Maracatu & Samba-Reggae tomorrow!

January 29, 2011

Come to a lovely free gig of awesome drumming and dancing and Brazilian music:

(Tom DG – you have to come because you live round the corner!)

Maracatu and Samba Reggae Drum and Dance Workshops every month with Umbela Arts

Lets kick start the year with the first rehearsals for Maracatu and Samba Reggae, start 2011 with a bang!

Umbela Arts Presents…FESTA UMBELA!

Kicking off from 7.30pm, Umbela Arts host their regular residency; an entertainment filled evening which is totally FREE!

Our DJ’s will bring you the best in African, Brazilian and World Music. You will not be able to stop yourself from dancing!!

Dance performances to live drumming to amaze you and get your senses overflowing, and guess what, we haven’t stopped there, as there will also be live music from two of London’s finest Brazilian bands bringing roots music from North East Brazil to dazzle you!

Come to RICH MIX Cultural Foundation and party the night away with us!


Irineu Nogueira
Maracatu Estrela do Norte


There is also a dance and drumming workshop beforehand to which you all most welcome!

On Sunday 30th January 2011, two Carnival Groups based in London: Maracatu Estrela do Norte and Bloco-Afro ERI OKAN, will be hosting open workshops at Rich Mix 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA Map. The classes will be in traditional drumming and dancing from the North East of Brazil, in preparation for Notting Hill Carnival 2011.

These classes are part of a series of monthly sessions that finish in August 2011.
Participation in the workshops does not oblige anyone to take part in the Notting Hill Carnival, and likewise, if there are people who would like to take part in carnival but cannot make all the sessions, that’s OK too!

1pm – 3pm – Maracatu drumming
3.30pm – 5.30pm – Samba Reggae drumming

3.30pm-5pm – Afro Brazilian dance

Classes are £6 each. (£10 for two, if also participating in another class on the same day)



Not false advertising: Toxic Waste sweets ARE toxic!

January 19, 2011

I was delighted to discover that the ‘Toxic Waste’ sweets I bought from my local newsagents are indeed toxic!

Toxic Waste sweets

Luckily they are literally impossible to hold in your mouth for more than15 seconds.

My local newsagents are great – last time I advertised blogged about them they were selling illegal ‘cigarette’ sweets: Naughty Newsagents

Pseudo-science and BBC and choir singing

January 6, 2011

Arrgh, what an irritating load of piffle this story is:
Choir boys’ and girls’ distinctive voices studied

The gist (according to the World’s Greatest Media Outlet) is that there is some ‘magic frequency’ around 8KHz in choir boys’ and girls’ voices that makes it ‘something that communicates with the soul. It’s way beyond the words, it’s way beyond the music’.

Whilst Dr Howard, who is the researcher responsible for the above, appears to be a serious acoustic researcher – his credited papers include Intonation drift in a capella soprano, alto, tenor, bass quartet singing with key modulation and Nonlinear modelling of double and triple period pitch breaks in vocal fold vibration – he is also quoted as saying “maybe you can get to the point where maybe the computer could be at the back of the choir.”

Yeah, a computer – they can do anything!

All he’s really discovered is that a well trained voice has a frequency response with a peak in a certain area, which happens to be around 8KHz. Well, yes, I would expect a trained voice to have a strong response in certain frequencies, that’s why they sound different (and louder) than untrained voices. It’s quite a step though to claim that there’s something ‘beyond music’ about it, or that there’s something peculiarly magical about it.

Although Mr Howard is obsessed with choirs (which is no bad thing in itself!), he’s going into the realms of pseudo-science with this claim. And of course, the media lapped it up – they love being told that computers operated by, ooh, scientists have discovered the secret of something.

I just hate the way way science is presented by main stream media, as typified by this non-story. It’s always the secret of something being revealed by boffins, when usually nothing of the sort has happened. They’ve either misunderstood the science, extrapolated unreasonably, or, as is the case here, made a whole story (5 minutes on BBC 1 BreakfastNews, 5 minutes on the Today Programme) out of absolutely nothing.

I think choirs are more likely to sound lovely because of the music they sing . Highly harmonious choral music sung in very reverberant spaces is something that appeals to the human ear. It took hundreds of years of singing in churches to develop these combinations of voice, music and space to create these particular emotional effects. And the reasons  it works on the human emotions are lot more complex than a simple boost to the 8KHz region in the individual voices, that’s for sure.

And we definitely don’t need to be told that this so-called discovery could ‘in the future even help scientists to develop a synthetic choir’. FFS.

…especially as they already exist:







Roland’s missing Bassline synth…

January 4, 2011

Roland is well known for it’s TB-303, TR-808 & TR 909 synths and drum machines, but it also made others in this numeric series: the SH-101, MC-202, and so on. However, it never made a ‘404’ of any sort, which leads me to create this HILARIOUS info-graphic:

Pat is partly to blame for this joke – though he’s sensible enough not to actually make a picture of it and upload it to his blog.