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Michael Renier is a very accomplished South African tenor applying his craft abroad.
He has spent the last 3 decades in Opera House in Japan, Germany, Holland, Austria, England, Czech Republic, South Africa with a repertoire consisting of more than 70 tenor roles including the dramatic Otello, Calaf in Turandot, Radame in Aida, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Don Jose in Carmen, Riccardo in Un Ballo and many other German roles. Many of these performances were broadcast live on European TV. Michaels still performs in concerts all over the world, singing those evergreens that have inspired so many tenors in the past.
He is in South Africa at the moment to promote his catalogue of releases but also his newly launch autobiography Singing and Dreaming through Life which not only gives a marvellous insight into the rise of a small farm boy to International stardom but also with shares some wonderful behind the scene info on the various productions Michael performed in.
Collection of hits from German composer and performer, James Last. With a career spanning six decades, the artist's big band arrangements and classical pieces have sold almost 100 million albums worldwide. This collection brings together some of Last's best live performances, from the 1970s to the present day.
The sophmore album from Simon Jeffes' homegrown band took over three years to record, but the signs are here that it was a labor of love. While drawing compositional and textural inspiration from both English folk and chamber music, it manages to sound like neither and a wondrous hybrid of both. "Walk Don't Run," a cover of the Ventures' classic, turns from a surf tune into a merry jig of sorts, with the violins and cellos playing the melody backed by drums, bongos, and shakers. "Telephone and Rubber Band" turns a busy signal into something full of beauty and joy. Unfailingly romantic, sunny music and an album that set the tone of all further PCO releases. ~ Ted Mills
Pegging Penguin Cafe Orchestra's sound has always proved problematic; imagine Cluster's toy melodies channeled through the Bonzo Dog Band with a hint of the Art Bears' high-mindedness, and you've at least got a point of reference. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Simon Jeffes, Penguin Cafe's debut was released under the imprimatur of executive producer Brian Eno, who had taken the onus of bringing like-minded minimalists (Harold Budd, Cluster, Jon Hassell) to light. But where the work of those artists demanded to be taken seriously, Jeffes and company almost defy you to take their music seriously. "Penguin Cafe Single" and "In a Sydney Motel" are playful pieces constructed to sound nonmusical, aided by Jeffes' eclectic instrumentation (e.g., the ukelele), which effectively undermines the serious sounds of cello and violin. It's not all light fare; "Surface Tension" sounds like Eno at his most morose and "Coronation" could have come from the ice queen herself, Nico. If there's a knock on Music From the Penguin Cafe (and from the vantage point of their second album, there is), it's that Jeffes merely teases listeners with his charm. On the second side (for CD owners, that's the last three songs), the Penguin Cafe Orchestra traverse artier terrain, with little of their original humor (although "Chartered Flight" does reuse themes from the first side in an effort to come across warmly). As a result, Music From the Penguin Cafe tugs from two very different directions: the avant-garde and the innocent. Listeners are trained to save room for the sweet stuff at the end; by placing it at the beginning, most listeners won't have the appetite for the heavy courses that follow. Mind you, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra are no laughing matter, but heavy artists abound, and musicians with a sense of humor about their art are cherished oddities. Music From the Penguin Cafe shows restraint, their eponymous second album is pure indulgence; reward yourself with their second album first and purchase their first album second. Note that, like Harold Budd's debut, this material was recorded in part in 1974 (with roughly half of the material dating from 1976), but the span in time has little bearing on the sound of the music. ~ Dave Connolly
Bandleader Simon Jeffes composed the leadoff track "Music for a Found Harmonium" on a harmonium he found abandoned on a Tokyo street, which offers an inkling of the musical inspiration that sprang from this remarkable Englishman. As usual, he gathers a loose aggregation of musicians who create stunning, free-flowing acoustic sounds that defy categorization. Jeffes includes brass here for the first time on a Penguin Caf‚ Orchestra recording. Recorded over three years, the band's third album is worth the painstaking studio overdubbing by its leader, who died of a brain tumor in 1997. ~ Mark Allan
Live performance of singer-songwriter Roger Whittaker recorded in Canada. His easy listening music has had worldwide success with over 55 million albums sold. This collection includes songs such as 'The Last Farewell', 'New World in the Morning' and 'From Both Sides Now'.
Sixth studio album by the nine-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter. The album features a collection of seven eclectic songs that Jones recorded over the previous year with collaborators including Jeff Tweedy and Thomas Bartlett.
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