Author Archives: Sohrabeyal

Agent of Change UK

Agent of Change Battles Threat to UK Live Music Scene – A Proactive Solution to a Universal Problem

Text By Dawoud Kringle

Music Venue Trust is a UK based network of grassroots music venues and their supporters. Their base concept, Agent of Change, was first introduced into the music scene in Australia, and then, three years ago, into the UK. Agent of Change is a term that is used to describe various approaches to controlling the relationship between newly built development (typically residential), and extant noise sources (typically, music venues).

The Agent of Change campaign believes that the cornerstone of the UK music industry is under threat and needs protection. Music venues are threatened with closure because of changes in planning laws to encourage residents to move into town centers. This change in policy was originally intended to address housing shortages (specifically, offices, car parks and disused buildings to be converted into residences. The problem arose with the UK’s music venues being next door to those offices and car parks. Music venues were subsequently forced to fight noise complaints, abatement notices and planning applications. The locations of the venues were deliberately chosen so that the music wouldn’t create problems for residents. With the aforementioned housing policy changes, residents made complaints about sound. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the developers of the residential properties have no legal obligation to soundproof these new residences. UK law mandates that the business or person making the noise is responsible for its management.

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Hugh Masekela

South Africa’s Trumpet Player and Activist Hugh Masekela Remembered

Text by Dawoud Kringle

On Tuesday, January 21st, 2018, the music world was saddened to hear that legendary trumpet player, composer, and music activist Hugh Masekela passed away from pancreatic cancer. Thus ended a career of over half a century. He was 79.

Masekela began playing trumpet in his teens (an apocrypha of his biography holds that his first trumpet was a gift from Louis Armstrong. Another version of the story holds that the instrument was donated by Armstrong to anti-apartheid chaplain Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, at St. Peter’s Secondary School). At the end of 1959, Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Makaya Ntshoko, Johnny Gertze and Hugh formed the Jazz Epistles, the first African jazz group to record an LP. Their 1959-60 concerts in Johannesburg and Cape Town were hugely successful.

March 21st, 1960 the Sharpeville massacre saw 69 protesters killed by police, the South African government banned gatherings of ten or more people, and the brutality of the Apartheid state became intolerable (apparently, the Apartheid government couldn’t understand why human beings refuse to be oppressed and enslaved). With the help of Trevor Huddleston, Yehudi Menuhin, and John Dankworth, Masekela left the country. Dankworth got Masakela admitted into London’s Guildhall School of Music.

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Tommy Smith

Concert Review: Spirit of light by Tommy Smith, featuring Kurt Elling

And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Cappella Nova

Date: December 17, 2017
Venue: St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland

Review and photographs by Fiona Mactaggart

Rugged up against the bone-chilling cold in the Scottish capital’s visually and acoustically impressive St Mary’s Cathedral, the full-house audience seem aware they are in for something special. The two-part concert begins with a clear as ice spoken introduction from esteemed New York – based jazz singer and previous collaborator with Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO), Kurt Elling. With appropriate gravitas, Elling explains that this concert will be “a modern meditation on the delirium that visits us at this season”, and that it would be no regular jazz gig.

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Gifts of Streaming? ReverbNation Voices Strange Ideas

Commentary by Dawoud Kringle

In a recent article on ReverbNation’s website, musician, blogger, and educator Patrick McGuire espoused the idea that streaming services such as Spotify are a “gift” to musicians. 

According to McGuire, “Companies like Spotify have invested an insane amount of time and money into finding ways to help connect artists with the right listeners. Part human curation, part highly complex algorithm, Spotify’s Discover Weekly Playlist feature builds completely unique and personalized music selections to its users.” 

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