Category Archives: Music news

Ed Sheeran Signature ‘Divide ‘Guitar Available for Pre-Orders

In celebration of Ed Sheeran’s 3rd album release, Martin have unveiled the singer-songerwriter’s latest signature guitar, ‘Divide’ . Keeping in line with the rest of Ed’s mathematically themed albums, the latest signature sports the unique ‘Divide’ design upon its head stock and body.

Built in accordance with Ed’s favour of the comparatively slightly framed LX1E Little Martin, The ‘Divide’ Signature Edition similarly follows suit and comes fitted with a solid Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany back. Helping with the projection of mid and low register tones, this pairing of tone woods provides a balanced clarity that helps your guitar retain a deep, rich sustain allowing your chords to cut through the mix and whilst giving you a commanding presence.

A loyal imitation down to every last detail, the ‘Divide’ guitar also comes equipped with a custom interior label, Fishman Sonitone electronics and seperate gig bag. Ready to play right out the box, the guitar is a formidable workhorse that will serve the humble singer-songwriter day in day out, no matter the occasion.

In London: A five day course to inspire and refresh

In London: A five day course to inspire and refresh instrumental and vocal music teaching, learning and performing Monday 31st July – Friday 4th August, 2017

Lucinda Mackworth-Young

“A teacher and facilitator at heart, I help people help themselves, identify aims and issues, make connections, add depth, develop strengths and skills, and succeed.”

Venue: The Parliament Chamber of the Inner Temple, London EC4Y 7HL

Designed to revitalise and refresh, this five day course is now back in London, overlooking the beautiful Temple Gardens and River Thames, following ten years in Aberystwyth.

Filled with in-depth understanding, inspiring ideas and practical skills for music teaching learning and performing, it will include Practical Psychology for:

  •         Understanding why pupils do and don’t learn, how they learn and how to teach -demonstrating a multisensory approach.
  •         Performance anxiety, and how to prepare for technically secure and musically convincing performances which you, yourself, enjoy giving.
  •         Any professional problems, as requested, including those with pupils, colleagues, parents and schools.

There will also be step-by-step sessions on Playing by Ear and Improvising, and how to incorporate these skills into pupils’ lessons –including those geared towards the grade exams.

And there will be an (optional) afternoon of Dance for Musicians: farandole, minuet, landler, mazurka, polonaise, waltz, gallop.

Click here for the timetable and application form.

Monday 31st July begins at 11.30am and Friday 4th August finishes at 12.30pm allowing time for travel. Otherwise course days begin at 9.00am and finish at 6pm with a long lunch break, from 12.30 until 4.00pm, to allow time to relax in the beautiful Temple Gardens, have an individual consultation with Lucinda or visit the local London sights and attractions. These include The London Eye, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, The Tate Modern and Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

big ben

The course coincides with the London Promenade Concert Season: The “Proms” are held annually at the Royal Albert Hall, an easy tube ride away from Temple to South Kensington. Alternatively, and closer, there will be concerts, theatre, film and other attractions at The Barbican and The SouthBank Centre.

albert hall

The cost of the course (excluding meals and accommodation) is £360 reduced to £320 if paid in full by Monday 1st May 2017.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday can be attended at the daily rate of £85.

The course is non residential, but there are a variety of hotels locally in Blackfriars. Amongst the closest are: Premier Inn, Crowne Plaza, The Z City Hotel, Apex Temple Court Hotel.

Please click here for more about Lucinda’s background and approach to playing by ear, improvising and psychology.

Please click here to email any questions.

“Lucinda delivers deep understanding with a lightness of touch!” SC Singer and Teacher

“Wonderfully inspiring. So much food for thought – I loved your eating analogy!” SG Piano Teacher

“One of the best workshop leaders in the UK! Lucinda has a knack of tuning in and delivering exactly what everyone wants and needs. -I can’t think why I waited so long to come on this course!” JR Violinist and Teacher

Book now

In London A five day course 2017

Two musicians in Yemen’s Sanaa give a street performance to remember

We rarely see aspects of Yemen beyond the damage of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and clashes with Houthi rebels. Of course Yemen, like any other nation, is a country with culture and history, and its people have lives beyond those dictated by conflict.

That’s what footage uploaded on YouTube earlier this week served to remind us of, as it features two talented street performers in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. But as the video goes to show, culture can never thrive without politics.

The video was titled “A mighty performance by the military band of the Republican Guard,” as a joke; the video uploader said the lyrics poke fun at exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and called for former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to lead the “new” Yemen. The Republican Guard is an army led by Saleh’s son, Ahmed, who is known to be siding with the Houthis.

The uploader said the known Yemeni song’s changed lyrics also called Hadi a “Jew” and a “Saudi agent.”

Setting all political correctness aside, these talented musicians are still pretty entertaining. Here’s the performance:

By Hayat Norimine

‘We want to be happy’: Iraqi violinist plays in Mosul as troops battle IS

By Ulf Laessing | MOSUL, IRAQ

Amid the bombed-out ruins of an ancient site revered by both Muslims and Christians in Mosul, Iraqi violinist Ameen Mukdad on Wednesday held a small concert in the city he was forced to flee by Islamic State militants.

As Mukdad played scores he had composed in secret while living under the militants’ austere rule, explosions and gunfire could be heard from Mosul’s western districts where U.S.-backed forces are still battling Islamic State for control.

Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS’s rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs at Nabi Yunus shrine in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017. REUTERS/ Muhammad Hamed

“This is a place for all, not just one sect. Daesh represents no religion but is an ideology that suppresses freedom,” Mukdad told Reuters, using a derogatory name for the militants. “Everything about Daesh is wrong.”

Mukdad, 28, fled Mosul after Islamic State fighters stormed his house and confiscated his instruments, deeming his music a violation of their hardline interpretation of Sunni Islam.

Memebers of the Iraqi security forces stand guard as Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS’s rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs at Nabi Yunus shrine in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017. REUTERS/ Muhammad Hamed

Wednesday’s hour-long concert marked his first return to the city that was overrun by Islamic State in 2014.

Mukdad said he chose the Tomb of Jonas, or Mosque of the Prophet Younis, as the site is known by Muslims, to symbolize unity.

“I want to take the opportunity to send a message to the world and send a strike against terrorism and all ideologies which restrict freedom that music is a beautiful thing,” he said.

“Everyone who opposes music is ugly.”

Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS’s rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs at Nabi Yunus shrine in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017. REUTERS/ Muhammad Hamed


Mukdad advertised the concert venue and time on social media, a bold move in eastern Mosul at a time the militants still control the Old City across the Tigris river.

Soldiers guarding the venue, which lies near the ancient Nineveh ruins, at first refused access after the boom of a nearby rocket rang out, saying they could not guarantee the public’s safety. They later relented, and troops joined the applauding crowd.

Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS’s rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017. REUTERS/ Muhammad Hamed

“The performance was like a dream,” said Tahany Saleh, who as a woman was forced by the militants to cease her university studies.

“I wanted to come to give a message that war has not stopped life in Mosul,” she said. “You can see all this damage but still we still want to be happy, we want to listen music.”

Under Islamic State rule, entertainment was banned. But in defiance of the militants, Mukdad continued to play at home alone or quietly with a dwindling circle of fellow musicians, closing windows to avoid detection.

“I stopped playing because I was too afraid but Ameen kept going,” said Hakam Anas, one of his friends who founded a musical club with the violinist. “We tried persuading him that he could get easily killed, but he kept playing.”

One night the militants raided Mukdad’s house, taking his instruments and vowing to punish him. He escaped to Baghdad where he still lives.

In a sign of how nervous Mosul residents remain six months into the military operation to flush out Islamic State, just 20 people, mostly young men, attended the concert.

“This is what we young people need,” said Abdullah Thaier.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; editing by Richard Lough)

Be empathy. Be hope.

We drove out of the crammed city, past polluted rivers, on dirt roads through dried-out palm forests, to a small school in the woods. Gang territory.

A few weeks ago, I traveled with one of our trainers through El Salvador to plan a project with UNICEF: strengthening children’s resilience in a country that has suffered from war and its successor—gang and criminal violence—for many decades.

Against a hopeless context—dislocation, poverty, decades of unprocessed trauma, lack of economic or social perspective—we met them: Pablo, a young violinist, who returned from exile to start a children’s orchestra in his native town. Sister Peggy, whose Center for Art for Peace brought life back to an empty city and made it safe. Mia, a musician who has taught generations of young Salvadoran artists to teach children in their own communities. David, Gabriel and Cecilia, who bring children to their cultural center in the woods, to draw, write, make music, and learn about their indigenous heritage.

They remind me of the words of a dear, wise friend: where empathy is lacking, be empathy. Where hope is lacking, be hope.

In a world dominated by violence and hopelessness, we are reminded that in every dry jungle, there is an oasis of hope. As musicians, we are lucky to have the greatest tool for empathy and hope: music. We are proud to join with other musicians without borders, to support their work in bringing empathy and hope through music to the children of El Salvador.

In peace,

Laura Hassler
Director & Founder
Musicians without Borders


Eric Miyashiro in London

Phil Parker Ltd are pleased to welcome Eric Miyashiro  to 85 Hampstead Road !

Eric Miyashiro is an Internationally acclaimed trumpet player. His playing is characterized by a term used on his web site,”StratosphERIC”. Miyashiro is well known as a powerhouse Big Band lead player but he is also a first call classical symphonic musician. Eric is comfortable playing all idioms. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and clinician.
He will be interviewed for live broadcast by Jazz fm and follow up with a clinic in our seminar room. Playing and listening places are limited so book now  to avoid disappointment.

Eric Miyashiro

[ Image ] Eric Miyashiro

Born and raised in Hawaii to a musical family, Eric is now one of the most in demand soloist/clinician in the world. He spent his early days in Honolulu studying both classical and Pop/Jazz music, later moving to Berklee Collage of Music to continue his education. Since leaving school, he has toured worldwide with: Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, and performed with many other artists and orchestras around the globe. Eric now resides in Japan, where he is the first call studio/session/solo player, and is also very active as a leader of his own bands; EM band and the Blue Note All Star Jazz Orchestra. Eric’s versatility has been showcased in many television shows, radio, and film scores. He is also known as an accomplished composer, arranger, and producer.
Eric is a visiting trumpet/popular music professor at Kunitachi College of Music, Showa Music Academy, Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, and Osaka University of Arts.
Eric Miyashiro is an International Yamaha Performing Artist.

The Music Fund for Cuba: Who we are

Who we are

The Music Fund for Cuba is the only UK registered charity which supports the development of music, arts and culture in Cuba.

Working with partner organisations on the island the Music Fund has already distributed tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment to children and young people in music, arts, dance and special needs schools.It also raised £350,000 for the renovation of the Miramar Theatre in Havana.

The Music Fund for Cuba was established in 2001 in memory of British singer Kirsty MacColl who was inspired by Cuban music in her last album and loved the island, its culture, and its people.

Cuba is renowned for its cultural traditions. Its music, art, and dance are enjoyed by people around the world. Budding artistic talent is nurtured and encouraged within the country’s free music and arts schools which are open to all.

Sadly this heritage and the development of future talent are hindered by a lack of access to basic equipment and materials that we in richer countries often take for granted.

Violin strings, paper for music scores, reeds for woodwind instruments, ballet shoes, paints and other small but essential items are all in short supply. One of the  main reason for these shortages is the continuing economic blockade of the island by the United States.

The Music Fund for Cuba aims to help nurture new talent by providing much needed support and equipment for children and young musicians, dancers and artists throughout the island that may otherwise be denied.

By supporting  this vital work, you can help  to keep alive Cuba’s rich cultural heritage and nurture a new generation of talent.

Please make a donation today.

‘I’m the only trip-hop artist in Palestine!’: the musicians shaking up the occupied territories

Guests arriving at international music conferences are usually welcomed with a bit of a meet-and-greet by the pool, an ice-cool daiquiri and canapes, perhaps. They are not normally whisked off to sites of forced evictions and killings. But when the host city is the Palestinian capital, Ramallah, normal rules – as with most of life in the occupied territories – do not apply.

The hilly West Bank town has just hosted PMX, the first ever Palestine Music Expo. Dreamed up by three locals – a rapper, a composer and a journalist – and a British record label boss, PMX showcased a blossoming of musical talent among a people whose voices have struggled to be heard. What emerged after three memorable days of talks, tours and live performances could form the blueprint for a whole new music industry – and even the re-branding of a nation.

Martin Goldschmidt set up his label, Cooking Vinyl, in the 1980s and has worked with Billy Bragg, Marilyn Manson and the Prodigy, among many others. He came to a music-biz conference in Tel Aviv two years ago and decided to venture out into Palestine. There he met rapper Mahmood Jrere from Palestinian crew DAM, composer Abed Hathout and journalist Rami Younis from progressive news site, and they introduced him to several local acts. The place was alive with talent – but lacked a music industry of its own.

“We knew we could provide delegates with an experience, an insight into the place,” says Goldschmidt as he recalls hatching the plan for PMX. “Once you visit Palestine, it gets under your skin. It messes with your head in quite a shocking way. It really makes you think.”

Hip-hop group Sa’aleek, from the Qalandia refugee camp in Palestine.

Snapped up … hip-hop group Sa’aleek in the Qalandia refugee camp in Palestine. Photograph: Sami Alalul/Breathing Stories

Jrere agrees: “We wanted to give delegates a different perspective from the one they get from the news.” And so, at 10am, a bus takes us to a refugee camp at nearby Qalandia. There are 20 delegates from Britain, the US, Canada, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Switzerland and France: agents, managers, lawyers, promoters and producers, as well as NGO representatives.

As the bus sways through a landscape of rubble and twisted metal, our Palestinian guide points out evidence of what he calls an apartheid society. It is shocking just how many walls there are. He indicates a sleek dual carriageway stretching for miles. To reach the same destination, Palestinians may have to go five times the distance through a series of grubby checkpoints.

There are no tents in Qalandia. Occupied by the Israelis after the six-day war in 1967, the camp has existed since 1948, and is a maze of jerry-built, breeze-block units and gaping rubbish sacks. Vivid black stencils on the whitewashed walls depict the faces of young men killed by Israel’s security forces. Our guides are three camp residents who make hip-hop under the name Sa’aleek, meaning “the Scrawny Ones”.

“Sa’aleek also means Vigilantes,” says 20-year-old Mohammad Silwadi, a whip of a boy with an eerie intensity. He works at a petrol station and as a hospital chef – but he lives to write rhymes. “This man was a journalist,” he says, pointing to a stencilled face. “They shot him. Knocked down his house. It is forbidden to build it again.”

He walks over to another face. “This was my friend,” he says, showing a miniature of the same image on a chain around his neck. He’s close to tears. His voluble bandmates fill in, invoking Tupac Shakur and Immortal Technique, all in American English learned from hip-hop lyrics: “We are revolutionaries, you get me?”

The wall at Qalandia.
The wall at Qalandia. Photograph: Maria Zreik

At the edge of the camp is a checkpoint through which all Palestinians must pass – on foot and only with the correct permit – to enter east Jerusalem. Built into the wall and blackened by the smoke of burned tyres, an Israeli observation tower looms over a perpetual jam of people and vehicles.

In the shadow of the tower, Silwadi opens a metal door. “Our studio,” he says. We squeeze into the tiny room, which contains a computer, a keyboard, two speakers and a mic. Dust fills our eyes and mouths, as well as every crevice of the equipment. Silwadi clangs the door shut, the others fire up the beats, and Sa’aleek unleash a torrent of rhymes.

During the drive back to Ramallah, we learn that Sa’aleek are not actually on the PMX bill. Ninety acts applied, but the Qalandia trio had never performed live before so didn’t make the cut. This seems a shame, so the delegates decide to petition the organisers.

After lunch comes a speed-networking session, held at a fashion boutique in Ramallah. The musicians line up amid the mannequins, while the delegates sit at tables, looking dazed after the morning’s crash course in life for your average Palestinian. A buzzer sounds to start the first 10 minutes of networking – or in my case, interviewing. DJ Odai sits down. He says he’s a refugee from Jaffa. He tells me he has often sneaked away to the city of Haifa for gigs.

“Being Palestinian fucks up your sense of identity,” says singer Rasha Nahas, my next interviewee. “Hebrew is everywhere. Eventually, you find yourself thinking in Hebrew, and you say, ‘Wait – this is the language of the oppressor!’ So English is a way to escape that.” Finally there’s Moody Kablawi, a smiling, 6ft 5in trip-hop artist (“the only one in Palestine!”) who has a gargantuan afro and controls his own lighting from the stage.

Goldschmidt and the expo’s other organisers are uncertain how many people will buy a ticket to watch the evening’s music in the huge tent that has been pitched in the hotel grounds. But by the time the first note is struck, there are 1,000 people in the crowd. What is most striking is the variety of styles. There’s a folky flavour to opening band Talila, while Nahas has the theatricality of Weimar cabaret with added violins and rockabilly. Then Jrere and his friends in DAM bring the noise, closing the night with an incendiary set.

Rasha Nahas live at PMX
The theatricality of Weimar cabaret with added violins and rockabilly … Rasha Nahas live at PMX. Photograph: Sami Alalul or Breathing Stories

The next night the crowd is larger still, and barrel-chested MC Saz does the pogo in full flowing white robes and fez, before stripping down to his vest – and even that comes off in the end. Already deals are being struck. From the Golan Heights come the winningly named Toot Ard. Their fusion of ska with the desert blues of bands such as Tinariwen quickly persuades Scottish booking agent Isla Angus to make a move.

Angus handles the live careers of a roster of artists including Sleaford Mods, and plans to bring the Palestinian group to Europe for shows at the end of summer. Why does she think they’ll do well? “They sing in Arabic, but the rhythm section is from the Prince Buster playbook,” she says. “It’s a joyful package and there’s always something special about seeing a bunch of musicians at the top of their game playing together. Plus, like everyone I’ve met here, they are the personification of grace under pressure.”

After a final set of panel discussions and a moving livestream with musicians in Gaza who faced difficulties leaving the strip, PMX moves towards its finale, which will take place in a cavernous basement. Its low ceilings bring an added intensity – perfect conditions for Sa’aleek, back by demand from Qalandia, for their first-ever live performance. They’re so excited (and under-rehearsed) that they can barely remember how their songs go, but the crowd get behind them, and when they go a cappella they turn things round. As they bounce their way through the closing tune – a rousing mix of marching-band snare drums and keening strings – the effect is overwhelming.

Then comes the final act, Zenobia. Two guys at keyboards making pulsing electronic instrumentals that build to emotional climaxes, like some crazy Kraftwerk of the Levant, and wild Arabic double-time clapping spreads through the crowd.

It all goes to show that the best music is often born from adversity. Supported by friends from many nations, in this swaying, cheering room of young people, a new side to Palestine is emerging – one that is about joy, fun and laughter. “Through music,” as one artist said to me, “we can be free.”

This article was taken down for review on 12 April 2017, amended to correct and clarify details and republished on 13 April 2017. It was amended again on 18 April 2017 to change a caption and to remove a reference to the separation barrier which mistakenly associated a walled section of the barrier with the Israeli coastal city of Haifa.

Love Music, Hate Racism

Rock – Hip-hop – Grime – Dubstep – Drum n Bass – Indie – Reggae – R&B – Punk – Bhangra – Jazz… OUR MUSIC!!

Our music is living testimony to the fact that cultures can and do mix. It unites us and gives us strength, and offers a vibrant celebration of our multicultural and multiracial society. Racism seeks only to divide and weaken us. Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) was set up in 2002 in response to rising levels of racism and electoral successes for the British National Party (BNP).

We use the energy of our music scene to celebrate diversity and involve people in anti-racist activity, in the tradition of the Rock Against Racism (RAR) movement of the late 1970s. There have been now been many hundreds of LMHR events, from large outdoor festivals to local gigs and club nights.

Top artists who have performed at our events include Ms Dynamite, Kasabian, Hard -Fi, Babyshambles, Akala, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Estelle, The View, Lethal Bizzle, Kano, Roll Deep and Basement Jaxx. Just as important are the up-and-coming bands, DJs, MCs and their fans who have performed at or organised their own local LMHR nights.

The LMHR campaign has a renewed importance with the increase in islamophobia, anti-migrant racism and hostility towards refugees in Britain and across Europe. We think it is time to reignite our national movement against racism through music. It is vital that everyone gets involved however they can.


Do Not Work For List: USA

TOP OFFENDERS LIST Music Scoring – Alan and Cathy Umstead are soliciting and contracting non-union recording work through this website and elsewhere.

Steve Schnur, Worldwide Music Executive for the videogame company Electronic Arts, is commissioning and recording non-union sessions in Nashville for his company’s hugely successful franchises. EA declared $4.3 billion in net revenue in fiscal year 2015.


Listed below are employers who owe musicians large amounts of money and have thus far refused to fulfill their contractual obligations to Local 257 musicians.


Positive Movement/Tommy Sims (multiple unpaid contracts – 2007 CeCe Winans project)

Terry K. Johnson/ 1720 Entertainment (unpaid contracts/unauthorized sales – Jamie O’Neal project)

Beautiful Monkey/JAB Country/Josh Gracin

Eric Legg & Tracey Legg (multiple unpaid contracts)

Ray Vega/Casa Vega

Quarterback/G Force/Doug Anderson

Rust Records/Ken Cooper  (unpaid contracts and pension)

Revelator/Gregg Brown (multiple bounced checks/unpaid contracts)

HonkyTone Records – Debbie Randal



Casa Vega/Ray Vega

Knight Brothers/Harold, Dean, Danny and Curtis Knight

FLS Records – Nashville/Ronald Stone

Region One Records

RichDor Music/Keith Brown

River County Band/SVC Entertainment (unpaid demo conversion/pension

Robbins Nashville



Comsource Media/Tommy Holland

Conchita Leeflang/Chris Sevier

Ricky D. Cook

FJH Enterprises

First Tribe Media

Matthew Flinchum dba Resilient

Jimmy Fohn Music

Rebecca Frederick

Goofy Footed


Tony Graham

Jeffrey Green/Cahernzcole House

Randy Hatchett

Highland Music Publishing

In Light Records/Rick Lloyd

Little Red Hen Records/Arjana Olson

Maverick Management Group

Mike Ward Music (pension/demo signature)

Joseph McClelland

Tim McDonald

Joe Meyers

Missionary Music

Jason Morales (pension/demo signature)

O Street Mansion

OTB Publishing (pension/demo signature)

Tebey Ottoh

Ride N High Records

Ronnie Palmer

Barry Preston Smith

Jason Sturgeon Music

If you know of any organisations who regularly exploit musicians and want to warn colleagues to stay clear, leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to sign up for regular news and updates from freedom for musicians.