As socially distant concerts are becoming the new normal, musicians are soundtracking our summer with a slew of new releases. Here is a selection of three items of music news you may have missed this weekend.
- Björk announces three orchestral concerts in Reykjavík
Björk has announced a series of matinee orchestral performances in August in Iceland, at a time when her native country has virtually eliminated the coronavirus pandemic.
The concerts, collectively known as "Björk Orkestral," will take place with a live audience at Reykjavík's Harpa Hall on August 9, 15 and 23.
Björk will be accompanied by the Hamrahlíð Choir for her first matinee performance, while she will share the stage with players from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra flute septet Viibra during her second and third concerts.
Produced in association with Iceland Airwaves, "Björk Orkestral" is described by the Icelandic singer-songwriter as "'unplugged' or acoustic and performed without beats and electronics."
While Iceland-based fans interested in "Björk Orkestral" can pre-order tickets from July 2, the matinee performances will be livestreamed to raise awareness and funds for the Reykjavík-based women's shelter Kvennaathvarfið.
"I would like to invite you to some concerts to honor folks who got hit hardest in the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement and to honor how many Icelandic musicians i have worked with through the years," Björk said in a statement, also noting that she has collaborated with over 100 Icelandic musicians over the years.
- Beyoncé shares trailer for her new visual album, "Black is King"
The American singer-songwriter has announced a new visual album, entitled "Black is King," which she wrote, directed and executive produced.
The album is based on the music of "The Lion King: The Gift," which Beyoncé dropped to coincide with the theatrical release of Disney's new animated remake of "The Lion King."
While "The Lion King: The Gift" was described by Beyoncé as "a love letter to Africa," "Black is King" is said to "reimagine the lessons of 'The Lion King' for today's young kings and queens in search of their own crowns."
According to a press release, the visual album celebrates the voyages of Black families throughout time, and tells the story of a young king's journey through betrayal, love and self-identity.
"These timeless lessons are revealed and reflected through Black voices of today, now sitting in their own power. 'Black Is King' is an affirmation of a grand purpose, with lush visuals that celebrate Black resilience and culture," the announcement reads, also confirming that the visual album is set to premiere on Disney+ on July 31.
The accompanying film, which was in production for one year, will feature a cast and crew that represent "diversity and connectivity."
The announcement of "Black is King" arrives on the heels of the surprise single, "Black Parade," which Beyoncé released on Juneteenth.
At the time, the multiple Grammy winner revealed that proceeds from the song will benefit Black-owned small businesses in need through her BeyGOOD initiative.
- Kanye West and Kid Cudi collaborate for new "Kids See Ghosts" series
Kid Cudi has released a two-minute teaser for the upcoming animated show, "Kids See Ghosts,'' which is based on his 2018 collaborative album of the same name with Kanye West.
The animated series, directed by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, finds Cudi lending his voice to "Kid Fox" and West voicing "Kanye Bear."
Soundtracked by the duo's "4th Dimension," the preview clip shows the two animated characters hopping off a school bus to ride their bicycles around town, before ending in a colorful fantasy world.
Details about "Kids See Ghosts" are still scarce to this date, although Cudi indicated in his YouTube channel that the much-anticipated project will be "coming soon."
Released via West's GOOD Music Imprint, "Kids See Ghosts" initially debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart upon its release in June 2018.
Cudi later told Billboard that he was planning to continue collaborating with West under their moniker Kids See Ghosts in the future.
"There are some songs that we didn't use that I'm hopeful we can put out later. But the plan is to do more Kids See Ghosts albums," he told the publication at the time, without announcing when their new project could see the light of day.