Sunday, January 1, 2012

Simpson & Jarre

Our first SoundScape for 2012 (Jan 5 from 9 pm) will feature some wonderful guitar work by Martin Simpson, and also some pieces from Jean Michal Jarre. Tune in to Yarra Valley FM 99.1 or get it streamed live from the website.

Martin Simpson was born in Scunthorpe, England. He took an early interest in music, learning to play the guitar and banjo and performing at local folk clubs.

In 1976 he recorded his first solo album Golden Vanity. In the same year he opened for Steeleye Span on their UK tour. Martin also toured and performed with folk singer June Tabor, who did not play an instrument herself. They would later record three albums together.

In 1985 he moved to Bloomington, Indiana and married American singer Jessica Radcliffe. 2003 saw the release of Righteousness and Humidity, a set focusing almost exclusively on music from the Deep South, played on a variety of instruments and featuring Steeleye Span's Rick Kemp. This recording was a nominee for BBC folk awards album of the year in 2004. Simpson won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2004 in the category of Best Musician.

Simpson has written guitar instruction books and recorded DVD guitar tutorials.

Our second feature artist is Jean Michel André Jarre (born 24 August 1948), a French composer, performer and music producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient and New Age genres, and known as an organiser of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks.

His first mainstream success was the 1976 album Oxygène. Recorded in a makeshift studio at his home, the album sold an estimated 12 million copies. Oxygène was followed in 1978 by Équinoxe, and in 1979 Jarre performed to a record-breaking audience of more than a million people at the Place de la Concorde, a record he has since broken three times. 

More albums were to follow, but his 1979 concert served as a blueprint for his future performances around the world. Several of his albums have been released to coincide with large-scale outdoor events, and he is now perhaps as well known as a performer as a musician. The performances were not without issues; inclement weather had threatened to break a floating stage from its moorings, winds were so strong that television cameras were blown over, and Diana, Princess of Wales, was on one occasion soaked by rain and wind.

He was the first Western musician to be allowed to perform in the People's Republic of China, and holds the world record for the largest-ever audience at an outdoor event. (That's right, it wasn't Elton John!)

Our Goon Show will be 'The Missing Ten Downing Street'.

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