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Hello! My name is Alison. I’ve been passionate about country music since I was very young. I got to know music by following styles – rock, southern rock and the country music styles of today – and by cruising through the USA. I’ve also bought a lot of CDs! In recent years, I started broadcasting the “Les News de Nashville” on the Big Cactus Country presented by my friend Johnny Da Piedade. You can read my blog post on the Big Cactus Country site as well as here on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP!

Big Cactus Country Radio Show!!! The best of American Country presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert! The BCC is a syndicated radio Show presented by Johnny Da Piedade and Alison Hebert broadcast weekly more than 250 times. The BCC network is 120 affiliated radio stations in France, Reunion Island, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec and more.

The famous mother church of Country Music, better known as the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville is being given a youthful look! Major work is currently underway and will last until June 2015 …

A renovation project will cost Nashville more than $ 14 million! The monument has not seen work within its walls since 1994. To meet the demand of tourists and residents of Nashville, Colin Reed, chairman of Ryman Hospitality

Colin Reed

Colin Reed

and CEO of the venue, decided to change the lobby of the Ryman. It will be bigger and there will be a renovated a place outside to take coffee. An extension of the Ryman Auditorium will be constructed of brick and glass being current in the same style.

During the renovation, this legendary building will not close its doors because many concerts are planned. To learn the list, visit the website: if you plan to go to Nashville for the CMA Music Fest 2015, you will discover a brand new Ryman Auditorium!

A Lecturer in Popular Music at a British Higher Education institution, Denigrata Herself is undertaking her PhD in women in extreme metal. She is also the front woman/guitarist in Denigrata, an experimental black metal collective. Denigrata have coined the term noir concrête for their music, meaning the avant-garde dark noise initiated by Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen finds a different rhizomatic existence within their contemporary black metal performance space.

Denigrata Herself is a gender theorist whose research and publications to date focus on body performativity, reclamation of female space, tattooing, graphic novels, death metal and black metal. She is part of the International Society for the Study of Metal Music (ISMMS) and sits on various academic and equal rights boards in the UK.

For over a decade she was a lead guitarist in British death metal bands, she was signed to and worked for various independent record labels and now devotes her time to lecturing, researching and performing. She is choir master for her departmental chamber choir and presents annual post-modern renderings of canonical classical pieces with her choir, a string quartet, a contemporary band and Ableton performers.

18 November 2014
Metal and Cultural Impact Conference, Dayton, Ohio November 6-8 2014

I have just returned from the University of Dayton, Ohio where I delivered a paper from my PhD at the Metal and Cultural Impact Conference, organised by Bryan Bardine, PhD. The reason why I want to blog about this experience is because it has raised a number of very interesting engagements.

Firstly I was incredibly proud to be part of this. Metal studies is an emerging paradigm that engages with musicology as well as philosophy and anyone involved in popular music pedagogy will know the significance of the relationship between these ideas. It also creates a space where philosophy can be taught at undergraduate level in the form of cultural theory and it provides valuable tools for analytical engagement.

As my PhD has developed based on my ten years in the metal industry as a guitarist, it wasn’t until I gave a paper at the University of York back in April this year that I realised the significance of my own subjective experience. Taking the same paper to Dayton, I found that the metal scholastic community wanted to hear what I had to say.

There is nothing quite like a metal conference. I have presented at plenty of conferences before, from feminist ones to graphic novels, popular music and film but metal conferences offer a different experience – it is not an imagined community, but a real one. Well, as much as we can consider anything to be real given that I hold to the concept that there is no objective reality!

However I found myself surrounded by scholars of a like mind in terms of our affinity and love of metal but also our philosophical engagements. We come from far flung corners of the globe in many cases but our desire to critically engage with the music in its form, structure and function provides another level through which to understand metal.

As I said in my previous blog, metal heads are the outsiders and this is an ambiguous position to exist within. We, all at varying points, have discovered our own problems with the structure and juridical law of the symbolic order and as such have actively chosen a form of subjective construction outside of this model. We therefore see the subject-substance as self-producing rather than hegemonically constructed and honestly, this is a beautiful thing.

Various philosophical positions suggest that this is not actually possible, Žižek, Lacan and Butler for example; however I refute this for the following reasons. Certain grand theory positions suggest that the subject cannot become a subject until it is an active member of the hegemony, meaning a subject a priori is empty. This may well be the case for those happily existing within the symbolic order but for those who recognise the falsity of the system, we make a decision to exist extra-hegemonically if you will. Once on the outside, we have the opportunity to construct ourselves however we see fit thus enacting autonomy over our aesthetics, occupied space and ideological positions. We re-encode the self to be something workable for us and as Keats quite rightly pointed out ‘that which is creative, must create itself’. And that is what we do, we create ourselves. That is not to say anything like authenticity is claimed, because I do not believe in such a concept but what I am saying is that the subject-in-process occurs more effectively outside of the hegemony and that honest moments of totality, of self-recognition can only happen extra-hegemonically because you are free of the imposition of the symbolic order.

The reason why this connects with metal is because metal has always been the outsider, the sociocultural music form that exists on the periphery and it is just as well that it does. From that vantage point, it can critique the symbolic order and embody the Dadaist aesthetic of ‘Art as Resistance’. So we see an affinity between those on the outside of the symbolic order and creative forms that also occupy a similar position.

The significance of the self in relation to these ideas means that when the self becomes a collective, moments of Hegelian totality can occur, in other words moments of realisation of who we are and what that means. Our ability to produce, create and critique are valuable functioning parts of the subject-self and its associated substance.

So when I met with the other metal scholars at the Dayton conference, I recognised in myself my role within the collective, my subjective within the Absolute Meta-Subject, to quote Hegel. Not only did I hear some very interesting papers and research, I met other metal fans and scholars who, like me, have felt this area of popular music worthy of theoretical engagement. And what a life affirming moment of totality it was. All areas of metal were covered and the intersections of class, race and sexuality were not shied away from, they were met head on with solid academic rigour.

A wonderful end to the conference was a gig in the evening where Alex Skolnick from Testament, who also gave a paper, got up on stage and ripped through War Pigs by Sabbath. Some musicians from these bands (Forces of Nature, Lick the Blade, Engines of Chaos), came to the conference too. What I particularly loved about the collision of academia and the metal community in Dayton is how welcoming and open minded everyone was. I was treated like family and that means something, it is significant.

So one of the main conceptual notions I identify is that of affinity and this functions in a number of ways. It is not just affinity of music taste or philosophical positions; the affinity appears to function as a totalising experience, where everyone is on the same page and there are no immediately jarring boundaries of separation that we experience within the symbolic order. Perhaps because of the nature of the conference and the nature of the Dayton metal scene, any racism, classism or sexism just wasn’t present and I cannot tell you what a genuinely liberating experience this was. A space is created and maintained where people are able to be themselves, and regardless of however clichéd this sounds, it is deeply significant.

In a society where the subject-self is manipulated, interpellated and reconstructed to suit hegemonic structures and agendas, I found a space where, through the shared love and affinity with metal, freedom was acknowledged and performed. In this day and age, that is a precious and rare thing indeed.

Comments are welcome. Denigrata Herself can be contacted at

What’s The Buzz ?

Just got back from a wonderful tour in The Netherlands with Cara Luft and BJ Baartsman. We snuck into a studio and recorded 6 songs which I hope to get out to you guys very soon. Cara was amazing – a founder of The Wailing Jenny’s, she was a huge inspiration and she’s got me hooked on clawhammer banjo.

The URGENT news is that my PLEDGE CAMPAIGN for the new record is holding at 54% of my goal with only 16 days left. If everyone on this list simply PRE-ORDERED a record, I’d make my goal and more. I realize that crowdfunding is a complicated issue. Here’s the nutshell of why I and so many other artists are doing it. For me, I have put out a few records on Record Labels through the “old” system. The labels paid for the recording, paid for the promotion, made all the decisions, and when the record was done and being sold on line or at stores, the labels got the money, which they deserved in order to pay back their investment. But sometimes, to be honest, they didn’t make decisions that perhaps I would have made. I might have chosen a different PR firm. Or I would have pushed a different “focus” track. Or maybe they just dropped the ball entirely, got excited about another artist, and my record got lost. This has all happened to me. So when I made my last record, Stormy Boat, I decided to create my own independent record label, Windbone Records. I have distribution in the US through Tone Tree (a great company that has worked with The Civil Wars, Mindy Smith, Angel Snow and Nora Jane Struthers). I have distribution in the UK through Proper/CRS and in Europe through CRS. But now that I’m my own label, I have to pay for EVERYTHING. The recording itself is the cheapest part. What costs money is PR, Radio, manufacturing and shipping, and then getting all this stuff out to the world. It costs over $25,000 to do all of this at even a good independent level and make any kind of dent. I make a decent living as a musician and for that I’m blessed. I don’t have (nor have the time) for a ‘day job’. My job is touring and making music. I get paid by ticket sales. You come to the shows and I get to pay my rent. You buy my CDs and I pay my rent. You stream my songs on Spotify and…. ha ha…well, I don’t pay my rent and that’s a whole other conversation, but maybe another person is turned onto my songs and goes to Amazon or ITunes or even my website and downloads my record. At the end of the day, I make enough to cover my basic expenses and save a teensy bit for little things. But making a living as a folk musician ain’t the high roller life. Again: I’m blessed and I’m grateful. But this is exactly why I am doing a Pledge Campaign. To ask my fanbase to PARTNER with me in this enterprise. This isn’t asking for Charity or a hand-out. And I know some folks have an issue with Pledge and Kickstarter and the like, thinking “well, if you can’t pay for it yourself, get a dayjob or get out…” which I totally understand, but the music business model is really in flux. There IS NO MODEL anymore. The model is this connection between the creators and the consumers. I write it. You hear it. I hope we are both changed by the experience for the better and our lives are made better. And if you can pre-order the record, man, I would be so grateful because then I can release this little puppy into the world by March 2nd.

Thanks for taking the time to read that. Back to the tour…I have a moment to catch my breath here in Nashville and then I head out next week with KENNY WHITE, my friend from NYC, great songwriter, and fellow once-Wildflower Records recording artist. This is my first time in the Pacific Northwest and San Fran, CA area in many years so I hope y’all come out and say hi. Tourdates to the left and full details here TOURPAGE. Buy tickets in advance if you can.

As always, if you are interested in hosting a house concert in 2015, please email me at and we can talk about it! All you need is a good cat-free space, at least 30-40 friends who’d come hear the music, and I can come over to play. For reals.

Stay warm!

Alla Seydalieva

Alla Seydalieva

Alla Seydalieva was born in Samarkand city in Uzbekistan . Her origin is Tatar. Her mother is a music teacher , who plays tree instruments: piano, accordion and oboe. From the early age Alla’s mother has been her inspiration for music. At the age of six she started studying classical piano at a music school in Samarkand. At the age of 14, she started to attend vocal school back home. After graduating from secondary school, she was still heavily involved in sports playing basketball for Uzbekistan! After the graduating from Bukhara State University she decided to quit playing sports as a professional and went to study at theatre school as well as working in musical theatre for three years. She has been involved in various music projects, jobs, festivals, concerts and recordings. She is happy that in her music career and she has worked in different genres such as pop, jazz, blues, rock, opera, musicals, r&b, hip-hop.

In 2010, Alla moved to London to study for the Bachelor’s Degree in contemporary music performance ( vocals) at Tech Music School. At the end of her third year in university she developed greater interest in fusion of pop/rock music with middle eastern themes. During this time she was a lead singer in trip-hop band “The mouth of ghosts”. I continued with my musical education and went to study for the MMus at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. In my final performance I presented a set of traditional folk singing of Asian countries with the mix of contemporary styles.

HVUM: We know a little bit about you from our earlier conversation and from online profiles. We know that you have multi-cultural interests and that you are passionate about your music and theater, but tell us the story of Alla…Give us a look into the personal side of Alla.

AS: Growing up in Samarkand and being from a musical family, it was inevitable that I would be involved in some sort of music as an adult. My passion for music grew day by day and after moving to London in my mid 20s. it was obvious that the city inspired me to take a different approach in writing my music, I started to express my emotion in a more complex way from the musical point of view. Being a singer and song writer, I always wanted to combine both and I believe that one does not exist without the other, I enjoy doing both with a lot of passion. All the emotions I go through helps me write music later on, weather its being happy, feeling low or being angry. I believe that when I go though one of these emotions, I feel like there is someone inside me who wants to express this in writing my music. If I wasn’t a musician, then I would probably be a chef or an astronaut! I have also played professional basketball in my country and for my national team for about ten years.

HVUM: How have you pursued developing your career. In building your career, what has worked particularly well for you?

AS: I tried developing my career by expanding my knowledge in music. The fact that I tried myself in different genres of music gave me a greater confidence in my ability as a musician and a performer.

HVUM: How did your interest in multiple cultures and cultural folk music come about?

AS: When I was leaving in Uzbekistan I was not massively interested in folk or traditional music. But since I came to London I wanted to feel closer to my home so music seemed to be a perfect connection between us.

HVUM: We’d like to offer our followers a chance to listen to one of your multicultural works, “Tibetan Sky”.

AS: Yes , this one was one of my collaboration pieces.


HVUM: Bring us up to date on your music. We know you’ve been involved in several projects such as Mouth of Ghosts, but where are you now and where to you plan to go with work underway?

AS: I am currently focusing on my solo career by promoting myself as a solo artist. I am doing two different projects where in the first one it’s more mainstream and another one is more folk. I am also collaborating in a duet with my friend singer-songwriter Mila Verney in playing one piano four hands and sing. This music is more about sensuality and passion.

HVUM: Great! In the spirit of letting people get a sense for you recent work, we want to show a video recorded live at Cabaret at Paradise By Way, London -”Guide me”.

Lead Vocals – Alla Seydalieva
Acoustic guitar – Sam Connor
Bass – Darya Sidorova
Oud, Saz, Pipa – Charlie Cawood
Keys/ Vocals – Mila Verney
Drums-Joshua Bisset

HVUM: Wow! Thanks for that. Think about your singing and songwriting thus far. What do you consider to be the greatest moment of your career. Be honest now!

AS: Every performance is like the first one . But a good decision of mine was coming to London and furthering my career.

HVUM: What do you like to do other than music? What does Alla do to relax and have fun?

AS: Playing basketball , going for morning runs to help me keep fit and focus. I love dancing , acting , cooking , meeting friends , reading books, write poems.

HVUM: You really have an amazing set of interests! Okay, finally, I have to ask you my favorite question. Do you have any superheroes? Who and why?

AS: I don’t have any but I do watch a lot of films in my spare time.

Alla, thanks so much for taking time out to share your story with us here at HorizonVU Music. I know our followers will find you and your music to be exceptional. I hope that you’ll stay in touch with us.

Your pumpkin is starting to rot but it’s still too early to put up the tinsel. What is there to do in November?! Never fear. ÉCU is here to save you from boredom.


Paris International Fantastic Film Festival
Gaumont Opéra
19th-24th November

If you are sick of realist drama films then 6 days of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction should help you escape the everyday. Created in 2011 by cult magazine Mad Movies, this festival is still young but it might become as big as the UK’s Frightfest or Portugal’s Fantasporto.

Not recommend for the fainthearted.

Portraits of Women in Chinese Cinema
Cinematheque Française
19th – 30th November

From the 1930s before the revolution all the way up to the present day, this comprehensive series of screenings show the changing roles of women in China. Familiar names like Zhang Yimou and Wong Kar-Wai pop up along with a whole host of surprises you would have never heard of. Maggie Cheung, most famous for IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000), will be speaking at the Cinematheque Française so that is a must see.


Salon de la Photo
Parc des Expos de Paris
13th – 17th November

November is officially photography month in Paris and the most important event of all is the Salon de la Photo with every photography service and product under the sun exhibiting, along with the ZOOM award nominations. Sabine Weiss (pictured), a Swiss child-prodigy who went from advertising to reportage to vogue is given a startling retrospective. Through her career she took some of the most defining images of Paris.

David Bailey
Galerie Thierry Marlat
November 3rd to December 6th

British photographer David Bailey spent a great deal of time capturing the big names of 1960s Paris. You can see a range of chic snaps from actress Catherine Deneuve (pictured) to filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard and singer Jane Birkin.


Palais Des Sports
November 1st

Metronomy have come a long way from the small countryside town of Totnes and become one of the catchiest indie-pop bands of the last decade. They will be performing songs from their latest album ‘Love Letters’ at the spectacular Palais des sports. Make sure you bring your Converse Allstars and your skinny jeans ready for some dancing.

Africolor 2014
Across Paris
15th November to 24th December

In its 25th year, Africolor celebrates African culture in all its vibrancy in a series of concerts, film screenings and music workshops. One such concert is the brilliant kora player Chérif Soumano. Taking place on the outskirts of town, all the way from Saint-Ouen to Montreuil, this festival is well worth the trip.


Salon Saveurs des plaisirs gourmands
Porte de Versailles
19th to the 23rd November

For only 10 euros you try the best of the best of French gourmet cooking. There are restaurants, celebrity chefs, tastings and food trucks. Make sure you arrive with a healthy appetite.

Le Grand Tasting
Carroussel du Louvre
28th – 29th November

For those of you who prefer a ‘liquid diet’ you can pay 20 euros for what is effectively a very refined and high-class open wine bar. All the major wine regions of France are represented along with an Italian section and one or two from areas further afield such as Turkey, Lebanon and Chili.

Don’t forget to stay in touch with ÉCU through: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr

Women of Substance Radio has been on the air for 4 years. We broadcast 24/7 on the Live365 Network and iTunes Radio garnering fans from all over the world. WOSRadio plays the BEST female artists, both label and Indie, in all genres. We hand-pick all of our music starting with icons of the past like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Tracy Chapman, Mariah Carey, No Doubt, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, Adele, Carrie Underwood, Amy Winehouse, Feist, Christina Perri and so many more. Women of Substance take submissions from Indies and our review board selects only the best quality artists and songs that can stand up next to the forementioned superstars. Indie artists we have chosen early in their career have gone on to be Top 24 on American Idol, win second place on the Bravo show Platinum Hit, and one artist is currently a chosen contestant on NBC’s The Voice.

Women Of Substance Radio Top 20 Tracks

1. Tivoli Skye – Our Hearts Are One

Tivoli is a 2013 Indie Music Channel Award winner and she has been honored for her courage in “standing up for what is right” and forming her own awareness/advocacy event with local government officials, organizations, and musicians called “Stand up & stand out! – Positive Role Models against bullying, abuse and for suicide prevention/Awareness”.

2. Tivoli Skye – I Am Yours

3. Nikki Nash – Room For Me

4. Mary Kay Maas – Barbie Can’t Stand Up

5. Rece Jay – The Trump

6. PJ Brunson – Free To Choose

7. Voodoo Highway – Walmart Killed Mainstreet

8. Jennifer Jones – Tell Me

9. FUE – Go On

10. Randi Fay – Falling

11. Jenny Van Alstyne – Angel (Sarah McLachlan Cover)

12. FUE – Arms (Christina Perri Cover)

13. Jenna Laurise – You Are My Happy

14. Jen Haugland – Where I Am

15. Kiyomi – Fields Of Gold (Sting Cover)

16. Tandem Rain -Hell To Pay

17. Che-Val – My Beat

18. ces Music – Wicked Game

19. Alanna – Light In Your Eyes (Sheryl Crow Cover)

20. Christine DeMeo – Wear You Down

Ösp Eldjárn

Ösp Eldjárn

Ösp Eldjárn grew up in the beautiful valley of Svarfaðardalur, Iceland with her musical family. Together they would play folk and traditional music and perform professionally together across the country. In 2010, along with her brother and close friends, they took to the stage as a band called ‘Brother Grass’. The folk/americana/blue grass group released two albums together and have gained a loyal following in Iceland and other countries and have had airplay on BBC3 Radio. After studying jazz singing, Ösp moved to the city of London in the autumn of 2011 to pursue a solo career and to broaden her musical direction. Inspired by the vocals of Ella Fitzgerald, the stories of Joni Mitchell and by her own folky roots, she began to write her own original material and is currently working on interesting collaborations with numerous up and coming artists.

HVUM: Ösp it’s great to have you with us. We know a little bit about you from our earlier conversation, but tells us about your background. How did you first become interested in music and pursuing a career in music? Were your parents the primary influence?

OE: Yes, my parents were a big influence. I grew up in a very musical household, my parents were in an a capella quartet for many years so I would grow up listening to them singing songs in beautiful harmonies. I guess that is why I’m so drawn to harmonies and find that it comes quite natural to me. Whenever my extended family comes together, we sing and play the guitar. My parents perform a lot together, where my dad plays the guitar and my mom sings. My mother is also a published solo artist and she is a great inspiration and has always been my number one fan.

HVUM: Did you receive formal training along the way and did you have any teachers or mentors that inspired you to become a professional musician?

OE: I started singing lessons at 18, where I studied classical singing. I did that for 3 years, but when I moved to Reykjavík I soon realized that my passion was not within the classical genre. I started studying jazz at FÍH and did that for another 3 years. I’ve been very lucky to have had many good and inspiring teachers. One in particular, Kristjana Stefánsdóttir, who is one of Iceland’s best jazz singers, has been a great support, even after I moved to London. She made me promise her that I would not start teaching, but that I would pursue my career as a singer, ‘cause that’s what I was meant to be, a performer. Then she added, laughing, that I could teach when I was old.

HVUM: So tell us about the journey from Iceland to London. What motivated you to go to London instead of (say) New York?

OE: Well I’ve always wanted to try to live and study in England. But somehow I always planned on studying in Scandinavia. I guess one of the main reasons for that was that it is very expensive to study in the UK and USA, especially if you are from Iceland. But somehow, after a very spontaneous decision caused by a late night, red wine infused phone conversation with my cousin, who lives in London, I ended up in an audition and got into a school in London! And now, three years later I’m still not done with this city. But New York is still very much in the picture.

HVUM: You have studied at the prestigious Institute for Contemporary Music Performance in London Tell us about your work at ICMP.

OE: I actually studied at another college first, London Centre of Contemporary Music. I was there for 2 years in a B.Mus course, but decided to move to ICMP for the last year and got into the 3rd year of a B.A course in Creative Musicianship. It was a very good decision for me and the direction I’m going with my music. I met some amazing and inspiring teachers there, and because of them, I ended up doing a final performance with my original music, that had until that day only been performed within the four walls of my bedroom.
I also made a short documentary about my home and my family. It was some sort of an attempt to explain me as a musician, because I think that where you are from must have a big impact on what you create later on. At least it does for me.

HVUM: We’ve listened to your music posted on SoundCloud You have a very distinct, strong and melodious voice. You perform a range of genres from jazz, to folk to bluegrass, for example. In fact, you have been in a number of bands including “Brother Grass”.

Tell us about your preferences for different genres of music and your involvement with bands.

OE: I think it is important, especially as a songwriter to be open for different kind of sounds. I love listening to different kinds of genres as well as I like singing different styles of music. Like I said before, I’ve studied both classical and jazz singing, as well as having grown up in a folk music family. You can clearly hear all of those elements in my own music.

Brother Grass was formed in one of those attempts to broaden my musical horizons. I was studying in FÍH at that time, and so was Hildur, Sandra and Soffía, the other members of the band. We decided to arrange one concert together where the music from the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou was the focus point. 4 years and 2 albums later, we are still going strong. Oh and I must not forget the Brother Grass! My brother, Örn, to be exact. He is the only boy in the band.

But what I’m most excited about these days is my solo project. After that inspiring year at ICMP I’ve started writing even more and have gotten myself a group of amazing people to perform with. Aron Óskarsson (who I also perform with in a London based jazz band called Good as Gold), Helga Ragnarsdóttir and Anil Kamalagharan are 3 fantastic musicians and great friends that I’ve been so lucky to have with me on this adventure.

Me and Anil are also working on a collaboration project we call Tutela. We are making some kind of cinematic, ethereal music that is very much done through improvisation. I’m extremely excited about that project. We plan on releasing an album in the new year.

HVUM: We certainly recommend that our followers check out your music on SoundCloud are there two or three songs that you’d like them to hear? Why do you choose those tracks? Special reasons?

OE: There are three songs that are very close to my heart.

Pillow talk is a song that I wrote when I was going through my first real heartache. I mean, we all have to write that one sentimental song about ones broken heart, right?

Ástarnetið is another song I’m very proud of. The poem is by my favorite Icelandic poet, Páll Ólafsson. Too bad you can’t understand the words, but I assure you, they are beautiful! :) Anil Kamalagharan did the arrangement for that song.

Conversation in a Cathedral is an improvised piece by me and Anil. It was the first time we met for out Tutela collaboration. Both of us improvised a melody over few piano chords, without hearing what the other had done. We then put the two melodies together and the fitted perfectly, like a conversation.

HVUM: You mentioned earlier that you have an interest in drama and film. Do you consider music to be your lead objective followed by other interests or do your interests converge in one way or another?

OE: I think it is very much intertwined. For me, performing music is to tell a story, or paint a picture with sounds. Folk music is all about telling a story and that is why I am drawn to making music that takes the listener on a journey and I it would be a dream come true to write music for films and theatre.

HVUM: With that in mind, we’d like to show our followers your video-documentary Heim.

Heim from Ösp Eldjárn on Vimeo.

HVUM: What are your career plans for the London scene, or better, what are your short-term goals in general?

OE: My short-term plans are to perform my music live and get more into the London scene. I have some exciting gigs coming up in November and I’m also planning on releasing a single, followed by an EP in the spring. Tutela project is also taking an exciting route, so stay tuned for that :)

Ösp, thank you very much for taking time to share your story and your work with us. We know that you’ll b releasing exciting new work in the near future, so let’s stay in contact. We look forward to meeting up again soon!

Visit Ösp Eldjárn on Facebook at

7 October 2014

WINTER FILM AWARDS challenges the local New York City community to create a 4-7 minute short film in a specified genre, tagline and prop in just a single gonzo weekend! Thirty teams of the most creative people in the tri-state area have just 48 sleepless hours to decide what they are going to do, write a screenplay, assemble props, costumes and actors, rehearse, shoot, score and edit their film. Students, amateurs, and seasoned industry veterans alike learn the importance of caffeine, team work and time management in successful filmmaking.

For the 2012 Challenge, teams had to contend with a large brightly-colored snowflake sugar cookie and a tagline from Fight Club. For the 2013 Challenge, we made it even more difficult — Teams had a tagline from Ghostbusters and Gray Line New York provided each team with one-hour private shooting time on a double-decker sightseeing tour bus, complete with Tour Guide and Driver. What will we come up with this year?

Visit the WFA YouTube playlist to view all of the amazing films from last year.

The 2014 WFA 48-Hour Film Challenge gets under way on Friday November 7 at 8pm. A representative from each team must come to our offices at 419 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10003 at 8pm to sign in to the Challenge. Entries may be shot either via traditional filmmaking equipment or teams can do the whole thing on smartphones. There is no fee to participate in the challenge, but teams must pre-register to ensure a spot.

Completed films are uploaded to YouTube to garner the coveted “Fan Favorite” vote – for the 2013 Challenge, films received 65k views!

On Friday November 21, the best entries will be screened at Blondies (212 W 79th St, New York NY 10024) followed by an Award Ceremony, awesome prizes and networking party. Over $7k in prizes will be awarded for BEST PICTURE and FAN FAVORITE. Awesome prizes generously provided by B&H Photo, Ride of Fame, Jungle Software, Indoor Extreme Sports, The Paint Place, Chelsea Piers, Sleep No More / The McKittrick Hotel, Pole Position Raceway, NY SKYRIDE, City Wine Tours and others!

For challenge rules, prizes, registration details, participating sponsors and more information about the Winter Film Awards, please visit

WINTER FILM AWARDS mission is to recognize excellence and diversity in cinema and to promote learning and expression for all artists at all stages of their careers. We celebrate the cultural mixture that is New York City, showcasing emerging filmmakers from every age, ethnic, racial, religious, cultural, political and geographic perspective. The 48-Hour Challenge format gives filmmakers a chance to work closely with a team and to intensely focus while just going out and doing it!

Winter Film Awards INC.

September is finishing, and so is summer apparently. We’ve had an amazingly warm month where Parisians haven’t had their notorious cranky attitude, but they’ve actually seemed to enjoy their life, taking their “apéros” near the canals and lying down on the beautiful parks.

ÉCU team has had a busy but exciting month; we received loads of cool indie film submissions and we made new festival partners from all around the world! We feel that joining the forces with other festivals could help the very best talents to screen their fresh and innovative films to as many international audiences and industry representatives as possible.

Indeed this month our beloved partner Naperville Independent Film Festival in the US has shown 14 films from the 2014 edition of ÉCU to the American audiences. We are very happy and proud of this long-lasting collaboration and we cannot wait for October, when other two European festivals will showcase our films: Tyrolean Independent Film Festival in Austria and Aarhus Independent Pixels in Denmark.

Being surrounded by the long and naked legged fashion week models, Paris is surrounded by beauty and charm. If you are a filmmaker there is no more excuse for procrastinating… Send us your films; we would love to see what the indie world has to offer this autumn!

Don’t forget to stay in touch with ÉCU through our channels: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more… We will make sure you will keep being updated with the latest news about independent cinema, about autumn events in Paris and other interesting and amusing stuff.

First published on 25 September 2014

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Malika Makouf Rasmussen

Malika Makouf Rasmussen

San Francisco Auditorium embraces hybrid musical and visual identities – a new piece by Malika Makouf Rasmussen and Ken Furudate. Its very essence is the incorporation of various cultural traits as a challenge to the myth of singular and absolute representation.

Release in Oslo, Norway – October 11 @ Cafeteatret

Line up:
Malika; strings, percussion, sound design
Ken Furudate; video art, sound design
Safaa Al-Saadi; nai and percussion
Ketil Kielland Lund; keys and flugelhorn
Luis Landa-Schreitt; drums and percussion

Malika Makouf Rasmussen (France/Norway/Algeria) is a critically acclaimed composer, musician and music producer and a philosopher. Incorporating a variety of African and Western instruments blended with electronic sounds forms the sole foundation for her music. She has performed extensively throughout Europe and Africa and has staged numerous festivals and music venues across the world. In 2013 she met the international touring renowned artist, programmer and designer Ken Furudate (Japan) in Tunisia: San Francisco Auditorium is the result of a fruitful artistic encounter that took place between them.

Samples from the piece are included below in Malika2014.

Visit Malika Rasmussen at

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