Saturday, May 30, 2009

Susan Boyle's dream collapses as she loses British talent show

Posted: 31 May 2009 0505 hrs

090531-0505hrs Susan Boyle

LONDON - Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle was dealt an unexpected blow Saturday when she lost out to a group of young street dancers in the final of the British talent show that made her a global star.

The 48-year-old looked surprised when the result was announced but graciously accepted the runners-up place saying the "best people won" and wishing the group "all the best."

Boyle enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame over the past two months after video footage of her audition piece for the show, "I Dreamed A Dream" from the musical "Les Miserables," was posted on video-sharing website YouTube.

It has had around 100 million hits, brought her celebrity fans including actress Demi Moore and rock star Jon Bon Jovi and seen her feted in the media from the US to China, Japan and Australia.

The bookmakers made her the favourite to win, although after an unconvincing performance in the semi-final there were fears that the pressure for the church volunteer, who lives alone with her cat outside Edinburgh, was becoming too much.

But in a live performance in the "Britain's Got Talent" final on Saturday, Boyle proved the critics wrong and repeated her audition piece with gusto.

Judge Piers Morgan said it was the "greatest performance I've seen on the history of Britain's Got Talent -- you should win the competition, I loved it."

Boyle was up against nine other acts to win the competition, which brings with it a cheque for 100,000 pounds (115,000 euros, 160,000 dollars) and the chance to perform for Queen Elizabeth II.

All the acts performed before a public vote, in which millions of people called in to cast their ballots. Boyle lost out to the group of ten dancers, named Diversity, while saxophonist Julian Smith came in third place.

After singing earlier in the evening, Boyle, wearing a grey-blue, long sequined dress, thanked all her fans.

"I want to thank people for all the support they've given me," she said.

Asked if it was worth all the media pressure, she replied emphatically: "Well worth it!... I really feel at home on stage, I'm among friends."

Boyle put in a shaky performance of "Memory" in the show's semi-finals last weekend, singing occasionally out of tune and out of time, and some fans on YouTube had questioned whether she could handle the weight of expectations on her.

The British media had also reported some erratic behaviour over the past week, including how she had lost her temper in the foyer of the London hotel where she was staying prompting police to intervene.

Morgan said that such was the pressure that she even considered quitting, describing her in his blog as a "frightened rabbit in headlights."

But his fellow judge Amanda Holden said after Saturday's performance: "I have never heard such powerful confident vocals."

In a Daily Mail interview Saturday, Boyle said she had used singing as a way of "boosting my confidence" and insisted she was still enjoying the experience.

"I've found the whole thing quite amazing and overwhelming. The attention's odd and it takes some getting used to, but it's nice," she said.

Hoards of fans had gathered in her hometown of Blackburn near Edinburgh to watch the final and support Boyle, on what she described in a television interview as "the most important night of my life."

After the result was announced, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond praised the singer, saying that despite her defeat she had given some "outstanding performances" and could "hold her head up high."

- AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.

Related news from, see here and here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, May 29, 2009

Old woman wows judges at China's 'Pop Idol'

Posted: 29 May 2009 2009 hrs

090529-2009hrs Wu Baiwei (R)

BEIJING : A 79-year-old retiree in north China has wowed judges of a televised singing contest, state media said Friday, in an echo of Susan Boyle, a middle-aged woman in Britain who achieved stardom with her voice.

Wu Baiwei, the oldest contestant on "Happy Girl," the equivalent of Pop Idol in China, is now one of the top 50 contenders for an eagerly awaited televised final due in July, the official China Daily reported.

The retired teacher from Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, was walking on the streets of the city when she saw a lot of girls signing up for a singing contest, the newspaper said.

"I asked them if an old woman like me could take part and they said 'yes'," she was quoted as saying.

She went to the first rounds of the competition on Monday, after having nervously figured out she had enrolled for one of the most famous talent shows in China.

In an echo of Boyle, a 48-year-old Scottish woman who became famous after appearing on a similar talent show called "Britain's Got Talent" and wowing judges, Wu impressed the programme's arbitrators and was sent to the next round.

A video clip on, a popular Chinese file-sharing website, shows her sitting down in front of the judges, and singing "On Songhua River," a famous patriotic Chinese song about the Japanese invasion in the 1930s.

- AFP/ir

From; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Ukulele meets Cello to make beautiful music

Something to look forward to… or try yourself… nothing wrong at all, nothing wrong at all…sometimes your creativity is limited by your own willingness (or unwillingness) to try out new things now and then… I definitely got to try this!


Posted: 29 May 2009 1457 hrs

Anne Davidson and James Hill

Think ukulele and images of a garlanded Elvis Presley gyrating with the tiny guitar-looking instrument may come to mind.

But the stringed insrument is more than one to be relegated to the realms of simple tunes.

In Singapore to get people to sing a different tune to the ukulele is James Hill, who is regarded as one the world's top composer and ukulele players.

Lesson one on the instrument - getting its name right.

It is pronounced "uku-lele" in the Hawaiian way.

According to Hill, it is made up of two words, 'uku' and 'lele' which translate into "The Jumping Flea".

With such a fun name, it can only mean that this is one friendly instrument.

If you've always wanted to play a musical instrument and either didn't have the time or think you're not too musically inclined - the ukulele is an instrument for you.

"Within five minutes (of learning the ukulele), you can be playing a song and for a lot of people" says Hill.

Having played the ukulele for more than just five minutes, Hill took his love for music and the intrument and teamed it with his other love, cellist Anne Davidson, for a remarkable blend.

Hill and Davidson met at music school and after dating, slowly warmed up to the idea of playing together.

"For three years, we never even considered playing together because it would seem so odd" said Hill.

"But slowly, we got on to the idea with the duo thing and realized what a good combination it is."

The combination of casual ukulele and classic cello may seem like chalk and cheese but these two seemingly incompatible instruments complement beautifully.

"When people come to our concert, they do not know what to expect, or worse, they don't expect," said Hill.

Playing on this doubtfulness is what allows both Hill and Davidson to surprise their audience and change conventional thinking.

"The ukulele has a higher range where the cello has a lower range" said Davidson.

"I also have the capability of using the bow to create long sustained sound which compliments the plucking sound of the ukulele."

Unlike the cello which has a long history, the ukulele is a 'young' 120-year-old in the music world, which explains its unorthodox style, which allows its player to invent his own particular style.

This freedom opened the way for Hill to create his style which he calls 'mono-strumming'.

"Instead of strumming where you can hear all the strings, you only hear a note as you mute the rest of the sound" he explains.

Sounds intriguing? Have a listen to the couple on their only stop in South East Asia, with their "melting of genres" performance on Friday 29 May, 8pm at the DBS Auditorium. - CNA/fa

From; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Acoustica Mixcraft: GarageBand equivalent…?

GarageBandImage via Wikipedia

I am a user of Windows, and from the Mac users, I have always heard that GarageBand is ‘Oh! So fantastic!’

So I thought to myself, yes, agreed, that Mac is THE standard for multimedia, since Apple primarily was launched for graphics usage.

So it was said, “95% of the softwares are available in Windows, running at 5% efficiency, while 5% of the softwares are available in Mac, running at 95% efficiency.”

That may be true, and the “95%” availability is what is stopping many of the users who wanted to make the switch.

Especially programming softwares. The codin softwares.

I’m in this category, and the other part of me will be making the switch anytime without any further question whatsoever.

Which part of me?

The musician part.

You see, I’m into the art and craft of penning down new songs and tunes, and the ease of use and friendliness of GarageBand, et al, as already packaged in the Mac desktop/laptop computer makes it all the more a very good bundle indeed!

Anyway, much of what has always been asked by Windows users, '”is there a GarageBand equivalent for Windows?”

Finally the answer has come. Almost.

I’ve been searching in the web for this answer, and I think I will go ahead and try Acoustica Mixcraft.

Not that I have tried it, but the person who posted this comment has, and is actually involved in evaluating softwares such as this.

See the post here.

So go ahead, try it out. I will myself.

Till then.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]