Posted in music

K. T. Tunstall

Scottish singer-songwriter and musician K.T.Tunstall was born 23 June 1975.Tunstall grew up in St Andrews, a town in Fife, attending Lawhead Primary, then Madras College in St. Andrews, and the High School of Dundee but she spent her last year of high school in New England at the Kent School, a selective prep school in Kent, Connecticut.She spent time busking on Church Street in Burlington, Vermnt, and at a commune in rural Vermont. Tunstall studied at Madras College in st. Andrews, Kent School in Connecticut, and at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has said: “…My earliest memories are Californian…”, attributed to a sabbatical that her father took at UCLA in 1979 Throughout Tunstall’s 20s, she played in indie music bands including Elia Drew and Tomoko. She focused on songwriting, as well as performing with members of the fledgling Fence Collective. KT Tunstall had lived with Gordon Anderson, (The Beta Band, and The Aliens), whom the song “Funnyman”, on the album Drastic Fantastic, is about. She toured with the Klezmer band Oi Va Voi, and stayed with them while they were making their album, Laughter Through Tears.

She broke into the public eye with a 2004 live solo performance of her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on Later… with Jools Holland.Her début album, Eye to the Telescope, was released in late 2004. Tunstall’s style of music varies from folk to pop. In Edinburgh and St Andrews, she played in a band called Red Light Stylus, which was regarded as one of the better bands to emerge from the limited Fife scene.The performance was notable as she had only 24 hours to prepare after scheduled performer Nas cancelled. Here performance caught the eye of many viewers, although she had previously performed it on French television only some weeks before, upstaging more established acts such as The Cure,Embrace, and The Futureheads; she then went on to top the post-show poll on the website for that episode.

Tunstall’s second album, Drastic Fantastic, was released in 2007, featuring the singles, “Hold On”, “Saving My Face” and “If Only”. Tunstall released a new acoustic album in May 2006, KT Tunstall’s Acoustic Extravaganza. Tunstall sang with Scottish band Travis on their 2007 album The Boy with No Name, on the track “Under the Moonlight”, a song written by Susie Hug (late of Katydids). KT Tunstall’s third album, titled Tiger Suit, was released in 2010. She had started her time off by travelling through the Arctic, South America and India, so as a result the album had a very primal, indigenous spirit by the time it came to recording. KT tunstall’s fifth album Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon features the single Feel It All, and was described is her most personal yet.A move away from the ‘stompy, sensitive girl-blues’ of old, it is a stripped-back, gentle affair, with strings, clarinet and euphonium adding subtle colour and is partly influenced by recent events in her life

During her career KT Tunstall has garnered many awards ln Tunstall’s breakthrough year, 2005, she received a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize, which eventually went to Antony and the Johnsons; and was awarded Best Track for her composition and performance of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by Q magazine.In January the following year, 2006, she received three BRIT nominations – British Live Act, British Breakthrough Act, and British Female Solo Artist – eventually gaining the award for British Female Solo Artist, remarking that she wished to share it with fellow nominee Kate Bush. Later the same month she was given a European Border Breakers Award, which recognises the top-selling European Union artists outside their home country. Also, in 2006 she won the Ivor Novello Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Suddenly I See”, along with Scottish Style Awards “Most Stylish Band or Musician”.

She gained more nominations in 2007 and 2008: a 2007 Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” (eventually going to Christina Aguilera for “Ain’t No Other Man”), and another BRIT nomination for British Female Solo Artist – the same accolade she had won in 2006. She has released five albums internationally: Eye to the Telescope (2004), KT Tunstall’s Acoustic Extravaganza (2006), Drastic Fantastic (2007), Tiger Suit (2010) and Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon (2013). During 2014, Tunstall wrote the song Miracle for the movie Winter’s Tale, featuring Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, and Will Smith and Also wrote a song, called We Could Be Kings, with AR Rahman, which features in the soundtrack album for the Disney movie Million Dollar Arm. She has also appeared in an episode (S01E04) of the comedy series This is Jinsy on Sky Atlantic, and I’ve seen her perform live at Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

Posted in Events

International Widows Day

International Widows Day takes place annually on 23 June to address the “poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries”. International Widows Day was established by The Loomba Foundation to raise awareness of the issue of widowhood. The significance of 23 June is that it was on that day in 1954 that Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, mother of the foundation’s founder, Lord Loomba, became a widow. The first International Widows Day took place in 2005 and was launched by Lord Loomba and the foundation’s president, Cherie Blair. By the sixth International Widows Day in 2010, events were held in Rwanda, Sri Lanka, the United States, the UK, Nepal, Syria, Kenya, India, Bangladesh and South Africa. On 21 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted 23 June as International Widows Day, endorsing by unanimous acclaim a proposal introduced by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon. As well as formally recognizing 23 June as a day of observance, the accompanying resolution called upon “Member States, the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations to give special attention to the situation of widows and their children.”

One of the foundation’s key goals is to highlight what it deschjribes as an invisible calamity. A 2010 book, Invisible, Forgotten Sufferers: The Plight of Widows Around the World, estimates that there are 245 million widows worldwide, 115 million of whom live in poverty and suffer from social stigmatization and economic deprivation purely because they have lost their husbands. As part of the Loomba Foundation’s awareness campaign, this study was presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 22 June 2010.

The Loomba Foundation was set up by philanthropist, Liberal Democrat peer, founder and executive chairman of clothing company Rinku Group, and a member of the House of Lords.Rajinder Paul “Raj” Loomba, Baron Loomba, CBE. Raj Loomba was born in Dhilwan, in the state of Punjab, India. He was educated at D.A.V. College, Jallandhar and at the State University of Iowa; his family moved to England in 1962. Loomba built up his fashion business from scratch, graduating from a stall at Widnes market to a shop, a wholesale business and then an import company, Rinku Group Ltd. The company has over 200 retail concession outlets in the UK, offices in London, Delhi and China, and supplies major retail groups.

Loomba is a member of the Rotary Club in London, the Institute of Directors and is a Freeman of the City of London. He is Chairman of the Friends of the Three Faiths Forum, is Patron of Children In Need India, and is the Founding Patron of the World Punjabi Organisation. He is Vice President of Barnardo’s and of the Safer London Foundation, a charity backed by the Metropolitan Police. In 1997 he was named Asian of the Year UK by Asian Who’s Who International. Loomba is married to Veena Chaudhry, with whom he has two daughters and one son. He has become well known for his fundraising and campaigning concerning the issue of widowhood in the developing world. His mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, was widowed at the age of 37 in India, and Loomba experienced first-hand the social and economic discrimination that widows in that country faced.

Loomba set up The Loomba Foundation in his mother’s memory. The Loomba Foundation works to raise awareness of the issue of widowhood and it raises funds to educate the children of poor widows in India and empower widows in other developing countries in south Asia and across Africa. The flagship of the charity’s awareness campaign is International Widows Day, which takes place annually on 23 June, the anniversary of his mother’s widowhood. Following a sustained campaign, on 21 December 2010 the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised, by unanimous acclaim, 23 June as International Widows Day. In recognition of his contribution to charity, in the 2008 Birthday Honours Loomba was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

On 12 January 2011 Loomba was ennobled as a life peer with the name, style and title of Baron Loomba, of Moor Park in the county of Hertfordshire. He took up his seat in the House of Lords on 13 January 2011, representing the Liberal Democrats.[He was introduced to the House on 17 January 2011, supported by the Lords McNally and Dholakia. On 21 January 2011 he gave his maiden speech in the House during a debate on the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill. In December 2016 Loomba left the Liberal Democrats and now sits as a non-affiliated Peer. Explaining his decision he said: “I now wish to concentrate on issues such as human rights, gender equality, education and above all the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”.

Loomba’s company, Rinku Group PLC, had previously made a donation of £2,500 to the leadership campaign of Nick Clegg in December 2007. His nomination to the peerage attracted controversy after it emerged that one of the three members of the House of Lords Appointments Commission who approved his appointment, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Dholakia, had accepted six overseas trips in the previous four years, paid for by Loomba’s charitable foundation, the Loomba Trust.

Posted in Events

International Public Service Day

The United Nations Public Service Day takes place Annually on June 23 To celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community”. A Public Service is described as a service which is provided by government to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus such as democratic elections, that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income. Even where public services are neither publicly provided nor publicly financed, for social and political reasons they are usually subject to regulation going beyond that applying to most economic sectors. Public service is also a course that can be studied at a college and/or university. Examples of public services are the fire brigade, police, army, and paramedics.

The UN Economic and Social Council established that the United Nations Public Service Awards be bestowed on Public Service Day for contributions made to the cause of enhancing the role, prestige and visibility of public service. Experience demonstrates that without good governance, nationally or internationally, and an efficient, competent, professional, responsive and highly dedicated public service, sustainable development and livelihood are jeopardized.

The United Nations Millennium Declaration emphasized the role of democratic and participatory governance in assuring the rights of men and women to “live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression, or injustice”. It also noted that good governance within each country is a prerequisite to “making development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want”.

The United Nations (UN) Public Service Award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service. The overall purpose of the United Nations Public Service Awards is to recognize the institutional contribution made by public servants to enhance the role, professionalism, image and visibility of the public service in the following categories: Preventing and combating corruption, Improving the delivery of services, Fostering participation in policy-making decisions. Advancing knowledge management in government and Promoting gender responsive delivery of public services.