Playing For Change Day – One World One Voice One Day


PFC Logo               Playing For Change

pfcday-icon       Playing For Change Day

playing-for-change-foundation logo             Playing For Change Foundation


This Saturday 20PFC Logo 2 September a very special Worldwide event is taking place bringing together people of all nationalities, races and creeds united by the universal language of music.  This event is called Playing For Change Day.  What is Playing For Change I hear you ask?

Playing For Change Day unites a global community through the power of music to affect positive social change. Communities will gather as musicians from all over the world perform on stages, street corners, schools, yoga studios, and cafes all with the goal of bringing music into the lives of young people.

The driving force behind this initiative are a group of people we had the honour and privilege to welcome to our studios back in April of this year when they visited the UK as part of their Playing For Change Tour.  Led by co-founder and charismatic leader Mark Johnson, the members of the Playing For Change band are a group of outstanding musicians from all over the World.

Listen to Mark and some of the members of PFC when they visited our studios:

Playing For Change was born in 2002 as a shared vision between Mark Johnson and Whirney Kroenke to hit the streets of the USA with a mobile recording studio and cameras in search of inspiration and the heartbeat of the people.  Since then, Mark has not only hit the streets of the USA, he has also been around the World finding outstanding musicians from literally all corners of the World who now form the PFC family.

Here, Titi, Clarence, Mermans, and Roberto of the PFC band perform their spine-tingling version of Etta James’ classic I’d Rather Go Blind at the Under The Radar Live Sessions studio:

Playing For Change Day was originally established to coincide with the UN’s International Day of Peace, which takes place each year on September 21st (occurring on a Sunday in 2014). Playing For Change Day is held on the nearest Saturday each year so that participants can devote more time on the weekend to putting on or attending stellar events. Along with thousands of other organizations worldwide, we are participating in the Culture of Peace Initiative, in cooperation with Pathways To Peace, to raise awareness of the International Day of Peace and the year-round effort to transform society from a culture of competition and violence to a culture of cooperation and peace. To this end, Playing For Change Day concerts will be held in hundreds of cities and towns across our planet to celebrate humanity’s unity and also to raise funds for music education.

There are events all around the World and you can find  an event near you on the Playing For Change Day website.

Playing For Change 3 “Songs Around The World” is their latest album and DVD available both digitally and physically at all major retailers and via Starbucks in North America, and includes performances from Keith Richards, Sara Bareilles, Andres Calamaro, Toots Hibbert from Toots & The Maytals, Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Keb Mo, and Taj Mahal in addition to a song produced by Jackson Browne.

Here Mark talks about the album with Randy Scott-Carroll from Prismatic Radio:

Here is a preview, if you like what you hear, go on treat yourself!




Discovering New Music – Ethemia





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Ethemia coverI am forever grateful to Jeremy and Lorraine Millington from fabulous group The Portraits for introducing me to Michaella and Berny from Ethemia.  We had the pleasure and privilege to welcome Ethemia to the Under The Radar Live Sessions studios for a session in July this year, and it became immediately obvious these two individuals are no ordinary musical duo.  The chemistry that oozes out of every note they sing together is palpable, in conversation it feels like each is thinking what the other is saying.

Here is a video of Katie Kate taken from their Under The Radar Session:

Through their music they explore real and very deep human emotion and often they strip themselves bare through their thoughtful and evocative lyrics.  This is an authentic connection between two individuals, and although they each have incredibly supportive partners, the musical and spiritual bond that unites them seems unbreakable.Brooklands Radio with Ethemia

Their debut album Quirk of Fate is a collection of twelve original songs, each telling their own story and touching a wide variety of often difficult subjects with sincerity and sensitivity.  Rich in vocal as well as guitar harmonies, it is not easy to assign a genre to this album, but if we were forced to, I guess we could describe it as the ultimate acoustic album of epic and edgy contemporary folk songs.

Have a listen to the album below and if you like what you hear, go and get it from iTunes.  More importantly, go and see them live, Ethemia are probably one of the hardest working independent musicians on the gig circuit and you can be sure to find them playing at a venue near you.

Ethemia and DD

Album Review – Alex Louise ‘Lucky’

Alex Louise – Lucky





Alex Louise has come a long way since training to become a horse-riding instructor.  Listening to her luscious and effortless voice, it is clear she was destined to become a pop princess

We first met Alex Louise in October 2012 when she appeared on  her first Under The Radar Live Session

Her long-awaited debut album has finally arrived, and having listened to all twelve songs, I can say with full conviction that quality oozes out of every track.  Optimism, hope and intelligent, interesting lyrics are in abundance and Alex Louise’s mighty vocals elevate this collection of songs to pop diva status.  All twelve songs are original compositions written by Alex Louise and musical partner Sam Bosanquet.

The first track, Bad Day is the current single and contrary to the title’s suggestion, it is an upbeat, positive song full of optimism and accompanied by some of the most infectious choruses ever!

There is a great video accompanying Bad Day, and here it is for your pleasure:

You Don’t See Me is one of those timeless ballads which can melt even the hardest of souls.  Although it is a very sad song, Alex Louise delivers it with such passion and sensitivity you can’t help but be uplifted.  The song was inspired by a recording session in an old house and tells the story of a beautiful ghost desperately trying to reach her loved one.

If you enjoy a proper soul ballad you’re absolutely going to love Kiss, co-written with Frankie Young, from Unsung Lilly.  This is a simple arrangement with piano mainly accompanied by subtle strings, but Alex Louise’s vocals are rich, powerful and soulful to the max.

The title track Lucky, is a toe-tapping-finger-snapping bluesy gem with intricate multi-layered harmonies.adding that authentic gospel sound.  Alex Louise’s vocals reign supreme on this number and Frankie’s mighty piano lifts this song to honky-tonk heaven.

Set for official release on 26th September this is a must-have album in your collection. Pre-order it here from iTunes

Alex Louise Album image

Discovering New Music – Seville

Seville imageFirst, credit where it’s due – a huge thanks to my very good friend and fellow lover of fresh independent music Simone Lindtner who alerted me to Seville, a project by Jay Marsh, a most original and enigmatic independent song-writer who used to front the short-lived but highly successful indie band Skinny Machines.

Jay tells me this is a collaboration with Chris Brooke and was conceived as a film music project to begin with – “we wanted it to sound like the soundtrack to a film yet to be written if you know what I mean…” Jay says.

When asked about the name Seville, he adds: “Chris was particularly inspired by that territory and we were very much trying to recreate the slightly more spiritual, earthy vibe when we went in to the writing sessions. Personally I saw it as a challenge to write anything other than pretty dark indie stuff…!”

So far the writing partnership has produced five demos which I am led to believe will form part of a long-player to be released sometime in 2015.  For now, Walk The Earth is a finished track which gives a flavour of things to come.  Jay’s distinctive vocals lead a very cinematic soundscape, evocative of Mediterranean deserts.  This is an all-out production which starts with the haunting sound of a distant cello evocative of a flute giving that ‘earthy’ feel Jay alluded earlier.  The chorus is a lavish affair with layered harmonies, horns and mighty percussion.

There is a beautifully shot and produced video of this song made by Overcoast Sessions.


Discovering new music – Andriah Arrindell

Andriah Arrindell

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A big part of the enjoyment of new music for me is actually randomly and spontaneously ‘discovering’ new artists, so I try to avoid putting out general requests for artists or PR companies to send me music as this video from Tom Robinson will attest.

I do however make few exceptions, and one such exception is a great music PR company called Pluggin’ Baby, run by Emma Scott, a very bubbly and knowledgeable independent music promoter and radio plugger.  I received an email from Emma in July introducing me to Andriah Arrindell and her song ‘Time To Shine’ which took my breath away.  This song has a classic 90’s soul feel, yet it sounds fresh and relevant.  The musical arrangements are simple, yet the gentle piano which leads the song with the percussion and synth strings elevate this song to classic status, and Andriah’s supreme vocals inject soul, passion and hope.

Andriah has a strong gospel background which explains the quality and power of her voice.  She has performed with the highly acclaimed London Community Gospel Choir, and has shared the stage with a number of world-class artists such as Aretha Franklin, Jamie Cullum, and Madonna. She also sang backing vocals for Shola Ama, and performed at the Obama Inauguration event with Kelly Rowland and Mica Paris.

Andriah’s debut album ‘Time To Shine’, is a collaboration with the very talented and likeable underground and afro-beat and dance producer Whytepatch from Afrojopa Records.  The album is due for release later this month, and the title track is the first single, which is now available to download.


I had the pleasure and privilege of welcoming Andriah and Whytepatch to our studios for an interview and a sneaky preview of a couple of tracks from her forthcoming album, and here is this interview for your listening pleasure.

Under The Radar Live Sessions with Andriah Arrindell 17 August 2014 by Under The Radar Live Sessions on Mixcloud


Here is a sneak peek at Andriah’s next single Picture Perfect 


 Hope you are enjoying these series of posts, don’t forget you may listen online to Under The Radar Live Sessions every Sunday from 7pm GMT via Brooklands Radio from the comfort of your PC, laptop, iPad, Tablet or mobile phone.  All shows are also available to listen again as podcasts on our Mixcloud page.a

Discovering new music – Lux Lisbon

Lux Lisbon

Lux Lisbon Memento Mori

This is one of many bands I have discovered courtesy of Tom Robinson’s Listening Post which is a very useful feature of his Fresh on the Net website where each week members of the general public and music lovers alike are able to listen and review a number of tracks posted by aspiring independent bands, singers and musicians.

Lux Lisbon are no ordinary band, they are certainly original, fresh and quirky, but above all they combine these elements with impeccable musicianship and an uncanny ability to write and produce the most epic and artistically-rich songs, often accompanied by equally epic and artistically rich videos.

But don’t take my word for it, watch and enjoy this video of their classic Demons You Show


Demons you show is taken from their 2013 debut EP Get Some Scars, which is available for FREE download even now! Their latest offering is the macabre-sounding Memento Mori, which is in fact an upbeat song.  Here is lead man Stu telling us all about it:

Memento Mori is Latin for ‘remember you will die’. The song is a real party, a fiesta, a death fiesta! I’m sure many of you will already be familiar with the phrase (or the Muriel Spark novel) but it really stuck a chord with me at an exhibition all about the iconography of death – “Death: A Self Portrait” at Kings Cross this time last year. I’d never heard it before, but we’ve made sure that the music the opposite of that and it’s full of life, ‘Get Some Scars’ esque harmonies, percussion and Elliot Phelps’ trumpet.


With shows selling out and frequent plays and live appearances on BBC Introducing, Lux Lisbon are on a direct trajectory to legendary status.  Catch them live at a gig near you before they sell out!

Lux Lisbon SOLD OUT Manch

Discovering new music – JAMsharp#





Jamsharp photo 2
Photo: Annelie Rosencrantz

I became aware of JAMsharp through fellow independent music lover Peter Kent, who posted some photos on Facebook of their recent gig at Hoxton’s Underbelly.

A trio of classically-trained musicians, song writers and performers with an original and highly infectious style.  Taking full advantage of their musical training, they use piano, accordion, guitar and cajon to great effect, pulling it all together with some haunting and totally delicious harmonies.

Based in London, the girls formed in 2012 and since then have been touring the gig circuit and gaining new fans and admirers. Their brand new debut EP Pink Skies, is a collection of six tracks, some original, some covers combining their vocal prowess with large doses of imaginative and original instrumentation.

Pink Skies is a piano-led ballad which soon turns into a delicious cacophony of masterful harmonies.  To assign a genre or musical style to this song would be impossible as it combines elements of traditional folk with gospel and a touch of soul.


Can’t Hold Us opens with the sounds of a sombre accordion.  It soon becomes apparent this is a very clever cover of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ epic song when the angelic chorus turns into the familiar hook of this monster hit with a bit of high-speed rap thrown in for good measure.


Charmless is a gentle guitar-led ballad adorned with the band’s signature accordion and those magnificent vocals and harmonies.


With the ever-increasing influx of new independent artists and new songs, JAMsharp# offer a unique style, and originality which will take them to the next level and the success they so richly deserve.

Download Pink Skies right now from all good download sites, and make sure you go and support them at a gig near you!

Jamsharp photo
Photo: Annelie Rosencrantz