So I think I finally figured it out. And by ‘IT’ I mean the reason for my absence from this self built web-presence (not the Stephen King novel about scary clowns). This blog is over 4 years old. I created it, set it up with its imaginative title (ahem), wrote some blog posts and here we are. This blog, my blog, started out merely as a place for me to share and catalog my taste in music. (Well it actually started its life as a film review blog, but it didn’t take long for music to take over).
The beauty of Alt-J (well for me anyway) is that I have no idea what Joe Newman (the band’s frontman) is singing. He could be spouting out streams of random babble and I’d have no idea (Please tell I’m not alone here). But surely this can’t be a favourable attribute for a band to possess. I mean if I wanted to hear an aimless band of gobbling turkeys I’ll listen to the 1975 (although I would most likely give my ears the once over with a molten poker before volunteering to do so). The secret to Alt-J, believe it or not, is the lyrics (but didn’t I just say that i couldn’t understand them). Well I suppose it’s fair to include their well tuned musicianship in the mix too, but unlike most incomprehensible bands Alt-J’s lyrics are actually thoughtful and manage to confront cliché-fuelled themes in a less than conventional manner.
Which leads me onto this weeks song. Taro, the closing track from the band’s debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’, was (until I Googled the lyrics) just a well worked song, with some attention grabbing musical riffs and other such delights. Of course I had no idea what was going on lyrically, but it sounded good and I had managed to piece together my own interpretation of the song lyrics (which enabled me to sing along, to some extinct, whilst it took up a semi-permanent residence in my head). But, as previously mentioned, I did cop-out and seek the ‘actual’ lyrics online… and wow. Everything makes sense now and the song has increased tenfold in both stature and style. But I’m not going to bang on anymore about the song lyrics. Feel free to search for yourself (unless of course you are fluent in the language of Alt-J and can understand every word uttered by the Leeds-onian/cunian (what do you call someone from Leeds?).
And thus ends my bracket-laden rant. Listen to Taro, read the lyrics, watch the music video, follow the band on your favourite social media platform and please, please, if like me, you cannot understand what the band are singing, then be sure to let me know. Otherwise I might just have to book myself in for a hearing test or two.
Vladimir Jablokov is a Slovakian violinist renowned for his classical take on modern music. Since arriving in Ireland back in 2004 he has forged a solid following for his own unique genre of ‘Classical Twist’. His normal set-list usually encompasses everything from Bach to Bowie. But on the 7th of March, accompanied by his sister Olga on piano, Vladimir showed the intimate crowd at the Sol y Sombra his true virtuoso talents.
Before I go any further with this review I have to stress that I am only 20, with a limited knowledge of classical music. So whilst I knew the first piece Vladimir played was by Mozart I am afraid that I cannot be any more specific in terms of symphony numbers, movements and so on. But all the same it was captivating to witness the duo’s master-ship of their respective instruments.
The night’s set-list is strictly classical featuring pieces from Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Paganini and some Strauss thrown in at the end for good measure. Each piece is book-ended with tales of composers and Vladimir’s own personal experience growing up with each. His storytelling is refreshing and adds layers to the live performance.
By the end of the night the crowd were baying for more and called the classical pair back to the stage for a double encore. The first of which prompted a little sing-song in the form of Jaromir Vejvoda’s ‘Beer Barrel Polka’. For the second, the crown had to make due with a theatrical bow.
Overall the concert was a resounding success. It is not everyday that you are gifted the opportunity to observe such classical maestros up close and personal in a small town like Killorglin.