Aworan

February 5, 2012

Aworan’s moved to a new home!

Hello, pilgrims.

In the general hustle of life, there are somethings that you don’t forget to do. Like move house and not bothering to have a new forward address.  This is something I should have done ages ago, but never got around.  Anyway, here it is.

http://www.aworan.com/

I’m still trying to figure out how to redirect anyone from this site to the new one, so please bear with me.  In the meantime, y’all have a great day! Mazel Tov!

May 17, 2010

Fabolous at Indigo 02, London

Wotcha, Pilgrims!

You can always tell the nature of a gig based on certain tell-tales. For starters, the security that’s set in place that includes the police and a metal detector. Another sign is obvious: the fans with their version of sub-cultural Socio-dress code: the men sporting shades in a dark venue whilst wearing trousers that decide to take a journey further South, while the pants ride the Northern line along the crest of your butt-line. Must be some rite of passage silliness. Let’s not also forget the deliberate, put-upon limp that perfectly healthy young boys swagger with.    There are other  key indicators that determine which way the gig is going.  Take for instance the commands of the MCs: If you have to incessantly shout “Make some noise!!!”, two things come to mind: first, you’re trying way too hard to compensate for the lack of decent musical material that you could offer, hence the need to plug the leak in your creative deficit hole.  Secondly, people pay good money to see a gig, not for a group vocal work out. Damn it: you make some noise!!

Finally, a tell-tale sign that personally riles me up is this: starting the concert late! If the artist is scheduled to start at one time slot and doesn’t bother coming out for about another 40 minutes, that’s enough to tick anyone off.

Which brings me to the question: what did I think of the Fablous gig,  based on what I’ve written so far? Mediocre doesn’t even begin to describe it. I left after 5 minutes of him coming on, and according to Twitter feeds, he was on for about 30 minutes. If you paid good money for all that, well…….

Right: I’ve learnt my lesson: If it’s Hip-Hop, then just hop out!! Good night, pilgrims!!

May 15, 2010

Giving it up to God! : Muyiwa & Riversong at Indigo o2.

‘Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.‘ Psa 150:6

Dominus vobiscum, pilgrims!

In all my years covering gigs (and it hasn’t been that long!), I don’t believe I’ve ever covered a gospel concert.  Yes, I have covered the Blind Boys of Alabama, but this time I’m talking of a pentecostal gig with people up and about praising God, no holds barred.  None of all that “Oh, Let’s sit down with a dignified reserve. I mean, we are English!” (By the way, don’t let the picture above fool you; that was taken during a quiet worship moment).  Nah, it was up and at ‘em with a whole lot of thanksgiving in the heart and then some!  Now, it’s not like I haven’t tried getting accreditation to these gigs at times; it’s just that it’s been a ‘challenge’, for want of not getting into details. ;-)  After yesterday’s gig, I reckon I really ought to make more of an effort!

It was an outstanding gig, one of the best I’ve been to in a while. It was great coming to a gig and knowing that it’s all about giving thanks to God.  Whether you were a believer in Christ or not, you couldn’t help but not be touched by the power of giving praise to the Almighty.  There is something spiritual about praising that does wonders.  No, I’m not talking about standing up and reciting from a hymn book.  To each his own, of course, but when you praise Him, it should be a joyous moment.  If it could work for King David who was near buck-naked when he danced before the Lord with all his might (2 Samuel 6:14), then how about the rest of us?  :-) And speaking of thanks, someone asked me once, “Why thank God?” Ah-ah!?!? What do you mean, why not thank God??  Despite the ups and downs we encounter in life, there must be at least  10 things you could thank him in just one morning. For starters, the ability to wake up, go to the bathroom for your morning ablutions and sigh sighs of relief!! (I’ve always wanted to put this instance into a blog!! :-) )

It was also great seeing the Lord using Muyiwa and the rest of the team ministering to the crowd. I’m not going to lie to you: I felt really at peace yesterday; despite having to dash off early due to (un)foreseen situation. A bit of shame, really: it was going to be a session of praise, African Style!

Anyway, this blog isn’t really about Muyiwa & Riversongz per se, but rather, the magnificent, majestic, almighty Lord of Lords, King of all Kings.  I could type every word I possible know in praise and worship, it just wouldn’t be enough to say ‘Thanks, Dad’.  I’ve never really made the opportunity to mix my gig photography and faith in God, so what better way than now? :-)

Thanks for checking the blog out!:-)

May 11, 2010

“What is wrong with you people?!?!?”: Sound rehearsals with John McLaughlin & 4th Dimension

‘Assumption is the mother of all **** ups!’- Anonymous

Wotcha, Pilgrims!

Sometimes, common curtesy can go a very, very long way.  Yet today I got caught out for not asking, just because I assumed.

Let’s go back 24 hours earlier.   I requested a photopass to cover Jazz Guitar maestro Mr John Mclaughlin & the 4th Dimension at the Barbican tonight, and was told that photography was allowed. I was then asked whether I’d want to cover the sound check.  Now, if you’ve ever been to the Barbican, you’ll know why I jumped at the opportunity: you get the freedom to move around (incognito, of course!), and you don’t disturb other people. Got to the rehearsals, but no JMcL in sight. No worries: just shoot everything you can.  30 minutes later, Mr.John comes into the auditorium:

Armed with his weapon of choice (a guitar) and a big smile, he walks on stage and talks to the other members of the band about sound levels and such.  Out of the blue, he turns to me and, still retaining that big smile, starts with:

J.McL: “So, you’re another one who’s got in?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

J.McL: “I said, you’re another one who’s got in!?”

(I should have known right then that something was going to happen!)

Me: “I’d been given permission to shoot the rehearsal and gig.”

J.McL: (still with big smile, but only with a hint of menace) ” Oh, I know you have, but did you bother to ask me for my permission??  “What is wrong with you people?!?” Nothing stops you from asking, is there??!?!?”

Me: (rather sheepishly & now looking like a complete muppet and a half) “No…. may I take your pictures?”

J.McL: “Yes, you may.”

And with that still menacing smile and twinkle in his eye, he goes back to rehearsals like nothing happened.  I, on the other hand, was mentally kicking myself for not asking in the first place. The irony is that I normally do ask musicians if they don’t mind me shooting while rehearsing, so why didn’t I today?!?!? He had every right to question my being there, so Mr. McLauglin (and the rest of the team), if you’re reading this: ‘I’m Sorry.’

On a lighter note, here’s the rest of the shots:

John Mclaughlin with drummer Mark Mondesir:

Gary Husband on Drums (he was also on Keyboards; lousy talented punk! :-):

John McLaughlin with Bassist Hadrien Feraud:

The 4th Dimension:

John McLaughlin

Since I got most of the shots from sound-check, I decided against going to the main performance , because A: you can’t move around as much as you’d like to, and and B: I wasn’t sure if Mr. McLaughlin would pull a Keith Jarrett; I seriously doubt he would have, but you just never know! ;-)

Pax Vobiscum!

May 3, 2010

Fantasia Barrino at the Indigo 02

Cacophony (kuh-kof-uh-nee) : Within a musical definition, it is the  frequent use of discords of a harshness and relationship difficult to understand.

Singing is not for everyone. There are those who are gifted with the power of vocal talent, pitch & harmony.  And then there are those who should never, ever, ever open their gob, yet alone pick up a microphone, and try to sing.

Take my Neighbours for instance. These guys CANNOT sing.  They have karaoke sessions every so often that is so bad, that I’ve even had to get the local council involved.  Let me break it down to you as to how bad their ‘vocal charm’ is: If you were either faced with hordes of the living dead or sit down through a session of my neighbours ‘singing’, I’d say that you’d have a pretty good chance of actually surviving the zombies.  Come to think of it, the zombies would probably want to succumb to death again after hearing these guys sing.  It is that bad. Picture the worst entrant to any of those popular talent programmes, throw in a cat being strangled, and presto: you’ve got ‘Neighbours Got No Talent‘.  You know what: if any of the political parties have in their manifesto the power to imprison bad singers, they’ve got my vote!! By The Great Pix!! Their singing should, nay, MUST come with a health warning to anyone who has the bad misfortune to even hear one note sung by these ‘cacofonically’ challenged people!  I mean, you MUST be tone-deaf to not how bad you sound!!

Then you have real talent. Someone like Ms. Fantasia Barrino. To be honest, with a name like that, you’d better produce the goods.  For those of you not in the know such as myself, Ms. Barrino won the Yank version of Pop Idol back in 2004. Don’t let that ‘accolade’ fool you: she’s really good. Well, she’d have to be, considering she’s had 5 Grammy nominations.  With her only performance in the UK ever, she pulled out all the stops at her gig at London’s O2 Indigo:

I can see why she won that season’s crown. She’s good!

I had no idea of any of the songs she sang, but the crowd seem to be happy, so I guess that counts. And check out her heels! There I was thinking how was she going to cover the whole set wearing those contraptions, only for her to take them off within 3 minutes of coming on stage!

To be honest, I don’t know what possessed Ms. Fantasia to ask the crowd to come into the photographer’s pit, but it just turned to pandemonium. I love music like the next person, but my priority is my gear, so I only stayed for about 10 minutes of the gig before leaving.  Hope she & everyone else had fun, though.

Pax vobiscum, pilgrims!

ps. A quick correction: she’s been nominated 8 times for a Grammy.  All in due time, I believe. Thanks for the info, Nicole. :-)

April 29, 2010

Alex Webb Quartet with Alex Stewart at Spice of Jazz

Every now and then, you get to not only take shots, but also enjoy the gig within a quiet, chilled and relaxed setting.  Since Ronnie Scott’s only allows ‘Getty’ photographers and Jazz Cafe have a policy to charge photographers to shoot  gigs, it’s nice to work at a venue with no hassle.  It’s been a while since I covered a gig at Spice of Jazz, so when I was asked whether I could come and shoot a performance without the hassle, I thought: “Sure. Why not?”

It was supposed to be a quartet, but it ended up being a trio in the first half of the performance with Alex Webb on Piano, Gary Crosby on Double Bass and Andrew Chapman on drums. I have no idea who the 4th person was going to be.  Joining the band was a young and very talented vocalist by the name of Alexander Stewart, whom I believe is going places.  The gig started with a jazzed up version of a Stevie Wonder track, followed by covers from Blondie, Frank Sinatra and a composition by Alex Webb.  I couldn’t stay for the second part of the show, but from what I’d witnessed I knew I was going to miss the rest of an already interesting jazz treat.

Dominus Vobiscum, pilgrims!

April 28, 2010

Rokia Traore at Koko, London

Dominus Vobiscum, pilgrims.

If you’ve never heard Rokia Traore and her music, head on down to either spotify, iTunes or even Youtube, and listen to some of her tracks.  All I can say about her music is this: Wow!

Warm up act was Sweet Billy Pilgrim:

Have a great week, people!

April 25, 2010

Gil Scott Heron at the Royal Festival Hall, London

Back in 1971, the  revered poet, musician & ‘Godfather of Rap’ released the acclaimed ‘The revolution will not be televised.’ In the grand scheme of things, our modern times have somewhat proven Mr. Scott-Heron wrong, what with nearly every news event ‘streamed’ and all. I doubt we should hold that against him, though :-).  That said, heckling was alive, well and loudly vocalised during the start of his gig at the Royal Festival hall as demonstrated literally by a bunch of pro-Palestinian groupies.  I don’t even know what the politics of it was all about, but something about Mr. Scott-Heron & a planned gig in Israel?  Now, I’m all for protests and such, but come on!! Why with the hating yesterday night? You’d think he was a politician involved in some war crime or he was the dude who caused the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull (yeah, I’m sober & I can’t pronounce that name!) volcano. There was already a protest outside the venue asking people to boycott the evening’s performance. But you guys just had to come in and make a scene, thus disturbing it for others.  I’m guessing your tactics  worked, because after I’d left  I found out that Gil-Scott Heron has now cancelled his trip to Israel.

As for taking pictures, let’s say it was…challenging.  Not only did we have the smoke machine bellowing out it’s on version of volcanic ash, Mr Gil Scott was wearing his cap so you could barely make his eyes in the dark. But I can assure you, despite the silhouette, it’s him:

Because of the layout of the auditorium and nature of the gig, you have to decide from the onset where you plan to kneel for taking shots.  There were enough of us photographers as it were for me to start going up & down disturbing the punters in the front row, so I just stuck in my position.

Yet, he kept on looking to the right!

The problem with kneeling down in one position for a long time whether you are wearing a soft volleyball knee-pad or not, is that you start to feel the aches and pains in your joints.  So, at the start of the second song, I upped & awayed!

Warm up act was New Zealand poet MC Karoline Tamati aka ‘Ladi6′ with her crew:

Right, that’s it for now! Have a great week ahead! Dominus Vobiscum, pilgrims!!

April 22, 2010

Kid Creole and the Coconuts at the Barbican

Pax Vobiscum, pilgrims!

Right: there are a couple of things that I feel I ought to get off my chest!

  • I’m of the belief that because the sun’s shining doesn’t mean that it’s warm outside! All it takes is The Big Ball of Fire to show off some rays  for Londoners to go stripping down to the bare minimum! Temperatures aren’t even hitting 18 degrees, and it’s flaming cold in the shade! It’s a fact (I think!) that there’s normally a higher percentage of people who come down with the flu during the last week in April than the beginning of January.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s still winter!
  • Oh Ye the majority of the audience at the Barbican: You really, really have to enjoy the music.  It never fails: people seem to appreciate the music with a huge frown itched into their faces.  Guys, you’ve spent a fortune on tickets; the least you can do is show some emotion. Wave your arms, smile, even tap your fingers! For God’s sake, it’s not like most of the gigs have Philip Glass performing!!

Which brings me to tonight’s performance of Kid Creole & the Coconuts at the Barbican. There was this one dude in the audience that just scowled all through the performance while I was there. Even when I changed positions and came back, Mr.McFrown still had that same contorted look of anger on his face. And it’s not like the show was a bore. It even had beautiful women!!

Anyway, the gig was good, if you liked going back to the memory lanes of the 80s.  Personally, I thought the 80s kind of sucked, although Kid Creole’s gig was really good. Shame I could only stay for about 15 minutes :-( :

Good night, everyone!

ps: I still say that the 80s sucked!! That’s right: I said it!!!

April 17, 2010

Dee Dee Bridgewater celebrating Lady Day at the Barbican, London

Dominus Vobiscum, pilgrims!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: No-one does sexy & Jazz as a combo and pull it off with sophistication and musical finesse.  Step right up, Ms. Dee Bridgewater.

Yesterday’s gig at the Barbican to commemorate the Celebration of the Life of Lady Day (Ms Billie Holiday to ye the uninitiated!) nearly didn’t take place, thanks to the volcanic ash malarky spewing out from Iceland causing air travel havoc. Was that going to stop Ms Bridgewater? Does taking a Bus ride at 1 a.m the previous night from Stuttgart all the way just to make the performance come as dedication or what? :-)

Ms. Bridgewater is always a joy to photograph. For those of you who couldn’t make it, you missed one hell of a gig.  I could only stay for 2 songs, but hey! Better than nothing:

Ms. Bridgewater’s daughter, Ms China Moses, opened the show with a dedication to Dinah Washington:

That’s it for now, pilgrims!




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