How Rwanda and 9/11 moved me to write for Leonard Bernstein

By Lawrence Joffe, October 23, 2008

As monumental musical works go, little can beat Leonard Bernstein's 3rd and last symphony, called Kaddish. On stage are three choirs, a full orchestra, a conductor and a singer. Over five movements the music ranges from hints of Bach's Passion and Mahler's Resurrection to atonal modernity and playful percussive jazz.


Los Desterrados: My rock ’n’ roll moment

By Alex Kasriel, October 17, 2008

Ever since Kate Moss was caught on camera snorting cocaine in a West London recording studio, the world has been guessing what other antics rock'n'roll stars get up to in these music recording venues.
So when Ladino band Los Desterrados invited me to watch them record their third album, Miradores, I jumped at the chance.


Suicide: How the godfathers of punk kept the faith

By Paul Lester, October 10, 2008

New Yorkers Alan Vega and Marty Rev were punks before punk was invented, known in the '70s for their violent gigs and raging synth rock. Now they're hip again, with Bono, REM and Radiohead citing them as influences.

You may not have heard of American duo Suicide, but you will have heard of the groups they influenced. Depeche Mode, New Order, Moby, Radiohead - almost every techno or industrial act, or rock band that uses synthesisers, has cited Suicide as an influence.


Seeking normality: one other-planet popster

By Paul Lester, October 3, 2008

Admired by his peers, feted by his fans, all experimental dance musician Max Tundra wants now is for builders to whistle his songs.

Max Tundra is about to become a big star. Or, at least, he is in the minds of his fans, who believe his fast-cut, intricately assembled electronic pop has commercial potential.


Debbie Wiseman: She scores emotion

By Paul Lester, September 19, 2008

We meet one of the UK's most prolific and celebrated film and TV composers


It’s the Motorhead of klezmer (with jokes)

By Paul Lester, September 12, 2008

The Jewish music scene is not known for its sense of humour. Max Pashm and his group aim to inject a little laughter when they play at Simcha on the Square



Airing the closet-kosher music loved by the Tudors

By Rodney Greenberg, September 12, 2008

Although they were officially banned, Jewish musicians were top of the charts in Elizabethan England. Now a modern group is replaying their hits.


The Tudors are in the news these days. BBC2 is unfurling its lavish, 10-part drama about Henry VIII and his coterie of minions and lovers, while the Royal Mint is striking a £5 coin commemorating the 450th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth I.


Limmudniks raise the roof

By David Lasserson, August 28, 2008

Over 600 people went wild under the stars in the Peak District last weekend.

All over Britain this summer, a range of festivals - from Glastonbury to V - has been serving up serious musical entertainment. Limmudfest 08, which took place last weekend in the Peak District, was no exception.


What naches! The artists making Yiddish cool

By Alexandra Mankowitz and Lemez Lovas, August 14, 2008

Musicians in the UK and Germany explain why they are taking the language of the shtetl on to the hippest stages

I learnt Yiddish not just from my parents and grandparents, but from the whole town. We had plays, drama, reading and songs, all in Yiddish, all around us. I realise now how privileged I was."


The James Bond hitman whose lyrics fire hearts

By Paul Lester, August 7, 2008

Don Black is responsible for several classic 007 film themes, as well as a host of hot soundtracks in his 44-year career as one of the world's finest lyricists.

Did you know that James Bond was born in Mill Hill? Well, not the secret agent, but certainly some of his most famous songs. Because Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever and The Man With The Golden Gun were all written by Don Black, one of the most prolific and successful lyricists in the history of British popular music, when he was living in that quiet north London suburb.