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Dear friends,

Good news and Bad news.

Bad news first.

This blog is no more.

Good news….. I’ve taken blogging FAR more seriously, but I (and ‘Ronster) have moved to a NEW blog:

ronniesblog.co.uk

Find me there. Bookmark me there.

Sunset over the Humber

Sunset over the Humber, originally uploaded by Ronnie19.

I took this image at sunset, on Friday, 5th March, just before breaking my Baha’i Fast.

It was a glorious sunset on the river Humber, Yorkshire. View it large on black here to get the full detail and colouring!

Hello readers.

This is the first in a long line of entries containing mini music reviews of artists I’m listening to at the moment. Whilst I know that you all have a diverse range of taste in ear candy, I’m sure there is something I could recommend to you for your aural pleasure.

To tell you the truth, I’m surprised that I’m not blogging more about music, I used to deejay (and still do occasionally), have a pretty sizeable music collection and occasionally play bass and acoustic guitar (in a band and solo)…

So, without further ado, here is my current selection of album reviews in no particular order:

1. Soldier of Love- Sade (Neo Soul)

After a long hiatus of about 10 years, Sade is back and topping the U.S. album charts for the third week running. This long awaited album seems a little more melancholic than previous  Sade releases but is still pretty much in classic Sade territory with no ground breakingly different styles, except perhaps the title track:  ‘Soldier of Love’ which has a trip hop Tricky-esque beat to it. Other than the standout tracks, most tracks, I feel, are quite flat and appear almost as filler, however if you are a Sade fan you must get this album since there is enough material to keep you going….though I doubt for another 10 years…

Stand out tracks in my opinion are  ‘Soldier of Love,’ ‘Babyfather’ and ‘Skin.’

Rating 3.5/5

2. Blackmagic-José James (Soul/Jazz/Hip Hop)

After being introduced to  José James via Brownswood record label in London, 2 years ago. I was instantly hooked onto the  unique style and voice of José James, who describes himself as a ‘world citizen’ from Brooklyn on his myspace site. His first album ‘The Dreamer’ was an instant classic, with no filler, and music to evoke moods from a smoky jazz club to romance induced ballads to kick back sunday morning beats, my favourite being the Freestyle Fellowship cover of ‘Park Bench People.’ If you click the link on the left, it takes you to an awesome live rendition of the song, with ‘Soil & Pimp Sessions’ performing the jazz classic ‘Red Clay’ as the music. Make sure you check it out, as Jose flips from jazz singing to a ‘scat battle’ with the saxophonist.’

Now, that enough about ‘The Dreamer’ album, this review is all about his NEW album; ‘Blackmagic.’ Well all I can say is wow! The first three tracks on this album, are all amazing, with the rest being silky smooth and seductive. Its hard to pick Blackmagic apart other than to say that it evokes thoughts of Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, Terry Callier and Gil-Scott Heron.

Having seen José perform live at the Jazz Cafe in London last year (he is also playing this month), his live entourage, a full fledged Jazz/Soul quartet did not disappoint. Not only did Jose tear the roof off with his vocals ranging from soul to scat, the band had more soul than a Motown New Years party. As with most music today, some of the lyrics are a little ‘steamy’ but tame in comparison to chart music.

Standout tracks? ALL OF THEM!

Rating: 4/5

3.  Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura – New Cuba Sound

This double CD compilation, put together by Radio 1 D.J. and eclectic musical guru Gilles Peterson after a trip to Cuba is one definitely for speakers to pump loud and proud. It features a hand picked selection from Havana’s music scene, last made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club. The first album/cd is performed by a band Gilles Peterson himself has produced himself, led by Roberto Fonesca (piano) and is as good as cuban jazz gets.  You’ll be finding it hard to sit still while this is on.

The second album is Giles  selection of his favourite Cuban tunes by current Cuban artists spanning many genres ranging from hip hop, pop, salsa and reggaeton . There is no doubt that the jazzy rhythms on this double CD leave you wanting more and tempt you to be more adventurous with your next foray into this vibrant musical scene..  before you know it, you’ll be booking that flight to Cuba, shaking the maracas all the way through check in (or maybe not, based on current tensions).

Again, like Jose James’ album, this album is packed to the brim with great tracks, but the Jay Dilla/Jay Dee cover ‘Think Twice’ by Danay & Obsesión is head and shoulder above all of them, worth getting the album just for that track alone!

Rating: 4.5/5


Nylon Parla and other news

I’ve been a naughty blogger. I’ve carried out that one sin which every blogger is guilty of at least once in their digital life…..i haven’t updated my blog.

Oops.

One reason is that while succesfully purging myself from Facebook I have been basking in liberation from its clutches and enjoying fresh, digital freedom from it.

Now that i’ve temporarily relocated to the city of Hull, in East Yorkshire I’m ready to make a come back.

This time, however, the renaissance will be in a more focused and controlled way, primarily through photography, blogging and the odd Tweet.

The Facebook days of soaking up gossip via the newsfeed page to unconscious time wasting on friend’s photo albums is OVER. I have reclaimed future time that may have been lost to nothingness, whilst at the same, abating a hunger and desire for gossip that is always tempting.

Hessle‘ (where I live) is a quiet suburb, just outside the city of Hull (where I work). A far cry from the megalopolis of London.

You may be wondering why i’ve ended up here. Me, Ronnie, the city boy, the Londoner, someone who has lived in London for over 25 years continuously!

Well, I can tell you one thing, the culture shock wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. People are definitely friendlier and the weather is definitely colder.

On the bright side, it’s sunnier! (pun intended). I think it has something to do with geography and location of the place.

The reason i’m here is that i’m working here as a dentist, fresh out of dental school. More on that later.

Right now, however, I just want to announce the return of the ultimate Baha’i collaborative photoblog…yes, NYLON PARLA is BACK, with a new ‘cast’ of photographers.

Slight changes are abound. A new ‘theme’ is announced every Baha’i month (19 days) and a caption is due which ties it into the name of the Baha’i month.

This month, the theme was ‘Texture’ and the caption was related to this Baha’i month’s name, which is; Knowledge.

A picture says a thousand words, so without further ado, here is the site:

NYLON PARLA

Bookmark it!

Today, on the 9th of July, 2009, the Times of London has printed an article by Cherie Blair, wife of ex British Prime Minister Tony Blair, herself one of the U.K’s top lawyers.

In the article, she outlines the case of the leaders of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran, who are due to stand trial on charges of ‘espionage’ amongst others, where the penalty of death is a likely punishment.

Cherie Blair draws our attention to the fact that Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has been trying to defend them (whilst receiving death threats) and that we mustn’t lose sight of human rights violations against the largest religious minority in Iran, the Baha’is, who number around 300,000 and stand on the brink of possible religious genocide…

The article is here.

Kodachrome and Exams

My exams are lingering on, hence my lack of entries here…however, here is something I wrote for another blog I used to author called ‘Seven Candles.’ I thought i’d import it here so its not lost in the digital annals of time….

I love photography

I love the sound of the shutter on a digital SLR.

I love the portability of a digital Compact.

I love [mostly] the spontaneousness of a disposable camera.

I love lamp.

Recently [when this was originally written, Jan'08], I came back from my first 9 day pilgrimage to Haifa where I decided not to take a SLR. This was to be my journey of the spirit and thus I felt photography wasn’t high on the agenda, especially since i’d previously already taken my SLR to Haifa the year before.

I did, however, pack a my smaller and more compact digital camera, consqeuently taking more meaninful pictures than my last trip to Israel; a sharp reminder that it’s what you do with it, that counts.

Nonetheless, whilst the choice of camera changes over years, the joy of photography remains quite steady.

Each camera is a different vehicle for a different journey. Some the equivalent of a Mini Cooper, others, an SUV…. as long as they get us from A-Z in comfort and are fun to drive, its all good…(n.b. I don’t condone SUV usage)

ICE is not important. Unless your lens’ collection is your ice.

Our creativity is limited only by our mind, eye and trigger finger.

Now before I digress further……..I returned home 9 days later and embarked on a mandatory Photoshop post-production misson… eventually coming to a common dilemna (for me anyway)…whether or not a portrait looked better desaturated to B&W or in its original colour.

Call me a geek, but i enjoyed this. In fact, this dilemna has surely affected many a photographer at some point…. ever since the choice of both colour and b&w film existed, for at least the last 50 years right?

Actually, its closer to 148 years.

The first permanent colour photograph was taken in 1861 by a Scotsman called James Clerk Maxwell.

To put this into context, 1861 was 2 years before Baha’u’llah made His Declaration in the Garden of Ridvan. It was the first year of the American Civil War and it was 10 years before the first incandescent light bulb was invented.

So what did the first colour photograph look like?

Mr.Maxwell took a photo of a ‘tartan ribbon’, and the photo (1861) is on the right:

Now, whilst this extremely early attempt of colour photo looks it was colourised by a hippie tripping on LSD, this photo was not altered after it was taken.

Later on, new methods were tried whilst old methods were improved;

The photo above was taken in 1877 by Duhauron in France.

However, about a 100 years ago, a Russian gentleman named Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, truly made colour photography come alive.

Between 1909 to 1915 he decided to document the Russian Empire. The Russia then was a land of much ethnic diversity and home to more than 150 million people–of which only about half were ethnic Russians. Here is a selection of some of his photos….. .they are all original colour photographs. No colour added, no ye olde photoshoppe.

The Emir of Bukhara-taken in 1911

Prisoners in a zindan- taken in 1910

Russian peasant girls- taken in 1909

Jewish Children and teacher-1911

Portrait of Dagestani couple- c.1910

After seeing his photos, we can really appreciate how colour not only makes the photograph more real but rather more relevant and interesting. The people featured become breathing human beings that aren’t so different from us today (apart from silly fancy dress costumes). In fact it becomes surreal because our sight and mind are used to associating 50 year old photos with sepia and black and white but now we have to tell ourselves that these colour images are almost a 100 years old….

Viewing Sergey’s photos is like going for a ride in the DeLorian and arriving back in Russia in 1909……its as vivid as photography today….thats partly down to technology… but more so down to Sergey’s talent as a photographer.

You can view many more of his photos here.

Thus next time you have the choice of permanently removing colour from a photograph, think twice about a time when the choice wasn’t taken for granted and colour photographs were more precious than the fossil record.

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

‘Kodachrome’ sung by Paul Simon

Interesting article on how to get that golden nap:

Britons are the worst sleepers in Europe, claimed a survey last week, depicting a nation starved of sleep and facing a daily battle against red-eyed exhaustion.One in five of the population sleeps for fewer than seven hours a night, according to research from the Future Foundation for the health campaign Sleep Well Live Well. Many of these tired souls reported feeling stressed and unhappy.

Not sure about you, but I am increasingly finding more and more reasons to not sleep when I should, or difficulty in getting to sleep when I really need to…my favourite is the classic ‘weekend lie in’ but napping on the train home is particularly refreshing, as long as I don’t miss my stop home (hasn’t happened so far…)Patio Cat-crack
Read the full article here

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