Proms 11 & 12: 23.7.11 - 7.30 p.m. & 24.7.11 - 11.00 a.m. (Human Planet Prom)
Presented by Louise Fryer
Music composed by Nitin Sawhney for the acclaimed BBC One series 'Human Planet', alongside artists from across the globe who featured in Radio 3's accompanying series 'Music Planet'. Charles Hazlewood conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra, whose players also make an appearance as the Scrapheap Orchestra, with instruments created from junk objects.
'Human Planet' was the first BBC Natural History series to focus on the human race, demonstrating how people around the world have adapted to sometimes harsh environments to survive. 'Music Planet' visited the same locations and environments, and explored the music of those places. The TV score is interleaved with Music Planet artists, starting with the mighty voice of Greenland's Rasmus Lyberth, followed by Zambian singer and storyteller Enock Mbongwe, and Mongolian throat-singers Khusugtun. Later on, Ayarkhaan, three women from the Sakha Republic, create a thunderous sound from their mouth harps, and the Bibilang Shark-Calling Group perform their unique repertoire of songs for shark hunting. The project to create a Scrapheap Orchestra from junk and found objects will be the subject of a television film to be broadcast on BBC FOUR in the autumn.
Bibilang Shark-Calling Group
BBC Concert Orchestra
Charles Hazlewood (conductor).
Buried at the bottom of the Proms subforum... A prom that went down well the the kiddies, and the parents as well. Just after the break we were treated to version of the 1812 Overture played on instruments made from scavenged rubbish. So there.
Not only the kids liked it: I found the world music performances to be up to a very high standard, as well as incredibly soulful and intense. In particular, the singer from Greenland moved me to tears...I came back for the Sunday repeat just to hear him again. Wonderful!
However, I was more than a little uncomfortable with the fact that these incredible musicians were juxtaposed with the goofball "jokey" tone Charles Hazelwood took with his recycled instrument performance. I know they didn't mean to be culturally patronising, but it sure came across that way (i.e. "look what we Westerners can do with OUR crap instruments".) Call me hypersensitive, but I found it quite cringeworthy and disrespectful. As someone pointed out, Hazlewood's schtick would have been far more suited to a comedy prom and seemed to undercut the dignity of the serious ethnic artists. One would think they deserved better than to be treated as little more than an exotic curiosity...to my mind, the comedy lent the whole event a most unfortunate air of 19th-century colonialist vaudeville sideshow.
On the other hand, Prokky is right that kids, parents, normal people, and everyone else but me had themselves a grand old time without feeling the need to ridiculously overthink things at all. Which is probably just as it should be for a Family Prom, so there you have it.
Could it be that when they produce an embarrassingly cringeworthy prom, they feel the necessity to repeat it, but not for an oversubscribed high quality prom.
Oh come on, now you're making me feel bad for being such a navel-gazing fussbudget. Like I said, it wasn't completely dire...I thought the foreign artists were fantastic and worth hearing twice. Besides, the scrap instruments themselves were quite an astonishing display of modern instrument-making; it was just the presentational tone and context that struck an awkward note with me.
For what it's worth, I'm sure some of you will be delighted to know that on Sunday, I got a dose of karmic payback in the form of a very cheery, hyperactive little four year old who spent the entire concert dancing, squealing, and scampering all around where I was sitting while her mother smiled beatifically down at her from the stalls. I'm sure I totally deserved that.
I assume it was edited highlights that we saw on Friday evening's prom shown on Beeb 4 - no sign of the scrap orchestra, but magnificent performances from wonderful artists from some of the more remote areas of the world. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b012znt4
I would draw your attention to Globaltruth's review of the programme on the World Music string.
It looked like a very enjoyable and enlightening Prom. Obviously mainly aimed at younger listeners and why not: there should be more like that. We old fogeys get spoilt for choice. There are some twenty more Prom concerts than when I started going in 1967. Some of them deserve to be used to catch new audiences. I loved the Mongolian "throat" singers. Amazingly the melodies often sounded Gaelic. One of them produced high tones like an Ondes Martinot. The huge voiced Rasmus from Greenland was tremendous. Enock was delighful and like those amazing ladies with their mouth harps from Sakha was a terrific storyteller in music.
Well I ain't no spring chicken Chris - I thought the artistes were aimed straight at me - but I concur wholeheartedly with what you said. Ayarkhaan's ability to create the range of sounds that they generated was incredible. You can hear a couple more songs by them on Wo3 from last Friday evening recorded at their acclaimed performance at Womad last weekend.
Originally Posted by Chris Newman