While music festivals and concerts have been cancelled in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, musicians are brightening our summer with a slew of new releases. Here is a selection of three items of music news you may have missed this weekend.
- Pharrell Williams teams with Netflix for gospel series "Voices of Fire"
The unscripted gospel series will follow the American rapper and former "The Voice" coach as he returns to his hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia, to build a gospel choir with the help of his uncle Bishop Ezekiel Williams.
Assisted by a team of influential gospel leaders, the pair will search for aspiring musicians of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.
While "Voices of Fire" is set to premiere on Netflix at a yet-unannounced date in 2020, the series will mark Williams' second project with the streaming giant.
Last June, rumors arose that Netflix was in talks with the 13-time Grammy winner and "black-ish" creator Kenya Barris to develop a feature-length musical about Juneteenth.
The duo are also reportedly working on a live stage musical about the centuries-old celebration, which commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States.
- David Gilmour releases first new song in five years, "Yes, I Have Ghosts"
The former Pink Floyd frontman has given a wide release to his latest single, "Yes, I Have Ghosts," which was composed for the audio adaptation of his wife Polly Samson's "A Theatre for Dreamers."
Much like the new audiobook for "A Theatre for Dreamers," "Yes, I Have Ghosts" was recorded by Gilmour and Samson in their home studio, where their daughter Romany contributed to the project with backing vocals and harp.
"I was working on this song just as we went into lockdown and had to cancel a session with backing singers, but, as it turned out, the solution was right here and I couldn't be happier with the way Romany's voice blends with mine and her beautiful harp playing has been another revelation," Gilmour said in a statement.
"Yes, I Have Ghosts" is described as being inspired by a character from "A Theatre for Dreamers," in which Samson follows an "expat bohemian community" of artists, poets and scroungers on the dreamy Greek island of Hydra in the early 1960s.
The audiobook adaptation of "A Theatre for Dreamers" arrived on June 25 via publisher W.F. Howes.
- Montreux Jazz Festival announces 16 days of live music on YouTube
While the 54th edition of the festival was canceled in April amidst the coronavirus pandemic, organizers of the world-renowned event have announced the digital event "54th Summer of Music."
The online festivities, on view through July 18, will offer jazz enthusiasts the opportunity to discover a series of 16 iconic performances to watch on YouTube, many of which have never been available before.
"54th Summer of Music" kicked off this past Friday, July 3 with the world premiere of a 1983 set from legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker, in which he performed some of his most iconic songs like "Boogie Chillen," "Boom Boom" and "Jealous."
Also broadcast as part of "54th Summer of Music" are archival performances by the likes of Nina Simone, Carlos Santana, Etta James, Deep Purple with Orchestra, BB King and Charles Mingus, among others.
All profits generated by the broadcast of the concerts will benefit the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville, Tennessee, which is scheduled to open next September.
"Montreux is a titan in the popularization of Black music, not just in jazz but across genres, showcasing the wide-ranging impact of Black music and Black sounds," Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson, Vice President of Brand and Partnerships for NMAAM, said in a statement.