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Slipped Disc has just gone flaming pink

January 26, 2018 by norman lebrecht

42 comments.


Decca’s Sheku advertising campaign has just splashed all over the site.

We hear there are 60 buses driving around Nottingham in this livery.

Do send us some shots.

Meantime, we’re listening to Sheku’s debut record, out today.


Comments (42)

  1. Alvaro says:

    In 10 years: „The Great debut of Bin-Asis Al-Halawi-Johnson-Rodriguez…featuring an amazing rendition of DESPACITO on the Violin“……

  2. Elizabeth Owen says:

    What on earth are you talking about?

    1. Bruce says:

      I think he’s trying to express the opinion that black people don’t belong in white countries. Or maybe that they should change their names to things like Thistleburton or Smythe.

      1. Mark says:

        Oh, maybe, he (quite correctly) pointed out that not all aspects of any culture can be learned by imitation …

      2. Furzwängler says:

        What a ridiculous assertion.

      3. Alvaro says:

        Bruce, if by any chance you have forgotten to read, I’m latino so kind of difficult to be self-discriminatory, dont you think?

        I was just pointing out the ridiculous claims made by the “visionaries” of today’s labels. Classical music has become a joke and people are being promoted mainly for their “cool” factor rather than musical ones.

        Today is cellists with afro’s playing reggae, tomorrow could be a violinist with a pony tail playing reggaeton…..

        OH WAIT! WE’RE THERE ALREADY!!

        You all are sad… I’m here to remind you of that.

        1. Bruce says:

          So is this cellist any good? That’s what matters, not his hair.

          There’s this, if one can get past the camera angles (it sounds quite nice if you don’t look at it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdjosc8HIhI

        2. Derek says:

          Alvaro,

          I think that you are being too simplistic and judgmental.

          Sheku Kanneh-Mason is from Nottingham and his whole family is musical. He is a very talented musician.

          He won the “Young Musician Award” in the UK and I believe he has great potential. Recording producers use various means nowadays to get new talent exposure, including doing “covers” of popular tunes but there is so much more to him than that.

          I saw him in concert last November playing Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1 and the Nocturne from the Gadfly as an encore. His performance was brilliant and he has personality. He should be taken seriously because he is very good!

          1. Alvaro says:

            One wishes they didnt have to do covers, thats all.

            And yes, one can speak of Heifetz playing Gershwin…but then again he played Gershwin, not Creole music.

            The criticism falls on the industry, not the artist.

          2. Bruce says:

            ^ Alvaro: Gershwin was about as lowbrow as you could get back then. He certainly wasn’t a “classic” yet, let alone “classical.”

            You’re comparing apples to apples and pretending it’s apples to oranges.

            Oh, and nobody says “Creole” any more. You still come off looking racist. Sorry.

          3. Alvaro says:

            …..for a very distorted person, perhaps.

            Also, I’m sorry to break your bubble but Gershwin was not precisely 1920’s Beyonce or Lady Gaga, and your use of “low brow” evinces precisely the bigotry that you so affectedly pretend to censor. But to each their own.

            Again, I never criticized the kid ( if you notice, I didnt even mention the actual CD or its contents in my comment, but made a parody of what the INDUSTRY is likely to promote in a not so distant future)

            That so many people fail to read what is written and make outlandish assumptions about a person they dont know reflects vividly the type of snobbery that abounds in the classical niche.

            What does a black cellist need to do to have his talents be taken at face value without the need to profiling him by pairing shostakovich (which was excellent) with BOB MARLEY (?!?!?) If theres anybody racist here is whoever came up with that idea.

          4. Derek says:

            Alvaro,

            You don’t like other genres of music being included on classical albums. I don’t mind it occasionally, if the music is good and it is performed well.

            Sheku included pieces on this CD that were an inspiration to him through his short musical life, hence the title. He doesn’t limit his taste to one genre. It doesn’t mean that future albums will follow this format. There is nothing wrong or racist in that is there?

            I understand your initial point and concern that nowadays there is a tendency to “over market” or “project an image” for performers and I agree that it is often done poorly.

            However, you asked others to avoid looking for a “straw man” but I fear that you have done that in your last sentence here.

          5. Bruce says:

            Alvaro – you can insist that you’re not racist all you like. However, it might be helpful to take a look at the things you’ve written and try to see why others might see them that way (besides being stupid or SJW’s or what have you). Just a thought.

          6. alvaro says:

            In this day and age? of course anything that is infinitesimately critical of ANYTHING relating to this release will be viewed with a racial lens.

            That says more about the people making those comments than it says about me.

            I repeat, the comment was aimed at the industry, not at the artist.

            However, given that many of the readers of this blog work in that industry, its no wonder they will outcry everything and anything except the idiotic decisions their industry makes.

            So no, its not a surprise, and anybody can make anything they wish of my comments.

    2. Alvaro says:

      I really think for his second album he’s going to make a cover of Usher’s “YEAH!”….

      Cello is all about the “bootie” these days. SHAKE IT!

      1. Elizabeth Owen says:

        I was hoping that you were drunk when I posted but unfortunately I was naive. You are a racist and your posting is pathetic. Why are you so frightened of black people? And by the way he is a very good cellist and from an extremely talented musical family.

        1. Alvaro says:

          yet another SJW who sees race in the color of toothpaste. I‘m Latino, and I really like Despacito BTW ;), so calm down. The criticism falls not on the artist but on the industry who requires an idiotic „cool factor“ that is anachronistic to what classical music stands for.

          Maybe you like the David Garret‘s of the world, and maybe theres a market for that, but that doesnt make it any better than McDonalds is for the music industry.

          And no, it has nothing to do with his hair also: Barenboim also wore basically an Afro in the 70‘s but I cant find any of his „Covers“ of Barry White or any Disco Music.

  3. FS60103 says:

    Dear Alvaro – Thanks for the bigotry: when one lives in a tolerant and culturally diverse country it’s quite rare to witness views like yours at first hand, so this is eye-opening. Any thoughts on the performance of the Shostakovich First Concerto which is the centrepiece of this disc? You have listened to the disc, haven’t you?

    1. Suspect No. 345 says:

      I have listened to Sheku’s playing several times, but because he is a young black man anything not broadly positive I might have to say will be taken as me being racist, so as I’d prefer not to have that prejudice rain down, I won’t bother.

      1. Suspect No. 345 says:

        Oh, and also ageist.

        1. FS60103 says:

          Curious that you’ve had that experience. But more curious that you apparently see Alvaro’s mockery of this performer’s name as valid criticism of the music…

  4. John Borstlap says:

    The racist under- and overtones on this thread are truly disgusting.

    Mr Kanneh-Mason is as British as can be, and that he is an excellent cellist is proof of the possibility of overcoming bigotry as shown in some of these comments.

    It may be worth remembering that culture, and especially musical culture, is independent from nationality, ethnicity, gender, weight (!), age, intestinal condition, hairdo, tax forms, postal address and shoe size.

    1. Suspect No 345 says:

      So John, any criticism I may have of his artistry must be exclusively because he is black or have I misunderstood you? And if so, would it be an under or overtone on this occasion?

      There are SO many prejudices in ‘classical music’, As a non British woman resident in this country I have been unconsciously and consciously subject to many most of my adult life but this does lead me to conclude that you may not be constructively critical of my artistry if you wish, simply because I’m a representative of several minorities.

      1. Peter says:

        Suspect No 345, the very first comment on this post seeks to belittle Kanneh-Mason by lampooning his name, and specifically its non-Anglo-Saxon/non-European-sounding elements. And the discussion has continued to go downhill from there.

        It is grossly disingenuous to suggest that criticising such obvious bigotry amounts to censoring artistic criticism of minority artists. It is equally disingenuous to try to deflect such criticism by saying “I’m a Latino” (Alvaro) or “I’m not British” (you) – excuses which carry about as much weight as “some of my best friends are black”.

        Really, someone needs to nuke this entire comment section from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

        1. Suspect No. 345 says:

          Peter, not sure why your aligning my comments with Alvaro, I addressed my comment to John who was not at alI specific who he was referring to so mine was a general point in response to Johns general observation. I do not hold the same opinion you suggest Alvaro presents here in any way, are you unable to distinguish this? Actually personally I’m not clear what the point he is trying to make is but if it’s as you say it’s certainly pretty feeble. But please I’m interested to know if from my comments you have ascertained that I’m racist and if so how?

          And also good to know that any prejudice I may have suffered is not valid in your mind for some reason. Are you sexist and nationalistic?

    2. Mathieu says:

      I do not often agree with Mr Borstlap.

      He is 200% right in this case.

      The only question which deserves to be raised about Mr Kanneh-Mason us wether or not he is a good musician.

      There are two “non classical” tracks in this album, whose centerpiece is Chostakovitch’s #1. I have seen worse cases of cross-over.

      I am not a so-called SJW, quite to the contrary. I believe in free speech. Mr Alvaro is entitled to his opinions, however unfounded and smacking of bigotry they may be.

  5. Alvaro says:

    Hi SJW. I know these days race is in everything: In the shapes of clouds in the sky and the type of pasta sauce one orders in a restaurant but rest assured it is not in my initial comment.

    My sarcasm criticizes the sad industry who tries to sell „cool“ with 400 year old instruments. It may be with 2 serbian cellists playing michael Jackson, a German violinist (who „americanizes“ his name) playing coldplay, or this example. Hence my comment about a future multi-culti „star“ (even though these artists are really known within an ever smaller niche) playing Despacito as their „Cover“ in a handful of year’s time. Where‘s the racial undertone in that?

    Is it positive to have diversity in music? Absolutely (there‘s a fantastic Colombian cellist out there, for example – where‘s his Decca Contract? OH!! I forgot! „No Woman No Cry“…)

    Also, a bit surprised given all the educational benefits that classical music is supposed to bring to its proponents, I suggest many of the commentators to do the following, you might learn something:

    1) google „red herring argument“ and „straw man argument“

    2) re-read my initial comment

  6. buxtehude says:

    Sally?

    1. John Borstlap says:

      If there is anything I love about this nice young man, it is the colour question, which I haste to say has nothing to do with bigotry, it is the colour pink! I love pink! Almost all my dresses are shades of pink, since I work in the music business, before it was only shades of grey. Pink! that sums-up all the niceties of classical music, and it always has an effect. So this guy will have a great career. I remember when I worked at a music agency and a conductor was unwilling to sign a contract, I was ordered to come back in pink and lo and behold! he was so distracted that he signed there on the spot, not noticing the reductions of his fees. Also Xenakis was fond of pink, I’ve read, and Pierre when young played at a night club in Paris to make ends meet and guess? Yes, in a pink frock and with dancing females in pink feathers around his white piano. Pink is the future!

      Sally

      1. Anmarie says:

        Pinky Zukerman is not amused.

  7. Elizabeth Owen says:

    What’s an SJW and who is Sally?

    1. buxtehude says:

      Single Jewish Woman.

      Sally prefers to remain a mystery but she seems to be monitoring developments here.

      1. buxtehude says:

        Sorry should have added that SJW derives from personal classifieds and that Sally you can encounter in the first reply posted to this thread:

        http://slippedisc.com/2018/01/im-wearing-the-vintage-dress-i-was-given-by-a-grateful-concertgoer/

    2. Bruce says:

      SJW = Social Justice Warrior. It’s a derogatory term that bigots people who like to make remarks that sound bigoted use for people who (in their view) go around looking for trivial things to be outraged about.

      “Sally” is — I think — John Borstlap’s assistant and occasional caretaker, who occasionally writes amusing posts on here under his name (but signs them “Sally” at the bottom) when he is indisposed.

      1. Elizabeth Owen says:

        Thank you.

        1. John Borstlap says:

          So you’re new here? Don’t worry, it’s all about music in the end.

          And yes, he’s working and I have a key.

          Sally

          1. Paul Davis says:

            The choice of PA is relevant: any commentor finding himself so often besieged in his trenchant positions will need a sally, or possibly even four, (as in : “sally forth…”) -sallies being the preferred means to confound and outwit the opposition.

  8. Mathieu says:

    I did not call you a racist. I do not know you enough to make such an accusation.

    I understand, and share, your feelings about the way some musicians (mostly conductors and singers) are hyped up, and the way the hype kills classical music. — Let’s be honest though, the hype has always existed.

    However, I do not think that singling out Mr Kanneh-Mason the way you did was fair, and I indeed believe it smacked a bit of bigotry. Obviously you are quite entitled not to like his Shostakovitch. And yes, the whole fashion of concept albums with ridiculous titles is quite irritating. But frankly, you cannot attack him just because he plays some non-classical stuff on *two* tracks! It really sounds like: “this guy playing No Woman No Cry cannot seriously claim to play any serious stuff, like Shostakovitch. Who the hell does he think he is?”.

    Instead of falling for the hype, just listen to the music. And then decide by yourself.

    Personally, I am afraid I don’t think that anybody can play Shosta#1 after Rostropovitch (a bit of a cliché, granted).

  9. Mathieu says:

    I did not call you a racist. I do not know you enough to make such an accusation. Saying that X sounds racist or bigoted is different from saying that the person who said X is racist.

    I understand, and share, your feelings about the way some musicians (mostly conductors and singers) are hyped up, and the way the hype kills classical music. — Let’s be honest though, the hype has always existed.

    However, I do not think that singling out Mr Kanneh-Mason the way you did was fair, and I indeed believe it smacked a bit of bigotry. Obviously you are quite entitled not to like his Shostakovitch. And yes, the whole fashion of concept albums with ridiculous titles is quite irritating. But frankly, you cannot attack him just because he plays some non-classical stuff on *two* tracks! It really sounds like: “this guy playing No Woman No Cry cannot seriously claim to play any serious stuff, like Shostakovitch. Who the hell does he think he is?”.

    Instead of falling for the hype, just listen to the music. And then decide by yourself.

    Personally, I am afraid I don’t think that anybody can play Shosta#1 after Rostropovitch (a bit of a cliché, granted).

  10. harold braun says:

    I heard parts of the Shostakovich.He is technally stupendous,yet hasn´t reached the dephts of Capucon,Weilerstein,Müller Schott yet.I don´t mention Slava here,because he owned the piece and will never be equalled.
    I think the marketing campaign with the buses is a good thing.Bringing people to listen to music by Shostakovich,or classical music in general,is more important then ever.
    Smart act!

  11. Don Fatale says:

    So, more people are likely to be listening to a Shostakovich Cello Concerto, plus a few other interesting selections…. and the problem is?


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