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Foo Fighters Close Year With Touching Taylor Hawkins Message on Band’s Future

Foo Fighters closed out a difficult 2022 with a message to fans and a final “see you later” to Taylor Hawkins, the late drummer who died unexpectedly in March. The group used New Year’s Eve to address their future as a band and to reflect on a troubled year.

“As we say goodbye to the most difficult and tragic year that our band has ever known, we are reminded of how thankful we are for the people that we love and cherish most, and for the loved ones who are no longer with us,” the statement opens. “Foo Fighters were formed 27 years ago to represent the healing power of music and a continuation of life.

“And for the past 27 years our fans have built a worldwide community, a devoted support system that has helped us all get through the darkest of times together,” the statement continued. “A place to share our joy and our pain, our hopes and fears, and to join in a chorus of life together through music. Without Taylor, we would never have become the band that we were – and without Taylor, we know that we’re going to be a different band going forward.”

The band was formed in the wake of Nirvana’s tragic end after the suicide of Kurt Cobain. Grohl was the drummer for the grunge band and would go on to form Foo Fighters as the frontman. The loss of Hawkins in March came as quite a shock to the band and their fans, resulting in an emotional tribute show in London. This included a heartwarming moment where Hawkins’ 16-year-old son, Oliver Shane Hawkins, joined the band to perform “My Hero.”

Foo Fighters’ statement closed with an emotional promise to fans. “We also know that you, the fans, meant as much to Taylor as he meant to you,” it reads. “And we know that when we see you again-and we will soon-he’ll be there in spirit with all of us every night.”

After Hawkins’ passing, the band canceled the rest of their 2022 concert tour dates, with a return to the road still up in the air until 2023. The positive for fans is that 2023 will be making itself at home swiftly.




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Shamisen industry in a pinch to protect unique sound integral to Japanese theater


Japan’s “shamisen” industry is struggling to preserve the distinctive sound of the three-stringed instrument integral to Japanese performing arts, as it runs into issues of animal ethics and a decrease in players.


The shamisen is a three-stringed lute whose music is the backdrop for Kabuki plays, dances and other traditional performances. However, the banjolike instrument is in danger of being silenced permanently, as the industry faces a dilemma between protecting tradition and protecting animals, whose skins are used as material to bring out the instrument’s unique “chin-ton-shan” sound.


Kotaro Tanaka heads Isamiya Hogakkiten, a traditional musical instrument shop in Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, which has also carried out the task of stretching hide over the shamisen’s resonating body since the late 1970s. He said, “There is an uneven thickness to animal skin, which gives rise to a depth in the sound. In particular, cat skin has an exquisite balance.” However, there was a decrease in supplies in response to opposition by cat lovers and other activists, and in the 1980s, the shop began to depend on imported cat skin. Prices surged as supplies fell, and though the shop used the skin of Southeast Asian dogs as a temporary substitute, these also became difficult to obtain from the standpoint of animal protection.


Synthetic leather tends to produce sounds that are monotonous, and professional players apparently avoid their usage on theatrical stages and in recitals. The shamisen industry strives to keep the tradition alive through endeavors such as a performance held in Kyoto in 2021 which featured shamisen using “washi” paper in place of animal skin.


Masayuki Manabe, a professor in Waseda University’s Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences who has researched the history of relations between animals and humans, said that Japanese society in the Edo period and Meiji era, or the 17th century to the early 20th century, did not place value on animal protection as much as people do now, and there were even individuals who ate cats amid a food shortage during and after World War II. After society became prosperous following a period of rapid economic growth, the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals, which bans animal abuse, was adopted in 1973. Manabe pointed out that around this time, pets began to be adored as family members. He said, “The usage of cat skin for shamisen became subjected to stronger criticism and measures, such as the establishment of a group of victims united against dealers that capture cats.”


The industry also faces the problem of a shrinking market. The number of shamisen manufactured in Japan fell from 18,000 in 1970 to 3,400 in 2017, according to a national federation of traditional instrument shops. A decrease in people who play the instrument as a hobby or for a living, such as during teahouse performances, was a factor behind the plummeting figure. To make matters worse, many musical concerts and theatrical productions in recent years were canceled amid the spread of the coronavirus.


To tackle this predicament, the Agency for Cultural Affairs launched a project in fiscal 2021 to support clubs and groups at high schools and universities engaging in traditional music. Groups eligible for support are able to borrow shamisen instruments free of charge, while professional players are dispatched to instruct students. Financial assistance is also offered to cover venue expenses for student performances.


In 2021, the methods of crafting the neck and bodies of shamisen were selected as techniques eligible for national assistance for the preservation of culture. Junko Yoshida, a senior specialist for cultural properties at the Cultural Affairs Agency, commented, “The shamisen industry has taken a blow amid the coronavirus pandemic, and measures were hurried as risks (of instrument makers’ skills disappearing) grew.”


As for the shortage of cat skin for the bodies of shamisen, attention has gathered around the skin of kangaroos, whose growing numbers in Australia have made them controversial pests. Tanaka of Isamiya Hogakkiten said, “The sounds of instruments change with the times. However, we will continue research to create shamisen that do not rely on animal skins. I’d like people to know the charms of shamisen, which can express a wide range of sounds, including sounds full of vigor, and mellow, delicate notes.”


(Japanese original by Ryohei Masukawa, Osaka Regional News Department)


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Noel Gallagher’s new album title is inspired by his Manchester upbringing

THE title of Noel Gallagher’s new album has been inspired by his  upbringing on a Manchester council estate, I can reveal.

He has already teased the fourth album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will drop in May.

THE title of Noel Gallagher's new album has been inspired by his  upbringing on a Manchester council estate, I can reveal

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THE title of Noel Gallagher’s new album has been inspired by his  upbringing on a Manchester council estate, I can revealCredit: Getty
Mum Peggy brought up Liam, Noel and their other brother Paul in a semi-detached in Burnage, Manchester

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Mum Peggy brought up Liam, Noel and their other brother Paul in a semi-detached in Burnage, Manchester

It will be called Council Skies, and feature artwork depicting the old home of his  beloved Man City —  Maine Road in Moss Side, where he watched games as a kid. 

The Oasis great’s first album in six years includes new tracks  alongside last year’s surprise single Pretty Boy.

It comes after the songwriting genius recently opened up about his upbringing, and said he  was “embarrassed” by career accolades. 

Noel said: “I am a chancer from a council estate. I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing. It is all by feel and ear and that’s it.

“I have never had a single music lesson in my life.”

The musician was raised with brothers Liam and Paul in a modest council semi in Burnage, Manchester.

Mum Peggy, who left their dad Tommy, worked at the local  McVitie’s biscuit factory to support them. Even after their success with Oasis, Peggy refused to leave the area.

Noel recalls: “We offered to buy her a house but where we’re from in Manchester, she’s got seven sisters and about five of them live about a 15-minute walk from each other, so she wasn’t going to move.

“The one thing she requested . . .   we had a garden gate, which was really squeaky, and she said, ‘If you could just change the gate’. 

“We bought her a brand-new gate with a gold No5 on it — and she was happy as Larry after that.”

Noel’s choice of album title is also a nod  to his favourite artist, Sheffield-based cartoonist Pete McKee.

Pete released a book called Council Skies in 2019, giving social commentary on working-class life, music and sub-cultures.

I predict that, just like the rest of Noel’s album’s, this latest one will go straight to the top.

…and another Gallagher (no relation)

Tim Gallagher is gearing up to release his debut album this year

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Tim Gallagher is gearing up to release his debut album this yearCredit: Joe Magowan

PREPARE to be blown away by the haunting vocal range of yet another Manchester-born songwriter called Gallagher – this time Tim. 

He is gearing up to release his debut album this year and fans might already recognise the dulcet tones of the talented guitarist.

He amassed a huge TikTok following during the pandemic, after his ballads Lipstick and Altar were played on Love Island and his single Growing Pains became popular. 

Tim said of getting into music: “I started playing the guitar aged 16.

“I enjoyed songwriting, I did it for fun and it felt natural to express myself.”

Dua has her sights set on Hollywood

Dua Lipa plans to make big moves in Hollywood this year

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Dua Lipa plans to make big moves in Hollywood this year

DUA Lipa plans to make big moves in Hollywood this year,  following in the footsteps of Lady Gaga.

The Levitating singer has already shot an upcoming Apple TV+ spy thriller called Argylle, opposite Henry Cavill.

But I hear that’s just the start as she  hopes to produce her own projects. 

An industry source said: “Dua’s received a tonne of scripts and is most interested in taking on serious drama that will receive Oscars buzz.

“She wants to really start pursuing  acting. She is planning to set up her own TV and film production company so she and her team can option stories she believes in and take them to market with bigger studios.”

She recently said about shooting Argylle: “It was really exciting. But I think for me it’s, like, baby steps.

“That’s also the best way to discover yourself, rather than throwing yourself in the deep end with something that maybe you can’t completely tackle head on.

“My biggest fear would be taking on a really big role and being, like, f***, now I have to be an actor and  feel these emotions and feelings on camera, when I haven’t brought myself up to that point yet.” 

Harry Styles is a great example of how  artists can straddle both industries – I can see Dua following in his footsteps.

Shy and mighty

I’VE been mesmerised by Swedish songwriter Shy Martin ever since I heard her starry-eyed song Feelings. 

She has written for Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne and The Chainsmokers and is backing herself to be a chart success.

She said: “I’ve spent the last year and a half only focusing on my own music and on creating a safe, creative space for myself. 

“Writing these songs has been really important to me in a therapeutic way – and I don’t think I’ve ever found more comfort in writing than I did last year. 

“I’ve intentionally stayed in my own bubble to create more honest music that I can’t wait to share.” 

I can’t wait to hear it. 

Danny in East after TV end

Danny Dyer has whisked his wife Jo Mas off to the Maldives for a romantic break

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Danny Dyer has whisked his wife Jo Mas off to the Maldives for a romantic breakCredit: Getty

DANNY Dyer has whisked his wife Jo Mas off to the Maldives for a romantic break after leaving EastEnders.

The couple previously enjoyed a “no expenses spared” honeymoon on the Indian Ocean islands while the actor had a temporary break from the BBC soap in 2017.

And Danny, who is taking time out while he considers his future, wanted history to repeat itself after deciding to walk away from Albert Square for a second time.

His final scenes as Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter were screened over Christmas.

 A source said: “EastEnders has dominated Danny’s life in recent years, and the last few months of filming were especially full on.

“So as soon as he finished, he made a point of whisking Jo away.

“They had a brilliant time in the Maldives in 2017 and couldn’t wait to go back.” He might have left Walford far behind, but Danny made a point of reaching out to fans after his on-screen exit.

He showed them a beach video taken as he downed  a margarita cocktail and puffed on a shisha pipe.

And Danny made it clear they had no need to worry about his recently departed soap character Mick.

In the Instagram video, he said: “Mick needed a rest, a new chapter. 

“It’s the end of an era. I really appreciate the years that I’ve had running the Queen Vic. 

“Don’t worry about Mick, because Mick is . . .  he’s sweet as a f***ing nut.”

Olivia refuses to look upset

Olivia Wilde dated Harry Styles for 19 months before their November break-up

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Olivia Wilde dated Harry Styles for 19 months before their November break-upCredit: © Didier Ferey / KCS PRESSE

THE smile was back on Olivia Wilde‘s face after her split from Harry Styles.

The actress and director, who dated Harry for 19 months before their November break-up, cheered herself up with some retail therapy on a break in Paris.

Olivia rocked casual chic in a Bella Freud jumper with the slogan Salon des Refuses, which means Exhibition of Rejects.

Her relationship might be on the rejected pile, but it’s great she’s looking happy again. 

Go with the Flo

FLO have already created a huge buzz by scooping the Brit Award for Rising Star – plus being nominated for Best Newcomer at the  Mobo Awards.

The trio formed in 2021 and comprise singers Stella Quaresma and Renee Downer, who met at the Sylvia Young Stage School in London, and Jorja Douglas, who they discovered on Instagram.

Their musical explosion began with  single Cardboard Box, produced by MNEK, and Stormzy, Beyonce, Brandy and Missy Elliott reported to be fans. 

 I’m excited to see girl power return to the charts. 

2023: your showbiz calendar for the new year

February

The Brits will be hosted by comic Mo Gilligan

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The Brits will be hosted by comic Mo GilliganCredit: Getty

AWARD season will be in full swing with the UK’s biggest music awards – The Brits – coming to London’s 02 Arena on  the 11th.

They are hosted by comic Mo Gilligan and London-based, Nigerian-born artist Slawn will be designing a new statue for 2023.

Rihanna makes a huge return at America’s top gig, the Super Bowl half-time show, on  February 12.

Expect slick dance  routines, exciting collaborations (hello Drake) and, of course, all  her delicious hits. 

April

Duran Duran kick off a huge arena tour at Manchester’s AO Arena in April

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Duran Duran kick off a huge arena tour at Manchester’s AO Arena in AprilCredit: Getty

DURAN Duran kick off a huge arena tour at Manchester’s AO Arena on April 29.

It comes a year after the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, headlined London’s Hyde Park, played the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Concert, the Commonwealth Games and had a sold-out tour of North America.

Frontman Simon Le Bon told me: “It was an extraordinary year for Duran Duran, mainly down to the incredible fans we have around the world. 

“This spring we will be back on home soil once again to continue the party.” 

Olly Murs also begins his  Marry Me Tour of the UK, starting on  April 21  at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro Arena.

He is supported by Scouting For Girlsduring the gigs and the singer plans to marry Amelia Tank soon after. 

Olly said recently: “There’s a little bit of a break in the summer because that’s when I’m getting married. 

“Then we do a summer tour, I think in August, September. So yeah, it’s exciting.”

May

Eurovision heads to Liverpool after our 2022 UK success story Sam Ryder, who was runner-up with Space Man

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Eurovision heads to Liverpool after our 2022 UK success story Sam Ryder, who was runner-up with Space ManCredit: AFP

THE Eurovision Song Contest heads to Liverpool, as the UK steps in to handle hosting duties on behalf of  last year’s winners Ukraine.

Our 2022 UK success story Sam Ryder, who was runner-up with Space Man, will lend a hand as  pomp and pageantry descends on the city, climaxing with the Grand Final in the Liverpool Arena next to the River Mersey on May 13. 

June

Harry Styles is on his way to Wembley Stadium as part of Love On Tour

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Harry Styles is on his way to Wembley Stadium as part of Love On TourCredit: Getty

GLASTONBURY Festival returns to Worthy Farm from June 21-25, with Elton John in the Sunday afternoon legends slot. 

He has stated (again) it will be his last gig, and I bet it’s going to be a tear-jerker. 

Harry Styles is on his way to Wembley Stadium as part of Love On Tour from June 13 to 17.

It will be the first time Harry has performed at the London venue since his  former band One Direction played there nine years ago to around 3.5million people at the end of the lads’ Where We Are tour.

October

Taylor Swift is said to be bringing The Eras Tour to the UK

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Taylor Swift is said to be bringing The Eras Tour to the UKCredit: Getty

TAYLOR Swift is said to be bringing The Eras Tour to the UK, hitting several major arenas and singing hits from  record-breaking album Midnights. 

The singer said: “I’m making more albums at a more rapid pace than I did before, because I think the more art you create, hopefully the less pressure you put on yourself. 

“Everybody’s different. There are people who put an album out every five years and it’s brilliant and that’s the way they work.

“I have full respect for that but I’m happier when I’m making things more often.”

November

ABBA have announced they are extending the run of their hugely successful Voyage hologram show

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ABBA have announced they are extending the run of their hugely successful Voyage hologram show

ABBA have announced they are extending the run of their hugely successful Voyage hologram show in East London until November – and fans can still get seats.

I was left mortified after going for a Thai massage - I wasn't prepared
I got a £28 sandwich from Subway – it was worth every penny, people have to try it

Bjorn Ulvaues said of 2021 album Voyage: “When you do a thing like that, you don’t know how people will receive it.

“It was with such pride we released that album. I don’t think there will be any more music with Abba.”




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Carmen Cusack to Return to BRIGHT STAR in Concert at Eccles Theatre

Two-time Tony nominee and original Broadway cast member, Carmen Cusack will star in the concert version of Steve Martin and Eddie Brickell’s Grammy-nominated production Bright Star. The show will play on January 20th, 2023 at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City and features a live bluegrass band, Casey Elliott (Jimmy Ray), Debra Bonner (Mama Murphy), Harry Bonner (Daddy Murphy), Nathan Kremin (Billy Cane), Kenzie Davis Kremin (Margo Crawford), David Olsen (Mayor Dobbs), Hannah Thompson (Lucy), with more performers to be announced.

Bright Star is a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past-and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. With beautiful melodies, live bluegrass music, and powerfully moving characters, the story unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion. An uplifting theatrical journey that holds you tightly in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

The show is being produced Tanner J. Christensen in association with Live at the Eccles. For more information and tickets please visit https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2216819®id=92&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flive-at-the-eccles.com%2Fevents%2Fbright-star-in-concert?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1


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