Introducing Singer Songwriter Ren Faye and the hauntingly beautiful ‘Winter’s End’



By Roger Moisan

When I first heard Ren Faye’s voice, I was immediately reminded, dare I say, of the great Sandy Denny . Her folk influenced style and vocal timbre coupled with a Northern authenticity provide a new and exciting  addition to this genre.

The lyrics for ‘Winters End’ are stand alone poetry worthy of analysis by any student of this art form and poignant at this time of year.

Ren Faye
Ren Faye

Winter’s End I don’t feel… Anything… I’m left here, at winter’s end

Friends, they all… Pass me by… All I need, is to find my winter’s end

It’s dark and I’ve no light Dark….ness, by my side… Tempting storms, Won’t keep me warm,

And all I want… Is a place I can call home and I… and I side by side You don’t know, you don’t know

No-one knows, When I am lost, The window pane,

Gives way to all the frost…

I’m here, and I come home to lay down weary in my bed and there is you… and there is you…

Winter’s End… Winter’s End…


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What music defines Indian youth culture?






Ankur Biplav
By Ankur Biplav, Indian Musician

When we think of the music that defines our current youth culture, genres like hip hop, jazz and indie music come to  mind. We are living in an era of autotune and lip sync where anyone or everyone can become a singer. On the other hand, classical music is probably one of the genres which many youth would be least likely to identify.

But, the notion of youth towards classical music is changing. The young superstars of any genre of music are the icons for  society and so is the case with classical music. The young maestros are the icons for the youth. The young maestros, who not only are great performers, but are also imparting the rich culture and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the generation next.

Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan
Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan

Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan, who comes from the great lineage of traditional musicians of Agra Gharana, is one of the finest vocalist of Agra Gharana in the country currently. The musicians of the Agra Gharana play with laya, weaving in words, to make patterns around the beat. Khayal in the hands of the performers from the Agra School is a progression — from the abstract to the concrete and from the divine to the human.

All these can be seen in the singing of this maestro.He took his initial taalim from his grandfather Ustaad Ata Hussain Khan and also his father Ustaad Naseem Ahmed Khan. Later, he joined ITC Sangeet Research Academy where he took his taalim under Ustaad Shafi Ahmed Khan. Currently, he is imparting his knowledge of music to the future generation as a faculty at ITC Sangeet Research Academy.

Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty
Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty

The sweet, melodious and the divine voice Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty, one of the most promising classical vocalists of Patiala Gharana of this generation. The famous thumri of Patiala Gharana “Yaad Piya Ki Aaye”, Kaushiki in her unique style has not missed a chance to impress the audience with this thumri, whenever and wherever she sings.

She, born into a musical family learnt music under her father Pt. Ajay Chakrabarty who himself is a legendary vocalist. She, with her mellifluous and melodious voice and her mastery over various ragas has made the music lovers her fan across the globe. She is also regarded as the “torch bearer” of the Patiala Gharana.

A very rising Shisya of a very able guru, Pt Omkar Dadarkar shisya of Pt Ulhas Khasalkar are two such great musicians of the country who can sing the gayaki of Agra, Jaipur and Gwalior gharanas with equal ease.

Omkar Dadarkar
Omkar Dadarkar

Omkar Dadarkar was previously a scholar at ITC SRA and now he is also imparting his unique style of singing to the generation next. Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar has been awarded to him in 2010 for his services to the Indian Classical Music.

The Indian Classical Music is very unique. In order to truly appreciate/learn this style of music, one must have patience and a true love for musical prowess. For current youth, it’s a process to enjoy Hindustani classical music, and it takes some research to find the right songs and proper singers as well. The complexities of the art include the taal (beats), the thaat (notes specific to certain raags), and the coming together of melody, beats, and scales that take years – even decades – to master.

But, one must understand that there is no need to understand music as along as it gives you peace and happiness. There are many musicians like- Ankita Joshi, Arshad Ali Khan, Ritesh and Rajnish Mishra, Brajeswar Mukherjee who are not only great performers but are also passing the rich ethos and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the next generation. The time will soon come when people, especially the youth will have Indian Classical Music in their playlists. Because Indian Classical Music is not only a music to ears but also a music for soul.

To Conclude, Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan talking about Indian Classical Music said-“If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music, this country would never have been partitioned.”

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18th day of Advent and it’s Hozier – ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’





Hozier

A unique and intelligent singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who cites James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, Leonard Cohen, John Lee Hooker, and community choral singing among his influences, Hozier (his stage and performing name) was born Andrew Hozier-Byrne on March 17, 1990 (which just so happened to be St. Patrick’s Day) in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland.

The son of a local blues musician, he literally grew up with the blues being played all around him. He joined his first band when he was 15, gravitating toward R&B, soul, gospel, and, of course, blues. Hozier started studying for a degree in music at Trinity College Dublin, where he was involved with the Trinity Orchestra, but dropped out in his first year to record demos for Universal Music.

From 2009 to 2012, he sang with Anúna, an Irish choral group, and toured internationally. He released a solo EP, Take Me to Church, in 2013, and when a video for the powerful title track, which directly addresses gay discrimination in Russia, went viral on YouTube and Reddit, Hozier found himself with an international audience.

A second EP, From Eden, appeared in the spring of 2014 and in September of that year, Columbia released his eponymous debut album. It reached the Top Ten of the charts in no less than 11 countries, and was quickly certified gold in Canada and Great Britain. ~ Steve Leggett



Today’s FFM Stage belongs to Chedy Fkaier and the beautiful Tunisian Lute







Our 14th window and out pops an unusual Bob Dylan song





If you’ve ever wondered what Christmas Eve at Bob Dylan’s house might be like, the video for his rollicking Christmas polka song “Must Be Santa” offers a window into what happens when Dylan and his guests have a little too much eggnog.



Behind window 11 is British folk singer Kate Rusby





Kate Anna Rusby (born 4 December 1973) is an English folk singer-songwriter from PenistoneBarnsley. Sometimes called the “Barnsley Nightingale”, she has headlined various British national folk festivals, and is one of the best known contemporary English folk singers. In 2001 The Guardian described her as “a superstar of the British acoustic scene.” In 2007 the BBC website described her as “The first lady of young folkies”. She is one of the few folk singers to have been nominated for the Mercury Prize.



The beautiful sound of Anuna is behind window 9





Anúna is Ireland’s flagship acappella vocal ensemble representing the beauty of Irish musical heritage and literature all over the world.

In 1987, Irish composer Michael McGlynn founded the choir in an effort to create a physical voice for his compositions, many of which are strongly influenced by the history and mythology of his homeland. Ireland has a long and sophisticated history of traditional singing or sean nós. McGlynn uses this as the basis for much of his arrangement and composition. Within these songs are universal truths told through the landscape, the philosophy and the mythology of Ireland and beyond.

The name Anúna is derived from the Gaelic term An Uaithne, a collective description for the three ancient forms of Irish music –  Goltraí (song of lament), Geantraí  (song of joy) and Suantraí (the lullaby). An Uaithne and subsequently ANÚNA, is a uniquely beautiful instrument. Over the last thirty years its unique status in Irish musical life has allowed it to create and develop an education programme that the group have taken all over the world.



‘River,’ the ‘thoroughly depressing’ Joni Mitchell song that somehow became a Christmas classic





Go to the profile of The Lily News

Plenty of artists have been dreaming of a very, very blue Christmas over the last two decades: “River” — originally featured on Mitchell’s melancholy 1971 masterwork, “Blue” — has become a seasonal favorite, despite being “thoroughly depressing,” as Elbow frontman Guy Garvey noted at a 2009 Christmas concert.

Or perhaps it’s ascended to holiday-hit status precisely because it’s an antidote to all those “songs of joy and peace.”

“We needed a sad Christmas song, didn’t we?” Mitchell said with a chuckle on NPR in 2014. “In the ‘bah humbug’ of it all.”

“River” has long been a popular cover among musicians, more than 500 of whom have recorded it for commercial release. Countless others have performed it in concert.

“We kind of turned it into a Christmas song, even though it was not written as a Christmas song,” White, who started the “River”-as-holiday-song trend nearly two decades ago, said at a holiday concert in 2011.

Christmas collections it’s included in
  • British jazz-fusion guitarist Peter White featured it on his 1997 album, “Songs of the Season”
  • Barry Manilow’s “A Christmas Gift of Love”
  • Linda Ronstadt’s “A Merry Little Christmas”
  • Tracey Thorn’s “Tinsel and Lights”
  • Heart’s “Home for Christmas”
  • Sarah McLachlan’s Grammy-nominated “Wintersong”
  • Idina Menzel’s “Holiday Wishes” album in 2014
  • 98 Degrees’s new album, “Let It Snow”
  • Sam Smith, the best-selling British singer-songwriter, recently covered “River” for Spotify’s Christmas playlist and gushed: “Joni Mitchell is one of the reasons why I write music. … It was a dream to be given the opportunity to cover this song.”
  • Keane frontman Tom Chaplin’s new album, “Twelve Tales of Christmas” has a moody version of “River”

About the song

Linda Ronstadt said “River” was an obvious choice when she recorded her own holiday album, “A Merry Little Christmas,” in 2000.

Ronstadt said at the time that she’d never discussed the meaning of the song with her old friend, Mitchell.

But she had some ideas about what might have inspired it — possibly including Mitchell’s daughter, who was born in the 1960s, when the singer was 21 and about to move from Saskatoon to Toronto.

Mitchell gave the child up for adoption and didn’t have any contact with her until 1997.

“I think that’s what a lot of her singing is about, because it has this very sad tinge,” Ronstadt speculated. “But who really knows if that’s what ‘River’ is about? The answer is: I don’t know, and I bet Joni doesn’t, either.”

James Taylor

James Taylor, who knows the song better than just about anybody aside from Mitchell, said in a 2006 interview with The Post that “I don’t know why it’s suddenly getting picked up as a Christmas song. But some things just become identified as seasonal songs, and this is now one of them.”

At the time, Taylor had just released “James Taylor at Christmas,” which included “River” — a song he’d first heard decades earlier, when Mitchell played it at her home in Los Angeles in 1970, shortly after it was written.

“Most Christmas songs are light and shallow, but ‘River’ is a sad song,” Taylor told The Post. “It starts with a description of a commercially produced version of Christmas in Los Angeles . . . then juxtaposes it with this frozen river, which says, ‘Christmas here is bringing me down.’ It only mentions Christmas in the first verse. Then it’s, ‘Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on’ — wanting to fall into this landscape that she remembers.

“It’s such a beautiful thing, to turn away from the commercial mayhem that Christmas becomes and just breathe in some pine needles. It’s a really blue song.”

Taylor said the song is most likely autobiographical, given that “it starts with a girl from Canada watching them try to make Christmas on La Brea in Los Angeles.”

But he told The Post in 2006 that he’d never actually discussed the meaning with Mitchell, with whom he was romantically involved in the early 1970s.

“Do I want to know who she made cry, who she made say goodbye? Well, I haven’t asked her that question,” Taylor said. “That’s the only mystery in it: Who was it whose heart she broke?”

With a laugh, he added: “There were a lot of us.”



Introducing Our New Feature – Spotlight on a Music Student


At FFM, we want to highlight new and aspiring musical talent wherever we find it and where better than the many Music Colleges, Universities and Schools around the world. Our new feature ‘Spotlight on a Music Student’ is an opportunity for you or someone you know to step into the spotlight and share your talent, dreams and ambitions with the musical world.

All you have to do is send us your information, pictures, videos, sound clips and links  and we will compile your feature.

email direct to rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Much love and happy music making,

The FFM team