Reviews & features: Music

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Qing Cheng

21 Jul 2011

Epic, millenium-spanning Chinese love story part of the China Fringe Festival

A night at the opera takes on a whole new meaning with Qing Cheng, an elaborate yet moving Chinese musical making its European debut at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall as part of the China Fringe Festival. Top billing in a week of cutting-edge entertainment from…

Leroy Jones Band - Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

21 Jul 2011

The trumpeter visits Edinburgh after appearances in TV drama Treme

‘I was in an episode two weeks ago with my local quintet. I was performing one of my original compositions for about a minute and twenty seconds.’ Bandleader and trumpeter Leroy Jones is bubbling with pride over his recent appearance in an episode of…

The National - Matt Berninger interview

20 Jul 2011

US band set for Edinburgh gig as part of 2011 UK tour

The National‘s Matt Berninger has a way with a tear-jerking lyric. However, as he tells David Pollock, the release of album High Violet has ushered in good times for the Ohioan band. That, and Obama getting elected.

Music highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

20 Jul 2011

Lach's Antihoot, James Blake and Withered Hand among highlights

The LuckyMe collective of artists and designers is one of Glasgow’s most successful cultural exports of recent years, and the group’s August party will once more give festivalgoers a chance to find out what they’re all about. This year, they’re having…

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2011 - Fact file

8 Jul 2011

The display of massed military viewed by 100 million people annually

1 The Edinburgh Tattoo first took place in 1950. It was first shown on colour television in 1968. 2The word 'tattoo' comes from the old Dutch phrase 'doe den tap toe', meaning 'turn off the taps', which was a call used at closing time in 17th century…

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Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival 2011 - highlights

8 Jul 2011

Tommy Smith, Courtney Pine, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and more

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble A high energy blend of New Orleans horns and live hip hop beats, this Chicago nine-piece return to raise the Spiegeltent from its moorings. Barack Obama, Jay-Z and David Byrne are among the fans of this exciting block party…

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2011 - Highlights

8 Jul 2011

Brass bands on bikes among highlights of music extravaganza

Have you ever wondered if you are a 'Bad Scot'? If soor plooms, Mel Gibson's take on William Wallace, dodgy recitals of Burns' poems and other things associated with stereotypical Jock culture make you recoil like a moggie from a festering puddle, you…

Trombone Shorty profile - Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2011

8 Jul 2011

Youthful jazz pioneer and composer set for Edinburgh date

'Oooooh! Trombone Shorty! My man!' This is how the 25-year-old jazz musician from New Orleans is greeted by fellow (and fictitious) horn player Antoine Batiste in David Simon's new HBO television show, Treme. Simon's follow-up to his hard-hitting cop…

Opera Die Frau Ohne Schatten set for 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

7 Jul 2011

Russia's Mariinsky Theatre and Jonathan Kent bring Strauss opera to EIF

To say Jonathan Kent's EIF opus is 'a bit' epic is like saying Edinburgh gets 'a bit' busy in August. This summer the Brit director joins forces with Russia's Mariinsky to stage the little-seen Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a Shadow). A cast…

Amjad Ali Khan to perform set of morning ragas on sarod at EIF 2011

7 Jul 2011

Edinburgh 11am concert accompanied by Ravi Shankar's evening ragas

The sarod may not be as familiar an instrument to western audiences as the sitar made famous by Ravi Shankar, but virtuoso player Amjad Ali Khan is happy to establish its proper context. 'Ravi Shankar's teacher was a sarod player,' says Khan on the line…

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Theatre, music and dance highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

7 Jul 2011

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Semiramide and King Lear among picks

The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) has been a benchmark for quality and innovation in the performing arts since its inauguration nearly 65 years ago. This year artistic director Jonathan Mills builds his programme around the multi-faceted…

Music highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

7 Jul 2011

Melvyn Tan and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra among picks

Melvyn Tan. The Queen's Hall morning concerts can usually be relied on for a few Festival surprises. Hearing perfectly formed piano music by 18th century Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti alongside Sonatas and Interludes by 20th century American John…

Qatsi trilogy with Philip Glass live score highlight of Edinburgh International Festival

5 Jul 2011

EIF 2011 screening of Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi

One of the earliest Edinburgh screenings of Koyaanisqatsi, the first of Godfrey Reggio’s remarkable trilogy of films scored by minimalist composer Philip Glass, was in an old porn cinema opposite what is now the Festival Theatre, then a bingo hall.

Bikini Machine compose a 'cinéconcert' score for Desperado

24 Jun 2011

Each year, the French Institute for Scotland takes part in the Edinburgh International Film Festival and strives to bring the media of music and film together to form one piece of intercontinental art. This year, the Institute have invited five…

Domino Records host Edinburgh International Film Festival event

27 May 2011

Event aims to showcase effective combination of music and film

A good advert can, sometimes, sell more than jeans, or alcohol, or cars. Think of the 1999 number one song, 'Flat Beat', which gained enormous popularity after a puppet called Flat Eric danced to it in a Levi’s advert. Levi’s shifted their jeans, the…

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Edinburgh International Festival 2011 IN festival membership scheme

24 May 2011

EIF and The List deal for half-price tickets, events and freebies

Edinburgh International Festival - in association with The List magazine - are offering members of an innovative and exclusive membership scheme a whole host of half-price tickets, event passes and freebies for the 2011 Festival season. Membership to…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011 - sneak preview

23 May 2011

Liberace, Finnish a capella groups and iPad fairy tales just some of the coming attractions

Whether it’s origami genitalia, homosexual deities or political commentary on the Lockerbie bombing, Edinburgh’s Fringe seldom arrives with a whimper but rather a ruddy great roar. June sees the official launch of 2011’s line-up, but we thought we…

Edinburgh International Festival 2011 programme keeps an eye on the East

23 Mar 2011

National Ballet of China, Ravi Shankar, Philip Glass among highlights

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra raise the curtain of the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival in style this year with a performance Robert Schumann’s exotic musical Das Paradies und die Peri, one highlight from an EIF programme that boasts acts from…

Meredith Monk: Songs of Ascension

7 Sep 20104 stars

There is so much beauty here

It’s difficult to begin describing Songs of Ascension, a new(ish) work by composer, musician, artist and mercurial force of nature Meredith Monk, because it doesn’t fit cleanly into any of the nice, regular boxes we use to describe different kinds of…

Mitchell Museum and White Heath

7 Sep 20104 stars

Edge Festival, Electric Circus, 11 Aug 2010

There some confusion early on tonight as to whether the five young guys occupying the stage are completing their soundcheck before the main act or or are the support act. As it turns out, it's the latter, and the youthful audience are treated to the…

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The Sing-along Glee Club

7 Sep 20103 stars

Hilariously silly, ridiculously twee and delightfully camp

Given the title of this show, one could be forgiven for assuming that its content would be that of the popular television show Glee which recently reached our screens from across the pond. On the contrary, ‘Sing-along Glee club’ provides an insight into…

Plan B

7 Sep 20104 stars

Rap and hip hop and deep heart-felt soul

There is no doubt that Plan B's Ben Drew is an accomplished rapper and singer, but it's not until you see him live that you can appreciate how immensely talented he is. Many artists work across several genres, but very few have successful attempted…

Barbershopera: Apocalypse No!

7 Sep 20103 stars

A superb show full of dazzling vocals

In a hilariously funny show - where Satan’s horsemen adopt a jaded primary school teacher as their leader to incite the end of the world - the ‘three guys and a girl’ of Barbershopera tell the tale of Beth, a teacher, who is looking for the venue of one…


7 Sep 2010

HMV Picturehouse, Edinburgh, Sun 29 Aug

Despite a decade of history behind them, it’s 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix that has given French quartet Phoenix the ammunition to advance from special interest to mainstream concern. Now their delicate but euphoric pop – forging The Strokes…

Henry Rollins

25 Aug 20103 stars

Fast-paced spoken word from the punk-rock raconteur

Henry Rollins hates inactivity. His opening salvo – and this is surely the only term to use, as his stream-of-consciousness rants hit home like artillery-fire – concerns his need to exercise earlier in the day, despite it being his scheduled day off…