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Roxanne R. Reed

[Delois Barrett and the Barrett Sisters]

Gospel trio. Its members were Delores [Delois] (soprano), Billie (alto), and Rhodessa (high soprano) Barrett. Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, they grew up with seven other siblings and were members of the Morning Star Baptist Church where they sang in a choir directed by their aunt. As the Barrett–Hudson Singers, Delores and Billie had performed in a group with a cousin, whom Rhodessa later replaced to form the Barrett Sisters. Delores, the eldest and the group’s leader, started singing at the age of six. Her professional career began in earnest after graduating from Englewood High School, when she became the first female to join the Roberta Martin Singers (1944; see martin, Roberta ). Billie and Rhodessa received some formal training, but it was through the Roberta Martin Singers that Delores learned technique and honed her individual style, along with the unique ensemble quality known as the Roberta Martin sound. Delores continued to sing with Martin from time to time, even as the Barrett Sisters took shape. Getting their start as an African American gospel trio, the Barrett Sisters first recorded with the label Savoy (...

Article

Greil Marcus

revised by Mickey Valley

Rock-and-roll male vocal duo. The singer, songwriter, and producer Jan Berry (b Los Angeles, CA, 3 April 1941; d Brentwood, CA, 26 March 2004) had his first success with the singer Arnie Ginsberg in the hit song, “Jennie Lee” (1958) which was recorded in Berry’s garage. He then formed a permanent partnership with the singer Dean Torrence (b Los Angeles, CA, 10 March 1941), and until 1966, when Berry was disabled in an automobile accident, Jan and Dean represented rock and roll as mindless fun, following and exploiting every new pop trend; their songs were based on doo-wop harmony and celebrated aspects of southern Californian hedonism such as surfing (“Surf City,” 1963, no.1) and fast cars (“Drag City,” 1963, no.10). Although Berry’s vocal abilities were not up to par and Torrence was little better, each managed to make at least one classic rock recording—Berry on Jan and Dean’s brilliantly orchestrated melodrama “Dead Man’s Curve” (...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Olomouc, 3 May 1967). Czech violinist. Raised in a musical family, she studied at the People’s School of Art in Opava with Marcela Kuvíková, then at the Ostrava Conservatory with Vítězslav Kuzník and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with the professors Jiří Vlach, Jiří Novák, and Ivan Štraus. She also took part in master classes with Josef Gingold in Greensboro, NC and with Wolfgang Marschner in Weimar. In 1990 she received a scholarship to the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she studied with Alberto Lysy.

In 1997, she became a laureate of the Prague Spring International Violin Competition. She has also received the Gideon Klein Prize, the Bärenreiter Prize, the Supraphon Prize, the Prize of the City of Prague, and the Prague Spring Foundation Prize. In 2005 she represented the Czech Republic at the World Exhibition in Aichi, Japan, together with the Prague Philharmonic....

Article

Laibach  

Gregor Tomc

Slovenian music group formed in 1980 in the mining town of Trbovlje in what was at the time multinational communist Yugoslavia. The band was strongly influenced by the persecution of punks by the police in the country. Their provocative political attitudes (their use of the German word, associated with the Nazi occupation of Ljubljana, as the name for their group; their use of quasi-military uniforms as part of their image; their use of totalitarian discourse in communication with the media; etc.) can be understood as a critique of the authoritarian regime. The dislike was mutual, as Laibach were banned from performing in Slovenia until they changed their name. Musically, Laibach started as an industrial group (influenced by groups like Throbbing Gristle). They became more eclectic with time. Influences were diverse – from electronic music groups like Kraftwerk, to new wave groups like Joy Division, with elements of avant garde classical music and disco. Laibach is a postmodern group, best known for recycling already existing musical works of other artists. They have made cover versions of songs by Opus, Europe, Queen, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Status Quo, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Richard Wagner, among others. After more than three decades they still perform, though their line-up has changed often over the years....

Article

Claire Levy

(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....

Article

Joti Rockwell

American bluegrass duo. “Bea” or “B” Lilly (Mitchell Burt Lilly; b Clear Creek, WV, Dec 15, 1921; d Duxbury, MA, Sept 18, 2005) sang lead and played guitar, and Everett (Charles Everett; b Clear Creek, WV, 1 July 1924; d Clear Creek, WV, 8 May 2012) sang tenor and played mandolin. Together with banjoist Don Stover (b White Oak, WV, 6 March 1928; d Brandywine, MD, 11 Nov 1996), the Lilly Brothers played a principal role in disseminating bluegrass and old-time music in New England.

The Lilly Brothers were influenced by the traditional sacred and secular music of their childhood community as well as popular brother duets of the mid-1930s, including the Monroe Brothers, the Callahan Brothers, and the Blue Sky Boys. Honing their musically solid, assertive sound toward the end of the 1930s, they increased their exposure through radio appearances on WJLS in Beckley, West Virginia and WCHS in Charleston, West Virginia. After collaborations with Molly O’Day and Lynn Davis during the 1940s, the Lilly Brothers began appearing on the WWVA ...

Article

Jessica L. Brown

(b Springfield, MA, April 15, 1965). American Singer, songwriter, and producer. She was raised in a musical household, which exposed her to a wide variety of music. In 1989, while performing in a variety of small venues in San Francisco’s Bay Area, she was recruited into the band 4 Non Blondes as lead singer. The band released their debut album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More! (Interscope, 1992); it contained the group’s biggest hit, “What’s going on?,” which was written by Perry and brought the band’s pop-rock sound and Perry’s powerful voice to mainstream audiences. Perry has identified herself as a lesbian, and during the Billboard Music Awards in 1994 she attracted attention by performing with the word “dyke” on her guitar. Before 4 Non Blondes could complete a second album, Perry left the band to pursue a solo career. In 1996 she released In Flight to critical praise but poor commercial sales. In ...

Article

Lukas Pearse

Post-punk, folk-punk band. Formed in 1980 in Milwaukee Wisconsin, the trio featured Gordon Gano (b 1963; guitar, voice), Brian Ritchie (b 1960; bass guitar), and Victor De Lorenzo (b 1954; percussion). Guy Hoffmann replaced De Lorenzo from 1993 to 2002. The group broke up in 2009.

Inspired by punk rock, the Violent Femmes incorporated elements of folk, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rockabilly music into their minimal and frequently acoustic sound. Brian Ritchie often played acoustic bass guitar in a highly aggressive style that borrowed from both rockabilly upright acoustic bass and punk electric guitar, foreshadowing the “unplugged” style that 1990s rock bands would sometimes adopt. Both percussionists usually played only snare drum, tambourine, and crash cymbal. Gano’s songs, delivered with his distinctive nasal vocal delivery, frequently addressed themes of teenage alienation and desperation, marked by sexual frustration, drug use, and implicit violence. They also depicted innocence and naiveté, with later songs becoming increasingly spiritual and nostalgic. In performance, the band often included an ad hoc horn section, the Horns of Dilemma, including saxophonist Steve Mackay of the Stooges and local musical acquaintances or audience members, functioning as an improvised wall-of-sound background rather than as a traditional horn section....