numerous dodgy attempts at fusion – under one pointless umbrella. Questioning the validity of the term is […]

Opinion: The quiet evolution of live classical music

February 23, 2012 by


This post was originally written for the Independent blogs. London’s classical music scene is changing before our eyes. Over the last five to ten years a whole host of ambitious start-ups have emerged across the capital. Ensembles like the Aurora Orchestra and the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) are stuffed with talented young players and perform […]

Opinion: Mind the culture gap

January 23, 2012 by

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This article was written for Independent blogs. Standing at the bus stop the other day, I bumped into an acquaintance who had been working outside London for the last few years. When I asked how he liked living in Bristol, and then Liverpool, he reeled off a list of positives before saying, “but culturally, there […]

Opinion: Seasonal music makes a comeback

December 17, 2011 by

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A version of this blog piece was originally written for the Independent. This week on the Today programme, two well known names in classical music – Observer critic Fiona Maddocks and impresario Raymond Gubbay – discussed an article in The Economist that highlighted the resurgence of carol singing at Christmas. Their observations are spot on. Whether it is […]

Opinion: “I don’t like jazz”

November 20, 2011 by


“I don’t like jazz” is something that I hear a lot from fellow music enthusiasts who haven’t yet forayed into the world of jazz. Hearing this more and more recently, and having recently read Josh Jennings’ article ‘Rejuvenate Jazz Someone… Anyone’ on his excellent British Jazz Blog, I was prompted to put this article together. […]

Opinion: Jazz and the Mercury Prize

August 10, 2011 by


With a month to go until the winner of the 2011 Mercury Prize is announced, at least one shortlisted artist could be forgiven for not bothering to prepare a victory speech. Since its founding as an antidote to the commercialism of the Brits in 1992, the Mercury Prize has never been won by a jazz, […]

Opinion: BP and the National Portrait Gallery – where do you draw the line?

June 15, 2011 by

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As has been widely reported, a group of climate activists conducted a noisy protest outside the National Portrait Gallery yesterday. They were angry that BP, the bogeyman of an already unpopular industry, was the named sponsor for the gallery’s Portrait Award.  The relationship between big (and bad) corporations with the arts frequently results in these […]

Opinion: International Women’s Day 100th anniversary

March 8, 2011 by

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Today is the 100th International Women’s Day – celebrating the achievements of women across the world – and there are some fantastic bits and pieces going on in London as part of it. Here’s a taster of a couple of music events that should be great: International Women’s Day 100th Anniversary Concert, Cadogan Hall, Friday […]


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