Entries in Music (5)


Music at Gitmo Not for Torture, Pentagon Claims

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Music is being used at the Guantanamo Bay military detention facility, but it's not considered torture as some reports have stated, according to the Pentagon.

Capt. John Kirby told reporters, "Music is used both in a positive way and as a disincentive.  We don’t torture."

There had been stories of Gitmo detainees having to listen to kids' songs from Sesame Street, but Kirby wouldn't verify it.

The Pentagon spokesman said, "I don’t know what the playlist is.  It’s done in a measured way, in keeping with our obligation and commitment to treating detainees humanely."

Still, an Al Jazeera-produced documentary called Songs of War alleges that detainees must regularly listen to songs through headphones over long periods of time.

Christopher Cerf, who writes songs for Sesame Street, was outraged that his music was on the playlist, telling Al Jazeera: "The idea that my music had a role in that is kind of outrageous. This is fascinating to me…because of the horror of music being perverted to serve evil purposes."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Euro Crisis Delays Berlusconi’s Album Release

Ian Waldie/Getty Images(ROME) -- A casualty of the European debt crisis is the release date of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s new album of love songs.

The album, the fourth by the former cruise ship singer, was due for release in September, but is now scheduled for as late as Nov. 22 due to the country’s massive debt problems and his own legal issues, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

The album, True Love, with words by Berlusconi and music by guitarist Mariano Apicella, even had a launch party planned in Milan, reported the Guardian.

The Italian prime minister reportedly sang at Bar Kontiki on the island of Elba in the 1950s and 1960s while he was studying law. Berlusconi, who has said he will not run for re-election in 2013, was even offered his old job again.

The CD’s release came as a European deal to decrease Greek’s debt, which could avoid a financial meltdown on the continent, threatens to unravel.

A billionaire mostly from his media empire, Berlusconi is serving his third and most tempestuous term as prime minister. He survived a vote of no-confidence on Oct. 14, and is facing two criminal investigations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stage Collapses at Canadian Music Festival

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- The main stage at the Ottowa Bluesfest music festival collapsed Sunday just 20 minutes into a performance by rock group Cheap Trick, leaving attendees stunned and at least three people injured.

"Everyone is okay and we are so lucky to be alive and hope that all the fans are okay too," the band wrote on their Facebook page.

Toronto's Globe and Mail reports a piece of the stage pierced the abdomen of a 46-year-old man, whose injuries also included a fractured pelvis and a fractured leg. He's in an Ottawa hospital in serious condition. Two others were taken to the hospital with a chest injury and a neck injury, respectively.

Prior to the event, winds were forecast to exceed 50 miles per hour.  Due to the weather conditions, a scheduled performance by headliner Death Cab for Cutie was also canceled.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Frozen Melodies: At Norway Festival, Ice Music Celebrates Winter

ABC News(GEILO, Norway) -- They are instruments that make the sound of winter; the melodies of a frozen orchestra. Under a full winter moon, Norwegian musicians celebrated the season with instruments made of ice.

Everything about the annual Ice Music Festival in the mountain town of Geilo, Norway is up to Mother Nature.

"For most people in winter, [the snow and ice] has no value, it's just something you want to get rid of," festival creator Terje Isungset said at this year's festival in early February. "But I find a sound, when I find a sound, I try to work with it and create music with it."

Learning to make music from ice has been a journey of discovery for Isungset. It began when he was commissioned to perform at a festival in Norway in 2000 at a frozen waterfall.

"I didn't know what to do, but I had one idea, I wanted to make an ice harp," he said. "I discovered many things that I never imagined, sounds that I never imagined."

The ice is harvested from a frozen lake 25 miles north of Geilo. Ice cutters search for the clearest, cleanest ice. Using chain saws, they cut huge 600-pound blocks. Ice cutter Evan Rugg said they've seen some of the clearest ice ever this year. They've learned that the best sound comes from ice with no bubbles or cracks.

For this year's festival, ice sculptor Bill Covitz -- a Connecticut business owner whose company Ice Matters creates sculptures for weddings and events in the United States -- fashioned two ice horns, an ice guitar and a five-string harp. But the most beautiful sounds, he says, come from the icicle-like chimes and what he calls the "iceophone" -- the frozen cousin of a xylophone.

"Sometimes ice is completely dead, and sometimes, it is fantastic, so it's really up to the winter," Covitz said.

"It is really hard to make music on ice and to work with ice. And what we do is nearly impossible."

And what exactly does ice sound like? "It is impossible to compare to anything," Isungset said.

Using ice's low frequencies, he creates music that is rooted in traditional Norwegian folk, but with international influences.

Performing with nature's vital resource is "a great honor," Isungset said. "These instruments are not mine, I just borrow them from the earth. I give them back after each use."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Heavy Metal in Baghdad Now Means Music, Not Tanks

Photo Courtesy - Fatalogy/Facebook(BAGHDAD) -- Heavy metal is back in Baghdad and for a change that doesn't mean tanks or artillery.

More than 300 "metalheads" defied the dangers of being in a Baghdad crowd -- which are tempting targets for terrorists -- to rock out with the band Fatalogy last week on Karradah Street. Earlier this month worshippers at a Christian church were massacred in the Karradah neighborhood.

The only violence at the Fatalogy performance, however, was the high decibel assault on the ears and the fans leaping into the mosh pit.

The name of the band and much of their music reflects the grim reality of Baghdad's recent past. Fatalogy is a combination of the English word "fatal" and the scientific suffix "logy," understandable in a city where death has been common thanks to armed militias, al Qaeda, and exploding arsenals of IEDs, car bombs, mortars, and the like.

Heavy metal has been popular in Baghdad since the early 1990s and boasted half a dozen bands during Saddam Hussein's regime. It disappeared from the stage after the 2003 U.S. invasion, surviving only on CDs and YouTube videos. With a fragile security seemingly taking hold, heavy metal bands are emerging once again.

The band opened its show with two original songs, one called "Abu Ghraib" and the other "War After War." Abu Ghraib was a notorious prison under Saddam and the now-shuttered jail took on a new meaning for Iraqis after the U.S. invasion, when pictures surfaced of U.S. some soldiers mistreating terror suspects who had been held there.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio