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Who Should Win This Sign Language Rap Battle?

Jimmy Kimmel may have made history on Tuesday, when he hosted what was billed as the “first ever (probably last ever) sign language rap battle” on his show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!

A sign language rap battle? How does that work?

Kimmel invited three of the most well-known and experienced live music American Sign Language interpreters to interpret for his audience. Holly Maniatty, Joann Benfield and Amber Galloway Gallego have interpreted for a long list of musical performers including Eminem, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Snoop.

The interpreters took turns interpreting a live performance of “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa.

ASL interpreting at concerts has grown in visibility over the past few years, fueled in part by videos of the interpreters enthusiastically performing for their audience.  Their interpretations have captured the attention of hearing and deaf fans alike, and of the artists themselves. In 2013, rapper Killer Mike told Slate the way Holly Maniatty interprets is “[A}n art form; that’s more than just a technical skill.” Watch the video, and you’ll see why.

Another great moment in ASL interpreting came after the rap battle. Asked if he usually has a sign language interpreter onstage, Khalifa responded “Yeah, sometimes I get like pretty stoned, I can’t remember the words.” As it turns out, you don’t have to know ASL to understand the sign for “marijuana.” To quote Holly Maniatty, “It’s pretty universal.”

After the performance, the rapper was assigned the difficult task of choosing a winner. He took the easy way out and chose all three.  Who do you think should have won?

New Manx Language Album Released

Once thought to be extinct, the Manx language has been making a striking comeback. In fact, a new music album has just been released in the language. The album, Sheear, comes from Manx folk singer Ruth Keggin. Read more

Fancy an iTunes Gift Card?

Because March was the month of the Rio Carnival, we organised a special competition to celebrate it. As today is the last day of March, the competition will end tonight at midnight.

Our readers are important to us and that’s why we want to give you the opportunity to enter the competition as well.

Get in the party spirit with some great music by entering our exclusive draw to win 2 iTunes gift cards worth £25 each.

[This competition is now closed]

Good Luck!

ps: spread the word…

Try your luck…

The founder of Marshall Amplification, Dr Jim Marshall OBE, has died aged 88.

Fifty years ago a new guitar sound was born. Jim Marshall, a drum retailer began building amplifiers in the early 1960s. He set out to create a new valve guitar amplifier and after several prototypes hit upon ‘the Marshall sound’. The rest, as they say, is history.

The familiar Marshall logo is one of the most iconic names in music, gracing thousands of stages across the globe from small pub venues to huge arenas. Although widely used in jazz, blues and country music, Marshall is more associated with the sound of rock and endorsed by countless guitar legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Joe Bonamassa, Ritchie Blackmore, Pete Townsend, Jimi Page and Slash. Jim Marshall invented the ‘Rock’ sound.  Read more

Learning a New Language? Sing Along!

Are you looking for a way to get an edge on your foreign language studies? New research from the University of Edinburg suggests that, as with many of life’s challenges, music is the answer.

In the study, groups of test subjects were introduced to a selection of words and short phrases in Hungarian, which was chosen because it is so different from English and from Romance languages like French and Spanish. Some groups  simply repeated the phrases back, some repeated them back “rhythmically” without singing (imagine a bunch of Scottish students “rapping” in Hungarian!) while others sang them. Later, they were tested on their knowledge of the phrases. The group that sang knocked the other groups out of the water on four out of five of the tests. Read more

British or American Rock Music?

Rock Music was born in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It is a combination of Blues, Gospel, Jazz and Country music.

Historically, the first rock success came basically from American singers such as Muddy Watters, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. According to the Library of Congress,

“American rock and roll music was imitated by British groups, who then refined it and, in the view of some, improved it.”

Even if Rock Music was born in United States, musicians like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker introduced the Blues in England. Since the birth of rock music, American and British bands reciprocally influenced and grew up together.

The 60’s were the period named the British Invasion with groups like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who. It cannot be denied that The Beatles led to rock music development around the world. Who doesn’t know one Beatles song at least?! Read more

Music, Language and Your Brain

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” He was more right than he knew. New studies are showing that the brain does in fact treat music as a language. Read more

lullabies from around the world

12 Nightmarish Lullabies From Around the World

Mothers everywhere sing babies to soothe them to sleep. But the songs we sing are sometimes less than comforting. Consider, for example, the first verse of Rockabye Baby, which ends with a baby falling out of a tree.

Like the original versions of most fairy tales, there’s a dark undercurrent in a quite a few of the traditional songs we sing to our children. And the urge to soothe babies with creepy songs is apparently found almost everywhere. Need proof? Here are 12 sweet-sounding but nightmarish lullabies from around the world.

Nightmarish Lullabies from Around the World: Iceland

When it comes to creepy lullabies, Iceland may take the prize. Here are 2 examples:

Bíum, Bíum, Bambalóu


The scene described here would make an excellent opening for a horror movie. Here’s an English translation:

Bíum bíum bambalo/Bambaló og dillidillidó/My little friend I lull to rest/ But outside, a face looms at the window.

Read more