Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) is renowned the world over as an outstanding conductor, charismatic musical intermediary and inspired composer. In his works he creates a synthesis of classical tradition and vibrant modernity, always tonal and combining classical structures with rhythmic elements from jazz, South American dance and the popular music of the beat and hippie generations. His most popular melodies have been selected for the “American Summer Dream” of the ArenaOuvertüre 2014, starting with the rousing overture from the musical “Candide”, followed by the dance sequences from “Fancy Free” and “On the Town”. It goes without saying that excerpts from his international hit, “West Side Story”, will also be on the programme.
Conductor and host: Marc Tardue
The laid-back big-band sound of the New Zealand combo around singer Joe Dukie teeters between the extremes of meditation and hot dance vibes. On tour, the seven New Zealanders really come into their own – their powerful reggae-funk-dub-soul mix is as sweat-inducing as it is accomplished, and almost every concert sees the birth of a totally new song.
Hamburg’s electro rappers, Rakede, were simply made for hot club-style nights at summer festivals. Their long-awaited eponymous debut album was released just recently. It’s impossible to categorise this unorthodox blend of rasping electro rap and German pop infused with reggae, but their own brand of euphoria stops any talk of pigeonholes in its tracks.
With her Irish temperament and melodic guitar folk, this bubbly lady took the whole of Europe by storm some years ago. Then only in her mid-twenties, she could still pass for a newcomer today – and that with four albums under her belt! Her energy-packed performances are legendary and she fuses her guitar sound with deep R&B, superimposed on a metallic electro base.
In the German pop fraternity, Axel Bosse and his band have been hogging the limelight for the last ten years. With a swelling guitar sound, rock beats and lyrical texts, the Hamburg-based band has well and truly earned a place among Germany’s musical elite. Catchy, emotional texts are their speciality – the kind which get hundreds of thousands of fans humming to themselves. In the same vein, the songs from the current album, “Kraniche” are just as full of life.
Since the release of his debut album in 2010, Gregory Porter has been dubbed the great new voice of jazz and R&B. His musical history goes back much further than that, though, and speaks in an amazingly warm baritone both of his time as a rugby player and of a past between race riots and the strictures of small-town life. Today, Porter and his band fashion all this into the most moving soul jazz heard for a long time. They were justly rewarded at the recent Grammys with the prize for the best jazz vocal album.
Junip have been the best of musical friends since 1998, but it wasn’t until 2010 that their first album appeared. Vocalist José González can no longer rest on his solo-career laurels because Junip is different: a dark, driving, infectious sound combining echoes of Americana, post-rock strumming and experimental electronic krautrock. And over all this lies the very special, beguiling voice of José González. Junip are well worth the wait.
She’s been the big, angry voice of Nigeria since the mid-noughties, though she’s really caught between cultures, having grown up in the Niger Delta, discovered music in Hamburg and, together with her producer DJ Farhot, sworn allegiance to hip-hop-soul vocals. Her songs don’t just go down a storm on club dance floors; they get into your head and, above all, go straight to the heart. But then, her music should and must change the world.