Tuesday, 17 April 2012

2012 season preview: The Songwriters Cafe

All photos courtesy of Richard Shakespeare
On Thursday 3rd May, the 2012 season of the Songwriter’s Café gets underway, with live performances from a secret Birmingham venue, streamed online from this web address to a vocal and appreciative world wide audience. 

The webcasts go live, weekly, at 8.30pm UK time (that's 3.30pm ET), from Thursday May 3rd until 26th July. 

And to mark this, this blog post comes with audio! I’m interviewing the two hosts of Songwriter’s Café, and it’s fitting that you should listen to them, because they’re both fantastic talkers; I could listen to them all day. Paul Murphy is the live host of Songwriter’s Café, and Valeria Rispo is the online host. Paul dreamed up the idea and engages and enchants the live audience; Valeria interprets and clarifies for the world wide online listenership. Songwriters Cafe is a fantastic, magical thing, and I’m delighted to be involved in a small way. The online community that gathers around the SWC live event is pretty magical too, and you get something equally unique and magical, but different, by logging on. It's in three parts

In part 1, Paul Murphy looks back with me at a few of the highlights from the 2011 season. 
In part 2, Paul talks us though the origins of the Songwriter’s café in the 90s. There's also some a vintage performances from the old days,  highlights from 2011.

In part 3, Valeria discusses her role as online host, and Paul looks back to the end of the first, 90s version of the Songwriters Cafe, and, for very good reasons,  there's a track from Paul Murphy’s 2012 solo album, ‘The Glen'
This isn’t – quite – a public event. You have to be invited to join the audience. And once invited, the terms are specific: that you will listen, properly, to singer-songwriters, practising and developing their craft in front of a sympathetic audience. If you want to chat through someone’s songs, you’ll be told, nicely but firmly, to shut up.  
Mahalia making only her second-ever live performance in 2011
The range of performers is huge, from new and highly promising to vastly experienced. They sing for their supper, literally, and every evening brings surprises. The line-up is not announced ahead of time. Paul and Valeria could tell you who’s playing come May 3… but then they’d have to kill you. 
Paul Murphy introduces Friends Of The Stars
This might sound severe. It’s not. It’s simply a great way to provide the kind of receptive environment that songwriters crave, and need, to develop as artists. It takes place weekly throughout the summer months, while the weather is kind and the days are long, in a unique performance space.  
Online host Valeria Rispo
I was lucky enough to attend several times last year. Each time I was  enthralled and surprised. I also felt a keen sense of privilege at being a part of something really lovely and collective. 

Once I’ve posted the third audio clip, we will have a one-hour documentary, and as always with documentaries on this blog, the full documentary is available, free of charge to any station, anywhere, that wishes to run it. The audio clips can also be found on Paul’s Songwriters Café pages as well. 

The Songwriter's Cafe is streamed live though the SWC website at 8.30 pm UK time (3.30pm ET), Thursdays from May 3rd, thoughout the summer. 

You'll find the Songwriter's Cafe site here

Details of Paul's 'The Glen' 2012 CD are

There is also a preview page, updated daily, featuring some of the artists appearing at Songwriter's Cafe 2012.

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