What a year this week has been. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, sadly necessary precautions are in place resulting in the cancellation of most concerts and live music events. On top of that, most of us have gone into self-isolation, too.
Although we may be far apart, through sharing music we can try to heal collectively. The Southbank Sinfonia team has collaborated to curate the ultimate playlist for listening to at home, to raise your spirits and soothe your soul during these uncertain times.
Why not use your time at home to unearth a new favourite artist, re-discover a favourite symphony, or a develop a penchant for French Canadian funk? Meditate, dance, cry, listen in new ways. We may be socially distancing, but let's socially connect. From future soul to Bruckner to bum-waggling disco, we have your self-isolation listening covered.
Listen to the full playlist here.
Nickel Creek: NPR Tiny Desk Concert
I've been rewatching many NPR 'Tiny Desk' concerts on YouTube and this is one I keep going back to. The band is called Nickel Creek and I just love their music. They make playing their instruments look so simple and blend with each other extremely well. I'd recommend that anyone who hasn't already watched the NPR videos does so. Randy Newman, Lizzo, Tower of Power, Anderson .Paak, and The Free Nationals...the list goes on and on. Hours of amazing videos for free, what better time to get up to date?
Orchestra Assistant & Music Librarian
Danny Nedelko by IDLES
This song’s a sweat-soaked shouty belter in the best possible sense. Recently there has been a rise in reported attacks, abuse, and xenophobia towards members of Asian communities due to the global virus situation and it’s perceived links to nationals from the region. The bubbling of anger, mixed with fear, has stirred many emotions in some members of the public during this time, but this song is a reminder of how prejudice and judgement based on looks/culture isn’t a solution. We need to remember that we are all in this together and to support global “C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y”.
Favourite line from this song:
"He's made of bones / he's made of blood / he's made of flesh / he's made of love / he's made of you / he's made of me / unity!”
Artist Development Manager
Based on a True Story by Fat Freddy's Drop
I come back time and time again to Based on A True Story by New Zealand band Fat Freddy's Drop for its chilled and heady vibes. It's an absolute NZ classic and is great to listen to in one go - so has been perfect to over the past few weeks (particularly during the lovely London weather last week).
I listen to too much music so it’s hard to whittle it down - so I put together a whole playlist of what I've been listening to in isolation.
Before I fell in love with the sound of symphony orchestras, I played bass guitar in a band with friends. I still love rock and pop music, especially songs that have a strong bass line at the heart of them.
The ABBA and Thin Lizzy tunes on here are two examples of how effective a bass line can be, and how it draws the listeners ear in to intricate rhythmic writing, much in the same way that Stravinsky or Beethoven's music can.
Trusts & Foundations Manager
Everyone Says 'Hi' by David Bowie
I would like to suggest Bowie's Everyone Says 'Hi' because it's so relevant right now.
Bones by Glorybox
This is a bit of a shameless plug for my friend's band, but I love this tune - it's upbeat and fun, and that's what we all need at the moment!
Timely!! by Anri
I can't listen to it without smiling. Imagine the Bee Gees but with Michael Jackson's rhythm section.
Shaolin Monk Motherfunk by Hiatus Kaiyote
If you’ve ever wondered how to get into the world of ‘future soul’ - here’s your first step. It is difficult to define Hiatus Kaiyote’s style as they swing between experimental R&B, hip-hop and electro indie but this song will guarantee to have you hooked on the quartet’s rhythmic games, satisfying harmonies and undeniable groove.
Dvorak's Waldesruhe, played by Frans Helmerson
The Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson is one of the warmest and most genuine artists with whom I've been privileged to work. I picked this piece from his Dvorak album because the title, Waldesruhe, translates as "Silent Woods" - which seems appropriate since I'll be spending the next few weeks during the lockdown at my family home in the Lake District, surrounded by hills and woodland. Dvorak's piece, like the woods, always has the power to transport me to that peaceful yet uplifting state of mind. In the current crisis, I am finding this very restorative and I hope you do too!
Joshua Redman and Ola Kvernberg
Here’s something a bit different; an unusual jazz pairing of violin and tenor sax, played by Ola Kvernberg and Joshua Redman. The techniques used by both musicians are unreal and make you think about how sounds and instruments are used “conventionally” versus exploring how they could be used if you think outside the box; figuring out how to work creatively is something I feel we’re all having to do right now, so we can perhaps take a bit of inspiration from this duo! I know the free improvisation is perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but watching these musicians (especially live) is truly captivating. It’s an hour and a half long but stick with it, unless there’s somewhere you need to be…
Murphy's Law by Róisín Murphy
I'm OBSESSED with this track. It's just a total earworm, I've had it on repeat these last few days. Róisín has a great voice and I love the spoken introduction. To be honest, I can't really sum it up better than the Guardian who described it as 'a frothing jacuzzi of fag-in-hand, bum-waggling 3am funk'. Just feel good disco-tinged music, reminding me of good nights out, which I hope we'll all soon return to.
La Grondeuse by La Bottine Souriante
It's a bit cheesy but every now and again I like to put on songs by a French Canadian band named La Bottine Souriante. They're a sort of fusion band who mix traditional Quebecois folk tunes (fiddles, spoons, clog dancing, the likes) with some 70s style funk. They're a big hit where I'm from. My particular favourite song of theirs is La Grondeuse. Again, it's some real cheese but it's quite uplifting.
Symphony No.8, III. Adagio: Feirlich langsam; doch nicht schleppend by Anton Bruckner
The way my brain seems to work, I always want to figure out how things are made. This carries over into music with many happy hours as a student spent going through scores in the library, working out how composers manipulate our emotions. And yet, with this movement I don’t want to know. I’m so in love with the way Bruckner builds the tension, cycling through the chords until the much anticipated release where we drift upwards with the harp. It’s so pure to me I don’t want to ruin the magic by seeing it in black and white. In my mind now, it is perfect.
Nine Thou by Styles of Beyond
A bit of an unconventional choice from me. This is the opening song for one of my favourite racing games that I played as a child, Need for Speed Most Wanted (2005). It came out just after the SARS outbreak when I was living in Hong Kong, and it was the first game I bought after the quarantine period. #childhood
Symphony No.6 by Ludwig Van Beethoven
I've actually been listening to Beethoven 6 and reminiscing about that Rush Hour #1! I miss the orchestra...
There's a Rugged Road by Judee Sill
I chose this song by Judee Sill because of its tender optimism. It's a very soothing song, and given the moment in history we occupy very fitting.
All My Friends by LCD Sound System
This song has a lot of memories attached to it for me, the best being when I saw LCD Soundsystem live at a music festival in Barcelona about four years ago. Dancing to this with my best friends as the sun went down over the beach, it felt like life couldn't get much better. Music is the perfect tool for capturing special memories, especially when you're feeling scared about the future. This song evokes a bitter/sweet emotion that I can't put into words, makes me optimistic for happier times yet to come, and reminds me of the importance of friendship.
Passionella: Gorgeous from The Apple Tree (The Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Jerry Bock, sung by Barbara Harris and Elliot Lawrence
I decided to add this song from Jerry Bock's Passionella because miming along to it brings me equal amounts of hilarity and joy, and hope it does the same for you.