Articles on Music

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A raised fist carving on a highway at Touho, Grand Terre. Kanaks, New Caledonia’s Indigenous people, have struggled for independence for over 150 years. Michael Webb

Rebel music: the protest songs of New Caledonia’s independence referendum

Indigenous New Caledonians, who will vote in an independence referendum next week, have been struggling since French colonisation in 1853. Through songs, they have chronicled past traumas and resistance heroes.
The Supremes, with their polished performances and family-friendly lyrics, helped to bridge a cultural divide and temper racial tensions. AP Photo/Frings

The soundtrack of the Sixties demanded respect, justice and equality

Fifty years ago, Sly and the Family Stone sang 'We got to live together, I am no better and neither are you.' The words ring just as true today.
Hydra 1960, including Leonard Cohen (bearded, left) and Redmond Wallis (centre right in cotton shirt). Photographer unknown. Reproduced with the permission of Dorothy Wallis.

Friday essay: a fresh perspective on Leonard Cohen and the island that inspired him

Leonard Cohen's final (posthumous) book was released in Australia this week. Another new book sheds light on Cohen's life on Hydra in the 1960s and the relationships he forged with Antipodeans seeking liberation there.
Robert Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, performs in Hamburg, Germany in 1973. Heinrich Klaffs

Plagiarists or innovators? The Led Zeppelin paradox endures

How can a band so slavishly derivative – and sometimes downright plagiaristic – be also considered radically innovative and influential?
Could music one day be something we experience through augmented reality, responding to the way we move through the world? Sound supplemented with colours and shapes? Mavis Wong/The Conversation NY-BD-CC

Trust Me, I’m An Expert: How augmented reality may one day make music a visual, interactive experience

Music. The Conversation67.8 MB (download)
Today, we're hearing about a researcher who records birdsong, how tech changes music and why song might help address Indigenous language loss.
Aretha Franklin performs at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in 1989. AP Photo/Mario Suriani

How Aretha Franklin found her voice

When record executives tried to mold Franklin's sound to their liking, her career sputtered. Then legendary producer Jerry Wexler came along. His approach? Stay out of her way.

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