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Meet the New Yorker who moved to Spain to become a flamenco dancer

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Leilah Broukhim isn’t a typical flamenco dancer. For starters she was born and raised in New York City, to parents of Sephardic Persian heritage.

But after being inspired by a flamenco class while studying film at Columbia University she arrived in Seville in 2000 with plans to spend no longer than a year learning more about the art.

Needless to say, she stayed a lot longer than that and built up a career as a dancer on the tablao circuit before launching her own projects.

“When I first started out, there really weren’t many foreign dancers at a professional level,” Broukhim explains. “It wasn’t that it was closed off to anyone outside Spain, it just wasn’t the norm.”

But since flamenco was inscribed on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, the art has seen a surge in popularity and it has become much more common to see foreigners studying flamenco here.

“It wasn’t that those in the flamenco scene weren’t welcoming, I just felt I had to work harder as it’s not part of the culture I was brought up with. I had to prove to myself as much as anyone that I deserved to be here and was as good as those who came from a flamenco tradition that goes back centuries,”explains Broukhim.

“So I studied hard, went to a lot of shows, worked with amazing people and absorbed everything I could.”

Last year, Broukhim directed and performed in the inaugural show at Madrid’s Centro Cultural Flamenco with a show inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca, a show that ran from the opening in February 2019 until it was forced to close at the start of the pandemic earlier this year.

“It was show inspired by the poet’s love of flamenco. He was very influenced by the music and plight of the art form at the time, it and the people who performed it were very marginalized but he championed them and in fact supported the first ever flamenco competition in 1922 in Granada.

“It was a fantastic experience, not only in getting closer to Lorca’s work but we formed our own really close flamenco family,” Broukhim reminisced.

Less than a year later and it is hard to believe that the flamenco world is in such dire straits. For the coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the entire performing arts sector not least in Spain where the industry was so reliant on tourism.

A recent report by the Unión Flamenca revealed that 42 percent of those artists professionally employed in the flamenco sector will be forced to retrain and in art that requires 100 percent dedication, many don’t have other skills to fall back on.

“It’s very hard, for many of us flamenco goes beyond a passion, we have dedicated our lives to it but right now the whole sector has been hit really hard. Most flamenco artists don’t have a backup plan.”

For Broukhim though, the coronavirus crisis has provided a pause and an opportunity to pursue other passions. “It was tough all of a sudden to just stop flamenco but it also gave me a chance to take a breath and think about other things I wanted to do.”

“The lockdown gave me time to dedicate my time to yoga, meditation, to look inside myself rather than project myself to an audience and that was really valuable,” she said shyly. “It also gave me a chance to concentrate on writing my own music, playing guitar and singing.”

Lockdown saw Broukhim collaborate with guitarrist Cristian O. Gugliara and producer Fernando Vacas and launch four singles.

“It’s very far removed from flamenco, more of an American psychedelic folk sound,” says Broukhim, who during lockdown released her music videos on youtube and performed live concerts on instagram and facebook.

“The reponse was great, so I’m taking it further and have formed a band, and we’re playing our first gig, in a covid-19 safe environment, in Madrid next week!” she laughed. If you told me five years ago that I’d be doing this, I’d never believe you!”.

“But we have to adapt to survive.”

Read from source: https://www.thelocal.es/20201123/meet-the-new-yorker-who-moved-to-spain-to-become-a-flamenco-star

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Ralph & Russo put Dubai on the fashion map

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Ralph & Russo is an international luxury fashion brand known for its designs that are described as both contemporary and timelessly elegant. The brand was created in London in 2010 by Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo. In 2014, it became the first British guest member in almost 100 years to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show their first runway collection as part of the Spring/Summer season.

In an inclusive interview with founders, Tamara and Michael, Euronews’ Jane Witherspoon got the lowdown on the iconic brand.

How did the brand come about, what did you want that brand to stand for?

Tamara Ralph: It really grew out of a passion for luxury and craftsmanship and design. I come from four generations of fashion and haute couture in my family. And when we had a chance meeting, it was something that we talked about, setting up a luxury brand. And we always had a vision to have a global luxury brand.

You were invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, the first British brand to showcase a Fashion Week in almost 100 years.

Tamara Ralph: It was really quite a big milestone and the first Australians ever to be invited. And you know it was always something that was very important for the brand. To be recognised by the Chambless Syndicale was an incredibly important achievement.

We had obviously, the support of Didier Grumbach, at the time who was the president and was actually responsible for discovering a lot of the big names in fashion and nurturing their careers. So it was wonderful to have the support.

How do you personally define couture?

Tamara Ralph: Couture is an art. You know, all of our clients that purchase couture, they purchase it for generations. It’s really something that’s an investment. It’s like a piece of jewellery. It’s something that you’ll pass down and keep forever. And for us, that’s really special.

How have dressmaking techniques changed over the years? How have you adopted the changes? Have you stayed traditional?

Tamara Ralph: So we have a really big atelier, actually, that specialises in the couture side. And then we have obviously craftsmen in the house that specialise in other product categories, such as ready to wear and things like that. But in the couture atelier, there’s forty-five languages spoken. There’s ages ranging from 16 all the way up until the 60s. And it’s really nice to have that mix of the old techniques get more modern applications and things like that. We like to push and constantly innovate. We run apprentice programmes in-house where we can train and develop and innovate as well. So that’s really important.

You’ve dressed many wonderful clients, like Meghan Markle. Is that a challenge? How exciting or daunting is it?

Tamara Ralph: No, I think it was very it was very exciting, obviously, you know.

I think it was such an iconic moment because obviously not just because of the two of them, but also because of her choice of piece for the day, which was, you know, a little bit different to what I think, you know, some people were expecting. And I think that’s nice. It showed her personality. It pushed the boundaries.

Do your clients have much input if you’re designing something specific and special for them, or do you come up with the idea and see it through to completion?

Tamara Ralph: Both

Michael Russo: We’ve had some really diverse celebrity moments from stage outfits for Beyonce to the costume outfits for Angelina Jolie, for Maleficent. It’s been so diverse. So the challenge is always there.

Tamara Ralph: Yeah but also I think with clients, all of our private clients, it’s a very personal experience, you know, no matter if they’re a celebrity or a private client. And, you know, we love to guide them and be part of the process and be very involved.

How hard has it been to showcase virtually?

Tamara Ralph: It was an evolution, that’s for sure. I think that it’s difficult to create the connection that you have with the physical show. I think that was something that was the hardest part to kind of keep, alive. But I loved the innovations and things.

I thought it was very interesting just to push the boundaries with digital, to play with new ideas. But, you know, I think that the traditional fashion shows are still very important and are important to get that sense of what the collection is about, So, you know, a balance of both going forward. I think one is just as important as the other.

Why did you choose to launch in Dubai?

Michael Russo: Well, I think Dubai has got such a multicultural following, and I think for us as well, it’s a product that’s well suited for the market.

It’s got a customer base that’s very akin to Ralph & Russo and well known to Ralph & Russo. For us in this region, it was definitely our first flagship in the region.

Would you say you have a different clientele in Dubai?

Michael Russo: I think in Dubai we find that there’s a lot of tourists here and those tourists are typically Ralph Russo clients already. So the products that we’re offering here are still akin to the ones that we use worldwide and I think relevant to our worldwide customer as well as the local market. So I think it’s a nice little mix of local and international clients.

Do you think that the fashion scene in Dubai is growing? How does it compare to known fashion cities like New York, Milan, London and Paris.

Tamara Ralph: Well, I think it’s definitely, you know, integral to the Gulf region. Yeah, you know, it’s really the hub of the region. It’s so incredibly international. And I think, you know, it’s a huge destination for fashion for the region. So, yeah, I think it’s incredibly important.

You’re about to become a mum for the first time, how is that going to change your work-life balance?

Tamara Ralph: Yeah, of course. I mean, it teaches you definitely to kind of find that balance, which I think I probably didn’t have before. And so, you know, I have a great team.

You know, we have an amazing support structure internally in the company. And we’ll find a way, you know, and plus it might be a chance to kind of venture into a full fledged childrenswear line. You know, well, I’m having a girl, so now we have our first model.

You’re expanding into accessories, are there beauty lines down the line?

Tamara Ralph: What’s been amazing actually through, just before Covid and also through Covid is, you know, a few different things. We were able to kind of reset our thinking, focus on what we’d like to achieve in the next couple of years. And so, you know, cosmetics and beauty is something we’re very interested in. Home and furnishings and everything connected to that sector is actually something that we’ve been slowly putting in the works for a little bit of time.

 

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/21/ralph-russo-put-dubai-on-the-fashion-map\

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Michael Apted: TV documentary pioneer and film-maker dies aged 79

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Film director Michael Apted, best known for the Up series of TV documentaries following the lives of 14 people every seven years, has died aged 79.

He also directed Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas In The Mist and the 1999 Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.

The original 7 Up in 1964 set out to document the life prospects of a range of children from all walks of life.

The show was inspired by the Aristotle quote “give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man”.

The first 7 Up show was followed by 14 Up at the start of the next decade, which interviewed the same children as teenagers – and the pattern was set right up until 63 Up in 2019.

Throughout all those intervening years ITV viewers became engrossed with the stories of private school trio Andrew, Charles and John, of Jackie who went through two divorces, of Nick who went from jobless and homeless to Liberal Democrat councillor, and of working class chatterbox Tony, whose life ambition was to become a jockey.

Apted’s shows – which won three Bafta awards – have often been described as the forerunner of modern-day reality TV series, giving its participants the time to tell their own stories on screen.

But unlike their modern counterparts, the original Up children tended to fade away from the limelight in the seven years between each chapter.

In 2008, Apted was made a companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the British film and television industries.

‘Remarkable’ career

Thomas Schlamme, president of the Directors Guild of America, said Apted was a “fearless visionary” whose legacy would live on.

He said Apted, who was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, “saw the trajectory of things when others didn’t and we were all beneficiaries of his wisdom and lifelong dedication”.

ITV’s managing director Kevin Lygo said the director’s six-decade career was “in itself truly remarkable”.

He said the Up series “demonstrated the possibilities of television at its finest in its ambition and its capacity to hold up a mirror to society and engage with and entertain people while enriching our perspective on the human condition”.

“The influence of Michael’s contribution to film and programme-making continues to be felt and he will be sadly missed,” Lygo added.

Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond film franchise, said Apted “was a director of enormous talent” and “beloved by all those who worked with him”.

“We loved working with him on The World Is Not Enough and send our love and support to his family, friends and colleagues,” they said.

A post on the Twitter account of the band Garbage, who performed the theme for The World Is Not Enough, labelled Apted a “delightful, charming soul”.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Composer David G Arnold, who composed the Bond theme and worked with Apted on three other non-Bond movies, said he felt “lucky” to work with him.

“A more trusting, funny, friendly and, most importantly, kind, person you’d never meet. So pleased to have known him and so sad that he’s gone,” Arnold wrote on Twitter.

 

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55597263

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Liverpool FC anthem singer Gerry Marsden dies aged 78

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Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden, whose version of You’ll Never Walk Alone became a football terrace anthem for his hometown club of Liverpool, has died at the age of 78.

His family said on Sunday he died after a short illness not linked to Covid-19.

Marsden’s band was one of the biggest success stories of the Merseybeat era, and in 1963 became the first to have their first three songs top the chart.

But the band’s other best known hit was Ferry Cross The Mersey came in 1964.

It was written by Marsden himself as a tribute to his city, and reached number eight.

Marsden was made an MBE in 2003 for services to charity after supporting victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

At the time, he said he was “over the moon” to have received the honour, following his support for numerous charities across Merseyside and beyond.

Liverpool FC posted on social media that Marsden’s words would “live on forever with us”.

While Marsden was a songwriter as well as a singer, his most enduring hit was actually a cover of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical number from 1945, that he had to convince his bandmates to record as their third single.

In many interviews over the years, he explained how fate played a part in his band ever recording the song. He was watching a Laurel and Hardy movie at Liverpool’s Odeon cinema in the early 1960s and, only because it was raining, he decided to stay for the second part of a double feature.

That turned out to be the film Carousel – which featured that song on its soundtrack – and Marsden was so moved by the lyrics that he became determined that it should become part of his band’s repertoire.

In a 2013 interview, Marsden told the Liverpool FC website how You’ll Never Walk Alone was adopted by the club’s fans as soon as it topped the chart in 1963: “I remember being at Anfield and before every kick off they used to play the top 10 from number 10 to number one, and so You’ll Never Walk Alone was played before the match. I was at the game and the fans started singing it.

“When it went out of the top 10 they took the song off the playlist and then for the next match the Kop were shouting ‘Where’s our song?’ So they had to put it back on.

“Now, every time I go to the game I still get goose pimples when the song comes on and I sing my head off.”

Sir Kenny Dalglish, who managed Liverpool at the time of the Hillsborough tragedy, tweeted that he was “saddened” by the news of Marsden’s death, and that You’ll Never Walk Alone was an “integral part of Liverpool Football Club, and never more so than now”.

Analysis

By BBC Radio Merseyside’s Spencer Leigh

Gerry was an entertainer. He loved being an entertainer; he loved people seeing him in the street and asking him for his autograph and the like.

He had a very distinctive voice, and that is terribly important. You knew instantly it was him on those records. He was best on those ballads.

I think he really did them very well indeed. You’ll Never Walk Alone was a big show song that had been around for years and years, and lots of people had done it.

Just before Gerry brought his version out, Johnny Mathis brought his out. If that version had been played on the Kop, I don’t think the Kop would have taken to it because you couldn’t sing along with Johnny Mathis – he had too big a range and too perfect a voice.

But Gerry sounded like everyman and it was absolutely perfect for the Kop. I think it’s the greatest football anthem of the lot.

As well as being a Liverpool anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone has also been adopted by fans at both Celtic in Scotland and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram posted a tribute on Twitter, saying he was “devastated” by the news.

Marsden’s career began at legendary live music venue, The Cavern Club, where The Pacemakers played nearly 200 times.

The club said on Twitter that Marsden was “not only a legend, but also a very good friend of The Cavern”.

Gerry and The Pacemakers were spotted by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who gave them the song How Do You Do It, which had been turned down by the Fab Four and Adam Faith, for their debut single.

The band achieved nine hit singles and two hit albums between 1963 and 1965, before splitting up.

Marsden pursued a solo career before the band reformed in 1974 for a world tour.

In 1985, Marsden was back in the pop spotlight when he was invited to be one of the vocalists of a charity version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which was released to raise funds for victims of a fire at a Bradford City match.

In doing so, Marsden set another chart record by becoming the first person to sing on two different chart-topping versions of the same song.

So when, after the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, the other Pacemakers classic of Ferry Cross The Mersey was chosen to raise funds for its victims and a group of famous Liverpudlian singers was gathered, Marsden was again included and was back at number one once more for a cause he held dear for the rest of his life.

Marsden was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in April 2009, an occasion he marked by boarding a ferry across the Mersey and getting out his guitar to sing his famous hit which described the scene.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55524795

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