Monthly Archives: May 2011

Keep It Foolish

Keep It Foolish: Louco Ritmos Brasileiros by Jed Skinner (productions)

Woo!  It’s summer!  Yeah!  The sun is out!  Maybe.  The suntan is on!  Possibly.  There’s people partying in the streets until daybreak!  Er, yes – maybe not – this is Britain, you know.  Pffffffffff.

And it’s precisely because I can’t party in the street until the break of dawn that’s led me to put together a little half-hour compilation of Brazilian tracks, mainly from the 70s, that I would love to hear blasted out of a massive soundsystem in the centre of the M1.  I’ve tried to steer it along a course taking in the sounds of mad samba, fast-talking bossa nova and neglected, percussion-laden cover versions – with a bit of asymmetrical 7/8 space fusion along the way.

With the exception of one track (the cracking Heavy Üsker Remix of Cesar Mariano’s Futebol De Bar – also on Gilles Peterson’s excellent In Brazil comp), they’re all from the 70s, and either buried in compilations or cheekily ripped from vinyl and uploaded to the net.  I’ll be honest – I’ve not been to Brazil, I haven’t got enough money to go ‘digging’ (although I would happily buy my own weight in Brazilian records), and although all this can be found online, I think this mix might save you some time Googling.

Besides the lack of vinyl, a major downside to online music mixtapes is that these Soundcloud mixes lack liner notes.  So, to rectify it a bit, here’s some information I’ve gathered about each track or artist featured on the mix.

1.  Paulinho Da Costa – Berimbau Variations

The berimbau is a traditional Brazilian instrument, which features heavily in the music of capoeira, a Brazilian martial art-cum-dance.  The berimbau consists of a piece of wood about 5 feet long, with a gourd at one end.  There’s a wire attached from the top of the wood to the gourd, giving it the appearance of a bow.  While holding this in one hand, the wire is struck with a smaller stick, or baqueta, in the other hand, which is also holding a shaker.

This creates a low-pitched noise, which is the sound you hear on this track.

2.  Papete – É Assim Que Eu Sou

Real name José de Ribamar.  This is an excellent example of Brazilian samba – the fast speed, large percussion and polyrhythms being typical features of this style.  Prominent in the recording is a cuica – a friction drum that sounds a bit like laughter (appropriately enough, another name for it is the ‘laughing drum’).

3.  Ronald Mesquita – Balanca Perma

A track from what I think is his only album, released in 1972.  Awesome song – no idea what it’s about.

4.  César Mariano and CIA – Fábrica

Mid-70s fusion.  Jazz pianist from São Paulo, and taken from the appropriately named album São Paulo, Brazil.

5.  Wilson Das Neves E Seu Conjunto – Pick Up The Pieces

This is cracking!  What a find!  Wilson Das Neves – another great percussionist.

6.  César Mariano and CIA – Futebol De Bar (Heavy Üsker Remix)

Great remix.  The original has about 30 seconds of the drumming part in, before fading out – which clearly isn’t on, so thank god someone decided the same and remixed it.  Features on the Gilles Peterson comp I mentioned earlier.

7.  João Bosco – O Ronca Da Cuica

One of several with a cuica in.  Bosco’s known as a guitarist, but I picked this because of the drums.  I bloody love drums.

8.  Osvaldinho da Cuica e Grupo Vai Vai – Cozinha

I think the title can be translated as meaning ‘kitchen’ or ‘cooking’ – if it’s the latter, it’s accurate.  This is ridiculous.  So fast.  Really loud cuica, and a weird melodic cuica solo in the middle, before thrashing back into it.  Play on loop.

9.  Zuzuca – Eu Nasci Na Roça

Nice call-and-response, Afro-style track.  I don’t know anything about Zuzuca, but he has an amazing name.

10.  Bateria Nota 10 – Sai Da Frente

Another great samba, with whistles, tamboras, congas and cuicas – the whole lot.  I think the name means ’10 drummers’ – maybe?  Certainly sounds like it.  Which is why I picked it.

11.  Nicola Di Bari – Mas Que Nada

‘Oh – that’s what that song’s called!’ is what everyone says.  Yes, Nicola is a bloke, so it seems.  Originally made famous by Sergio Mendes, this is a overlooked cover version that I like because it’s a bit funkier.  Just imagine it’s sunshine outside…

Kids’ Spring Half Term Round-up

Originally published on Weds 18 May 2011 at

The Flying Scotsman at the National Railway Museum, York
Saturday 28 – Monday 30 May

Take the chance to see for yourself the iconic and legendary steam locomotive as it returns to the National Railway Museum in York this half term. There’ll be talks from train experts, who’ll be on hand to tell you more about the train’s history, recent restoration and how it was once the fastest train on Earth! Plus, don’t miss a live bagpipe performance in celebration of the Flying Scotsman’s appearance.

Ryedale Folk Weekend, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole
Friday 27 – Monday 30 May

Fun for all the family at Ryedale Folk Weekend – with live music, workshops, sing-alongs and more in the 16th century manor house that’s home to the Ryedale Folk Museum. It’s all happening in the picturesque setting of Hetton-le-Hole, and promises to be a fantastic festival featuring great entertainment for everyone. Tickets are £40 for adults, children (4-16) £15.

Dream Bigger Dreams, All Saints’ Square, Rotherham
Tueday 31 May – Friday 3 June

A roadshow with a twist! The University of Sheffield will be holding a series of performances and interactive sessions in Rotherham town centre. It’s a chance for kids to find out what the university does, meet students, and try out a range of activities ranging from archaeology to electronics to medicine! Activities will be running from 10.30am – 2.30pm each day, and are completely free.

Half Term Fun Days in the Energy House, Heeley City Farm, Sheffield
Wednesday 1 – Thursday 2 June

Come along to South Yorkshire Energy Centre to have fun discovering more about recycling and saving energy! Based at Heeley City Farm, there’s pigs, goats and other animals for kids to meet. Suitable for all the family. Free entry – open 11am to 5pm.

Wetwang Scarecrow Festival
Saturday 28 May – Sunday 5 June

To many people, Wetwang is famous for appearing in Look North’s weather map, whenever its honorary mayor Paul Hudson presents the forecast. However, it’s also home to a scarecrow festival – previous entrants have included Noel Edmonds in his ‘Deal or no Deal’ guise, a representation of the ‘Dancing on Ice’ cast and – wait for it – ‘Status Crow’, last year’s winner, depicted in performance of ‘Rocking All Over The Wolds’. Who will be ‘crow’-ned the winner this year? Head to the village hall, Wetwang, between 10am – 4pm during the festival, and pick up a festival guide.

Bridlington Arts Festival Finale, The Spa Bridlington
Saturday 28 – Monday 30 May

Bridlington Arts Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, so head over to the newly refurbished Spa and take in its impressive sea views. The Spa Gardens will feature street entertainers, a colourful array of continental market stalls and a host of free entertainment (weather permitting). The fun kicks off at 11am, and is free.

Zoolab Animal Roadshow, Dewsbury Museum
Friday 3 June

Meet snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlies and creatures at the Zoolab Animal Roadshow! A team of rangers will deliver hands-on workshops which use animals as a way to encourage kids to explore the natural world. There’s four one-hour animal handling sessions during the day, with a charge of £2.50 per child.

Kaleidoscope Mask Making, The Hepworth Wakefield
Monday 30 May

Come and make a kaleidoscope mask at the brand new Hepworth Wakefield gallery! The Hepworth is Britain’s newest major art gallery, the largest purpose-built gallery space outside London, and will undoubtedly become one of the country’s most important galleries – housing hundreds of works from the late legendary sculptor Barbara Hepworth and other major artists. Drop in from 11am – 4pm. Free entry.

York’s Mini May Food and Drink Festival

Originally published on Weds 18 May 2011 at

York’s Food and Drink Festival takes place every September, but this year sees the first mini May festival, with a taste of what’s in store for later in the year.

There’s a big market of real Yorkshire food and drink, covering a range of meat, fruit, vegetables, cheese and beer. It’s a chance to explore some of Yorkshire’s finest produce from some of the region’s smaller producers.

A demonstration area will be set up in Parliament Street, where Yorkshire’s celebrity chefs including Ashley McCarthy of Ye Old Sun Inn, Colton, will demonstrate how to create succulent recipes easily. There’ll also be a licensed café, where you can enjoy a drink, and maybe taste a local speciality for the first time.

The festival coincides with English Wine Week, and there’ll be an excellent introduction to the wines of England from Heart Vineyard, located just outside the city of York.

The evening of the 28th features an informal dinner with the Lord Mayor of York, Susan Galloway, at the Mansion House on St. Helen’s Square. The specially prepared meal will consist of succulent regional seasonal food, prepared by Michael Hjort of Melton’s Restaurant of York.

Local chocolate makers Little Pretty Things will be sharing the secrets of their craft with a hands-on chocolate making workshop for kids (and maybe adults, if you ask nicely!) You’ll be able to try some of their more unusual creations – why not try Yorkshire Brewery’s ‘Ghost Ale’ or Yorkshire Blue Cheese-centred chocolates?

York Mini May Food and Drink Festival is free entry, with some ticketed exceptions including the Lord Mayor’s dinner. For more information, visit

Showcomotion Young People’s Film Festival

Originally published on 10 May 2011 at

When I was a kid, the words ‘children’s cinema’ conjured up images of a VHS copy of Scooby Doo being projected onto a rectangle in a community centre. At least, that’s what I thought. Decidedly uncool. I now wish that I was a kid again, because Sheffield’s Showcomotion Festival, which begins this month, is aching with cool points and proves that I was wrong.

Taking place over nine days at the Showroom Cinema, there’s films from all over the world, plus workshops and talks from BAFTA-nominated writers and industry professionals.

The Opening Night Gala on 20 May features a special preview of Kriv Stenders’ Red Dog, following the tale of a lost dog that unites a community to find his owner, who’s missing in the Australian outback. The next day, there’ll be a major preview of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, a sequel to the first film based on the popular books by Jeff Kinney.

There’ll be a selection of recent big screen hits too, including Tomorrow, When the War Began, Winnie the Pooh and Rio, alongside classic features Watership Down and The Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island.

There’ll be a special focus on the work of legendary director Carroll Ballard with a retrospective of his family films, including Fly Away Home, Black Stallion, and Never Cry Wolf, plus a look at the latest work of award-winning Japanese studio Studio Ghibli, The Borrower Arrietty.

It’s not all fiction either, Neukölln Unlimited documents a group of Lebanese siblings who are successful dancers and musicians living in Berlin facing the threat of deportation, and Against All Odds follows some courageous young women as they face the prospect of teenage motherhood.

Studying the films will be Showcomotion’s InterActive Youth Jury, comprised of a panel of 15-18 year olds, who’ll be looking for a winner for the Best Film award. Plus, every film in the programme is up for the Audience Award – so you can help make a film a winner.

Check out for full details of what looks set to be a fantastic festival!

Fissure by Louise Ann Wilson

Originally published on 10 May 2011 at

As art installations go, this one is about as far away from the ordinary as you can get. There’s no gallery, no ‘piece’ to look at, and certainly no queuing. Instead, there’s a 12-mile walk, stunning Yorkshire scenery and live performance – all in the aim of provoking new thinking about the landscapes in which we live.

Based on a walk around Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales, the performance involves composers, artists, poets and choreographers. Even more unusually, neuroscientists, geologists, dancers, choirs, and cavers were consulted to piece the work together, fusing together the ideas of the brain and the landscape.

The walk meanders across rivers, over hills and moors and into caves, exploring philosophical notions of life, death, grief, resilience and renewal over two days.

Fissure has been commissioned as part of The Re-Enchantment, a national arts programme exploring the relationship between people and place. Those wishing to take part need to make their own way to either Settle or Kirby Stephen railway stations, and can choose to stay over at either a B&B or a bunkhouse.

Everyone involved will need to be relatively fit to manage the walk, which is planned to go ahead regardless of the weather – so bring your wellies just in case! It’s certainly a break from the norm, even if it’s a bit of a mystery what’s going to happen.

Find out more at the Fissure website.

National Vegetarian Week

Originally published on 10 May 2011 at

23 – 29 May

First of all, meat eaters – relax! This isn’t a compulsory programme to force people to give up meat. Rather, it’s a national week of exploration in food, with a focus on trying out different dishes that are meat-free, and raising awareness of the positive aspects of a vegetarian diet.

Organised by the Vegetarian Society, there are events happening across the UK. Here are a couple of events taking place in Yorkshire:

Seven-course Vegetarian Banquet
Friday 20 May, Northorpe Hall, Mirfield , WF14 0EG. 7pm.
Am I hearing you right? Seven courses? All vegetarian? This is bound to be a delight to any vegetarian’s ears, and a great way to dip into veggie food for meat-eaters. It’s £25, but for that you get a wide range of tastes, ranging from pumpkin to avocado to black pepper ice cream. All money raised goes to Northorpe Hall’s work supporting children facing challenges to their emotional well-being and mental health.

An evening with Hansa’s at Waterstone’s, Leeds
Waterstone’s, 93-97 Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5AP
Local chef Hansa Dhabi will be in store at Watestone’s to talk about her award-winning Indian vegetarian restaurant, Hansa’s. Established in 1986, Hansa’s is renowned for its authentic Gujarati cooking – a primarily vegetarian cuisine- alongside a friendly atmosphere. Hansa’s two cookbooks have become local bestsellers. Food samples will be available, too.

You can also check out other events taking place across the UK, the National Vegetarian Week website.