COCA Spotlight: Young pianist knows score on film soundtracks | COCA

500Music is a calling for film composer and pianist Matthew Cravener. The 25-year-old virtuoso has created scores for 17 short films, one documentary, two audio books and an epic Christmas poem. He was selected as the Florida Young Soloist of the Year by Arts4All Florida and has released his own albums. 

When he isn’t in front of the piano, he’s out in the yard keeping his hands busy. He’s often at the keys though, whether he’s playing the Blue Tavern at happy hour or performing for Canterfield Assisted Living every Sunday. Composing inside his home studio, Cravener finds peace at his keyboard.

“Music makes me feel very calm,” says Cravener. “I have autism and Tourette’s. For a very long time and in my adolescent years and it was hard for me to function. Playing piano used to calm the tics down. It relieves a lot of tension and makes my mind go to better places.”

After experimenting with guitar and drums, Cravener was given a miniature piano at age 4. He often requested to hear Andy Griffith’s music and would play along with gospel albums. His father walked by his room one day and was shocked to find Cravener playing “Amazing Grace,” all from memory. 

Cravener still plays by ear. His first piano teacher had him turn around while she played three keys on the piano and he recognized them without any trouble. His next teacher worked with him on scales, arpeggios, phrasing and dynamics, which Cravener says he still uses within his repertoire.

By age 9 he was regularly playing at Black Dog Cafe though his feet barely reached the pedals. He once held a conversation with someone while he continued to play the psalm “We Gather at the River,” quite a feat given the coordination the piece requires. 

Cravener was moved to make his first Christmas CD when a young church friend contracted cancer and was struggling to pay medical bills. In a big-hearted gesture for a young musician, Cravener produced “Matthew’s Christmas for AJ,” which sold 500 copies on its first day. All proceeds went towards his friend’s family and  “Angels We Have Heard on High” became his favorite song to play and record.  

“It was a hard piece to play, but it was really rewarding when I learned it,” says Cravener. “The tempo is uplifting and fast and I enjoy the complexity.”  

At age 14 he produced a gospel album, though shortly after, his Tourette syndrome worsened and inhibited his ability to perform live. During this time, he would watch television shows and movies on YouTube and became interested in the musical scores that would play behind the action. 

Though he believed his performance days might be over, he was captivated by the promise of creating music behind the scenes for films. He attended TCC and was connected with aspiring film director JT Timmons, and began scoring films for Red Eye Productions.

Cravener ambitiously submitted his work to award-winning Los Angeles film composer, Christopher Young. Young called Cravener and sponsored him for an emerging artist residency at Tilden House in Culver City, California.

Read the rest of the story by visiting the Tallahassee Democrat

or read more by downloading the article here

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OPINION: Death and the legacy of Fela Kuti – Vanguard Allure

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Death, many people say, can be the biggest career move and for proof they point to Michael Jackson who was mired in debt at the time of his death but whose estate is now worth millions and millions more than he made while alive.

Death has always fascinated pop culture, especially when the dead is famous or infamous and young to boot. Think Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and Jean-Michel Basquiat. These rock stars captured the popular imagination, blazed bright like a meteor then fizzled out like shooting stars.

The phenomenon of dying young has been so analysed that someone came up with the 27 Club – a constellation of famous people who died at the age of 27 from drug overdose, alcohol addiction, car or plane crashes as well as suicide or homicide.

Most of them are white (Hendrix and Basquiat no), most of them American. But has death ever boosted the career or renown of an African celebrity? The answer is yes and the most famous must be Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the iconic musician, jazz aficionado and fiery activist who was a thorn in the flesh of successive military regimes.

Fela died 22 years ago at age 59. He was nowhere near 27 and by that time had adult children – Yeni, Femi and Shola (who died young). He was world-renowned and celebrated and hounded at home. His residence was famously known as Kalakuta Republic (named after the prison cell he occupied while incarcerated at Kirikiri prisons). His cell was called Calcutta but Fela corrupted it to Kalakuta.

His residence so named was raided on February 18, 1977 by what reports say were over 1,000 soldiers. Denizens of the commune including some of his wives were beaten and raped and the building burnt down but not before his aged mother was thrown out of the window. She died from her injuries.

But the loss of his mother and his republic did not diminish Fela’s stridency. He remained militant to the very end dying from complications arising from HIV/AIDs just four months after he left prison.

He was as well known for his music as he was for his activism and today when a musician or celebrity of whatever stripe is conscious people liken him or her to Fela.

But how did death boost Fela’s career? Alive, Fela was mercurial and tempestuous. His albums were mostly one-song albums that sometimes lasted for over 20 minutes. His intros were famous for featuring call and response choruses and then long jazz pieces that seemed to go along for interminable moments. Radio stations found him a nightmare and attempts by music labels to re-master and cut short his songs for the new CD technology were rebuffed. The only close examples in contemporary western music would be ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the Queen song from the 1975 album A Night at the Opera which clocks in at 6 minutes and then Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield’s 1973 studio album which extends to 49 minutes.

Fela was, therefore, a peculiar kind of musical artist with an oeuvre that was as potent musically as it was politically. For Fela, music was a weapon and one he wielded in many ways as if it was the lasso of truth with which he whipped the military and autocrats and kleptocrats into line.

His music was critical of soldiers whom he called zombies but soldiers loved to listen to his music because it was also critical of the government and often plumbed the depths of the pervasive social malaise and political morass.

Fela’s music was a leveller and had an uncanny ability for transcending class and gender, moving fluidly between the mainland and island and breaching class strictures. Visitors to the Africa Shrine in what is now Computer Village in Ikeja, where Fela played live sets every Friday when he was not on tour would find bank CEOs and messengers dancing and smoking as they listened to Fela’s music. The shrine was a democratic locale where music was a unifying factor.

It is also important to note how Fela’s music is at home in the mouths of the rich as well as the poor with men from different sides of the track laying equal claim to the man, musician and prophet.

Fela’s death was devastating but in dying, Fela seemed to step across the threshold from legend into myth. His death many say made his children instant millionaires and then his music re-mastered and available widely on CD spawned a whole new generation of fans, many of them not yet born or mere toddlers when Fela transited from this realm.

Today, Afrobeat, the musical genre he pioneered, is played across the world from Portugal to the UK, the US to Spain. Books have been written about him, documentaries shot and a Broadway show has travelled the world presenting Fela as maverick musician, activist and prophet.

But Fela’s reputation has been cemented and augmented more by a hybrid sound, a derivative christened afrobeat and made popular by young African musical artists who have evolved a whole new sound described by the poet and music Dami Ajayi as having begun with the Kennis music group, D Remedies.

According to Dr. Ajayi – “Afrobeats is perhaps the biggest cultural export from West Africa to the rest of Africa and the world. There is little doubt that this music of both Nigerian and Ghanaian origins will continue to enjoy mainstream global prominence.

Afrobeats went mainstream in Nigeria about two decades ago when D Remedies, released their hit song, Shako Mo, under Kennis Music label. The song sampled instrumentals from MC Lyte’s Keep On Keeping On, which also, interestingly, sampled Michael Jackson’s Liberian Girl. With that connection, one can easily link Afrobeat auspiciously to the late King of Pop.

Today, Afrobeats, a fusion of Hip-Hop and African rhythms, has since eschewed overt Western influences in favour of African idioms and musical traditions. Highlife, Juju, Fuji, Apala, Makossa, Sokous and Afrobeats have become cannon fodder for this music and the benefits are multidirectional. Ultimately, one can argue that Afrobeats is making the old new.”

But what has become clear is that many of the biggest Afrobeats stars have adopted Fela Kuti as both muse and creative forge. This year again as we celebrate the life and times and legacy of Fela Kuti during the weeklong Felabration at Freedom Park and beyond, we will be reminded that his death has made him more relevant than he ever was alive and a bigger musical brand to boot.

The list is long but Uzoma Ihejirika writing in thelagosreview attempts to put it all in perspective – “Founded 21 years ago by Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, Felabration presents an opportunity to acknowledge Fela Kuti’s contribution through Afrobeat, the genre of music he pioneered. His jazz-inspired, robust sound continues to spark a creative flame in the hearts of Nigerians—both admirers and detractors— who no matter what cannot ignore Fela, the man and the musical icon.

That creative flame continues to burn in contemporary Nigeria even amongst artistes who were not born or were mere children when Fela became an ancestor. These artistes have made the Afrobeat genre a foundation upon which to speak about their fears, their frustrations, and their joys.”

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CATTLE DECAPITATION – Death Atlas – HEAVY Magazine – Music, Interviews, Reviews, Podcasts, Shop, News and more…

Captivating, confronting, engaging, excruciating but most of all honestly extreme. Exactly as it should be! This is a brief introduction of feelings and emotions that gripped me intensely the first time, plus all ensuing times I’ve listened to Cattle Decapitation’s 2019 masterpiece and easily my album of the year so far, Death Atlas.

Absolutely never a band to shy away from confronting their audience, it has always been Cattle Decapitation’s intent to be unrelenting and unrepentant in their extreme metal mastery. They have never made apologies within their bleak yet truthful message over the course of their past two albums, Monolith Of Inhumanity [2012] and The Anthropocene Extinction [2015] of the plight of the world and our destructive patterns and habits as a pathetic human plague destined for extinction. 

Death Atlas opens with the prologue “Anthropogenic- End Transmission”. A monologue draped by a soundscape of desolation. A fog of despair lures us into the foreshadowing world of Death Atlas as seen through the lens of Cattle Decapitation…And then the magnificently catastrophic “The Geocide” drops like a nuclear bomb on the senses, clearly setting the bleak scene yet malevolent pace at which Cattle Decap wish to, as a means of sonic visualisation, deliver their uplifting message of human extinction. “The Geocide” is the perfect opener to slate the thirst of Cattle Decapitation fans and a deathly sigh of relief shall emanate from your parched throats as you are decimated with familiar territory.

“Be Still Our Bleeding Hearts” is a pummeling fuck machine of emotion! Clearly at the beginning of the track there is nothing but hatred , yet early on there is an ebb and flow of musical brilliance and dichotomy within the band that sees them battling one another to cohesively bind eachother forming a perfect incoherent tragedy. So the song is aptly titled “Be Still Our Bleeding Hearts”. A third of the way in, the chorus kicks in and here we hear vocalist Travis Ryan’s first stunning attempt at clean extreme vocal clarity with decipherable lyrics to paint a picture of what is presented before us. 

The addition of a second guitarist in Belisario Dimuzio, complimenting Josh Elmore, adds a new found songwriting element expanding the ability of more pronounced and accentuated razor slicing clarity and lead breaks rarely touched on on previous Cattle outings. The songs are harsher and thicker (courtesy of new bass player Olivier Pinard) in dimension and scope which, thanks to the incredible production capabilities of long time Cattle producer Dave Otero who has managed to produce one of the best death metal albums for this decade. 

“Vulturous” rumbles in like an imminent, destructive tsunami. Slow and full of groove it pulses with murky intent before the arrival of a wall of noise and armageddon  is erected to sand blast our ears with scathing hate. The groove that follows the previous moments is nothing short of incredible.  “Vulturous” is a song in chapters that engulfs the listeners in many emotions that is hard to honestly decipher at such an early point within the album. Following is the brief intermission of catastrophic memories of Death Atlas so far, “The Great Dying”, is a dialogue of themes we’ve already heard and are without question not done with yet. The female reader is un-subtly framed by thick choking sounds swirling around her as she warns of more unrelenting chaos to follow. Which bleeds into the first glimpse we got of Death Atlas nearly three months ago – “One Day Closer To The End Of The World”. Classic Cattle Decap! A galloping tirade of brilliant malevolence. Whilst there seems to be nothing but enormous tragedy as the main protagonist of Death Atlas, this album is Ryan’s first where he truly utilises his singing talent for the first time. And it seems as though he finds it as a means to promise albeit fruitless. You can truly get a firm grip on why Travis is without question one of the best, most gifted and diverse metal vocalists on the planet. His voice paints a myriad of pictures and emotions it is so easy to get lost in the images depicted and visualised thanks to his medium of choice. 

Out of “One Day Closer To The End Of The World” into our second unearthing of what you’ll hear on Death Atlas was “Bring Back The Plague”. Summoning the rage and clarity before us, this track embodies the album title’s true nature. No mincing words or apologies for lack of discretion. This track epitomises all that Cattle Decapitation are! Intelligent, thought provoking and unapologetic!

 An album full of idealistic hope – Negative optimism or nihilistic positivity, Death Atlas runs through a universe of unachievable hope via tales of our race’s unrepentant and destructive tendencies upon our planet and own lives regardless of our best laid plans to right the wrongs we have willingly adopted as a standard method of self-imposed annihilation. As Travis Ryan has stated recently on his thoughts of Death Atlas, we need look no further than the last twenty minutes of the album to hear their best yet bleakest work. I’ve given you enough detail as to how undeniably and simply perfect Death Atlas is. Your task is to now delve into its extreme brilliance and emerge on the other side forewarned and well equipped to make a difference.

Simply, if the five members of Cattle Decapitation were the last men living on this planet, it will be because they exemplify and harnessed the will through every extremity the world inflicts upon itself and they were chosen to write the soundtrack and script to the demise of the population they graciously loved but we’re forced to mourn due to complacency and self disregard!

Whilst Monolith of Inhumanity and The Anthropocene extinction were both incredible feats of extreme metal leading Cattle Decapitation up to this point, it is undoubtedly obvious underneath all their foreboding and tragic notions contained therein were precursors to what is heard within Death Atlas. Make no mistake that as we metal fans near the end of this decade and closer to our end, Death Atlas is a superbly crafted, perfect album delivered by Travis, Josh, David, Belisario and Olivier which will for many years to come be Cattle Decapitation’s shining light disguised as a tragic legacy.

Death Atlas, courtesy of Metal Blade is out on Black Friday – November 29th and can be pre-ordered here

DON’T MISS CATTLE DECAPITATION’S 2020 AUSTRALIAN TOUR

THURSDAY 13TH FEBRUARY – THE BRIGHTSIDE BRISBANE

FRIDAY 14TH FEBRUARY – THE FACTORY THEATRE, SYDNEY

SATURDAY 15TH FEBRUARY – CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE

SUNDAY 16TH FEBRUARY – THE BASEMENT CANBERRA

WEDNESDAY 19TH FEBRUARY – MAX WATT’S MELBOURNE

THURSDAY 20TH FEBRUARY -PELLY BAR, FRANKSTON

FRIDAY 21ST FEBRUARY – ENIGMA BAR, ADELAIDE

SATURDAY 22ND FEBRUARY – AMPLIFIER BAR, PERTH

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Twitter Nigeria Debates on Who is Better: Rema or Olamide?

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Fast rising artiste and Mavin records’ youngest artiste, Rema, has had a great year, winning the highly coveted Next Rated award at the 2019 Headies. Perhaps that is the reason for the ongoing debate on Twitter: who is the better artiste, Rema or Olamide?

While some described the comment as an insult on Olamide, a few insist that Rema is the better artiste, and others believe there is no basis for comparison between the two artistes who are miles apart musically.

Here’s what Nigerians on twitter are saying:

Olamide can’t be debatable… and Davido can’t be over Olamide never…He’s one of the best Rapper in Africa

— Lucious Lokson (@LOKSON4) November 3, 2019

Stfu, is it by having plenty albums? Olamide has 7 albums but yesterday’s Rema is bigger than him…Davido got singles bigger than people’s albums, FALL,IF,BLOW MY MIND ETC

— Junimill got suspended …😋 (@IamJunimill) November 3, 2019

Olamide Badoo is the best indigenous rapper in Nigeria, we closed this argument since 2014, he sits and eat on this table alone, no one comes close. QED

— Man Like Emma™ (@_MrRebel) November 4, 2019

Rema is better than Olamide who has been consistent for 8years, won nearly 30 awards, the Greatest Indigenous Rapper ever, the Lord of Street Hop with over 50 Hit Songs. When Olamide was dropping Bars on Yung Erikina, Rema was still drinking Cerelac ffs 😡

— King Nonny 👑 (@Zaddy_nomso) November 4, 2019

9years in this Music Industry, 9 albums, More than 20 hits, Owner of one of the best Record Label, discovered more than 6 Stars, still discovering more and he doesn’t BRAG about it.

If you still don’t believe Olamide is a LEGEND then you need medical attention. God bless Baddo❤️

— Tife🌚 (@Tife_fabunmi) November 4, 2019

Rema is bigger than who.. Olamide 😂 I need not argue with you. They are per boiling noodles in your brain

— Dr PamPam | Omo Iya Ologi (@UnclePamilerin) November 4, 2019

The way y’all disrespect Olamide on this app self,

*Dude opened artists eyes to owning record labels

*This one that your MCMs are doing December concerts, who did you think pave the way for them
Forget Olamide is a trailblazer and that what we call legendary pic.twitter.com/KDNE4qeH9o

— Nasrat Rahman (@Miss_CDQuality) November 4, 2019

How can you not regard Olamide as a legend, He’s the most consistent artiste we have in Nigeria today the only artiste that drops album yearly for his fans. Weather you are his fans or not you can’t just ignore the fact that he’s very hardworking and consistent.

— Blue (@DharBluee) November 4, 2019

Rema is bigger than Olamide??

Stop smoking Colorado you won’t hear. https://t.co/aoJrtbhc2v

— Biyi The Plug 🔌 (@BiyiThePlug) November 4, 2019

– Olamide has stayed relevant/at the top for a decade.
– He has 9 albums.
– Runs a successful label.
– Not gone a single year since 2011 without AT LEAST one hit.
– He has discovered many top music stars(AG, Kesh, Fireboy, Pheelz, young Jon etc).

OLAMIDE BADOO IS A LEGEND!

— Ediye (@iamOkon) November 4, 2019

Come to think of it, Olamide has blown a good number of artists to limelight with just a feature

Starting from:
Lil Kesh
Zlatan
Adekunle Gold
Dj Enimoney
Ycee
Chinko Ekun
Davolee
Viktoh
Young John
Fireboy
Skibii etc

See ehn Olamide is everything 🔥

— adeDamola (@da_moxy) November 4, 2019

You are Comparing Olamide with Rema now??
– Zlatan, Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Chinko Ekun, DJ Enimoney, Fireboy, Pheelz, Young John all grew under him
– 9 albums.
– A mad label.
– Every single is a hit
– His raps are undiluted

Is Something wrong with your sense?

— Chemical Sister🔥🔫 (@SavvyRinu) November 4, 2019

When Dagrin died(God rest his soul), Olamide took up the challenge and single handedly held the indigenous Yoruba rap from going into extinct for many years, helped a lot of artist come to limelight, and you want to compare him with Rema?

This is total disrespect to the Legend!!

— Obi Of Onitsha🇨🇦 (@cliqik) November 4, 2019

Rema is Bigger than OLAMIDE 🙆🙆🙆🙆🙆

Nothing wey Musa no go see for gate😩😩

How can you be comparing Tiger and Rat😧😧😧😧#olamide #olamide #burna #burna #olamide @olamide_YBNL pic.twitter.com/SL5idm345t

— Asari Gold🔱❤ (@AsariGold) November 4, 2019

So now Rema is bigger than Olamide? Who the hell come with these comparisons? Fireboy is far far better than Rema, in fact I don vex, Lyta sef is better! 😠 pic.twitter.com/jORvyXYpn3

— The outlaw 🇦🇱 (@_Ameen_x) November 4, 2019

Let’s not forget that Olamide gave us:
-Bobo
-Melo Melo
-Goons mi
-Lagos boy
-Story for the Gods
-who you epp
-Don’t Stop
-Durosoke
-Eleda mi
-Science Student
-woske
-Wo
-First of all

Please no Olamide slander will be allowed on this street, cause he’s the king of the street.

— valking♔ (@_valkiing) November 4, 2019

Olamide is the King of the Streets. He paved the way for people like Naira Marley & Zlatan.

Hell we knew Zlatan Cos of Olamide with that “My Body” song then, Davido danced to it too.

Olamide started this trend of bringing danced from the street to the limelight.

— Peng Man 🔥 (@mjjuniormodel) November 4, 2019

Comparing Rema to Olamide is just like comparing Tammy Abraham to Sergio Aguero. What the fuck is wrong with you people? Do y’all have diabetes of the brain?

— THE ACTOR BOBBY (@theactorbobby) November 4, 2019

” Rema is greater than Olamide ” is an expensive JOKE that shouldn’t have been granted so much attention

— Truth_Hurts (@Speaks_truths) November 4, 2019

The three most consistent Artistes that have dominated the last decade are:@wizkidayo@iam_Davido@olamide_YBNL

And you say Rema @heisrema is bigger than Olamide! honestly, we joke too much in this country.

— I am Majeed not Mojeed (@murjeed87) November 4, 2019

The post Twitter Nigeria Debates on Who is Better: Rema or Olamide? appeared first on BellaNaija – Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.

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