Perhaps nobody has popularized jazz in the 21st century as much as Jamie Cullum. The historically best-selling UK jazz musician, a piano virtuoso, an unmistakable singer, and performer became famous with his fantastic adaptations of the famous songs of all genres, but especially with his spectacular performances. At his concerts, the grand piano turns into a giant cajon or even a jumping bridge, while he performs fantastic piano solos, beatbox, uses effect loops, and brilliantly cooperates with the band and the audience. His concerts do not multiply the album experience, they enhance it. You can come get the first-hand experience at the 22nd Pohoda.
The biggest figure of jazz popularization is 164 cm tall. Behind the microphone and the piano, however, he shades everyone. Contrarily though, behind the microphone on his BBC 2 jazz show, he helped artists such as Gregory Porter and Laura Mvula get noticed. Anyway, let us return to providing some more facts. Jamie has received nominations for the Grammy Awards, Golden Globe (2), GQ Man of the Year (2), Brit Awards (3), Sony Radio (3), and many more. He had done shows at BBC, Sky, and VH-1. His BBC 2 show won two awards at the New York Radio Awards and the Gold Sony Radio Award. Jamieʼs beginnings were not at all easy, though. He earned money for his studies playing in bars, at weddings, and on the streets. He released his debut album “Jamie Cullum Trio—Heard it All Before” at his own expense (500 pounds). Today, CDs from this limited edition are sold on eBay for $ 800 apiece.
In 2002 followed the album “Pointless Nostalgic” that enchanted the famous moderator Michael Parkinson. It was the Cullumʼs appearance in the Markinsonʼs show that catapulted the young jazz man among the biggest stars of popular music. Subsequently, he signed a million contract with the Universal record company to produce three albums, and the first one, “Twentysomething”, made him the most prominent UK jazz artist of all time. He won 11 platinum, 11 gold, and 2 silver discs for the album in different countries. In addition to his own songs or collaborations with his brother Ben, the record contains jazz standards and cover versions of well-known hits such as “Everlasting Love”, “Frontin”, and “High & Dry”. It was through these songs that he most introduced jazz to mass audience, and brought mainstream music closer to jazz fans. Gradually, he reworked some more hits such as “Seven Nations Army”, “Teardrop”, “Gold Digger”, “Donʼt Stop The Music”, and many more. Jamie has also proved to be a drummer in a hip-hop band and a guitarist in the rock band Raw Sausage.
In 2004, he played in the USA with Stevie Wonder and N.E.R.D. and headlined the Glastonbury festival. In 2005, he released the album “Catching Tales” that featured a cooperation with Dan Nakamura (Gorillaz) and Pharell Williams. The album won him a Grammy nomination. At that time, he started recording for Disney and he also contributed to songs for several films. While working on “Grace and Gone”, he met Clint Eastwood, for whom he later made music for the film Gran Torino. He received a Golden Globe nomination for the eponymous song. After a long break, he released the album “Pursuit” with a “Bond” cover that features a picture from the video for the cover of Rihannaʼs “Donʼt Stop The Music”. Billboard wrote that “while many artists sound anything but comfortable breaking these kinds of musical barriers, Cullum proves once again that he sounds most like himself when the walls come tumbling down”. So far, the 2013 album “Momentum” has been the most personal. It includes great covers such as “Pure Imagination” but Cullumʼs remarkable compositions such as “Get A Hold Of Yourself”, “Save Your Soul”, and “Youʼre Not The Only One” stand out. The cover album “Interlude” shows his return to jazz roots and it features, for example, Laura Mvula and Gregory Porter. Helen Brown of The Telegraph wrote that “this record finally captures the warmth, passion and spontaneity of Cullumʼs live gigs”. He introduced the album along with a 12-member big band in the most famous jazz clubs: The Blue Note in New York and Ronnie Scotts in London.
Richard Müller too described his performance in Paris Olympia as one of the most powerful musical experiences. Cullum also performed in Bratislava, and after his concert, the portal Jazz.sk wrote: “It was not the applause but the singing for the encore that was one of the most powerful proofs of a functioning connection between the audience and the band”. After another concert, the portal Hudba.sk wrote: “He was singing basically standing on his concert piano, allowing the viewers in the first row to touch him. He gave the audience everything he had, he was panting lying on the stage, and then he continued playing. The Beatbox cover version of “Get Lucky” was great, and so was the Jimi Hendrix stuff. The audience continued singing for minutes after he went off stage. We love Jamie Cullum!” In addition to the biggest jazz events (Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Monterey Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Java Jazz), his show was loved by the audiences in Glastonbury, Coachella, Fuji Rock, and many others. In less than a half year, he will perform his “classical entertainment” also at Pohoda 2018.
KRONOS QUARTET AT POHODA 2018
One of the most famous chamber ensembles in the world Kronos Quartet will perform at the 22nd edition of Pohoda Festival. The American Grammy Award winning string quartet has collaborated with the likes of David Bowie, Björk or Paul McCartney as well as with contemporary classical music composers such as Terry Riley, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, John Adams, Henryk Górecki or Steve Reich. You come across their music when watching films Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, 21 Grams or The Great Beauty. Their concert at Trenčín Airport will no doubt be a great beauty as well.
Kronos Quartet was founded by David Harrington in Seattle in 1973. Since 1978, the quartet has been based in San Francisco. In the 1980s, the significance of the ensemble was rising mainly thanks to their amazing performances of pieces composed by world-wide known minimalists. Almost 1,000 original pieces have been written for the Kronos Quartet to date and they have sold more than 1.5 million records. Besides classical music, they have also recorded adaptations of music by Bob Dylan, Sigur Rós or Jimi Hendrix, have performed with Allen Ginsberg, Tom Waits, The National, Paul McCartney and have recorded with Amon Tobin, Faith No More, Dave Matthews Band or Nine Inch Nails. Broader audience is familiar with their rendition of Clint Mansell’s “Lux Aeterna,” the leitmotif of the film Requiem for a Dream. Vladimir Martynov’s piece “The Beatitudes” from the Academy Award winning film The Great Beauty is no less successful. Kronos Quartet are not just a group of string instrument virtuosi for connoiseurs. With their original approach to music as well as to live performances, they have also gained admirers outside of the music school graduates bubble. In the beginning, their bold concert programs were not always well-received by the critics, though. An example would be the quartet’s adaptation of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” that they played as an encore to Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”.
The tireless discoverers continue exploring on their latest albums as well. For example, on their musical journey around the world – the ethnomusicological and autobiographical compilation A Thousand Thoughts from 2014 – or on last year’s albums Ladilikan (an amazing collaboration with Trio Da Kali) and Folk Songs (traditional British and French folk songs). The recordings underscore the main idea present throughout the 45-year-long history of the ensemble: to bring musical diversity without intellectual compromise. The latest live documentary A Thousand Thoughts (directed by Sam Green and Joe Bini) depicts quartet’s past and present from the point of view of its members. Funds for this extraordinary project were raised via Kickstarter. In the description, Green says the following: “For those of you who don’t know, the Kronos Quartet is like the Michael Jordan, or the Bob Dylan, or perhaps even the Williams sisters of the classical world.” Last week, the documentary became one of the most impressive events at the Sundance film festival. What is specific to the documentary is that the screening featured Green’s narration and Kronos Quartet live performance. Their newest project Kronos’ Fifty for the Future puts together ten young composers (five women and five men) whose works Kronos premiere within their concerts across the world. Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) distributes all the pieces, scores, recordings, videos and interviews online for free.
Is a multi-genre summer festival a suitable place for the most famous string quartet? David Harrington, the founder of the ensemble gave the answer in last year’s interview for Pravda daily when he said: “I don’t see music making sense only when played in concert halls, clubs or opera houses. Music is so vast and free that it doesn’t really matter where we find it and where we listen to it.” You will get a chance to listen to indeed beautiful music performed by David Harrington, John Sherba, Hank Dutt and Sunny Yang at Trenčín Airport at the beginning of July.
CHARLIE WINSTON, RIOT DAYS BY PUSSY RIOT THEATRE AND MORE AT POHODA 2018
The 22nd edition of Pohoda will feature Charlie Winston, the founding member of Pussy Riot Maria Alyokhina with her musical-theatrical project Riot Days by Pussy Riot Theatre, an excellent Aussie band Confidence Man, Daniel Brandt’s new project Daniel Brandt & Eternal Something and shamanic rituals enriched by electric instruments by Ifriqiyya Electrique.
Charlie Winston won in 2010 the European Border Breakers Award for the best British artist in Europe. His debut Hobo and eponymous single went on to top the official charts in France, and the album went platinum. His catchy songs have been used in commercials and TV series. Charlie’s image inspired various fashion brands; this British busker and troubadour, however, is not just a well-dressed songwriter: he also directs the attention at poignant environmental and social issues. He was supposed to perform at Pohoda last year but cancelled the tour due to personal reasons. In a short video last April, he outlined the reasons why he wanted to have a break from playing, and he slowly disappeared in the water at the end of the video. On 1 January, he published a photo showing him coming out of the water. We are delighted that Charlie’s return to the scene means also his Slovak premiere at Pohoda 2018.
Riot Days by Pussy Riot Theatre
Pohoda 2018 will feature the founding member of Pussy Riot, the Russian journalist, activist, and artist Marija Alyokhinova. The Hannah Arendt and The LennonOno Grant for Peace Award holder will introduce her musical and theatrical project “Riot Days by Pussy Riot Theatre” that is based on her latest book Riot Days. You can see the performance about Russian dissent, abuse of power, inhuman conditions in local prisons and work camps, and about hope at the beginning of July at the Trenčín Airport.
After their show at Glastonbury 2017, Gigwise wrote about them that they are one of the best live bands they have seen in recent years. Contagious rhythms and catchy bassline are praised by NME as well as Gigwise. The up-and-coming Aussie stars Confidence Man are coming to Pohoda 2018 with their electro-pop-disco-house and perfectly synced stage choreography.
Daniel Brandt & Eternal Something
You enter a London club and get absorbed by a wall of sound. Rumbling trombones, rhythmically intertwining guitars, and rolling yet playful drums: instead of a special orchestra, you see just three people and a whole pack of electronics in the mist of the stage. And you know right away that you want THIS at your festival. You only learn the name of the band from their agent after the concert. Daniel Brandt & Eternal Something. You get them confirmed in a few days. Later on you realise that the band’s leader Daniel Brandt is the Brandt of the wonderful Brandt Brauer Frick formation that played a fantastic set in the dance tent at Pohoda, previously having exhibited a great deal of creativity with the Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble orchestral project on the big stage. Now, this multi-talent comes with the equally interesting solo album Daniel Brandt & Eternal Something released by the experimental label Erased Tapes. Pitchfork gave it 7.6/10, Pop Matters did 8/10, and he aroused interest also at the biggest showcase festivals and last year’s Sonar. Witch Doctor wrote: “Brandt has recorded a seductive and gently adventurous album”. Allow it to seduce you in only 160 days at Pohoda 2018.
Ifriqiyya Electrique bring the shamanic rituals of Saharan tribes, re-arranged and enriched by electric guitar, bass, and computer effects of the members of the band Putan Club. They already delivered a great concert at Pohoda 2014; they will have additional three Sufi singers at their next performance. Their music results in strong hypnotic trance songs that appealed also to The Guardian and The Quietus. Their debut, Rûwâhîne, ranked in the Top 50 world music albums chart of the past year. You can enjoy Ifriqiyya Electrique in early July at Pohoda.
The Chemical Brothers, Jamie Cullum, St. Vincent, Ziggy Marley, Glass Animals, Kronos Quartet, SOJA, Danny Brown, Rodriguez, Aurora, Little Dragon, Blossoms, Fink, Calexico, El Gusto, Knower, La Femme, Charlie Winston, Scouting for Girls, Riot Days by Pussy Riot Theatre, Confidence Man, This Is The Kit, Bazzookas, Reykjavíkurdætur, Zeal & Ardor, Daniel Brandt & Eternal Something, Donny Benét, Ifriqiyya Electrique, Mitch & Mitch, Rebel Babel…