Music: South London's Speech Debelle and Revolver

Article published on June 19, 2009
Article published on June 19, 2009
Two American musicians who play for a better world and are displaced in Scandinavia, the newest female London hip-hop sound, plus a trio of French heartbreakers named after a Beatles track. This month's music picks also feature Peter Broderick and Mark Johnson

Recommendation of the month Mark Johnson: Playing for Change:Peace Through Music

(Image: ©Playing for change/ Flickr)

(Image: © idea is as simple as it is great: a music producer who enjoys travelling, with a passion for crafted music and an enormous portion of idealism. All of this came together for Mark Johnson, when he was inspired for Playing for Change one day by two singing monks in the New York underground. Since then he has toured the globe in order to meet up with street musicians from the Himalayas to Jerusalem over post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans, to make the world a better place. The favourite classics of the musicians are then merged and combined. The result is a collaboration between California and Venezuela via Moscow, as in the case of the soul hit Stand By Me. This works so well that a music documentary has now come out of the fruits of the project. But this is not enough: 'change' is not just part of Barack Obama's agenda. A trust has been founded which among other things is building a music school in Guguletu, one of the poorest townships in South Africa. Because the Grammy-award winning producer is confident about this: a better world is possible. With music, peace can actually be achieved

Universal, release date: June 2009

Speech Debelle: Speech Therapy

(Image: ©Samuel Hicks Photoshot/ myspace)

(Image: © British hip hop might make you think of the Birmingham-based Mike Skinner's The Streets, what with its cheeky street slang. Speech Debelle, a 25-year-old south Londoner, is quite different. Her music admittedly shares with its famous counterpart the authenticity and the skills which a born and bred hip hopper must have to be respected. But there is a sweetness to the Londoner which is at times more Lily Allen-esque than rapper-style. Speech Therapy has depth and at the same time something sugar-sweet which almost belies the fact that a great talent is at work here. The single The Key was released on 9 March in the UK

Big Dada/ Rough Trade, release date: May/ June 2009

Peter Broderick: Music for Falling From Trees

(Image: ©Hanne Hvattum/myspace)

©Erased TapesFalling From Trees, a piece of dance theatre from the London choreographer Adrienne Hart, tells the story of a man in a psychiatric practice. In order to illustrate the daily struggle for identity, the search for meaning and pure survival, it needs suitable stage music to go with the polished choreography. Peter Broderick is a 22-year 0ld American who has lived in Copenhagen since 2007. The Independent has called him a 'precociously talented, classically trained multi-instrumentalist', and he has succeeded in creating a work of art with the music for Falling From Trees. The soundtrack never forces itself into the foreground during the performance, and can also stand by itself. Played solely on piano and strings, this quiet album by the former session musician is above all recommended for those who sometimes like to enjoy a red wine tête-à-tête in the evening

Erased Tapes, release date: 3 July 2009

Revolver: Music For A While

©EMIThree young French men are setting out to break the hearts of European girls. Revolver have named themselves after a Beatles album, sing in English and in other ways too do things not necessarily done on the French music scene. They identify as their role model the American music scene in general, with Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys and Neil Young. In their good moments it really sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a journey through the Texan desert under a starry sky. Sometimes though the trio run the danger of being a little too sugar-coated and kitsch, but this can be forgiven again because of their exceedingly charming French accents

Delabel/EMI, release date: 19 June 2009