The Indie Music Beat for the week of November 20th, 2006

INDIE NEWS BEAT

November 20, 2006 Edition


* Sonific Releases Updated Beta Site With Music Widgets For Over 20 New Sites

* Vernon Neilly Shares Success Story Of “G-Fire II” CD In Smooth Jazz News Feature Story

* Pony Boi Releases “Who Woulda Thought”

* Updated Recording Of Greener’s 1 Million Download “Christmas Song” To Benefit Lifebeat

* Can Sound Harmoniously Embrace Emotions And Poetry?

* Record Labels Take Note of MusicDish Network Artist Astrella Celeste

* Kobo Town Successfully Debuts Independence In Toronto

* Claude Nobs, Founder & CEO Of The Montreux Jazz Festival, Named Midem 2007 Personality Of The Year

* World Music Fair WOMEX At FIBES, Sevilla, The Biggest Yet

Sonific Releases Updated Beta Site With Music Widgets For Over 20 New Sites

Sonific releases updated beta site with music widgets for over 20 new sites such as Smugmug, Typepad, WordPress, Livejournal, Hi5, Piczo, and Google Pages.

Sonific LLC today announced the latest release of their SongSpots service offering increased support for many new online destinations where Sonific users can add SongSpots, and play the song of their choice on their own web properties.

With the new release, Sonific supports Blogger / Blogspot, Facebook, Flickr, Friendster, Google, Google Pages, Hi5, ILCU, LiveJournal, MovableType, Multiply, MySpace, NetVibes, Piczo, ProfileHeaven, SmugMug, Terapad, TypePad, Xanga, WidgetBox, and WordPress, making it easy for almost 200 Million users to integrate full-length songs into their web properties, for free, yet fully authorized by the rights holders.

Sonific’s recently launched SongSpot beta service has already attracted thousands of users in over 45 countries. SongSpots enables its users to create flash “widgets” that stream any track selected from a large database of music provided by music aggregators such as CDBaby and Big Fish Media, as well as from leading independent record labels such as Nettwerk Records (Canada) and Cooking Vinyl (UK). Many examples of SongSpots can be browsed at www.sonific.com.

In addition, Sonific has added API support for Google Gadgets, Typepad, Terapad, Google Gadgets, Livejournal, and WidgetBox, making it even easier to add music via the SongSpots tool since a user can now import the music directly from Sonific, straight into his own user account, thereby alleviating the need for cutting and pasting the code, and exposing the SongSpots service to a much wider audience. Sonific also announced the availability of a new, resizable ‘bubble’ flash player which is already getting raving responses from Sonific’s users.

Sonific’s co-founder and CTO, Gunnar Ostergren, comments: “The latest update shows where we are headed in terms of making our service even easier to use. Additional API support is in the works as well as more players and increased customization options. We will also offer co-branded or white-labeled versions of Sonific SongSpots, solving the dilemma many site operators are facing: their users are demanding music but free yet legal options are too hard to come by. By integrating our search engine, track preview, and SongSpots creation tools, site operators will soon be able to add our entire catalog and our widgets with a minimum of effort while taking full advantage of our music licenses”

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Vernon Neilly Shares Success Story Of “G-Fire II” CD In Smooth Jazz News Feature Story

Independent label CEO and recording artist Vernon Neilly is being featured in the November issue of commercial jazz #1 trade magazine Smooth Jazz News(www.smoothjazznews.com). Vernon gets candid in this issue about how he was able to propel his independent label Boosweet Records(www.boosweet.com), and his current CD release “G-Fire II” to the top of the AC radio Charts, Top 40 Commercial Jazz radio Charts, and the Top 10 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums Charts where it also stayed in the Top 20 for 18 weeks. Vernon shares in this feature in Smooth Jazz News how independent artist can take alternative ways to achieving their goals of selling their products, and competing with main stream signed major lable artists.

Vernon Neilly is an award winning guitarist/producer who is also a world touring performer. He is also the CEO/Pres of his own internationally distributed label Boosweet Records and Guitar Global,a company that exports high quality guitars and basses internationally. Vernon has also participated in 2 major blockbuster films by Warner Bros and Universal Pictures, and has done a cameo appearance in the UPN TV Comedy “One On One”. Vernon is endorsed and sponsored by some of the worlds leading musical equipment and musical software manufacuturers such as Seymour Duncan, Tagima Guitars, Giannini Strings & Guitars, Morely, Digitech Electronics, Cakewalk, Sony Media Products, Levys Bags and Straps, Nady, Xotic Effects, and Jim Dunlop who supplies his signature guitar picks.

Smooth Jazz News is the #1 trade Magazine for the Contemporary Jazz genre in the world, with 10’s of thousands of monthly subscribers. It features stories of all of the top artists in the genre, major and independent label alike. It also has a monthly performance calendar where you can keep up nationally on where the concerts and festivals for the genre are happening, and much, much more! It is owned and operated by Melanie Maxwell, and is based in the San Diego, CA area.

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Pony Boi Releases “Who Woulda Thought”

Who Woulda Thought that a boy growing up cropping tobacco in the backwoods of Charleston, South Carolina would end up as a successful TV show creator/producer and rap artist with his shows and songs heard around the world?

Pony Boi‘s album Who Woulda Thought hit record stores across the country today. The self-proclaimed Hugh Hefner of Hip Hop doesn’t believe in making one hit song. All of his music comes from the heart; the whole album consists of songs that tell a story about who he is and what he has lived through. “Who Woulda Thought”… is a homage to the life he has lived, the women he has loved and the excitement of looking toward the future.

Pony Boi has already begun to see success with the release of his first single “Don’t Shake It” featuring Da Brat. The second single due to drop soon features special guest appearances from K-fed “X'” Shar Jackson and Guerilla Black.

Throughout his success as a creator and executive producer of shows on MTV and Spike TV, including “Sorority Life”, “Fraternity Life” and “10 Things Every Guy Should Experience”. Pony Boi has managed to keep himself grounded and not get caught up in the Hollywood craze. He is also currently writing a book about his life growing up in the south entitled Tobacco Row.

This album was in the making for about 10 years. Pony Boi finally felt that the rest of the world should hear it. He worked in studios from Los Angeles to Brooklyn with great people in the industry such as Guerilla Black, Da Brat, Marc 7 of Jurassic 5, Dyron and Buccweat, and Shar Jackson. There are also songs on this album produced by Charlemagne (Shyne, Talib Kweli), Grammy award winning Arden Altino (Alicia Keys), Big John and Dutch (Ice Cube, Sisqo).

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Updated Recording Of Greener’s 1 Million Download “Christmas Song” To Benefit Lifebeat, The Music Industry Fights Aids Organization

Indie rock band, Greener, today announced the release of two fresh recordings of its popular Christmas Song, downloaded 1 million plus times since its release.

The demo version of “Christmas Song” was initially released five days before Christmas in 2004. The recording drew an enthusiastic response, to the tune of over 100,000 downloads by Christmas Day. Demand for the song grew rapidly, and by summer 2005, Christmas Song was downloaded over 1,000,000 times. This year, Greener, an unsigned band with a diverse catalog of songs, returned to the studio to put a professional polish on the demo arrangement of “Christmas Song” and to produce an acoustic rendering.

band members Troy Polsley (vocals/bass), Jason Cohen (guitars), Jeff Oddo (guitars), and Chris Wall (drums) have pledged a portion of the proceeds from “Christmas Song” sales to LIFEbeat, a music industry charity dedicated to reaching America’s youth with the message of HIV/AIDS prevention.

According to Cohen, “Greener is proud to contribute to LIFEbeat’s mission‹mobilizing the talents and resources of the music industry to raise AIDS awareness and provide support to the AIDS community.”

LIFEbeat Executive Director John Cannelli added, “We are grateful and touched by Greener’s generosity. It’s heartening to see a young band on the rise relate to the message of HIV/AIDS education and prevention deeply enough to take an action of this kind and we thank them. And, we love ‘Christmas Song!’ It’s a fresh and original approach to holiday music.”

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Can Sound Harmoniously Embrace Emotions And Poetry?

The answer to this question is yes, if you’re listening to Alex Giordani’s debut album, Essence.

It’s an entirely new experience, not just for the artist but mostly for the listener. His music, which he describes as pop-rock with an orchestral sound, brings a refreshing new touch to nowadays music that surprises the skeptical who doubt the possibility of renovation in this saturated world. His different approach to music is expressed through his belief that “a song can be more than just four minutes of sounds and vocals, that for some it can become part of their life”.

In those four minutes, Alex can give his audience catchy songs like “Forget my faults”, “She knows” or “Somebody’s there” or moments of reflection through “I see dreams”, “Morning” or “White”. It’s a CD that can even be listened to randomly and there will still be a great song playing, whether it’s powerful rock with captivating guitar riffs or a soulful song marked by sublime piano tones.

Through his music you’ll be introduced to characters that could reflect anyone in the world… including yourself. Dreams, reality, weakness, strength, illusion, beliefs… Your most intimate moments and emotions are expressed here for you to lose your fear of opening yourself to the great adventure of being who you are, one among billions, but also unique… like your Essence. Have you already discovered yours?

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Record Labels Take Note of MusicDish Network Artist Astrella Celeste

Astrella Celeste, daughter of the legendary Donovan and rising star in her own right, decided to reschedule the release of her highly anticipated mini-album as record labels began expressing serious interest in her. MusicDish Network has been promoting this pop/jazz/country singer & songwriter and her mini-album, “Blue Star,” since the beginning of the summer in preparation for its release on October 30th through Donovan’s new independent label, Donovan Discs.

As a result of intense interest by record labels in both the UK and US, Astrella Celeste and her management decided to pull the mini-album, delaying the release of what will now be a full-length album until the summer of 2007. Astrella is currently travelling to New York and Los Angeles in order to meet with label executives and assess her various offers. She will then join producer Yoad Nevo in his UK recording studio on November 6 to continue writing and recording tracks for the new CD.

In other news, Astrella was recently informed by the Montel Williams MS Foundation that her single ‘KISS’ would be included on the MS Music Fest compilation. All proceeds from the sales of the compilations will be donated to the Montel Williams MS Foundation, which was established in October 2000 to further the scientific study of the debilitating disease known as Multiple Sclerosis.

Astrella Celeste’s music captures the lyrical and relaxing spirit of her father’s music, whilst fusing jazz, pop and country in a way that is unique to her. Her songs are very personal, soulful and sensitive with a sweet, almost innocent quality that expresses a beautifully casual yet spiritual lifestyle.

Astrella’s career has been richly developed by working with other musicians in recording sessions, performances and/or home jams, amongst them David Gilmour, Brian Setzer, Donovan, Mark White, Happy Mondays, and Graham Nash, to name but a few. Musicians are drawn (almost moth-like!) to Astrella with the result that the credits for ‘Blue Star’ (the Spanish translation of Astrella Celeste) make for interesting reading: written by Astrella with Kevin Hunter (of Sheryl Crow fame), the record is produced by Yoad Nevo (Sugababes, Goldfrapp), string arrangements are by the legendary John Cameron (Les Miserables, Jose Carreras) with Rat Scabies on drums, Andy Hobson (Pretenders) on bass and Carmen Squire on rhythm guitar and BVs.

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Kobo Town Successfully Debuts Independence In Toronto

Toronto-based roots-calypso act, Kobo Town began a month-long series of events last week in Toronto in celebration of their new album Independence, available to the public next week on November 14th. They will be performing next week on November 18th at In The Mood, located at 47 Richmond Street West.

Independence has already begun receiving significant airplay in Canada on CIUT-FM and The CBC along with favorable reviews from The Live Music Report, Canadian Music and Canada Jams, among many others.

Their New York City release party and debut performance will be on November 14th at the Listen Liberally showcase hosted by Organic Entertainment and MusicDish Network in connection with the NYC chapter of Drinking Liberally. The party will start 7:00PM at Club Midway, located at 25 Ave. B in Manhattan.

Kobo Town’s record release party held at the Lula Lounge on November 2nd attracted over 250 attendees, including such notable guest as
* radio personalities Jarrod Lal, host of Island Breeze at CIUT; Verylia, host of Limin’ in the African Diaspora; and Garvia Bailey, host of the CBC’s Big City Small World
* Toronto acts like jazz singer Larra Skye, singer-songwriter Farheen Beg, members of the parang group Los Amigos and the afro-Brazilian percussion group Maracatu Nunc Antes
The event was covered by various media outlets, including Ryan Patrick of Pride Magazine (Canada’s national black and Afro-Caribbean Magazine). Tony Shivpershad from the Live Music Report and Wendy Atkins of CanadaJams.ca.

Kobo Town’s music draws its inspiration from traditional calypso, roots reggae and dub poetry. Named after the vibrant and turbulent neighborhood in old Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where calypso was born, the group strives to recover the social conscience, satirical storytelling and strong acoustic/organic rhythms that characterized Trinidadian music in the past. For members of the eight-piece outfit, the name suggests an origin as well as a destination.

Independence was co-produced by Lyndon Livingstone (David Rudder, Andre Tanker, Mighty Scrunter) and Drew Gonsalves at the Razorshop in Maraval, Trinidad. Independence will be available for download through CD Baby, iTunes, Music Discovery Network, Calabash Music and select online retailers. For more information or to hear advance tracks from the album, please visit, www.kobotown.com.

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Claude Nobs, Founder & CEO Of The Montreux Jazz Festival, Named Midem 2007 Personality Of The Year

MIDEM announces that Claude Nobs, Founder & CEO of the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, will be honoured with the MIDEM Personality of the Year Award. Claude Nobs, will receive the trophy during a gala dinner for industry VIP executives at MIDEM in Cannes on Monday, 22 January 2007.

“For over 40 years music has been at the heart of Claude Nobs’ life,” says MIDEM Director Dominique Leguern. “His enthusiasm and exceptional love of all types of music have forged the Montreux Jazz Festival not only into a unique event, but also into one of the world’s most culturally diverse. His generosity and talent have given audiences the privilege to see many of the world’s greatest artists perform live at Montreux.”

“I am very honoured to have been chosen as MIDEM Personality of the Year and would like to share this trophy with the musicians, record labels, producers and of course the public who have had confidence in me for the past 40 years,” comments Claude Nobs.

A passionate lover of jazz, Claude Nobs began his career as an accountant for the Montreux Office de Tourisme where he also worked on promoting tourism for the town.

In the ’60s, during a trip to New York, Claude Nobs met Nesuhi Ertegun, who was the President of Atlantic Records at that time. Ertegun introduced him to the singer Roberta Flack, who he immediately invited to perform at the Rose d’Or in Montreux.

Having successfully persuaded Aretha Franklin to sing for the first time in Europe, Claude Nobs founded the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. The initial three-day event was an overnight hit and quickly became the international meeting place for jazz-lovers from around the world.

In 1973, Claude Nobs was named International Director for WEA, which grouped the American record labels Warner, Elektra and Atlantic. In 1977, the festival ran for 23 days and proposed an eclectic line-up of music. Artists from an array of musical trends performed: jazz geniuses (Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis), rock gurus (Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, The Pretenders) as well as international celebrities Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, B.B. King, Ray Charles, etc….

In addition to the Montreux Jazz Festival, Claude Nobs opened a company specialising in European tours for international artists. For over ten years he coordinated tours for artists including: The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Bette Midler, etc…. He also worked for Atari, Warner Communications and contributed to the launch of numerous Warner Music artists who emerged on the Montreux Jazz Festival stage. In 2001 he stepped down as a full-time Warner Music employee.

In the ’90s, Claude Nobs shared the directorship of the Montreux Jazz Festival with the renowned producer and musician Quincy Jones. Today the festival continues to attract 250,000 music fans each year.

In December 2006, Claude Nobs will receive the French cultural award ‘Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ (‘Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters’).

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World Music Fair WOMEX At FIBES, Sevilla, The Biggest Yet

The final full day of WOMEX sees a sold-out trade fair, bustling conferences, another night of dazzling showcases open to delegates and the public – and the biggest and most dynamic WOMEX in our 12-year history.

“These are difficult times for the music industry,” said Number 2 Top Label Award Winner Phil Stanton of World Music Network/ Riverboat, “and that is why we need WOMEX more than ever,” he added to general applause.

Totó La Momposina received the WOMEX Award 06 to a standing ovation, having treated the audience to a gracious speech in three languages and a moving a cappella performance. This Colombian treasure was recognised for a lifetime of cultural activism and sterling artistic accomplishment.

2006 marked the welcome return of WOMEX to its 2003 home at FIBES in Sevilla, Spain. Mayor Don Alfredo Sánchez Monteseirín, Cultural Commissioner Juan Carlos Marset and their energetic team at ICAS (the Sevilla Insituto de la Cultura y las Artes) have, in words, warmth and deeds, made Sevilla an ideal home for a multicultural event of this size and scope. As a UNESCO City of Music and a centuries-long gateway to world cultures and world peoples, this capital of Andalucia directly led to these record-breaking results:

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Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © MusicDish LLC 2006 – Republished with Permission