Arts interviews

Julian Velard: Sad, lonely… and loved by housewives

By Paul Lester, June 20, 2008

Julian Velard is the biggest news in music since Duffy. He is courted by top record labels and daytime TV hosts. So why does he look so miserable?

If you were impressed by the vocal gymnastics of Jamie Cullum and Michael Buble, but would rather they sang their own songs; if you enjoy Amy Winehouse’s music but are disturbed by how, well, disturbed she is; if you like Billy Joel or Elton John but wish they were not so uncool... try Julian Velard.

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Michael Sophocles: 'Of course I know kosher'

By Craig Silver, June 20, 2008

The failed Apprentice candidate, who embarrassed himself on national TV with his lack of kashrut knowledge, sees his next task as learning to become more Jewish

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Being uncle Topol

By John Nathan, June 20, 2008

The iconic Israeli actor is to take on a caddish father-figure role in London. So what happens to that inner Fiddler that has defined his career?

Chaim Topol is singing. To make a point about a lyric, he wants to get to a particular line in a particular song which, when he sings it on stage this summer, will induce sighs of fond recognition in some, and stony disapproval in others. “Thank heaven for little girls…” He is singing sotto voce so as not to attract attention in the Maida Vale café, not far from his West London apartment.

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Erik Satie: Gonzales, the classical rap comic

By Paul Lester, June 13, 2008

He plays Erik Satie, hip-hop and does satire on stage between songs. No wonder he has identity issues

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You think I’m wild? You should see my mother

By Stephen Applebaum, June 6, 2008

In the swinging ’60s, Marianne Faithfull lived a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll, and almost ended up paying the ultimate price. But, as she reveals, she wasn’t the first wild child in her extraordinary Jewish family

Marianne Faithfull was raised as a Catholic, but the husky-voiced singer says she has her Jewish roots to thank for her acclaimed renditions of the songs of Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weill. People were astounded when they first heard her perform their work, she recalls — which started her wondering why she had such an innate flair for their music.

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A musician's deep notes

By Paul Lester, June 6, 2008

Dan Kaufman has an unlikely success mixing rock music and the Holocaust

Dan Kaufman’s new album, Force Of Light, issued by American avant-garde composer John Zorn’s Tzadik label, is a pensive yet powerful response to the work of post-war poet and Romanian-Jewish Holocaust survivor Paul Celan.

The leader of the leftfield rock group Barbez, Kaufman uses to mesmerising effect extracts of Celan’s poetry, read by Scottish poet Fiona Templeton, and a variety of musical styles from experimental jazz and post-rock to Eastern European folk and classical.

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Enjoy musicals? Watch this man

By Benjamin Wolf, June 6, 2008

Alexander Bermange went abroad to get his break as a musical-theatre composer. But there are signs that he is going to be as big in the West End as he is in Frankfurt

The world of musicals — glamorous on the outside, competitive and demanding on the inside — is not always an easy place to be. To succeed there, you need passion, drive, luck and at least a modicum of talent. Alexander Bermange appears to have all these qualities. Born in 1976, he wrote his first musical, Nessie, in 1994, at the age of 17.

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I'm happy to be mummy's boy

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

William Sutcliffe is a novelist concerned to celebrate an important relationship

William Sutcliffe is not anticipating a call from the compilers of the Man Booker Prize shortlist for his new novel, Whatever Makes You Happy (Bloomsbury £10.99). “If you are writing about young people, you are disqualified from every literary prize,” Sutcliffe claims. “You are also disqualified if you are funny, use lots of dialogue, or write about contemporary Britain — everything I tend to do.”

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The kosher cowboy

By Paul Lester, May 30, 2008

Kinky Friedman is a singing, writing, cigar-smoking Texan. Which doesn’t make him any less Jewish

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The baroness leading a grey-power rebellion

By Alex Kasriel, May 23, 2008

Julia Neuberger is fed up with the way society marginalises older people. It’s time they fought back, she tells Alex Kasriel

Julia Neuberger has a thing about loos. She wishes there were more public ones. Why? Because she feels that without them, old people are too scared to go out. 

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