Features


Pioneering actress and singer Diahann Carroll was born in 1935, in The Bronx, New York. She made a number of films during her career and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Claudine in 1974. She starred in No Strings (1962) and also appeared in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979). Her lead role in Julia in 1968, made her the first African-American woman to star in her own television series.


Diahann was an award winning actress, a successful entrepreneur, and a devoted humanitarian.






Features




Bahamian and American actor and film director, Sidney Poitier had an intensity and grace that was magnetic. His presence in film during the 50s and 60s paved the way for other Black performers.


From his humble beginnings in the Bahamas, his father was a tomato farmer, and the family was very poor. At age 16, Sidney left for New York and while working as a dishwasher in a restaurant, he saw an ad for actors for the American Negro Theatre. The theatre cofounder became impatient with his Caribbean accent and poor reading skills, and marched Sidney out of the building. Sidney later returned to the theatre and was hired as a janitor in exchange for acting lessons.


Breaking down barriers, Sidney Poitier received acclaim for Porgy and Bess (1959), A Raisin in the Sun (1961), and A Patch of Blue (1965), because of his strong roles as epic African American male characters. He continued to break ground in three successful 1967 films which dealt with issues of race and race relations: To Sir, with Love; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and In the Heat of the Night.


Sidney Poitier passed away aged 94. A true icon and legend.
















Interviews

Reinventing - invention. Beautifully unconventional.


Please let us know about you and your music...

I am an electroacoustic music composer and improviser, a music technologist and tutor, a studio and radio producer.

All my projects are more or less dealing with the balance between the electronic and the acoustic sound, using both means to create music. Another contrast that interests me a lot is mixing very antique and very futuristic elements, or memory and vision in other means.


I am enjoying releasing records, which I have done a lot lately, but not as much as I enjoy performing, especially improvising with other free improvisers. I am a devoted member of the London Improvisers Orchestra and I have met lot of amazing music collaborators through this artist community since I migrated from Greece more than ten years ago.


This is also the time where I began making my own compositions using my cultural heritage and my homesickness as a starting point, as well as my enthusiasm about all the new inspirations that I found in my new home.



Are you trained or self-taught? Where did it all begin? I am originally trained in Visual Arts (M.A in Still and Film Photography). My interest in music making was always there but really undercurrent. In 2006 I decided to sell all my photographic equipment and to define myself as a full-time exploratory music artist (so leaving a slightly unstable freelance job for an even more uncertain one, haha).


I was not trained in any of the music disciplines that I use, at least not in an academic form. I am mainly self-taught and I learned how to use different instruments, how to make my own electronic ones, how to record and to set my gear up for gigs. I guess being a music enthusiast and listening a lot to different avant-garde music styles has taught me a lot during this process.


Hanging out with other musicians has also helped me a lot, observing their techniques and workflows, seeing them on stage, in studio and in their everyday life. And last but not least educational source was “the internet”; Although the downside was lot’s of screen time burnouts, I have to say I learned lots through e-surfing.




What/Who/Where is your dream collaboration?

It sounds bit funny to actually say it, but I feel so happy being able to have the chance to collaborate with some of my music heroes (Anna Homler, Adam Bohman, Mike Cooper, Steve Beresford and others).

My dream collaboration at the moment is to work with some sort of innovative theatre/dance theatre/ performance group, where I could use all my music skills in collaboration with other artists of different disciplines, most preferably with people from different cultural background but with a common ground in aesthetics, will for experimentation and social concerns.



For you, what is the connection between Art and Music? Music to me is part of the Arts, and Art is part of life.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw my inspiration from my personal memories and my current experiences in the everyday life. For instance, my latest album trilogy has a straightforward connotation to my early memories and nostalgia about rural antique Greek music and customs.


One of these records, called D.A.D, is straight connected and dedicated to my father from whom I was introduced to the rebetiko-bouzouki based Greek music.

On the other hand, I make instruments inspired by my everyday domestic life and objects that I find around the house, stuff that I pick from charity shops and car boot sales in the era that I live (and sometimes form the streets, haha).


Can you tell us more about Stamou Instruments?

I started this alternative instruments brand and workshop organizer provider about the same time I began making music. Having a lack of proper electronic production gear in the beginning of my career, I had to come up with altering some of my existing cheap gear and electronic toys that I was collecting, to use them in rather unusual and expressive ways.


Kids electronic pianos where turned to synthesizers and voice changers turned into effects processors during this process. Back then I had no clue about electronic engineering but this is why I came up with some very idiosyncratic hacking techniques, which I still use.



After many years of try-and-error, I have developed many DIY techniques which I apply in second hand recycled electronics, also as a statement of artistic activism against rubbish-producing consumerism. But my main interest is music, trying to extract new exiting sounds out of electronic gadgets that do not seem to have these capacities but they do after a bit of hacking. Some of them still look like toys, which is very surprising for people to watch them in shows creating some rather hi-fi electronica.


Website: Tasosstamou.com

Instagram: @tasosstamou

Facebook: Tasos Stamou