This feature can also be found at the South West Londoner, here.
This year's Proms are going to be taking an interesting turn, with the introduction of the Urban Classic Prom.
stands out as a unique event for the Royal Albert Hall show, bringing
the classical flavour of the BBC Symphony Orchestra with the grime,
hip-hop and soul inclusions of Fazer (a former member of N-Dubz), Laura
Mvula and Maverick Sabre.
will the marriage of styles be well received by the general public? Not
that I don't think it should, but because the Proms are often thought
of as something of a musical sacred ground.
year's Prom was rather straight-laced, sticking almost entirely to
orchestra and operatic work, though taking both vintage and modern
pieces. To that end, infusing another genre, especially one that's often
(unfairly) considered as non-compatible with high-class concerts, may
concern is shared by Jules Buckley, the concert conductor, but he
remains confident that the audience can be as unified as the music. This
has me more interested in the Prom than I have been in a long time.
have been experimental acts in the past (Yo-Yo Ma's collaboration with
the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2011 is a good example), and there was a
Bollywood number in 2009, but the Urban Classic Prom is a genre first
for the event.
with genre are some of the most fascinating things you can do with
music. For a major event like the Proms, they have a perfect platform to
introduce the idea that blurring the lines of genre can be something
worthy of a high-class performance.
On the flipside, those who find the orchestra scene difficult to access can also become acquainted to new horizons - collisions of subculture genres with classical music have been tried before to some great effect.
G. Prokofiev/Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra
is an album exactly like what it sounds. Released in 2010, turntablist
DJ Yoda turns a performance from the Heritage Orchestra into a
beat-juggled masterpiece, using the beat making sensibilities that have served high quality hip-hop for decades.
a fairly major part of the urban music scene to go to complex lengths
to create music tracks - and the very best uses inventive source
As a classic example, the 'Amen Break' is
an incredibly well-known sample used across all different genres and
social scenes, and it all spawned from a funk/soul joint from 1969.
current pop and hip-hop music industries have adopted the sounds of
'chiptune', the bleeps and boops that formed the soundtracks of games
from the 70s to the 90s. We hear them now in tracks from Labrinth to
Ke$ha to Crystal Castles. Many hip-hop tunes use direct samples, and an entire genre has recently formed from the marriage of rap and video game music.
lot of this kind of sampling and genre experimenation happened back
when hip-hop and electronic music was still 'underground', not garnering
so much attention and money. These days we have Daft Punk and Kanye
West – big names in sampling. Now, remixes and mash-ups are a major part
of musical expression (although sometimes lawyers disagree.)
the Proms, we have a major musical event that heavily features a
celebration of historically famous material. The Urban Classic Prom is
more than sampling; it's a direct collaboration between styles, eras and
cultures. It holds the potential for being just so... rich and interesting.
fact, it's not the only musical mash-up that will appear at the Prom
this year - The Stranglers, a punk band, will be playing with the London
Sinfonietta on 12 August. My knowledge of Punk’s musical history is
rather lacking, but I don’t doubt they’ll do it service.
Details and tickets for Urban Classical Prom are available here and information on The Stranglers performing with the Sinfonietta is available here.