Sing

Gary Barlow in native canoe in Solomon Islands

Gary Barlow in native canoe in Solomon Islands

Sing, a collaboration between Gary Barlow, Andrew Lloyd Webber and a host of extras from across the Commonwealth to mark the 60 years on the throne of Queen Elisabeth II, part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

It would be churlish to say Gary Barlow did not do a good job. It would have been difficult to have done otherwise with the resources he had at his disposal: Money from the BBC, a sound crew, a film crew, studio time, help from Andrew Lloyd Webber. He even managed to get a documentary out of it, Gary Barlow: On Her Majesty’s Service.

To suggest, as many have who should know better, that he had done something new, was ludicrous.

Peter Gabriel has been doing this for years.

The late Charlie Gillett used to have an excellent programme on the BBC World Service in the early hours of the morning. One of the few music programmes I considered worth listening to.

Not so long ago BBC Radio 4 had a well known musician, so well known I cannot remember who, going I think to Morocco or somewhere like that.

AfroReggae is a project in the favelas that gets kids to do music rather than violence, hitting drums rather than dealing drugs and killing each other. They opened for the Rolling Stones when they played Rio a few years ago.

Playing for Change have been connecting street musicians across the world. The money they raise goes back into education.

Gary Barlow was responsible for the Diamond Jubilee Concert. Heavily over-hyped, it must rate as one of the worst concerts I have ever seen. I could count on one hand, the number of acts worth watching. It was dire.

The BBC are displaying their usual crass stupidity. The Gary Barlow documentary Gary Barlow: On Her Majesty’s Service is only available on-line for a week (one day left as I write) and if they follow their usual bad practice, access from overseas will be blocked.

In what is a well produced and moving documentary Gary Barlow does not come across as hey, I am the famous guy from a boy band. Far from it, he shows humility. He also shows a love of music and admits he used to love to play the piano and being a singer ruined his musical skills, ‘I lost the musician in me’. Prince Charles displays a knowledge of World Music and advises seek in the nooks and crannies away from the mainstream.

Having discovered that there is real music out there, will Gary Barlow record a few albums using what he has found? Let us hope the answer is yes.

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