The world’s most influential voice in dance-music media thinks the genre’s future is in Southern California. “I was around for all the earlier waves, when Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers all came to the U.S. and were embraced here,” Tong said. “But the records never stuck around. L.A. has been a key reason why this music stayed here, because this is where the big raves were and kids under 21 could get into the music. Unless you had these raves and these clubs, a David Guetta could never have happened here.” There’s a long tradition of English music figures setting out for the good life in Southern California (John Lydon or Morrissey could vouch for its virtues). The move didn’t come without stresses for Tong, a father of four and an icon in his home country now setting out for L.A.’s dance music Wild West. PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations But aside from all the usual perks of L.A. weather, food, etc. the global attention on the American dance-music market was too much to pass up. He plans to continue his BBC program and his show on “Evolution,” the dance channel of American digital radio service iHeartRadio. But he’s also working on a film project with Lionsgate and co-founded WME’s electronic music division. “Pete is a terrific influence and authoritative figure,” said Marc Geiger, worldwide head of WME music. “I think he will make all of us better by being around.” Tong’s faith in dance music in L.A.
Pandit Jasraj: Earlier, classical music was like Himalaya — today, it’s like a sea
So with a Mercury nod in the bag, how is the self-effacing Laura Mvula feeling as she headlines the Shepherds Bush Empire on a Friday night? How much did they pay you to be here? she demands, subtly imposing centre stage in an odd combination of Virgin Mary-style headscarf and humungous spike-heels. Theres people upstairs as well. False modesty is a practised stage shtick, but with Mvula, a genuine from-nowhere phenomenon, it rings truer than most. The smoky charms of the following Is There Anybody Out There, with its glittering furl of harp and a sweet singalong snatch of Marleys One Love tacked on to the end, though, do all the chest-puffing necessary. Theres a decidedly 70s cosmic wonder to Mvulas jazzy, psychedelic tunes, and her crack band give full-flight to her elaborate, lushly arranged songs. Opener Like The Morning Dew eases you into her sound-world, soothed by Mvulas rich purr but rolling smoothly into a scintillating explosion of harmony. She is another particular standout, with a Bjorkish jazzy twinkle that segues without falter into a more formidable, muscular soul incarnation. Mvula herself is understated charm incarnate, wooing her already rapt crowd with an intro to Flying Without You, which she describes as about a little girl before conceding, lets not beat around the bush its about me when I was 15. The song charms no less with its tale of overcoming unrequited love couched in a curious clapping rhythm. If theres a downside at all, its that Mvulas key parts can sometimes err on the over-twinkly-twee, but its the tiniest of gripes, and the bareness of the soul ballad Sing To The Moon swings the balance back the other way with impressive heft. Mvula is all humble thanks, leaving the stage to allow full focus on her band during her encore, Make Me Lovely, but we dont escape tonight without a linguistic lesson. A lot of people say it Muhvula, she lectures.
Music review: Laura Mvula – ‘An organic talent who is sweet to the ears’
So, it’s difficult for me to decide beforehand. What differentiates the Mewati gharana from others? A gharana is based on the voice , manners, bandishes and style of artists. If you see an artist approaching a stage, you can easily spot his particular gharana. Similarly, there’s a typical Mewati gharana style which is unique. Are there many artists who could take this forward? Many of my disciples already have fame. They include Sanjeev Abhyankar, Ratan Mohan Sharma, Tripti Mukherjee, Suman Ghosh, Pritam Bhattacharya, Hemang Mehta, Ankita Joshi and Gargee. Eventually though, if there was a Bhimsen Joshi or is a Pandit Jasraj , it’s only because of the public. The audience makes one an artist of repute my saying will not make anyone so. Younger listeners may not understand diverse gharanas your view? Without learning, no one will understand any system.