Tag Archives: music

Damien Hirst has painted George Michael to raise money for HIV/AIDS, and it’s beautiful

In the time since he passed on that bittersweet Christmas Day last year, it has sometimes seemed as if the lives of LGBT+ people, and the world in general, are just a little greyer with him gone.

Story via GT

Luckily, gorgeous George is back in glorious technicolour today, in a beautiful painting by artist Damien Hirst, which will be sold at a charity gala in Texas on Friday night, with the proceeds going to help treatment for people with HIV/AIDS.

You didn’t think George would let a little thing like death stop him from doing some good in the world, did you?

The event will be held in Texas by MTV Re:Define, a contemporary art showcase, and co-chaired by the Goss-Michael Foundation – a British art exhibition which George co-created with his ex-partner Kenny Goss.

“This year is poignant as we celebrate George. We’ve been honoured by his and Kenny’s support,” event organiser Georgia Arnold told The Sun.

“We look forward to continuing to raise awareness and support for our mission, and especially thank all the artists for their involvement and generosity.”

It has emerged that George is to be buried in Highgate Cemetery, north London, next to his late mother who he was devoted to – it was always his plan to be laid to rest next to her.

Security at the cemetery has been increased to 24 hours a day to stop any interference with the plot that has been prepared for George, next to Lesley’s.

George’s £105m fortune will now be split between his loved ones and various charities – he was famously generous with his wealth whilst he was alive, including an instance in which he tipped a barmaid five thousand pounds because she was a student nurse in debt.

He was also a trailblazer for gay rights in the music industry, famously refusing to apologise for being gay in his 1998 CNN coming out interview, saying: “I don’t feel any shame whatsoever and neither do I think I should.”

Well said George – rest easy our friend.

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Have you ever wondered what HIV sounds like?

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The majority of us enjoy music to some degree or another, pop, classical, rock R&B but have you ever wondered what HIV would sound like?

There is a range of sound and music, which lies beyond the range of human hearing. “Sounds of HIV” is a musical translation of the genetic code of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. In this album, segments of the virus are assigned musical pitches that correspond to the segment’s scientific properties. In this way, the sounds reflect an accurate, musical nature of the virus. When listening from beginning to end, the listener hears the entire genome of HIV.”

You may think that expressing nucleotides of the genome of a virus as pitches of the melodic scale as a promotional stunt, why would you draw a connection between adenosine and A, between cytosine and C and so on?

University of Georgia graduate student Alexandra Pajak’s instrumental sequence ensemble which draws inspiration from the physical properties of HIV itself!

“Sounds of HIV,” is a 17-track, 52-minute long musical adaptation of HIV’s genetic code. Pajak assigned pitches to the four basic nucleotides in DNA — A for Adenine, C for Cytosine, G for Guanine and D for Thymine — but the score contains much more than these for notes

Applying scientific rigour to music is nothing new and has been done in the past with math so why not with biochemistry? Alexandra Pajak, native of Athens, Georgia studied both composition and sciences and her work reveals a fascination with both subjects. Then there is a general sense of unease, creeping in. This undeniably beautiful music expresses HIV, a virus responsible for the destruction of much beauty and art. On one hand, it’s tempting to assume that nature’s creations achieve a high level of symmetry and beauty and a virus should not be exempt from that principle.

On the other hand, what terrible beauty is there to be found should we glimpse inside the genome of the plague, syphilis, smallpox or even flu? These ruminations tend to accompany listening to this oddly-concordant composition, performed with aplomb by the Sequence Ensemble.

In a way, the strange and disturbing recording reveals itself beautiful yet disturbing as the sounds reflect the true nature of the virus. When listening from beginning to end, the listener hears the entire genome of HIV.”

Unfortunately, we’re unable to stream the full album however here’s the links to it on Google Music or Spotify, if you’re more old school, here’s the CD on Amazon.

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Prince – Thank you for the music!

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The music producer, songwriter, musician, singer and artist Prince Rogers Nelson died last Thursday at his home, Paisley Park in Minnesota.  How can one attempt to encapsulate his legacy in just a few words? – It may be impossible.

An artist so sexy while embracing the power of androgyny, strutting the stage in high heels and vamped in eye makeup. Prince eroded the stable categories of masculine and feminine, playing with both identities and showing how interchangeable they were. Whether it was his performance of machismo in Purple Rain or his deliberately feminine pantsuit on the cover of Esquire, Prince spent his career celebrating gender fluidity and defying categories of straight and gay.

Dancing with white men, writhing with black women, coupling with either, becoming one with all races and sexes yet neither in one, commanding frame.  Along the way, sell more than 100 million records worldwide.  Brutal as a rapper, tender as a balladeer, swooping smoothly from bass to falsetto.  An almost supernatural being while playing the guitar, soaring off into a universe of riffs and improvisations and that’s just one of all the instruments he plays across his more than 40 studio albums.  He was the most funkiest person in the music industry and he never stopped creating his passion, music-art.

It’s reported that Prince died from HIV/AIDS complications yet he never spoke about the disease in public nor ‘come out’ as HIV positive.  Staying private about HIV status is a matter of personal choice.  Maybe Prince lived in fear of stigma and discrimination, it’s a powerful emotion.  Like most of us, we are who we are and wish not to be defined by illness.  If Prince was openly HIV positive, perhaps more people could have been open about it themselves.  As a matter of personal choice, Prince decided to keep his diagnoses private.  After all, we love Prince for who he was, not for what he had.

The same is true of you and me.  We are not an illness, we are not statistics, we want not the stigma which unfortunately comes with a HIV diagnosis.  We are individuals living life.

So when the media descends into tabloid chaos and disorder with reports of ill health, drug taking, and not adhering to medicine, try to remember that it was Prince’s choice to be an artist, not a celebrity known for HIV.

Prince – Rest In Power, God of music!

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1958 – 2016

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First HIV Radio Show Set To Launch In Britain To ‘Challenge Stigma’

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It’s estimated that more than 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, yet we still shy away from talking about it.  That’s about to change thanks to a new radio show about HIV, which is determined to end stigma.

The show, titled HIV Happy Hour, will run weekly on Radio Reverb, a Brighton-based local station, from 1 October.  The magazine-style programme is the brainchild of author and HIV activist Paul Thorn, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1990.

“The main aim of the show is to challenge some of the negative thinking that many people living with HIV hold about themselves.  There is no reason why anyone living with HIV should be ashamed or feel bad about having the virus. I want this show to be one of the tools to help change that.”

Thorn describes the show as “a programme by and for people with HIV”.

The light-hearted name HIV Happy Hour aims to show that living with HIV doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom – people can be happy living with HIV.

The 60-minute programme will be a lifestyle-based show covering a wide range of topics.  It will be cover health, wealth, happiness, relationships, and lots of tips from experts for getting on with and making the most of the second chance at life afforded to people living with the virus by treatment”.

“There will be some more serious subjects covered also, for example hepatitis co-infection, tuberculosis, and hopefully some surprise celebrity guests also.  More important is that the show is a platform for people living with the virus, they will be playing a major role in output and direction of the show.

A pilot episode of HIV Happy Hour included an interview with the head of a care facility for people with HIV and tips for HIV-positive listeners to set up their own business.  Thorn hopes this wide range of topics will help ‘normalise’ HIV, so people living with it feel more able to speak about their experiences and seek the help they need.

HIV Happy Hour will air on Radio Reverb (97.2FM) every Thursday at 7pm from 1 October.

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Neneh Cherry – I’ve Got You Under My Skin

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NATURALLY, music affects the body and mind in many wonderful ways. Music affects human thoughts, feelings and behaviors  Just its rhythm affects the body, making the pulse and respiration to flow in tune with the music’s beat or rhythm.  Music can relax or energise an individual, and affect some of  us deeply, in a personal way.

What is more, research has also shown that music has a profound effect on the human body and psyche. As a matter fact, there’s a growing field of health care known as music therapy, which uses music to heal.

As a resource which shares with you HIV and Sexual Health articles, it’s about time we started sharing HIV from other angles.

Introducing “Music Monday’s”!

Over the next few weeks on Monday nights, we’ll bring a featured HIV or sexual health awareness track from over the years and we’ll start it right now with Neneh Cherry!

In 1990 the Red Hot Organization, a non-profit organisation dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS though pop culture released “Red Hot + Blue”, featuring contemporary pop performers reinterpreting several songs written by Cole Porter. It sold over a million copies worldwide and was heralded as one of the first major HIV/AIDS benefits in the music business.

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” was written by Cole Porter in 1936, it was nominated for the Academy award of Best Song. It became a signature song for Frank Sinatra and in 1966, became a top 10 hit for the Four Seasons. Since then, it has gone on to be recorded by many leading pop artists and jazz musicians.

Neneh Cherry’s reworked version of I’ve Got You Under My Skin was released as the lead single for the album in the UK and Europe.  Video follows, stay tuned because next week it’s all about sex!

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Celebrate World AIDS Day With Us, on Saturday Night!!

Leicestershire AIDS Support Services present you with an evening of fabulous live music entertainment in support of World AIDS Day.  We have an eclectic mix of music lined up from 4 great bands featuring;

COUNTERACTIONBAND, a UK Dub and Roots Live Band
Fully dedicated to the sounds of conscious Dub and Roots, the CounterAction Band’s mission is to represent the vibes of heavy dub sound system culture live on stage!

This multi-cultural band is; fronted by I-mitri (Greece) on lead/backing vocals, rhythm guitar and percussion, with Citizen Baxter (Ireland) on bass, Pandacub (Wales+Cornwall) on drums, and Eli P (Dominica) on Keys+MPCs.

When not drawing from the extensive CounterAction vaults for material the crew occasionally act as a backing band for artists like Jah Marnyah and Parvez (The Dub Factory) amongst others, and host the monthly live Dub night “Recession Sessions” in Leicester. They have shared the stage with great sounds like Aba Shanti I and bands like the Blood Shanti Ites, the Splitters, Flux and Vibronics!

MULTIMORPH – The current vehicle for Maureen Anderson’s poetry and general creativity, Multimorph rose from the ashes of Shapeshifter when the latter’s long-standing guitarist Dave Johnson passed away from cancer in March 2009.

Maureen is now joined by dual guitarists Kevin Hewick and Rizz James, dual bassists Dave Dhonau and Darren Baxter, cajon drummer Jim Tetlow and Darren’s partner Helena McLeod as additional vocalist since guesting on their ‘Meditation Chamber’ album. Live performances are further augmented by the live painting and costumes of local artist Nick Nixon and the liquid light show of Lumiere Ogbanje to create a bizarre but infectiously memorable live experience.

SLEEPING THOUGH RAPTURE is an alternative band made up of four musicians from Leicester. After a year of playing together, the band has written lots of great material and has played gigs around Leicester.

You can check out their blog, for more info on this up and coming band: http://sleepingthroughrapture.tumblr.com/

And finally but by no means least is GEORGE SANDERSUN who evokes bright summer days or the dark depths of the woods with his intriguing psychedelic folk.

His song writing references 60s, new wave psychedelic and traditional folk, with multi layered solo harmony effects that meld together to form an earthy mellow approach creating a sound that’s fresh and real.
Fans of Iron and Wine or Fleet Foxes should definitely check out George!

A special thanks to Neil Segrott who be on the PA driving the sound for the night.

The concert is hosted at the Y Theatre, 7 East Street  City Centre, Leicester LE1 6EY (Click for a map).

Tickets cost £10 (£8 consessions) from the Y Theatre, available from this link: http://www.leicesterymca.co.uk/y-theatre-whats-on-details.php?listing=1189

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Buy your tickets directly from LASS and buy one, get one free.  Contact our reception, on 0116 2559995 for more information.

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Whitney Houston

Described by Guinness World Records as music’s “most awarded female artist of all time” with an amazing tally of over 400 awards, a tally that is certainly topped by her two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 23 American Music Awards, MTV VMAs in the United States and Europe, NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, Soul Train Music Awards and so on, Whitney Houston shot to fame in the 1980s when she became one of the first African-American female artists to receive regular rotation on MTV.  A feat that successfully opened doors for other women to find success in music and movies.  Best known for her work with Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard”, Houston has led a life of service to others when not on screen or behind a microphone.

She first showed her socially-conscious side when still a model, before her fame rocketed her to stardom.  Back then she refused to work for agencies that did business with South Africa, due to the country’s regime of apartheid.  It was an issue that she later brought to the attention of the world when she performed at Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Concert in London, an event that brought pressure on the Government to ease its restrictions and eventually release the future president of South Africa.

Following the concert, Houston formed the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, an organisation that cared for the homeless and children with cancer and HIV/AIDS.  It eventually brought the singer one of her many awards for her humanitarian work, as did her involvement with the United Negro College Fund.

Whitney Houston is also the only artist to turn a national anthem into a chart hit when her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner reached the Top 100 in 1991. She donated her royalties to the Red Cross.

True to her church upbringing, the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children Inc. was established in 1989 as a non-profit organisation that cares for such problems as homelessness, children with cancer and HIV/AIDS and other issues of self-empowerment.

In June 1995, the foundation was awarded a VH1 Honour for its charitable work. Funds have been raised for numerous causes involving children around the world, from South Africa to Newark, and generated more than $300,000 for the Children’s Defence Fund as a result of a 1997 HBO concert.

In 1997, the HBO Concert “Classic Whitney live from Washington DC” raised over $300000 for the Children’s Defence Fund.

Whitney also supported the work of over 30 other charities, click for more details.

Whitney’s tireless efforts have earned recognition from such organisations as St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the United Negro College Fund and the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, all of which have benefited from the heart and soul of a great artist and humanitarian. Singing to audiences on every continent, Whitney has won her worldwide following the old-fashioned way, digging deep down into her soul and finding common threads with her millions of fans.

Whitney Houston – 1963 – 2012

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