Tales from Earthsea

The Complete Illustrated Books pf Earthsea by Ursula K.LeGuin is being published 25 Oct 2018. It contains the stories: ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’, ‘The Tombs of Atuan’, ‘The Farthest Shore’, ‘Tehanu’, ‘Tales From Earthsea’, ‘The Other Wind’, ‘The Rule of Names’, ‘The Word of Unbinding’, ‘The Daughter of Odren’, and ‘Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University’

Earthsea takes place in a vast archipelago of hundreds of islands surrounded by mostly uncharted ocean. Earthsea contains no large continents, with the archipelago resembling Indonesia or the Philippines. The largest island, Havnor, at approximately 380 miles across, is about the size of Great Britain. The cultures of Earthsea are literate non-industrial civilizations. Technologically, Earthsea is an early Iron Age society, with bronze used in places where iron is scarce. Weapons also include the use of wood and other hard but easily crafted metals. The overall climate of Earthsea is temperate, comparable to the mid-latitudes (over a distance of about 1800 miles) of the Northern hemisphere. There is a yearly transition from warm summers to cold and snowy winters, especially in northern islands like Gont and Osskil. In the southern regions of Earthsea it can be much warmer.

Most of the people of Earthsea are described as having brown skin. In the Archipelago “red-brown” skin is typical, while the people of the East Reach have darker “black-brown” complexions. The people of Osskil in the north are described as having lighter, sallow complexions, while the Kargs of the Kargad Lands are “white-skinned” and often “yellow-haired”. Magic is a central part of life in most of Earthsea, with the exception of the Kargish lands, where it is banned. There are weather workers on ships, fixers who repair boats and buildings, entertainers, and court sorcerers. Magic is an inborn talent which can be developed with training. The most gifted are sent to the school on Roke, where, if their skill and their discipline prove sufficient, they can become staff-carrying wizards. A strong theme of the stories is the connection between power and responsibility. There is often a Taoist message: “good” wizardry tries to be in harmony with the world, while “bad” wizardry, such as necromancy, can lead to an upsetting of the “balance” and threaten catastrophe. While the dragons are more powerful, they act instinctively to preserve the balance. Only humans pose a threat to it.

The Dry Land is where the people of the archipelago and reaches of Earthsea go when they die. It is a realm of shadow and dust, of eternal night where the stars are fixed in the sky, and nothing changes. The souls who live there have an empty, dreary existence, and even “lovers pass each other in silence”. Le Guin has stated that the idea of the Dry Land came from the “Greco-Roman idea of Hades’ realm, from certain images in Dante Alighieri’s work, and from one of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Elegies.”

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature, and have received many prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike. They have now been collected together in one volume-including the early short stories, Le Guin’s “Earthsea Revisioned” Oxford lecture, and new Earthsea stories, never before printed. With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition will also include over fifty illustrations by renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin, to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its people to life in a totally new way. Previous Illustrators include Pauline Ellison, Ruth Robbins, Anne Yvonne Gilbert, Gail Garraty, Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Kelly Nelson, Marion Wood Kolisch, Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess and Cliff Nielsen.

National Album Day

IMG_7054The first ever National album day takes place on Saturday October 13 2018 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the album format. During the event People are invited to play their favourite albums in full at 3:33pm.  Many musicians, producers, songwriters, record labels and the public will also be celebrating their mutual love of the album format, Throughout this week. For many it’s rare to get the opportunity to just sit and listen to a whole album but driving provides an ideal opportunity to do so, especially when driving somewhere on your own. To coincide with the first ever National Album Day A poll of over 20,000 AA members was also conducted to find out the best album to drive to and Rumours by Fleetwood Mac  was voted top.

The LP record (long play), or ​33 1⁄3 rpm microgroove vinyl record, was first introduced by Columbia Records in 1948. It was adopted by the record industry as a standard format for the “album”. Apart from relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound capability, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums. The term “album” had been carried forward from the early nineteenth century when it had been used in the titles of some classical music sets, such as Schumann’s Album for the Young Opus 68, a set of 43 short pieces.

When 78rpm records came out, the popular 10-inch disc could only hold about three minutes of sound per side, so almost all popular recordings were limited to around three minutes in lengths. Classical-music and spoken-word items generally were released on the longer 12-inch 78s, about 4–5 minutes per side. George Gershwin recorded a drastically shortened version of the seventeen-minute Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra in 1924 which was released on two sides of Victor 55225 and ran for 8m 59s. Deutsche Grammophon also produced an album for its complete recording of the opera Carmen in 1908. German record company Odeon released the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky in 1909 on 4 double-sided discs in a specially designed package. This practice of issuing albums does not seem to have been widely taken up by other record companies for many years; however, HMV provided an album, with a pictorial cover, for the 1917 recording of The Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan).

By about 1910, bound collections of empty sleeves with a paperboard or leather cover, similar to a photograph album, were sold as record albums that customers could use to store their records (the term “record album” was printed on some covers). These albums came in both 10-inch and 12-inch sizes. The covers of these bound books were wider and taller than the records inside, allowing the record album to be placed on a shelf upright, like a book, suspending the fragile records above the shelf and protecting them.

In the 1930s, record companies began issuing collections of 78 rpm records by one performer or of one type of music in specially assembled albums, typically with artwork on the front cover and liner notes on the back or inside cover. Most albums included three or four records, with two sides each, making six or eight compositions per album. When the 12-inch vinyl LP era began in 1949, the single record often had the same or similar number of tunes as a typical album of 78s, and was still often referred to as an “album”, as they still are today. With the advent of the long-playing record (LP), a ​33 1⁄3 rpm microgroove vinyl disc introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, the term was adapted to a single disk which held as much programming as at least four 78s, obscuring the metaphor.

An album may be recorded in a recording studio (fixed or mobile), in a concert venue, at home, in the field, or a mix of places. The time frame for completely recording an album varies between a few hours and several years. This process usually requires several takes with different parts recorded separately, and then brought or “mixed” together.

Recordings that are done in one take without overdubbing are termed “live”, even when done in a studio. Studios are built to absorb sound, eliminating reverberation, so as to assist in mixing different takes; other locations, such as concert venues and some “live rooms”, allow for reverberation, which creates a “live” sound. The majority of studio recordings contain an abundance of editing, sound effects, voice adjustments, etc. With modern recording technology, musicians can be recorded in separate rooms or at separate times while listening to the other parts using headphones; with each part recorded as a separate track.

Album covers and liner notes are used, and sometimes additional information is provided, such as analysis of the recording, and lyrics or librettos. Historically, the term “album” was applied to a collection of various items housed in a book format. In musical usage the word was used for collections of short pieces of printed music from the early nineteenth century Later, collections of related 78rpm records were bundled in book-like albums one side of a 78 rpm record could hold only about 3.5 minutes of sound). When long-playing records were introduced, a collection of pieces on a single record was called an album; Gradually The term album was extended to other recording media such as Compact audio cassette, compact disc, MiniDisc, and digital albums, as they were introduced


Paul Simon

Award-winning American singer & Musician Paul Simon was born on October 13TH 1941. His fame, influence and commercial success began in 1964 as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel,. Simon wrote most of the pair’s songs, including three that reached No. 1 on the U.S. singles charts: “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. In 1964 Simon and Garfunkel’s first LP, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M was released. Simon then moved to England to pursue a solo career by touring folk clubs and coffee houses. He recorded his solo LP The Paul Simon Songbook & also co-wrote several songs including “I Wish You Could Be Here,” “Cloudy”, ”Red Rubber Ball” & “The Sound of Silence” as well as the albums: Sounds of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Bookends; and the hugely successful Bridge over Troubled Water and also contributed extensively to the soundtrack of the Mike Nichols film The Graduate , starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. Simon and Garfunkle parted ways, after which Simon continued his solo projects after Bridge over Troubled Water, reuniting occasionally with Garfunkel for various projects, such as their 1975 Top Ten single “My Little Town”. which was included on their respective solo albums: Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years; and Garfunkel’s Breakaway.

After Simon and Garfunkel split in 1970, Simon recorded three highly acclaimed albums. His eponymous album Paul Simon was released in January 1972 & spawned the hit with “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”. Simon’s then released a pop-folk album, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon which contained ”Kodachrome”, and “Loves Me Like a Rock” . Simon’s third album Still Crazy After All These Years, was Released in 1975 & contained the songs “Gone at Last” and “My Little Town” and was named the Album of the Year at The 18th Grammy Awards and Simon’s performance won the year’s Best Male Pop Vocal, a third single from the album, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” was also released. After three successful albums, Simon dabbled in various projects, including writing music for the film Shampoo and acting. He achieved another hit, with the song “Slip Slidin’ Away”. In 1980 he released the album One-Trick Pony, which contained the song ”Late in the Evening”. Later Simon also recorded Hearts and Bones which was eventually viewed as one of his best works

In 1986 He released the album Graceland, which had an eclectic mixture of musical styles including pop, a cappella, isicathamiya, rock, and mbaqanga and featured many South African musicians and groups, particularly Ladysmith Black Mambazo & also collaborated with Linda Ronstadt in “Under African Skies”, and Los Lobos in “All Around the World or The Myth of the Fingerprints”. The Album was praised by critics and public alike and became Simon’s most successful solo album. He received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1987 and also Grammy Award for Record of the Year for the title track one year later. Paul Simon’s next album Negotiations and Love Songs was released in 1988, and included a mixture of popular hits and personal favorites that covered Simon’s entire career. Following Graceland, Simon decided to extend his roots with the Brazilian music-flavored The Rhythm of the Saints, featuring guitarist J. J. Cale and many Brazilian and African musicians including the Grupo Cultural Olodum. This received excellent reviews a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. In 1991 Simon staged another New York concert, in Central Park with both African and South American bands andIn 1992 he appeared on his own MTV Unplugged. T he album Paul Simon 1964/1993 was also released. Simon was also involved on The Capeman, a musical that finally opened on January 29, 1998 and tells the story of Salvador Agron, who wore a cape while committing two murders in 1959 New York, and who went on to become a writer in prison.

Simon then embarked on a North American tour with Bob Dylan which was generally well-received and also wrote and recorded a new album You’re the One, which consisted mostly of folk-pop writing combined with foreign musical sounds, particularly North Africa. On September 21, 2001, Simon sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” on “America: A Tribute to Heroes”, In 2002, he wrote and recorded “Father and Daughter”, the theme song for the animated children’s movie The Wild Thornberrys Movie, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. In 2003, he participated on another Simon & Garfunkel reunion. One year later, Simon’s studio albums were re-released both individually and together in a limited-edition nine-CD boxed set, Paul Simon: The Studio Recordings 1972–2000. Simon also released a new album called Surprise, which was inspired by the September 11 terrorist attacks, and was supported with the successful Surprise Tour. In 2009, Simon performed back-to-back shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York. and also toured with Art Garfunkel in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

In October 2009, Simon appeared alongside Art Garfunkel at the 25th Anniversary of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.Together, Simon and Garfunkel were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.They also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. In 2005, the pair sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims.The pair reunited six years later at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. So far Simon has earned 12 Grammys for his solo and collaborative work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 was selected as one of the “100 People Who Shaped the World” by Time magazine. Among many other honors, Simon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. Among Paul Simon’s latest albums are “So beautiful or so what”, Stranger to Stranger and In the Blue Light

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (Van Halen, Chickenfoot, Montrose, and Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve) was born 13 October 1947. Van Halen, were originally called “Genesis” and included bass player Mark Stone, but changed their name to “Mammoth” when they discovered there was already a band with the name “Genesis”, with Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett. The band formed in Pasadena in 1972 and consisted of Eddie Van Halen on guitar and vocaLs, his brother, Alex on drums, and bassist Mark Stone. They had no P.A. system of their own, so they rented one from David Lee Roth. Eddie quickly became frustrated singing lead vocals, and decided to let Roth join the band. Michael Anthony replaced Mark Stone on bass. They changed the name of the band because David Lee Roth suggested that the last name of the two brothers “sounded cool.” The band originally began playing cover material, ranging from pop to disco, before settling on original material .

Van Halen released a total of six albums with David Lee Roth on Vocals, However the band had trouble working together as a cohesive unit and in 1982 Eddie Van Halen approached Simmons about possibly joining Kiss and replacing Ace Frehley. However Simmons & Alex persuaded Eddie to remain with Van Halen, and shortly afterwards the band released the album 1984; which yielded the band’s first Number 1 hit, “Jump“. Oher singles released from the album also sold well, particularly “Hot for Teacher”. The album peaked at Number 2 on the Billboard charts. Roth left the band and was replaced by former Montrose singer Sammy Hagar in July 1985, the band’s sound changed somewhat to adapt to the strengths of the new vocalist, as Eddie’s keyboard playing became a permanent fixture, heard in songs such as “Dreams”“Why Can’t this be Love“and “Love Walks In”. Even on the more rocking, guitar-driven songs, Eddie’s performances became looser, less aggressive, and some said more thoughtful, while others said more commercial.However, tensions within the band again arose over identity and artist direction, and Hagar, like Roth earlier, departed in June 1996. Hagar left behind him a portfolio of 4 studio albums with the band (5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance) as well as one live album (Live: Right Here, Right Now).

Following Hagar’s departure, the group briefly reunited with original singer David Lee Roth and released Best of Volume I, a greatest hits package, in October 1996. Two new songs were recorded for the album, with the single “Me Wise Magic” reaching #1 on the mainstream rock chart (“Can’t Get This Stuff No More” was the other new single). However, previous disagreements resurfaced and the reunion did not last, as Roth left in September 1996, after the MTV Video Music Awards.The band auditioned many prospective replacements for Hagar, finally settling on Gary Cherone, former front man for Extreme, a band also represented by Van Halen’s manager. Cherone predicted that the new line-up would last ‘ten years’.

The band also completed a world tour touting their new single “Without You” and did go back in the studio to start on a second record. However, Cherone soon had an amicable departure, and without a lead singer, Van Halen went on hiatus. However, In 2004, Van Halen returned with Hagar as their lead singer. A greatest hits package, The Best of Both Worlds, was released to coincide with the band’s reunion tour. The album included three new tracks recorded with Hagar (“Up For Breakfast”, “It’s About Time”, & “Learning to See”). Former vocalist David Lee Roth rejoined Van Halen for their summer tour With the new lineup from late 2007-mid 2008 across North America. Around this time Van Halen were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and VH1 ranked them 7th on their list of the top 100 hard rock artists of all time. Van Halen’s Latest album A Different kind of Truth was released in 2012, containing the tracks Tattoo, She’s The Woman, You and Your Blues, China Town, Blood and Fire, Bullethead, As Is, Honeybabysweetiedoll, The Trouble With Never, Outta Space, Stay Frosty, Big River and Beats Workin’.

International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction

The International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) takes place annually on 13 October. The aim of International Day for Disaster Reduction is to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nation. The International Day for Disaster Reduction was started in 1989, following a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) was created in December 1999. The successor to the secretariat of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, it was established to ensure the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. UNISDR is part of the United Nations Secretariat and its functions span the social, economic, environmental as well as humanitarian fields. UNISDR supports the implementation, follow-up and review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted by the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan. The Sendai Framework is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement that maps out a broad, people-centred approach to disaster risk reduction, succeeding the 2005-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action.

UNISDR is led by a United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG) and has over 100 staff located in its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, 5 regional offices (Africa: Nairobi, the Americas: Panama City, Arab States: Cairo, Asia-Pacific: Bangkok and Europe: Brussels) and other field presences in Addis Ababa, Almaty, Bonn, Incheon, Kobe, New York-UN Headquarters, Rio de Janeiro and Suva.[3]

UNISDR coordinates international efforts in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and guide, monitor as well as report regularly on the progress of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, following the Hyogo Framework for Action. It convenes the biennial Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction with leaders and decision makers to advance risk reduction policies and supports the establishment of regional, national and thematic platforms.[4]

UNISDR informs and connects people by providing practical services and tools such as the risk reduction website PreventionWeb, terminology, publications on good practices, country profiles and the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction which is an authoritative biennial analysis of global disaster risks and trends.

The “Sendai Seven” campaign was launched in 2016 by UNISDR, this centered on seven targets to reduce disaster mortality, protect people and reduce the number of people affected by disasters. The campaign seeks to create awareness concerning actions taken to reduce mortality around the world. The Sendai Seven Campaign is an opportunity for all, including governments, local governments, community groups, civil society organisations, the private sector, international organisations and the UN family, to promote best practices at the international, regional and national level across all sectors, to reduce disaster risk and disaster losses. UNISDR has four priorities for action set out in the Sendai Framework: understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The United Nations General Assembly designated 13 October as the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction as part of its proclamation of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. In 2002, in a further resolution, the General Assembly decided to maintain the annual observance to promote a global culture of natural disaster reduction, including prevention, mitigation and preparedness. In 2009, the UN General Assembly decided to designate October 13 as the official date and also changed the name to International Day for Disaster Reduction. The 2017 campaign raised global awareness about effective actions, policies and practices taken to reduce exposure to disaster risk at the community level, which contribute to saving homes and livelihoods. This is a considerable challenge which can be accomplished only through coordination, cooperation and collaboration among many stakeholders.