Category Archives: Reviews

Mikey and the Scallywags

Mikey and the Scallywags, formed 8 months ago, in June 2010. The band is composed by 5 skilled musicians. Mikey McCrory is the guitar player and lead singer, Alan Gosker and his brother Brian Gosker are respectively playing banjo and drums as well as doing the backup vocals, Paulie Small is the bassist and finally Juliana Erkkonen is playing the violin and the fiddle.

These young artists started off busking in the streets of our beautiful city of Galway.

Continue reading Mikey and the Scallywags

Caravan Palace

This electro swing band is based in Paris. The current members of the bands are Sonia Fernadez Velasco, the lead singer who also plays the clarinet from time to time, Arnaud Vial who plays the guitar, Hugues Payen at the violin, Camille Chapellier also plays the clarinet, Charles Delaporte is the double bass player and finally Antoine Toutsou alternates between trombone and turntable.

This band started with an unusual but exciting anecdote without which there would be no band at all. The group formed in 2005 after Vial, Payen and Delaporte, the creators of the band, were hired by a film production company to provide the soundtrack for a silent porn dating from the beginning of the 20th century!! They showed their demo to friendly listeners who enthusiastically encouraged them to start a band. So they dropped their independent work and put themselves in this new project. A year after they met Loic Barrouk, manager of Café de la Dance, a gig venue in Paris, who signed them up for representations. They decided to find 3 more musicians, as they needed them for live playing, and so browsed YouTube. This is when Camille, Toutsou and Sonia entered the group.

Sonia’s voice is a cross over between old-cabaret style of Ethel Waters and the soulful Billie Holidays. Her voice is always in perfect harmony with the sparkling groove of the band.

They appeared for the first time in 2007 at the Django Reinhardt Jazz Festival.
Their Album entitled Caravan Palace was released in October 2008, and was preceded by the record “Jolie Coquine” which remained on the French Charts for 68 consecutive weeks. The band released their second official single “Suzy” in February 2009.
The album charted in Switzerland and Belgium and reached the position of #11 in august 2009.

These highly talented musicians take their influences from Swing and Manouche Jazz, which is a gypsy-style jazz to which they mix electro, house, dub and hip hop music. They mix electronic beats from drum machines, groove boxes and vocoders with live instruments.

The website F-cat Production says that “with their “zazou” look, inspired by the Parisian paleo-punk from the 30s and 40s, they serve up festive, frantic music. An improbable futuristic and melodious Charleston fit for the dance floor. Caravan Palace is to swing what Gotan Project is to Tango”

They have sold more than a hundred and fifty thousand copies of their album in less than a year and have played in more than a hundred and twenty national and international venues and festivals in 2009.

Their catchy music conquered Europe! They are planning in releasing a new album during the year, and fans from everywhere stamp their feet with anticipation!

That’s it for the Caravan Palace! Have a good day, and if you hear that they are coming to Ireland, Run! Run for tickets, these guys are unavoidable!!

sources: F-cat Production, Wikipedia and Aurgasm.

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus is a Fantasy and Adventure film directed by Terry Gilliam. The two hours long feature appeared on the cinema screens for the first time in 2009.

Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and his daughter Valentina (Lyle Coyle) travel around London in an old wagon that folds out into a Victorian Theater, along with Percy (Verne Troyer) and Anton (Andrew Garfield) and are later on joined by Tony (Heath Ledger). The story turns around Parnassus’ various bets with Mr. Nick (Tom Waits), better-known as ‘The Devil’. The Imaginarium, a world of dream, is controlled by Parnassus’ mind.

Terry Gilliam genius and imagination finally created the film he was aiming at all along the years. The acting, The costumes and the production are a delight for the eyes and the mind.

The film isn’t based on anybody’s work as Terry Gilliam wanted to do something completely new and original.

The characters seem to be brought from another time and contrast strongly with the debauchery of mondern LONDON.

The lastest of Terry Gilliam‘s films didn’t escape the series of misfortunes that seems to have haunted him since his beginning with The Monthy Python. After the tragic death of Heath Ledger in the middle of the filming, Gilliam wanted to stop shooting but relatives and actors convinced him to continue and make the film a tribute to Ledger’s extraordinary career and talent. Terry Gilliam decided to change the credits of the film to ‘from Heath Ledger and friends‘, saying that the film wasn’t about him anymore.

Johnny Depp, Collin Farrell and Jude Law came to rescue the film and interpreted the different aspects of Tony’s personality when he is in the Imaginarium. The addition of the three characters enriched the film. Gilliam said that Heath “co-directed the film” in a way. When the tragedy occurred Gilliam had to rewrite the script in order to finish the story and ended with a better and more complete one. The fact that three actors replaced the role of one is a great testimony to the bonds existing amid the cinema community.

The similarity between Heath Ledger and Johnny Depp traits and expressions made the transition smoother.

Each one of Terry Gilliam‘s films aims at perfection. Along the years Terry Gilliam represented parts of himself in his films through the characters or the story. In 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' it is the characters that represent different aspects of his personality. Doctor Parnassus is the old forgotten miserable and self pitying part of himself. Anton is the young and positive and Mr. Nick his darker part.

Tony is a very interesting character. With Heath Ledger‘s acting you can’t stop yourself from loving this despicable man. Even though Tony is an important character, Parnassus is the one that carries the story along; the film is about him. Christopher Plummer‘s extraordinary performance gives a real dimension to his character.

The film ran out of money half way through the shooting. But it didn’t stop Terry Gilliam, he himself said that “things grow out of lack of money sometimes“. Which will appear to be true with the costumes and decors.

The Canadian costume designer Monique Prudhomme was rewarded for her amazing work. She received the ‘Best Costume’ award at the Satellite award and the ‘Exellence in Costume Design for Film – Fantasy’ from the Costume Designer Guild Award.

The costumes had to show Parnassus age and his travels through time and space. In order to create a perfect wardrobe for the film she went around London, in every secondhand and charity shop she could find and did “a shameless mix of every period and every ethnicity. It’s like Doctor Parnassus has been around the world, and has gathered over the centuries all these treasures“.

In order to watch and comprehend any film made by Terry Gilliam you need “to forget everything you’ve learned as an adult, the things that limit your view of the world, your fears, your prejudices, your preconceptions, try to rediscover what it was like to be a child with the sense of wonder and innocenceTerry Gilliam, prologue of Tideland.
The film isn’t design for a child, it is made for adults. Adults that can still dream, that are able to find the child in themselves. Lyle Coyle explained that “Terry says that children get these films a lot better than adults do because they allow themselves to be taken to a crazy journey“.

He successfully critiques our society through this modern moral tale. Not a single blemish of society is spared, from the working class London family to the merciless business man.
As he said himself this film is “the most mature thing I’ve done and the most juvenile“.

The Imaginarium is Terry Gilliam's own fantasy, world and imagination; and if you allow yourself to dream, it will be yours ...

The No Smoking Orchestra

The No Smocking Orchestra, Zabranjeno Pusenje in Serbo-croatian language, is also known as “Emir Kuturica and The No Smoking Orchestra”. The band features Emir Kusturica‘s films: in Time Of The Gypsies, Life is a Miracle as well as Arizona Dream with Iggy Pop and Underground. The lead musician-composer-singer, Goran Bregović is one of the most internationally known mordern composers of the Balkans. He composed for artists such as Iggy Pop or Cesaria Evora. The band is categorized in Gypsy techno-rock style. Their last album “Unza Unza Time” carries both music with Serbian and Romani rhythms, Pop music as well as Rock rhythms. The album is accompanied by video clips directed by Emir Kusturica himself.
In live, their energy simply put the crowd on fire, the frenetic ambiance carried is incredible. The music is appreciated by all ages.
The album can be bought on Amazon.com

Emir Kusturica

Emir Kusturica is a Serbian filmmaker recognized for several internationally acclaimed feature films. He also acted in different films, the latest being the French film “L’affaire Farewell”. As well as being an excellent musician in a band named The No Smoking Orchestra in which he plays guitar.

His films

His first feature film named “Do You Remember Dolly Bell?”, filmed in 1981, is set in the early 60’s in one of Sarajevo’s neibourhoods. The satirical “When Father was away on Business” film, released in 1985, won two Palmes d’Or in Cannes the same year. The story is set after World War II in Yugoslavia, told trough the eyes of a young boy. In 1989 he will film “Time of th Gypses”, it is considered as one of his best films. Emir won a award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. the story is set in a little vilage in Yugoslavia, and revolves around the character named Pehran, a Gypsy teenager with telekinetic powers. In 1993 his film “Arizona Dream” introduces Axel, a young man with a dream about Eskimos and flying halibut, a type of rare fish, his cousin a third zone actor and his uncle, who owns a dying business selling cadillacs, as well as the two tormented characters of Elaine and Grace, a mother and daughter living together in the Arizona desert. “Underground” follows three characters through Yugoslavia’s history, from World War II to the Cold War and finally the Yugoslav wars. The film won the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. In 1998 the movie “Black Cat, White Cat” won the Silver Lion for Best Direction at the Venice Film Festival. This film is my favorite with Underground. The story is set on the banks of the Danube river in eastern Serbia. “Life is a Miracle” introduces characters from Bosnia and Serbia through the construction of a railway between the two country. The story is set before and during the conflict that stoke the two countries in 1992. In 2007 “Promise Me This” was screened at the Cannes Festival for the first time. the story is set in Zlatibor District. The film shows the differences between city and country through the love story between Tsane, a young boy living in a remote village and Jasna, a schoolgirl from the city. “Maradona”, filmed in 2008, is a documentary about the famous Argentinian ex-footballer. As a huge fan of the footballer and in order to pay homage to him, Emir decided to treat all the aspects of Maradona’s life. The documentary mixes historical goal and interviews of Maradona himself, about his successes and defeats in his life and career life

His films and his way of seeing things, give hopes and dreams of a better and happier world. They are a mix of History and history. Each stories takes place in real Historical moments such as World War II, and each one of them succeed in making you smile, despite the seriousness of the subject. His eccentric quirky lovable characters and their stories damper the gravity of the moment, and gives a new face to the events. Weddings are an important part of Emir’s film, as well as animals. Weddings are the symbol of the happy endings. His films are tales of the modern life.

Two films are expected in 2011 and a third in 2012.

Top 3 Artists:

Soha

Soha, with her album “D’ici ou D’ailleur” combines rhythms from every continents, she transports us to a world of latin beats and ballads. Her stage name “Soha” means “So What?” in Jamaican dialect. She is from the tribe Ouled Saltane, which means the children of the Sultan, from the Algerian Sahara. She grew up in the city of Marseille surrounded by Latin cultures, Cuban and Jamaican. This melting pot appears in her music style and her lyrics. Her voice takes the tone of Ella Fitzgerald to suddenly hits the rhythm of Black music and Jazz. To complete this amazing cultural diversity, she sings in Spanish, French and English. The song “Cafe Bleu” has this unbelievable mix of old lyrical song, soul and zouk.

Emir Kusturica

The No Smocking Orchestra, Zabranjeno Pusenje in Serbo-croatian language, is also known as “Emir Kuturica and The No Smoking Orchestra”. The band features Emir Kusturica‘s films: in Time Of The Gypsies, Life is a Miracle as well as Arizona Dream with Iggy Pop and Underground. The lead musician-composer-singer, Goran Bregović is one of the most internationally known mordern composers of the Balkans. He composed for artists such as Iggy Pop or Cesaria Evora. The band is categorized in Gypsy techno-rock style. Their last album “Unza Unza Time” carries both music with Serbian and Romani rhythms, Pop music as well as Rock rhythms. The album is accompanied by video clips directed by Emir Kusturica himself.
In live, their energy simply put the crowd on fire, the frenetic ambiance carried is incredible. The music is appreciated by all ages.
The album can be bought on Amazon.com

Caravan Palace

This electro swing band is based in Paris. The current members of the bands are Sonia Fernadez Velasco, the lead singer who also plays the clarinet from time to time, Arnaud Vial who plays the guitar, Hugues Payen at the violin, Camille Chapellier also plays the clarinet, Charles Delaporte is the double bass player and finally Antoine Toutsou alternates between trombone and turntable.

This band started with an unusual but exciting anecdote without which there would be no band at all. The group formed in 2005 after Vial, Payen and Delaporte, the creators of the band, were hired by a film production company to provide the soundtrack for a silent porn dating from the beginning of the 20th century!! They showed their demo to friendly listeners who enthusiastically encouraged them to start a band. So they dropped their independent work and put themselves in this new project. A year after they met Loic Barrouk, manager of Café de la Dance, a gig venue in Paris, who signed them up for representations. They decided to find 3 more musicians, as they needed them for live playing, and so browsed YouTube. This is when Camille, Toutsou and Sonia entered the group.

Marseille, La ville du Soleil

Marseille

Hi! I’m Marie!  I come from Marseille, one of the main cities in the south of France. Marseille is on the coast of the Mediterranean sea.  I have spend most of my life in that place, and enjoyed every single moment there! When I was in high school we used to go to the beach with my friends during breaks or after class to take the plunge and cool down. But the beaches, the sun, the sea, and the hot temperatures aren’t the only charms the city has. the diversity of people and culture is for me the most amazing part! We used to call it the Capital of the World.