Re-imagining the fabled tale of a folklore favourite has been the latest creative challenge for Chris de Burgh.
The compelling result breathes music and lyrical life into a centuries-old and much-loved classic.
‘The Legend of Robin Hood’ finds Chris at his imaginative best, re-telling the story with cinematic vision coupled seamlessly to music of emotional depth and power.
The concept for the 27th studio album by Chris emerged from his involvement in ‘Robin Hood’, a stage musical about the infamous Sherwood Forest nobleman and his band of outlaws. Chris was invited to contribute storylines and melodies to the musical, which will be produced later in the year in Fulda, Germany, by Spotlight Productions, a theatrical company that has already mounted eight successful musicals. “Since I was writing songs for this,” he explains, “I thought ‘Why not expand the story and put an album out, too?’”
Chris was eminently qualified and able to do that on any number of levels. Most significantly, with his 2010 album ‘Moonfleet’, based on the book of the same name, he had crafted a highly successful musical interpretation of an already existing story.
None of which necessarily made tackling Robin Hood any easier. “I learned a great deal from ‘Moonfleet’, particularly how to set out a story in sequence,” he says. “If I had a problem advancing the story in song, I’d just go and read the book again. This time, we didn’t have a book. There is no book! I had to create my own story, my own version of this classic tale.
“In my story, Robin Hood is not a hero, but circumstances and injustice to others turned him into the hero that is now known all over the world. He initially comes across as an obnoxious young man in his late teens, but he subsequently shows a different and compassionate side and the qualities of a born leader.”
As has only very recently been suggested by a respected historian, Robin Hood is thought to have been a key target of King John, his son King Henry III and their powerful justiciar (law-maker) Hubert de Burgh – who, almost incredibly, is an ancestor of Chris himself.
Given the inconsistencies concerning the dates in which Robin Hood is thought to have lived, Chris tells his version of the legend as if it were many years after Robin’s death, in the setting of a candle-lit tavern where a small audience has gathered to hear it conveyed by a Story Teller and enacted by his musicians, actors and singers.
It has the romance and magic of a minstrel entertaining and enlightening the listener, and that is precisely what has made Chris so unique and peerless throughout his long career.
The tenth Chris de Burgh album to be produced by Chris Porter, ‘The Legend of Robin Hood’ is, like ‘Moonfleet’, another aural extravaganza, played flawlessly by seasoned, talented musicians across a plethora of musical styles, from Medieval, ‘traditional’, nursery rhyme, folk and Celtic-infused to rock, classical and choral. Regardless of its central theme, the album stands up on its own as a new collection of vintage Chris de Burgh material, with instant, sing-along crowd-pleasers like ‘Live Life, Live Well’ and ‘Open Your Eyes’.
It includes a new and reworked version of live favourite ‘Light A Fire’ – from his 1982 album ‘The Getaway’ – and the show-stopping, message-bearing anthem ‘Legacy’. “You’ve always got to leave your audience singing and waving their arms in the air,” says Chris, “and I think ‘Legacy’ will do that.”
As ever, Chris has written songs with a view to live performance. “We’ll certainly be performing the album in its entirety on stage when circumstances permit us to safely tour again,” says Chris.
‘The Legend of Robin Hood’ is an album of evocative escapism and a tonic for our troubled times.
As part of our series of ‘Inspirational Women’, meet Miss Sherina Balaratnam – highly accomplished surgeon and owner of S-Thetics, the multi-award-winning state of the art clinic in the heart of Beaconsfield.
Sherina was born in Kuala Lumpur into a medical family. Her Father a neurologist and her Mum a nurse. ‘Medicine is in my DNA’ says Sherina, as she recalls how at the age of 8 years old, she would observe her Father as she sat quietly in his clinic as he diagnosed and treated his patients.
Sherina became fascinated with the diagnostic tools that became her focus as she swung around in the clinic chair playing with empty syringes and tendon hammers.
Her curiosity was continually challenged as she witnessed patients of all ages coming to see her father with a multitude of ailments. There were always lollipops for the kids containing Vitamin C she recalls which she also enjoyed.
The medical team were all female, and Sherina’s Mum had by this time elected to give up her career to support her family, and did so with great aplomb, bringing food and sustenance into the clinic on a daily basis, and looking after her three children, Sherina and her two elder brothers.
Sherina explains how her Father listened attentively to every patient and how each member of his team was skilled in the unique practise of treating each person individually, a value she has adopted throughout her own medical career. It is no surprise to that the Clinic is still operational today with her Father at the helm and the same team of female practitioners as when Sherina was a child.
‘Love has got to come into it’ says Sherina, ‘I could never understand when my Dad would say he didn’t consider it work, but now I do’.
The legacy of her Father, who was given a Datoship by the Sultan of Terengganu in his 50s has followed her throughout her own medical career.
Sherina now runs a flourishing aesthetics practise in Beaconsfield which is reminiscent of her own childhood memories. As you are greeted by her team of ladies, you feel that you are in good hands, but in addition that you are being taken into a family full of love and genuine support.
Sherina was also inspired by her Mum at an early age who would sit with her to read and make sure she studied. She would take her to school which was a 45-minute drive away from their home and would also advise her ‘Education will give you freedom’. ‘Sleep well and study hard, and exercise every day’.
Sherina spent five years in the UK at medical school and enjoyed everything – all topics and tutors. But her main inspiration came after graduation, when she found herself working in the A and E Department of a hospital stitching up wounds and lacerations. ‘It seemed like fun’ Sherina says with a dry smile ‘plus the feeling of instruments and tools, of steel and the dexterity that comes with that’ reminiscent of her childhood.
‘It was also a challenge of making the stitch work beautiful as well as the healing and the aesthetics, and then the Plastics guys would come along and do more, and it took me to a different level in what I could achieve’.
It was an evolution for Sherina to put wounds together for reconstructive surgery and she became fascinated by it and it became again not just treating the burns and injuries but treating the families too and helping them holistically with issues like children swallowing after a cleft palate or their general nutrition.
Sherina then took time out to do a Masters for two years in Surgical Sciences following her Mother’s advice in education, and following her passion in different areas of skin treatment and discovering light therapy whilst becoming curious about energy-based devices for wound healing and scarring.
She then began to question ‘what else is out there, and what else could I be good at?’.
Sherina’s decision to leave the NHS was not made lightly, as she loved her work, but sitting in a park in Ealing she made a decision for a life change. As she did, she questioned herself ‘Am I going to let my parents down?’. She braced herself to call them.
As Sherina delivered the ‘bomb shell’ to her parents she broke down, but was astounded at their reply.
‘Why are you crying?’ said her Dad ‘we don’t mind what you do as long as you practise medicine every day’.
Sherina now practises aesthetics in the same way that her father still runs his clinic, taking each patient individually and listening to their story before planning the treatment.
S-thetics is situated in the beautiful town of Beaconsfield, which she describes as the perfect setting for her clinic, and relishes the fact that she lives and works in the same town. Every detail is covered from start to finish, even with the colour of copper as a healing element in their interior design.
Sherina, together with her team of highly skilled female practitioners and her husband Jonathan, run a tight ship, and you are greeted at the door as a valued individual and leave feeling cherished and supported with all of the state-of-the-art technology to administer the treatments.
After all she says ‘It is beyond aesthetics – it is what I have learned from my Papa, treating the patient and not the problem. To bring value to someone, you really have to listen’. Sherina administers a variety of treatments, and is proud of her ability to have a vision for her patients and works with them to develop their full potential.
‘We don’t save lives but help lives every day’ – but to me Sherina is saving lives as she builds relationships with her clients and brings value to their everyday, leaving an imprint of her parents’ legacy with love and dedication.
SIX-NIGHT ‘VIRTUAL’ SHOW AT THE EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL – AUG 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 – 2021!
Dean Friedman, one of the pre-eminent songwriters of his generation, announces the release of his ninth studio album, ‘American Lullaby’ – released August 27th, 2021 on Friedman’s Real Life Records label.
Friedman will be premiering the album with a six-night ‘virtual’ show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival titled, ‘Dean Friedman’s American Lullaby’, running August 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 2021 [8pm].
The crowdfunded album touches on a broad range of topics including: the calamitous pandemic, looming environmental disaster, racism, sexism, our fractured politics, and an intractable culture war. The title track ‘American Lullaby’, a moving account of America’s original sins and 400 year love affair with guns; ‘Halfway Normal World’, a poignant yearning for release from perpetual lockdown; ‘The Russians Are Coming!’, a 100% factual narrative based on the ‘Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election’; ‘Welcome to Stupid Town’ and ‘On a Summer’s Night’. The album also offers up ‘Just Another Birthday Song’, Friedman’s hilarious contender to replace the ubiquitous ‘Happy Birthday’ song, written 125 years ago by the Hill sisters.
“The new album, ‘American Lullaby’,” Friedman explains, “reflects my personal take on all the crazy stuff that’s been happening in America – and around the world – for the last six years. Like all lullabies, it’s filled with tales of dark deeds and disaster, but couched in soft, gentle tones, meant to soothe and comfort the listener, while gently bracing them for the potential terrors that await.”
The album will be available in stores and digitally on all the main streaming/download outlets. Friedman will be promoting the album during his ‘virtual’ Fringe run, via his regular DeanZine ‘LiveStream’ webcasts, plus a 40-city ‘live’ concert tour which kicks off April 2022.
October 18, 2021 1902 Miriam Hopkins 1918 Donald Shephard 1939 Lee Harvey Oswald 1926 Chuck Berry 1933 Peter Boyle 1956 Martina Navratilova 1961 Wynton Marsalis 1961 Jean-Claude Van Damme 1965 Sean Patrick Flannery
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