ANJANI THOMAS with LEONARD COHEN
Live In Poland 2007 [no label 1CD]
Live at Studio im. Agnieszki Osieckiej, Polskie Radio Program 3 (a.k.a. "Trójka"), Warszawa, Poland, March 31, 2007.
Anjani Thomas' Blue Alert came out early in 2006. Then nothing. Other "divas" got the push instead. Corrine Bailey Ray comes to mind as the most recent. Thankfully she did a short tour of Europe with companion and friend Leonard Cohen who produced Blue Alert and wrote all the lyrics to the songs. One show was properly recorded and broadcast on Polish radio. This is it.
Thomas has an angelic voice diametrically opposite to Cohen's smoker's cackle. It's so smooth you can't believe she can sing Cohen. But this is no Famous Blue Raincoat a la Jennifer Warnes. Thomas has had a long working relationship with Cohen since 1985 when she signed on as backing singer on his tour. She's also on his albums from I'm Your Man, The Future and the most recent, Dear Heather.
An attempt at a solo career started in 2000 with two albums that did not chart. For her third, Anjani rifled through Cohen's old notebooks, found lyrics and poems and put them to music. This is late-night listening nirvana, combination of Anjani's sexy, cool vocals with Cohen's always subversive lyrics.
Favourite songs here include Wither Thou Goest, a duet with Anjani and Cohen not found on the Blue Alert album, and Anjani's interpretation of Nightingale also recorded by Cohen on Dear Heather. Perhaps it is best to let Leonard Cohen describe what's found here:
"It's a great privilege and a great honour for us to be here. We were here 22 years ago. There were brave men in prison. There were people under house arrest. There was the Heavy Hand over the society and over the culture. And here today, 22 years later, they're calling this the 'New Paris'. Warsaw is the new Paris. Well, maybe Warsaw doesn't want to be the new Paris? In any case, we don't live in Warsaw, we don't live in Paris although those geographies may define our actual location. We live in other places that are more intimate and more real and more authentic than whatever the official culture defines us as. I was reading in Milosz's book today... just one beautiful paragraph... He says:
"Man has been given to understand
that he lives only by the grace of those in power.
Let him therefore busy himself sipping coffee, catching butterflies.
And whoever cares for the republic will have his right hand cut off.
There is so much death and that is why affection for pigtails,
bright-coloured skirts in the wind, for paper boats no more durable
than we are."(*)
(*) an excerpt from Polish poet and 1980 Literary Nobel Prize Award laureate, Czeslaw Milosz's "Alfabet Milosza" (1997).
"And then the poem just drifts off. And it's in that drifting off that these songs that we have tonight are written... The songs not of great love,... songs that address the great bewildering challenges of today whether they're global warming of the clash of civilizations or the resolution of all the horrendous conflicts that beset us. These are songs that Anjani and I wrote [are] about the little places, about the little loves, about the little corners."
Leonard Cohen understands that only with love can true art be formed. State-sponsored, government-funded artists can bring forth no art at all. Just the sound of heavy propaganda, hammering away at all opposition.
So give yourself a chance and catch Anjani Thomas live. Then buy her album.
Drop by my label blog HERE, I am currently uploading a load of free ebooks and resources which will be of interest to musicians, especially guitarists and singers.
If you also have a look through the blog you will find the Eliza Carthy " my music " channel 5 series that I posted over on youtube, a vid for my buddy Swarb ( with whippersnapper ), articles for performers, my main presskit to download including free tracks and later i shall also be posting the exclusive interview with SETH LAKEMAN from Diversity FM ( my friend Colin Bertram's show which also featured my fiddle track )
Gonna be a busy one but worth it so please drop by and grab stuff.
Remember I can also be followed on TWITTER
The label is in pre-launch stage at the moment, am reworking the site and musician resources, but upon launch I will be offering a lot of free and promotional stuff including the biggest giveaway which is a contract with my label which will include promotion, your cd in Amazon ( if you have a demo ), free mastering for your demo etc...
To win all you have to do is subscribe and stay posted ! See the main blog for details
Oh and I shall be posting some LEONARD COHEN AND NEIL YOUNG BOOTS HERE LATER TODAY !!
I am currently working with DAVID BARNATT, an ambient/ psych dude who also has ME. " Dying Spark " is a song we created together, and I have uploaded his remix of my song " Liberate me " onto REVERBNATION.
" Liberate me " was originally a kind of rocky track but Dave has tranformed it into a kind of mellow dance/ ambient thing with some great synth parts and sequencing. He has basically remade my track for me :)
I sent his all the seperate files to the original song in wav form and let him work his magic on them. He sampled my voice and fiddle parts, changed the temp, added drums, bass, sequenced keyboards... I love it although it is something so different from what I usually do !
Dave and I are hoping to produce a joint album, possibly creating a new project/ band together... although two musicians both with ME has its challenges lol
Also updated my label BLOG HERE
I have been using this company for months now. They always have free offers on and their products are top notch.
Everytime they offer a free t shirt ( about once a week ) I grab one to my own design.
Their business cards are beautiful and I used their free brochures, business cards, postcards and flyers to create a very professional presskit for Soliloquise
The card below was my latest order, beautiful methinks.
Their products are excellent quality, 100% recommended by me and for free ( you pay postage that is all ) what more could you want?
My other links:
MORE HERE ( including youtube vids and busking pics )
Here are some suggestions that I've accumulated in my busking experiences. Additions and contradictions welcome. For what it's worth, my act is to stand there playing fiddle tunes - I don't bottle (directly solicit tips) or do banter, and somebody with a more "show business" kind of act might need to do some things differently.
CHOOSING A PLACE
1. Pick a spot where you're visible from as many directions as possible. People need time to recognize what you're doing, decide to give you a tip, and find it in their pockets. If they can see you for a minute before they're actually in front of you, they're a lot more likely to give you a tip then if they suddenly come upon you hidden in a doorway and only have seconds to react.
2. Be very considerate about where you set up, so that you avoid confrontation and avoid annoying the passersby. Be sure that you are not blocking smooth traffic flow into any store, and be sure that you're not making it difficult for wheelchairs or baby strollers to pass or get onto the curb. Also, avoid captive audiences (i.e., playing right beside a restaurant with outdoor seating).
3. One exception to what I just said about captive audiences is traffic lights - choosing intersections that have traffic lights is good, because being a briefly captive audience gives them the time they need to decide to give you a tip.
4. Stores that are out of business or closed for the weekend are often a good place to play in front of. There's nobody there to object to you, and often there's a doorway where you can put your backpack out of the way behind you, or a canopy to keep off the sun and rain. Don't stand yourself too far back in their doorway though; or you won't be visible enough.
5. When choosing a part of town to busk in, don't necessarily rule out areas with lower traffic, because often you can still make good money there, because finding you there is a pleasant surprise, and you're not competing with the panhandlers and other buskers the next block over or who were there yesterday. In a spot in my hometown where I consistently make excellent money, it's not unusual for me to play a set of tunes without anyone even walking by. But when they do come along, they give me something. But on the busiest city streets, or in a market where busking is more common, a much lower percentage of passersby give me something.
6. Many cities will have a downtown core and several smaller, alternative downtowns - perhaps a district that is known as being artsy, trendy, collegy. I've found that the minor downtowns are generally better than the main downtowns - people are happier, it's easier to get a corner.
7. Keep a respectful distance from other buskers, especially other musicians, but don't necessarily let a little piped in music push you around. A number of times I've tried out spots that seemed perfect except for an audible radio from a nearby business, but I found that I was still able to dominate the sound waves in the immediate area, and still did fine in tips. Obviously, if the piped in music is really blaring or you're really quiet this won't work.
8. I'd pick a less than perfect spot in the shade over a perfect spot in the sun. The real secret to making money busking is patience and stamina - and you'll have more patience and stamina if you're comfortable.
9. Keeping in mind that you should not get your legal advice from Mudcat: don't ask for permission to busk, don't ask if it's legal, just go ahead and do it. If someone confonts you, your line is a polite "I'm sorry, I didn't know, I'll be going now." The guerilla approach (not to be confused with the gorilla approach; leave that to the rentacops) is simple and effective and I've never gotten into any real trouble with it, even in places where I've known it was illegal. (I've been kicked out of lots of places, but that's not real trouble - real trouble is being fined, arrested, or beaten up.)
The cliche that it's easier to get forgiveness than permission is true. Also, the only laws that matter are the ones that anybody cares to enforce. If you are considerate in where you play, so you're not likely to tick anyone off, and you look good and sound good, chances are nobody will care enough to enforce the law.
If you are busking somewhere where you suspect or know it's illegal, remember the principle that "running makes you look guilty". So if a cop is around, just keep playing as if there's no problem - don't close your case or try packing up quickly. If you do, saying "I didn't know it wasn't allowed" will be much less believable.
10. Keeping in mind that you should not get your medical advice from Mudcat: a mild state of dehydration is your friend. Publically available washrooms aren't always easy to find, and it sucks to have to interrupt a good busking session, possibly losing your good spot to another busker, because you have to go pee. You'll need to have a water bottle along, but don't overdo it.
11. Coins dropped into your case from a height will sometimes bounce right out again. So take a quick look around the ground for stray coins when you're leaving, and don't put your case down beside a sewer grate (yes, learned the hard way). And while you're at it, don't put your case down anywhere you see a lot of pigeon droppings (no, not learned the hard way).
12. People will ask about lessons, so if you don't teach, consider carrying the phone number of your friend who does.
13. Be an opportunistic bastard. If Johnny Cash dies, get out there and play his hits. If the Blue Jays are in the Stanley Cup finals, wear something that implies you care.
14. Exploit children. If someone with a baby or toddler is stopped near you, play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". If it's a young child, ask if they have a favourite song - they'll probably say "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." If it's a medium child accompanied by an adult and looking interested, consider offering to let them try your instrument (personally I always keep one hand on the fiddle while letting a kid try, and I take a peek at the cleanliness of their hands first).
Being kid-friendly has three advantages. One, it makes you more interesting to the kids and their parents, and kids and parents are often your best customers. Two, it will attract the attention of unrelated passersby who want to watch the cute kid dance or try to play fiddle. Three, it makes you feel like a bit of a folk missionary, giving the kids a chance to hear and try live acoustic music.
15. It's very common for someone to pass you once then give you a tip on a the way back, once they've had more time to think about or have gotten change at the store. What this means for you is that every time you start busking, you start with a slow stretch when everybody is a first-time passer. And every time you stop busking, you lose tips from the people who would have given you something on the way back. So, try to start and stop less often: i.e., if you're going to play for three hours in a day, you'll probably do better in two 90 minute shifts and three 60 minute shifts. Also, don't be in a rush to leave the spot when you're tired of playing. Have your break nearby. It's happened to me many times that people have approached me with a tip in the fifteen minutes after I stopped playing, saying, "I heard you earlier." On the other hand, sometimes people will say, "I'll get you on the way back", and sometimes they do, but don't make any decisions based on these promises.
16. If there are people stopped when you finish a tune, ask if they have a request. Even if you only know the chorus, or ear the song out with some trial and error, people appreciate your making an attempt at their requests.
17. Salt your case (put some of your own money in) with the kind of currency you want to attract. Peer pressure is a powerful force; people will look to other's example to see if they should give you a tip, and if so, how much. I've also noticed that tips often come in clumps - I go for ten minutes without a tip, then four people give me something within in the space 30 seconds. I suspect this is peer pressure; seeing the first person lets the others know that it's the thing to do.
18. If there's an alternative to money that you'd be happy to receive, consider salting your case with it too (subway tokens, Canadian Tire money, even food if you're in a market). Some people enjoy giving a concrete gift instead of money, and some people may suspect that you'll just buy drugs if they give you money. Often people will offer a cigarette, but if you smoke, I don't recommend putting cigarettes in the case to give people the idea, as it will likely drive away other customers.
19. Sometimes, people steal from buskers. There's not really much you can do about it except minimize your losses by limiting how much money you let collect in your case. Do not chase a thief - to do so is to turn a non-violent encounter into a potentially violent one, and what are you going to do anyway, with a fragile and valuable instrument in your hands? Also, consider that criminals sometimes work in teams - someone who grabs some money may just be trying to distract you so his buddy can steal your whole case, or your backpack or spare instrument.
20. This is more of a long term strategy - but remember that busking depends on a publicly-owned, pedestrian-oriented scene. So do your shopping at businesses with downtown storefronts instead of malls or box stores where there's no public space or no pedestrians, and help keep downtowns alive! Also, I think it's good manners and good public relations to give your business to stores that you busk in front of, if practical.
21. Maybe this should have been tip number one: keep the faith. I know that many people have a lot of stage fright related busking (more so than playing gigs, it seems sometimes), and you will have good days and bad days and occasionally some encounters that aren't so nice. Keep at it - perseverance is the biggest factor in making you a successful busker. You'll get over your nervousness about performing on the street. You'll always earn something, even on a bad day, that you wouldn't have earned if you had practiced at home instead. You'll meet people who tell who how you've brightened their day, or how they played too back in the day, and kids will dance, and it'll make up for the bad days. And sometimes it'll feel like too good to be true - you're doing what you love to do, on your own terms, and people are throwing money at you!
Learn to talk while playing! I thank every person who tips us, and as the hammered dulcimer player, MUST answer every question about my big funny looking instrument. The only person who is allowed to play without talking/smiling/thanking, is someone who's mouth is full.........of flute, that is!
We have sign on the case "Please support the arts" This works better than any other sign we have ever used, better by far than the tacky "tipping is NOT a city in china"
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For your listening pleasure :D
THE STILLS-YOUNG BAND
July 4, 2008 – 7:45 am
After eight dates on a 30-date tour, Neil Young left Stephen Stills alone to carry on promoting the 1976 Long May You Run album. Here’s a reminder of the tour that could have been.
THE STILLS-YOUNG BAND
Empty Ocean Road [Part 1
Live at the Civic Center, Springfield, MA, June 27, 1976. Very good audience recording.
In the first half of 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young collaborated on the album, Long May You Run. Recorded in Miami between February and June 1976, the album was released in September of that year. Before that, by June, the Stills-Young Band was already on the road.
According to one report in the wikipedia, “In 1976, Stills attempted a reunion with Neil Young. At one point, Long May You Run was slated to be a CSNY record, but when Crosby and Nash left to fulfill recording and touring obligations, according to both David and Graham, the other pair wiped their vocals from the recordings, as Stills and Young decided to go on without their erstwhile partners as The Stills-Young Band. However, Young would leave midway through the resulting tour due to an apparent throat infection.”
Meanwhile, in another wikipedia write-up, “The Stills-Young Band recorded the album and began a tour in 1976 prior to the album’s release, but Young dropped out of the tour when he grew bored with the project, forcing Stills to complete the concert tour solo. The band was together from July through October of 1976.”
But more interesting is this extract from the wikipedia, Stills and Young “attempted to take their act on the road in the summer of 1976 for a thirty date American tour that lasted exactly eight decidedly erratic shows before Young decided he’d had enough of Stills and packed it in. While driving their buses to the next gig, Young, fed up with Stills’ drunken babbling over the CB radios, instructed his driver to head for Nashville instead of New Orleans, the next stop on the tour. Young then had an assistant send Stills and the rest of the band telegrams, which read, ‘Funny how things that start spontaneously end that way… Eat a peach, Neil’.”
Some who saw the tour said the two stars weren’t frequently on stage together. That is probably true as each star has his own individual standout moments when they perform their own tunes (both are guitarists and singers at that). The songs may be a “greatest hits” package of its time but it’s still a solid performance and a worthy reminder of the tour that could have been.
Track 101. Love The One You’re With
Track 102. The Loner
Track 103. Long May You Run
Track 104. For What It’s Worth
Track 105. Helpless
Track 106. Black Queen
Track 107. Southern Man
Track 108. Change Partners
Track 109. On The Way Home
Neil Young - vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica
Stephen Stills - vocals, guitar, piano
Jerry Aiello - organ
George Perry - bass
Joe Lala - percussion
Joe Vitale - drums
How do you go about branding yourself, creating a web presence, getting your name and songs out there?
I have managed to get nearly 14000 myspace contacts for my main music site despite being housebound through ME and not having gigged once.
My music is in Amazon and I have sold well.
I want to share some of the things that helped me in this blog including the tools and techniques that I used for promotion. I have a lot of software, plug ins, vsts for recording artists as well as many ebooks which would be of use to any band or musician wishing to develop themselves further.
Here are a few ( they are totally FREE ):
Better musician website pdf
Branding yourself online pdf
Digital music pdf
Getting gigs pdf
Internet marketing pdf
OOOOOhhhh well the dream dinner date would have to be Janis Joplin for me.... a sassy and wild bundle of colourful and exuberant energy !
I would ask her so many questions.... and would also find her maddeningly attractive so I would have to be very careful not to drool :)
Also at the dinner table would be...
Nick Drake... I would ask him how he learnt to play in his unique finger[picking style and what happened that night he died..
I would invite Sri Ramakrishna too, although he would probably be too blissed out to eat :D
Swami Bhavyananda would be invited, along with Sandy Denny, Ron Sexsmith for his genius songwriting skills ( which I would grill him on when I wasn't drooling over Janis )
And so onto the living... I would invite friends Swarb and Judy Dyble... it would be a riot with Swarb's humour and Jude's randomness...
I think I would invite my friend Jeff, Beardy man Ian from carreg las border morris dancers ( so after a few ales we could do some rowdy singing )
At this point Sri Ramakrishna and Swamiji would run away to meditate I expect... Swarb would stand on the table and get out his fiddle.... drunkenly playing and knocking over plates and glasses... Janis would be digging it and cackling, Jude would be loving the vibe but pondering something abstract, Jeff would be under the table snoring, Ron would be wondering WTF he was doing in the company of folkies, Sandy would be singing sweetly, Nick would be embarrassed and polite and wishing he was elsewhere.
The evening would end with an exhausted mess of sweaty bodies, empty bottles and ringing laughter. having sung and danced and drunk ourselves into sleep we would crash on a chilled beach in Wales in summer.