music is math…

Archive for July, 2010

South Africa’s Farewell

As the World Cup final kicks off in Johannesburg, regardless of the result on the pitch, the tournament will certainly be remembered as one of the most interesting and vibrant off it.

From the FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Concert (featuring the likes of Tinariwen and Amadou & Mariam) to the record amounts of media coverage, the lively music of South Africa (and the continent beyond its borders) has been a welcome addition to the spectacle.

With the World Cup’s first venture onto African soil, South Africa’s culture and history have been on show alongside the football. Those who feared the tournament might not even have taken place have been proved wrong and the whole world has been treated to a truly special event.

In celebration of everything we have seen over the past month, here’s a Spotify playlist featuring everything from Hugh Masekela to the Mahotella Queens.

No musical tribute to this World Cup would be complete without K’naan’s ‘Wavin’ Flag’, a tune so good that it deserves a place in a playlist of South African music despite its singer being from Somalia.

Although it was a shame to see the home team go out early in the competition, South Africa have proved they are a country capable of hosting a modern global event on this sort of scale and, best of all, done it in their own spectacular style.

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Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives


A few years ago I stumbled on an interesting BBC documentary following Mark Oliver Everett (better known as the singer and songwriter behind alt-rock band Eels) as he ventures into the life of the father he barely knew.

His father Hugh Everett III was, believe it or not, a brilliantly talented quantum physicist and author of the controversial many worlds interpretation. Everett was largely ignored by the eminent physicists of the day and he sadly died before his theory gained the recognition it has since attained.

While this was all very surprising to me, perhaps the most interesting story is that Mark too had little idea of his father’s brilliance. It is both an intensely interesting and personal documentary.

Sadly there is no DVD (in Europe at least). There is a petition going here, not that anyone will listen.