Pussy Riot: Riot Days

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Summerhall

 Sunday 19th August, 2018


Seldom have I experienced Punk Rock with such potency and power. Possibly the most famous punk rock outfit in the world. Not famous for the music that they create, but famous for actually being Punk as Fuck. I mean these Girls really suffered for their art at the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church and Vladimir Putin. Imprisoned for two years for singing some of their songs in a church. Pussy Riot became world famous with freedom fighters the World over, campaigning for their release from prison, while also highlighting the Homophobic regime suffered by gay people in the Soviet Union.

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As you can guess, with it being the last of Pussy Riot’s performances at Summerhall, it was completely sold out. Luckily for Divine, He has friends in high places. Thankyou Will McC for making it possible for me. People were crying because they couldn’t get a ticket. The support band Swoon warmed the audience up brilliantly, they reminded me a lot of Modern day Gary Numan, only with a beautiful blond Italian on lead vocals. Indeed they rocked. Pussy Riot were then introduced By a gentleman, Explaining thus.

Alyokhina’s show is poignant, because she very nearly didn’t make it to Edinburgh. Last week it was reported that she had “smuggled herself” out of Russia. She had refused to undertake the community service given to her after she had participated in yet another “unauthorised” protest, and as a result the government had forbidden her to leave the country. In the end she ignored their orders, drove all the way to Lithuania via Belarus, and boarded a flight there instead”

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And thank god she did, because Riot Days is more than just a gig – it’s somewhere between a gripping piece of Putin-skewering musical theatre, an urgent jazz-punk book recital and a film screening that unfurls like a nerve-shredding thriller. With a cast of ever-changing actors. Turning their pain into an art form that vocalises the necessity for political change that is not too distant from the oppression of Tory austerity in the UK. These young people, all of which are under 30 years of age are such a massive inspiration for people to stand up and fight back. But fight back with Art as truth.

The performance is relentless; techno punk, with a story to tell. Projected onto a screen with film footage of Pussy Riots history and the English translation of the Russain Vocals being sung. The Dissection Room at Summerhall was packed to the rafters and every single person was immersed in the experience. Fuck the Spice Girlz. This was real Girl power.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert.

The Great Song Cycle Song Cycle

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August 20-25 (20:35) 

Triplex Studio, The Space UK


I have just witnessed one of the most startlingly enigmatic pieces I have ever beheld at the Fringe. An enchantress of astounding ability & a music-maker of kaleidoscopic proportions, Joanna Wallfisch wants to tell us a story. Caught with the restless spirit of adventure, she cycled the Pacific coast of the United States. ‘Your eyesight tangibly improves,’ she tells us, ‘from looking outward every day.’ We are totally at one with her, & can almost visibly see the mountain passes & eternal beaches she describes.

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A journey through the meditation of the road, adventure, beauties, strange things and people and more.
Read the full interview…

The tale is constantly accompanied by her deft ukulele work & her complete mastery of loop-pedals, which swathe her poetical words with a mesmerizing soundscape. Sometimes she speaks her simile-laden soliloquies, sometimes she sings her self-crafted songs exquisitely, all times she wears an expression of sheer sweetness. Joanna Wallfisch is a 21st century troubadour par excellence, a siren on the shores of sublime thought, & to see her perform is something of a necessity for those seeking beauty at the Fringe.

Damo 

The Melomaniacs: Dust

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The Assembly Rooms Ballroom

16th till 26th August


The Film.
The Assembly Rooms Ballroom was a fitting environment for this musical project to be presented. Performed against a cinematic backdrop on which the film “Dust” was projected, a collaboration with the New York based photographer Jean Luc and film maker Lee Archer. We are taken on a two week journey through America, skillfully edited into a 55 minute production. The presentation of the film is enough to give this highbrow multimedia experience a 5 Star rating.

Dust was conceived by Paul Silver, Kim Murray and myself. It emerged from a series of free wheeling Monday night jam sessions in late 2016. We found that good things happened when we made things up as we went along. Before we knew it, we had an album.
Read the full interview…

The Performance.
In the sparsely populated ballroom, complete with chandeliers, The Melomaniacs took to the stage to perform the album “Dust” in its entirety. A recorded work that has already gained rave reviews in the music press. The band walked on stage in silence. The film began and for the next 55 minutes, we the audience were taken on a musical journey of delicate ambience, full of chemistry and rich in ear-candy and eye-candy. I relished Mike Marlin and Kim Murray’s expert guitar playing, weaving sonic pleasure and making every note count. There was also Paul Silvers’ Keyboards and electronic effects, complimenting the sparse musical arrangements that fully engaged the audience. Mike Marlin’s beautiful poetry sung with true soul and spiritual clarity. Just before the end of the performance an Angel arrived from the Spiritual Realms (Divines a Clairvoyant and is able to see that which most are unable to). At first I thought the Angel had arrived to compliment the experience, which of course it did. But then just before the last number, Mike told us while fighting back tears, that his Father had ascended to the Heavens two weeks ago. It was then that I knew, that the Angel was Mike’s Guardian. Musicians of this caliber are always mediums of the muse and spiritual grace. As the last echoes of Paul Silvers’ expert saxophone faded into the silence of The Melomaniacs’ fully engaged audience. The performance was over. The silence was as musical as the performance and film that we had just experienced.

After the performance we had the opportunity to congratulate and thank the band at the Merchandise stall, where I was presented with a beautiful coffee table style hardbacked book of the photography Jean Luc Fievet had taken on the adventure, A copy of the LP and tucked in the lapel of the beautiful book a copy of the compact disc. All bound together with Melomaniac ribbon. Being a DJ of ambient and chill out, The Melomaniacs beautiful sonic fidelity will be part of my DJ sets for years to come. Delicate, Moving And Powerful Art.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert


Mike Marlin. The Visionary, Guitar And Vocals
Paul Silver Keyboards, Electronic Effects And Saxophone.
Kim Murray.Guitar.
Danny Monk. The Sound Engineer.
Jean Luc Fievet. The Photographer.
Film Maker. Lee Archer.

Swingin’ The Fringe

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Assembly Checkpoint, Bristo Place
Aug 13th (21.30) 14th (18.30) 15th (15.00)


Two weeks or so into the great festival of the arts this the Edinburgh Fringe a cavalry of colour has just rode into town, all guns blazing. A collaboration as romantic as Napoleon & Josephine, the Jive Aces swing band has found a perfect soul mate with the Satin Dollz. Together they gallop through their keenly-selected ouvre, drawn from the rich treasury of the last middle century, bringing each song to life with dancing, singing, costume changes, confidence & style.

All the band were splendidly dressed in the baggy trousers of the 1940s, & all were incredibly tight to the task & the tune. Jive Ace’s daddy-o crooner Ian Clarkson on trumpet & vocals, Vince Hurley on Piano, John Fordham on Tenor sax, Ken Smith bashing his double bass with a grin, Peter Howell on Drums, Alex Douglas on Trombone & the immensely welcome presence of Lottie B on Baritone sax. For the third song, like Valkyries of the Nibelungen, three of the Satin Dollz – the singers – flew in. The voices of Coco, Bella & Lena harmonized & energized. Into the next song bounded the dancing Dollz, Kitti & Peach, adding yet another dimension to the occasion. As the full package, the Aces & Dollz are pure performers, with songs like Shoo Shoo Baby & Too Darn Hot in particular being delivered with the most theatrical flourish.

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“Swinging the Fringe” is our first show at the Fringe with the Satin Dollz – it is upbeat fun jive and swing music with the gals tap dancing, singing and great choreography with colorful frocks and suits with the style and glamor of the 40s and 50s
Read the full interview

The show had begun late, with the group telling the Mumble, ‘sorry about that, as it happens, surprisingly, 30 minutes isn’t enough to get one act off the stage and the audience out and then move and set up entire band equipment for 12 people from another floor!’ The show also ended late, on account of the stream of encores forced upon the Aces & Dollz by a full house audience which had increased in enthusiasm with every beat. Indeed, at the very end the entire audience stood up & were invited to leap themselves into the final dance – to which every single person acceeded with delight.

Damo

An Interview with Devon More

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Devon More will soon be rocking into Edmonton & Vancouver with her Flute Loops. The Mumble caught her for a wee blether beforehand…


Hi Devon, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Devon: I grew up in Kamloops BC, and now live in East Vancouver, but I also spend a lot of time in New Westminster.

When did you first develop a love of performing?
Devon: I always wanted to be “an artist” – even before I knew what that was. At 6 years old, I learned my first instrument – the flute – at a summer music camp. Recently, my parents shared a home recording of me singing an “original song” (called “The Froggy Dance”) around the same age, so things haven’t changed much.

What are the strings to your showbiz bow?
Devon: I’m a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, though I think of myself primarily as a songwriter – and there is always an element of story to my work. I tour my original musical storytelling shows to festivals across Canada. I’m the frontwoman and guitarist for Hang Lucy – a Vancouver-based punk-pop indie rock power trio (also featuring John Pigeon on bass, and Ariane Tasca on drums). We just released our debut EP this spring! “Stroke of Luck” is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and all digital music outlets. I perform musical works of “edutainment” at schools across British Columbia, where I also conduct workshops with young people and work with educators on arts integration. And I started my own indie theatre series in New Westminster.

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Can you tell us about Way Off-Broadway Wednesday?
Devon: Way Off-Broadway Wednesday is the underground theatre series I run. It’s my effort to keep the “Fringe” spirit alive year round, and create a casual live performance space that is inclusive, unspoiled by market capitalism, and connects people face-to-face. It started by accident in November 2016: I was in the middle of a month-long run in the cozy cabaret-style back room of The Heritage Grill (a legendary local music venue in New Westminster, BC). And then He Who Shall Remain Nameless was elected on Tuesday, November 8th… Performing Berlin Waltz (my Cold War cabaret that details the history of the Berlin Wall and my years living in the city) the following night – to coincide with November 9th’s anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall – was strange: suddenly “Walls” were a hot topic again – and much closer to home. But it also was therapeutic and empowering to share the incredible story of the peaceful revolution enacted by ordinary people that ultimately destroyed the Berlin Wall and the oppressive regime behind it. I have been programming a different weird, wild, and wonderful weekly work ever since. Every Wednesday night, at 7pm, Way Off-Broadway presents a unique show, ranging from Fringe circuit hits, to intimate storytelling events, to first readings of brand new plays. And W.O.W. always operates at a postcapitalist price point: Pay-What-You-Want, with proceeds going directly to the evening’s performers.

What does Devon More like to do when she’s not performing?
Devon: Surf. Cycle. Swim. Be a super auntie to my 2 nieces and 1 nephew.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Devon: Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, and Ella Fitzgerald. I’d cook whatever was in season at the nearest farmer’s market.

You are bringing FLUTE LOOPS to the Edmonton Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Devon: Flute Loops is a comedic music-based play set at the rock concert of a hipster band: The Flute Loops have just gone viral, thanks to Thomas’ knack for translating face-melting guitar solos from classic rock into fancy fingerwork on the flute. I play Thomas’ girlfriend: a classical music-loving, quantum physics PhD student (and fish-out-of-water) who is filling in at the merch table for the evening. The concert doesn’t run as expected…and it might have something to do with my character’s thesis project, which aims to warp space-time – using the pressure of sound waves. It’s worth mentioning that she is heavily under the influence – of Stephen Hawking.

Where did the idea come from?
Devon: Flute Loops started at the intersection of music and math. I wanted the subject matter of this summer’s show to be relevant to my method of music-making. I often work with a loop-station so that I can live-mix the accompaniment for my songs, and in effect play several instruments at once; the result is a progression of patterns and intervals that made math seem like the natural choice. And math lead me to fall down the rabbit hole of Quantum Theory – which from a writer’s perspective is so rich with philosophical questions about the nature of space, time, and certainty. At it’s core, Flute Loops is an exploration of the “space between” – whether it be the intervals between music notes, the gaps in our subatomic structure, or the alienation we feel as humans.

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Can you tell us about the backing band?
Devon: If I am honest, I put a lot of my pet peeves regarding the worst of musician-types onto The Flute Loops’ band members. They’re a 4-piece band of attractive, straight white guys who managed to go viral thanks to a gimmick of instrumentation, sloppy, sexualized lyrics, and an infectious dance video. Thanks to this taste of fame, their egos have grown so big they can’t even be bothered to turn up on time for their audience. The Flute Loops’ also rely heavily on “samples” from pop music, which in turns inspires my character to sample some of the most famous riffs and licks – from the classical genre…! I had a chance to spend a month composing the soundtrack at the Lookout Arts Quarry (in Washington) this spring: the resulting indie rock songs explore the nature of space-time, and are embedded with traces of Ravel, Mozart, Strauss, and Beethoven – among others.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the streets?
Devon: Flute Loops is a rock opera about quantum physics where anything that can happen does… Only suitable for patrons who like live music, strong female characters, and – this is important: who have a sense of humour. Another useful prerequisite would be a small degree of curiosity about the universe. We’ll warp space-time, and transcend all 4 dimensions…and sometimes the spirit of Stephen Hawking even swings by.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Devon More?
Devon: After spending 5 months on the road this year, I’m looking forward to a creative and productive autumn back home in East Van. I miss my Hang Lucy bandmates! We will be hitting local stages. I have a brain full of new story and song ideas to bring to fruition, along with an exciting season at Way Off-Broadway Wednesday.


FLUTELOOPS

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EDMONTON

Fri Aug 17 @ 8:30pm
Sat Aug 18 @ 12:15pm
Tues Aug 21 @ 2:30pm
Wed Aug 22 @ 6:00pm
Thurs Aug 23 @ 11:30pm
Sun Aug 26 @ 4:00pm
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VANCOUVER

Sat Sept 8 @ 6:15pm
Mon Sept 10 @ 8:15p
Tues Sept 11 @ 7:45pm
Thurs Sept 13 @ 5:00pm
Sat Sept 15 @ noon
Sun Sept 16 @ 8:15pm
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www.devonmoremusic.com

An Interview with Joanna Wallfisch

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Combining an incredible thirst for adventure & a superengelic voice, The Mumble were honour’d to grab a wee blether with Joanna Wallfisch…


Hello Joanna, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Joanna: I am from South London, live in Los Angeles, via New York & Paris, & as we speak I am in Edinburgh.

When did you first develop a love music?
Joanna: In the womb. I was born into a family of classical musicians. My mother is a violinist. But I fell in love with jazz when I was 11, with Ella Fitzgerald.

Can you tell us about your training?
Joanna: Well, like I mentioned, I grew up in a household of professional musicians, and after my undergrad in fine art I did a masters degree in jazz vocals. then I moved to NYC where I spent six years learning from the very best musicians in the world.

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Who inspires you musically?
Joanna: Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Beethoven, Moira Smiley, Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy, Carmen McCrae, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Laura Mvula, Sam Amidon, Bjork, The Beetles, the list goes on…

What do you like to do when you’re not being, well, musical?
Joanna: I love to swim and hike and be out in nature adventuring.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Joanna: Ella Fitzgerald, Henry VII, Junk Tabei. I would cook – smoked salmon with horseradish on toast, then a roast veggie risotto, then pavlova with passion fruit and raspberries.

You are bringing The Great Song Cycle Song Cycle to this year’s Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Joanna: It is a show based on my experiences cycling down the west coast of America solo. I tel the story through song and spoken word, create soundscapes with my voice, melodica and other instruments – a bit like a film score to set the scenes, and take the audience on a journey through the meditation of the road, adventure, beauties, strange things and people and more.

What are the key ingredients to the show’s style?
Joanna: Storytelling, intricate vocal harmonies, folk and jazz, playfulness.

What was the craziest thing that happened on your journey, & has it found its way into the show?
Joanna: All the crazy is in the show!!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in an Edinburgh street, what would you say?
Joanna: Do you like music and adventure? Come to see The Great Song Cycle, half price tickets if you have a flier?!!


The Great Song Cycle Song Cycle

13-18 – 12:05 @ Surgeon’s Hall, Theatre 2. The Space UK

20-25 – 20:35 @ Triplex Studio, The Space UK

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www.joannawallfisch.com

An Interview with Norman Maclean

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When it comes to Skiffle, Norman Maclean is the man, & he’s just about to bring his band to the Fringe…


Hello Norman, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Norman: Well now – I married the loveliest girl in the world 35 years ago and she gave me 2 lovely sons, though I did have a small input. We now live in Haddington, about 20 miles from Edinburgh. But I was born in a funny place called Australia (Sydney) about 100 years ago – my father had been sent there by the British government for some reason!

When did you first develop a love of music?
Norman: I came to the UK in 1960 and have always liked skiffle.

What instruments do you play?
Norman: I’m really a drummer but as you can’t really play drums on yer own, I took up guitar and now play it badly and sing badly. I formed the Soft Shoe Skiffle Band in 2000, and we’ve done the Fringe and other gigs since. There is Captain banjo – who plays that and mandolin v well and has been with me for over 10 years, and also a big double bass player (well he’s actually quite small but the bass is huge) and he’s been with me for over 12 years and also an elec guitarist, and a washboard player. I’ve wanted to do a Fringe show on my own for years as I play in a lot of care homes and day centres myself.

What does Norman Maclean like to do when he’s not making music?
Norman: When not playing music – I love skiing, windsurfing and fishing (trout and salmon). In fact I started and ran a ski shop in Edinburgh for about 25 years, and we had a windsurfing school at Cramond on the Forth for a few years – it really made no money but was very good fun.

You have been an integral member of the Soft Shoe Skiffle Band for for nearly 20 years – & youre playing at the Fringe this year. What songs have you got for us?
Norman: Some popular folk and pop from the 50’s to the 80’s songs are ‘My old Man’s a Dustman, Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight, Nobody’s Child, It Doesn’t Matter Any More (a great Buddy Holly song), Michael Row the Boat’ and many more.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Norman Maclean?
Norman: Since I’ve more or less stopped real work – business seminars on several subjects – the rest of 2018 will be taken up with some band gigs, and also I’m writing a book (more later); and much the most important thing is our Labrador got cancer a few years ago and we had to put him to sleep, and our sons gave us a new one last Christmas, and it is a real commitment. A lovely puppy needs a lot of training and attention, and he is only 8 months old, but we all love him to bits. I might train him up to take him into nursing homes and care centres, as a dog is great to show.


Soft Shoe Skiffle Band

Edinburgh Academy,
Henderson Row

Thurs 16th & Fri 17th August (19.00)

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