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ROFFEKE logo by Jozie of Kenyan band 'Murfy's Flaw'

ROFFEKE is a member of the Universal Film and Festival Organization

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Philipp Griess!

Today is the birthday of German director Philipp Griess, who directed a fascinating and entertaining rockumentary titled "CHAO LEH - PUNK NOMADS"

For 18 years,German punk band “Speichelbroiss” have been making noise in the Bavarian backwoods. With “ChaoLeh” they have written a German-Punk-Hit for Asia. CHAO LEH - PUNK NOMADS is a film about the everyday life of a punk band on a Do-It Yourself-low-budget tour through Asia.

Philipp Griess was born in 1981. He studied history in Berlin and documentary-camera at the film school ZeLIG in Bolzano, Italy. He works as cameraman for documentaries and as scriptwriter for German broadcasters and independent productions.

Director’s Statement: I hope we managed to make a melancholic comedy, that tells us about the times when reality hits you while you try to live your dream, sometimes emotional, sometimes with a toungue-in-cheek distance. What do you think?

Well, courtesy of ROFFEKE, Kenyans will have an opportunity to watch this documentary soon, and give their thoughts on it.

Happy Birthday Philipp!

(You can wish Philipp a happy birthday in the comments)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Of Sons of Robots, Robot Dreams Made Flesh and Wearable Android

“Sons of Robots” by Kenyan rock band RASH

“With everyone on their computers, phones, I-pads, games, and other sorts of gadgets, humanity has come to a point in which it is predominantly composed of slaves of technology... or rather "Sons of Robots"...



Robot Dreams Made Flesh by Robert Lyons (ROFFEKE OFFICIAL SELECTION)

An optical FX experiment combining time lapse photography with in-camera multiple exposures on 16mm film using Bolex cameras and an Oxberry animation stand. The subject is model maker/animator Michael Sullivan at work on his stop motion opus "The Sex Life of Robots". The music is "Five" by the Hadron Big Bangers.

Wearable Android by Keita Nishida (ROFFEKE OFFICIAL SELECTION)


Luci Döll's review: "Sitting on a bed of a funky bassline, is this hilarious look at how we tie ourselves to technology and how much technology owns us. This is literally laugh-out-loud funny."

ROFFEKE: What inspired you to make this very unique and entertaining short film?

Keita Nishida: "Wearable Android" was made as one of Japanese comedy movies project "TETSUDON -THE CRAZIEST SHORT FILMS FROM JAPAN-". I wanted to make a nonsense film. "Android" means both a smartphone OS and a robot that looks like a person. What if an android smartphone was a robot-like human? It sounded funny to me.I tried.I think it became a film which was not only nonsense, but also was satirical.

ROFFEKE: How long did it take you to make it?

Keita Nishida: 3days shooting. Including pre-production and post-production, it took 3 months.

ROFFEKE: What challenges did you face when making "Wearable Android"?

Keita Nishida: The hardest problem was the actors carrying the "android" while running. The actors had given up.HAHAHA.

ROFFEKE: Which are your favourite Japanese rock bands?

Keita Nishida: I like:The Blue Hearts (already broke up);SUPERCAR (already broke up);NUMBER GIRL (already broke up);Maximum The Hormone (Active).And I love the Clash and the Smiths too. Alicesailor (the actress in "Wearable Android") is the vocalist for the Amaryllis.

ROFFEKE: What was it about ROFFEKE that made you submit your film to the festival?

Keita Nishida: The name of the film festival is Rock'n Roll!I love Rock'n Roll. And I want to go to Kenya and Africa once, though I don't know I can go to ROFFEKE yet. Anyway, ROFFEKE has a very exciting name to me.

Friday, August 7, 2015

What a Wonderful World

“Some of you young folks been saying to me, "Hey Pops, what you mean 'What a wonderful world'? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? That ain’t so wonderful either." Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute. Seems to me, it ain’t the world that's so bad but what we're doin' to it. And all I'm saying is, see, what a wonderful world it would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love baby, love. That's the secret, yeah. If lots more of us loved each other, we'd solve lots more problems. And then this world would be better. That's wha' ol' Pops keeps saying.”
- Spoken intro to "What a Wonderful World" (1970 version)

This week (on August 4), the late great Louis Armstrong would have been celebrating his 114th birthday. He was 63 when “Hello, Dolly!” topped the charts on the week of May 9, 1964. “Hello, Dolly,” actually ended The Beatles’ streak of three No. 1 hits in a row over 14 consecutive weeks. The other song that Armstrong is known for is “What a Wonderful World.”

“What a Wonderful World” features in the soundtrack of two films that have been officially selected by ROFFEKE:

“The Hitchhikers.” Directed by Joung Han. Synopsis: A young driver is racially prejudiced. While he is traveling, he meets some hitchhikers by chance but refuses to give them a ride. This film is a wry comedy and a biting satire on racial discrimination.

“Wonderful World” Directed by David Saveliev. Synopsis: “The film is a visual comment to the song "What a Wonderful World" written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, recorded by Louis Armstrong made as a science fiction drama about a lone survivor of an apocalypse who tries to escape his surroundings of a destroyed abandoned city through his imagination while listening to the song. The film raises the themes of how people interact with the world: after people destroy their world they search for it and try to come back into it. The film speaks of ecological problems and the importance of respect for the environment."

“What a Wonderful World” was also used to great effect in the film “Good Morning, Vietnam”:

“In Hollywood, director Barry Levinson was then working on Good Morning, Vietnam, a film that would star Robin Williams as Airman Second Class Adrian Cronauer, a military disc jockey who comes to work for the Armed Forces Radio Service in Saigon during the war. Levinson needed a song to use as a musical backdrop under a montage of Vietnam War images. He considered dozens of songs, but when he heard Armstrong’s version of “What A Wonderful World”, he knew it was the perfect choice for the counterpoint he had in mind. The poignant lyrics and Armstrong’s gravelly voice stood in stark contrast to the images of war Leivnson would screen, a paradox of sight and sound – not exactly the imagery Thiele, Weiss, and Armstrong had in mind at the song’s creation. Still, the music made its political points in the film, but the song also struck an emotional chord with audiences. As a result of this exposure, Armstrong’s 20 year-old recording of “What A Wonderful World” was re-released as a single, hitting No. 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1988. In Australia, the single charted at No. 1 for a brief period in late June 1988....According to Thiele and Weiss credits listed at the Internet Movie Database, the song has also been used variously in at least 50 other TV shows and films.” (Source: The Pop History Dig - "Good Morning, Vietnam soundtrack")

“What a Wonderful World” has also struck a chord with various rock stars including Joey Ramone (he recorded it during his illness) Rod Stewart (duet with Stevie Wonder), Nick Cave (duet with Shane MacGowan) and Willie Nelson. Check them out: TOP 10 VERSIONS OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG'S 'WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD'
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So that’s that for “ a song sung by a Jazz great and covered by rock stars”. ROFFEKE is happy to announce that the music video for "a song done by a rock band and covered by an awesome Jazz singer" has been officially selected. The beautiful music video was directed by Jethro Massey. Synopsis: “An American in Paris... Texan jazz singer Hailey Tuck in a 1920s style music video for her cover of Maroon 5's song " My colleague, Luci Doll, said: “The singer seems to take the original Maroon 5 song to its logical conclusion, and the video happily follows the music where it's leading. Lovely, fresh re-imagining of the concept. Also, the two guys with the finger snaps are making me incredibly happy. I don't know why.”

Have a finger-snapping day!

ADDENDUM: Today (21st August), I found out that Kenyan rock band "RASH" have done a cover version of "What a Wonderful World"!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tarantino, Tarantulas and Calebe Lopes’ “Copula”

“Wow, I'm so glad you liked it! It’s an honor for me and for the Brazilian independent cinema to be in ROFFEKE! The mention of Tarantino genius will leave me with insomnia! I Just LOVED IT!”

This was the enthusiastic response of 19 year old (Yes only 19!) Calebe Lopes to my message regarding his film “Copula”. My message: ‘Hilarious! I love Joel's (non) acting! We officially accept it :-) My colleague, Luci Döll said: "Entertaining film, like Tarantino but without the dialogue. To be perfectly fair, I'd react exactly like the protagonist in the same situation."’

The protagonist of this film is Joel. Synopsis: “Poor Joel ! He just wanted to see a movie about spiders, not fight them!”

ROFFEKE: What inspired you to make a movie that features spiders?

Calebe Lopes: The initial idea came after I watched “Enemy”, a movie by Dennis Villeneuve. The final scene of that film gave me a huge scare! I have been very afraid of spiders since childhood. They are not reliable and are very, very fast! Surely they are my phobia!

ROFFEKE: Who are your favourite directors and why do you admire them?

Calebe Lopes: My favorite directors in order: Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. I love their movies because above all, they are AUTHORS! They know the art of cinema, they know what they want from the camera and the public, and they all have their own style! I love the suspense and the stories that Hitchcock had, the narrative and shots of Scorsese and love the classic style of Tarantino, full of references laden with humor and pop culture! I tried to pass some of that on to “Copula”! There is the unexplained attack as in Hitchcock's The Birds, there is the camera moves and breaking the fourth wall of Scorsese and the irreverent style, the zoom in and zoom out, the quick cuts and B Movies language from Tarantino.

ROFFEKE: How long did it take you to film “Copula"?

Calebe Lopes: The shooting lasted the whole night and the morning of the next day. 10 hours of footage on average. The home scenes were filmed in my house, in the state called Bahia. The city scenes were filmed in a Brazilian megalopolis, Sao Paulo.

ROFFEKE: What challenges did you have?

Calebe Lopes: The main challenges were filming with no money and no staff. I had no money, had no professional actor. It was all done by friends: a soundtrack composed by a friend, the visual FX by a friend, you know, it's an indie movie.

Well ROFFEKE salutes Calebe Lopes’ indie, do-it-yourself punk ethic!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

President Obama's Tribute to Led Zeppelin!

"I worked with a speech writer. There is no smooth transition from ballet to Led Zeppelin. (Laughter). We were trying to work the Stairway to Heaven metaphor...it didn't work. (Laughter). When Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham burst onto the music scene in the late 1960s, the world never saw it coming. There was this singer with a mane like a lion, a voice like a banshee; a guitar prodigee who left people's jaws on the floor; a versatile bassist who was equally at home on the keyboards and a drummer who played like his life depended on it..."

Watch the rest of the AWESOME tribute.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BARACK OBAMA, TOM MORELLO, W.KAMAU BELL AND ROBERT LYONS

W. Kamau Bell: You've often drawn comparisons between you and Barack. You both went to Harvard, you're both half Kenyan, devastatingly attractive...
Tom Morello: I have a pretty good outside jumper.
W. Kamau Bell: Yeah, pretty good outside jumper. So how disappointed is your Mom that you're not the first black president?
Tom Morello: (laughs)

Watch Tom Morello's very interesting answer:



W. Kamau Bell: Your latest single "we are the 99 percent" is about Occupy Wallstreet. You are deep in the Occupy Wallstreet movement. Why do you think it's so important for artists to be connected to social movements and should all artists do that?

One artist (who is a literal artist, as in drawing and painting etc), that was also involved in the Occupy Wallstreet movement is Robert Lyons. He is "An animation artist with a history in photographic and optical special effects that has worked with many of NYC’s most prominent production houses." His film and TV credits include: “Pee Wee’s Playhouse”, Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” music video, Paramount Picture’s “Star Trek V”, Bill Morrison’s “Decasia” and Zbigniew Rybczynski’s “The 4th Dimension”. In 1992 he founded his own animation/effects company, Interface Arts. Currently he is working as a media arts professor at Pratt Institute and The University of the Arts teaching film and animation courses while also creating his own independent animation, documentary, and experimental films.

Five of Robert Lyon's experimental films have been officially selected by ROFFEKE. The other Robert Lyon film that has been selected is his documentary titled "Occupy Wall $treet, Taking the Brooklyn Bridge". It is a documentary "disguised as a music video. Shot over the course of apx. 4 hours on October 1st, 2011, in Zuccotti Park, and on the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. It's day 14 of the Occupy Wall Street movement and a march has been planned, however the destination was as yet unknown. Participating for my first time, I wanted to document this emerging phenomenon and brought a video camera. As it turned out, for a brief time we collectively occupied The Brooklyn Bridge, at least until 700 of us were arrested. This was my experience."

You can watch the documentary here.

Long live positive rebellion!

And long live Tom Morello's awesome guitar solos :-)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

SOULED OUT: A fun film that touches on the question - is rock 'n' roll the devil's music?

Souled out is a fun and funny short film with a twist in its red,pointed tail! :-) It touches on the question: "Is rock 'n' roll the devil's music?" The synopsis: "Simon Lake discovers what it takes to become the greatest rock star of all time." It was directed by Stephen Broekhuizen.

Director’s Statement:
Souled out was perhaps the most fun we have had on a shoot. The actors were great and everything really came together well. The idea for the story was just in taking a little twist on how the Devil is often thought of in both the world at large but also in film and TV. It really was a joy to work with such a talented crew and as professional a group of actors as anyone could ever hope to work with.

ROFFEKE: How long did it take you to film this?

STEPHEN: It took us 7 hours to film it, but that was down to doing a lot of prep the week before, having all the sets ready to go. The makeup for the devil took a further 2 hours. The actors had the scripts for maybe 8 weeks before we started filming, so while it was fairly quick to shoot on the day, a lot of work was done before filming. We had the lighting set up ready to go and the fact that we had not far to travel between locations also helped. Like we always say, the more you put into pre production the easier the production goes. We were also so lucky to have a group of actors who fully bought into the script and just had fun with it. Had we a budget or anything we would have maybe done a bit more with it but given it was done without any funding we did the best we could.

ROFFEKE: Did you write a full screenplay for this or did you just work with the idea/treatment and had the actors ad lib?

STEPHEN: It was scripted. The only ad lib was a little in the radio interview but even parts of that were scripted. I usually write very quickly; the script took about 40 minutes to write once I had the idea.

ROFFEKE: Any challenges?

STEPHEN: Getting the hospital bed was very tricky. We already had the radio studio as we do a podcast now and then and double it as our editing suite, but for sure getting the hospital bed was tough as patients can't get them. We were lucky in that a nursing home was able to give us a room they use for training for a few hours. The next challenge was, for sure, getting the devil looking right. Our makeup girl is fantastic and our wonderful devil (Paddy Gilley) was so patient in his having the makeup applied. It was always going to be key to have the devil look somewhat right or the film wouldn't work really so that was a worry but it turned out very well. Other issues are the usual things you come across such as issues around camera angles in tight spaces. The radio scene was filmed in an attic space that was very tight so that was a technical challenge for sure. Outside of that like anything else you need a little luck for things to work out and we managed to get that as well. My crew are all fantastic and that gives you a confidence to focus on the story and know the shots will look good and everything else will be taken care of.

Director's Bio:

Stephen Broekhuizen grew up between Cork in Ireland and Lisse in Holland. He graduated in 2008 from the University of Southern Maine in America and has been involved in film making and radio production and podcasting since 2003. He is a founding member of Here is No Why productions and has been making films and music videos with them since 2013.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ATTENTION ALL KENYAN ROCK BANDS! - Machakosfest: A short film festival

Hey Kenyan rock bands! Here is a great opportunity for your music to be used in a short film. Alternatively, you can take the initiative and commission a short film to be made and have your music used in the soundtrack. Here's more information.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Josep Calle Buendia, The Devil’s Nephew and a Fairy Tale!

Josep Calle Buendía produced and directed the MUY low-budget yet MUY creative music video for the song “Fairy Tale”. The song was composed and sung by El Sobrino del Diablo, which in English means “The Devil’s Nephew” :-) Josep submitted the music video to the ROFFEKE festhome.com page, together with the following synopsis: “The song deals with the world economic and values crisis, especially in Spain, and how it is affecting children.”

I was so impressed and blown away by the music video that I just had to interview Josep! He was gracious enough to answer my questions.

ROFFEKE: Gracias por su película maravillosa! I loved it! I would really like to know how you did it, the process of making it. How long did it take you? How much did it cost?

JOSEP CALLE BUENDIA: Thank you for your words. I did it with an animation process called "stop motion". It's like a cartoon, but I took photos instead of making drawings. I took 12 pictures per second.

ROFFEKE: How long did it take you? How much did it cost you?

JOSEP: The making was long, about 2 months. It costs less than 100 euros (the cost of some material, photocopies and prints). You can find the videoclip on Youtube too.



ROFFEKE: What was the most challenging part of making the video?

JOSEP: The most challenging part was the animation process. It is difficult to move the objects the right millimetres at the right time!

ROFFEKE: Milimetres. Wow! Why did you particularly use the stop motion technique to make the video? Was it your first time to use this technique or have you done other similar projects?

JOSEP: I am animator and the stop motion technique is my favourite. The musician also loves this technique. He gave me total freedom to adapt his song into images. I have done more animation shorts films. You can check my webpage

ROFFEKE: Were you the one who approached the musician or was it the musician who approached you? In other words, how did you guys find out about each other's work?

JOSEP: I approached the musician because I am a fan of his music. He was very kind and our collaboration was a success. He made other video clips in the past, but this was the first with the stop motion techniques, and it was very exciting. The song is so visual that it was easy for me to imagine the stories for each verse.

ROFFEKE: If someone wants to get into stop motion animation, what words of advice would you give them? What tools would they need? What qualities, apart from the obvious one - PATIENCE - would they need?

JOSEP: The tools I use for modeling are clay sculpting tools. I capture every movement with a DSLR camera connected to a laptop through a stop motion software.The main word of advice for anyone to get into stop motion is determination. It's very common to have unfinished projects because of the hard work required, especially in the beginnings... With patience and determination you can do anything.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll and Superman (and Supergirl too!)

ROFFEKE is currently receiving submissions of rock 'n' roll related short films and music videos on its festhome.com page. So far, 8 amazing films and music videos have been submitted and 7 have been selected. This blog post is dedicated to the fourth short film that was submitted. "This Is Joe (Éste Es Joe)" was written, directed and produced by Francis Diaz Fontan. The synopsis: "During the 70's, in New York, Joe Shuster works as a delivery guy. But it wasn't always like this...". Francis lists the genres of his debut film as "Art - Human Rights - Drama - Fantasy - Historical - Mockumentary - Silent Movie - Portrait" and the themes as "Disability - Employment - Historical - Death - Poverty - Loneliness". He lists the categories it falls under as "Animation - Documentary - Experimental - Fantastic". It is indeed a fantastic and memorable four minute film! One of the best (and tear-inducing) endings I have watched in a long time. For those who don't know, Joe Schuster is the co-creator of Superman. Yes, Superman is very much a rock 'n' roll theme. Remember "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down? "Superman" by Five for Fighting The theme song for Smallville My favourite Superman song and video is "Superman" by Luna Halo. A telephone booth takes centre stage and for those who know your Superman trivia, you know why a telephone booth should take centre stage in a Superman video :-) There is even an Indonesian punk rock band called "Superman is Dead" :-) Check out this out-of-this-world comic book story about the legend of Superman and rock 'n' roll legends :-) And just to be gender sensitive, I must mention Supergirl. I can't wait for the new Supergirl series! IT'S NOT A BIRD, IT'S NOT A PLANE, IT'S NOT A MAN :-) Here's the trailer. By the way, June is Superman month because: 1) He debuted in the June 1938 issue of Action Comics #1. 2) The (very real) town of Metropolis, Illinois became “Superman’s hometown” in June. 3) In some of the comics, Superman celebrates his birthday on June 10, which was the day he landed on Earth. 4) Clark Kent’s birthday is on June 18, the day he was adopted by the Kents. 5)June 18 is also the birthday of the first Superman actor, Mr. Bud Collyer! HAPPY SUPERMAN MONTH!

ADDENDUM: I discovered that Superman began defeating the KKK on June 10 !

Here's the original episode 1 that aired on June 10, 1946


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Are hackers the new rock stars?

Today I had the awesome opportunity to attend a workshop on #digital security, expertly facilitated by Harry Karanja and organized by CIPESA and KICTANET. It was aimed at journalists, bloggers and activists and was held at the beautiful Riara University. Day 1 went very well and I learned a lot of useful information, including about digital security tools such as torproject.org. But one issue that emerged during the group discussions was the issue of the “good hacker” or “hacking with permission”. Is there such a thing as a good hacker or is that an oxymoron? Isn’t hacking, by its very nature, “wrong”? Tomorrow, on day 2, we will be discussing the ethical and legal aspects of digital content/ digital content providers and I am really looking forward to it! But I just couldn’t help myself: I had to Google “ are hackers the new rock stars?” :-) Below are some of the very interesting sites that resulted from that Google search “Are hackers the new rockstars” Here is an excerpt from the article by Richard Kastelein: “TV is ripe for change. Forbes [magazine] says theres half a trillion dollars up for grabs as the Internet collides with TV." A very good example is the ROFFEKE TV channel, courtesy of brandcoder.com Kastelein goes on to write that: “Both print and music have been hit hard by the web and theres no reason to think that TV is immune from rapid and enormous change to the current value chain.” He then gives us some mind-boggling statistics about “The rise of the second screen”: (1)In the US, 77% Use TV and Internet simultaneously (2)87% of US Smartphone and 88% of tablet owners use it while watching TV (3)44% of total tablet usage is while watching TV (4)72% of under 25s in the UK comment on programs via social networks. “All these developments…are deeply affecting the TV industry as scarcity is removed due to IP delivered content. Innovation is what will save the industry…” The article poses this interesting question: “…who does not want a developer (hacker) community like Apple, Facebook and Google? Each company basically has 50,000 developers on spec, driving innovation at the speed of light.” Apparently many people in the TV industry are not yet ready to embrace hackers, um, I mean “developers” because: “…the walls are still high and tight intellectual property ownership is the core of the business. But building higher walls is not the answer. Its not going to save the TV industry.” The article closes with this thought-provoking morsel about what will save the TV industry: “Innovation will. And that’s likely to come from the outside [including hackers?] not inside [Entertainment industry executives and stakeholders]. Other articles that deal with the theme of hackers being the new rock stars include: “Hacker to InfoSec Pro: New Rock Star Generation” This talk was at the South by Southwest film festival: "Malicious hackers tend to be smart, young – many are only teenagers – and they seek respect, power and financial gain. Many of them perceive hacking like being a rock star – they jump into the action and start reaping the rewards. But what if we could help young malicious hackers understand the damage they are doing, the legal ramifications of their actions, and how these actions could hamper their future? What if we could reshape their mindsets and encourage them to channel their work into something more productive – like Information Security, white hat hacking or even working with the government? It’s a wonder that the InfoSec and IT industries have a shortage of talent when salaries are rising and work is comparable to that of hackers, but they are doing it for good. It’s time we turn InfoSec and IT professionals into the new rock stars, the new hot ticket future for the hacker generation. This panel is going to address why and what we need to do, and how to start making change." The South by Southwest conferences and festivals: "...offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies." “New York City’s newest rock stars: the IT boys” Aaron Elstein writes: "There may be no surer sign that the cybersecurity experts' moment has arrived than the newfound attention they get from celebrities. Glee star Jane Lynch kicked off a trade show in San Francisco last month by tweaking the lyrics to a classic David Bowie song to express how angry she is at cybercriminals and ready for ch-ch-changes. "Work to save domains," she crooned." “Mondelez: Coders and hackers the new rock stars” "Coders are the next rockstars. We're entering an economy were we can create greater value by breaking things. [Corporates] have to hack and break ourselves to be better and create a different future for start ups and different future for ourselves.” “What developers think when you say “Rock Star”. One interesting thought by timwiseman: “I’ve always felt like going to a “rock star” job interview with dyed blue hair in a Mohawk, ripped jeans, chains, black string vest, black nail polish, black eye liner, leather jacket, walk in late and demand only blue M&Ms” :-) And “ANH” added: “Don’t forget to bite the head off a bat and trash the place on your way out.” :-) Zachwaugh said: “If by rock star, you mean someone that parties all night, comes in late and hungover, has weird contractual demands, and trashes hotel rooms on business trips, then yes, I guess I’m a rock star. When do I start?" :-) smokey-the-bear revealed that: “A Microsoft rectruiter told me I was a rockstar after an internship interview in 2001. It felt awesome at the time. But now it sounds like a dated way to recruit 19 year olds.” Motters1716 points out that: “The whole notion of software engineers having much in common with rock stars seems rather misguided. Being a software engineer does not usually involve making loud noises, trashing hotel rooms, having a shallow superficial personality, attracting teenage groupies of the opposite sex, repeatedly firing your manager or buying football teams.” Iph981716 says: “A rock star is somebody who plays in a rock band! There is no such thing as a rock star developer. It’s a stupid term. You have no inherent connection with rock music, you are not famous and don’t have thousands of adoring fans.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll and Disability

ROFFEKE is currently receiving submissions of rock 'n' roll related short films and music videos on its festhome.com page. So far, 2 awesome films and 2 music videos have been submitted. The very first film to be submitted was "Goran" by Robert Santaguida (director), with the script written by Goran Gostojić. According to the director's synopsis, Goran is a film about "Joy and frustration as constructed by Goran Gostojić of Novi Sad." The film is beautifully shot and narrated but after watching it, I was wondering whether it would fit in a rock 'n roll film festival such as ROFFEKE. According to the director, the film's genre is "portrait" and the theme is "disability". Disability?! Is that even a rock 'n'roll theme? Could it be? Should it be? So I did a quick Google search (search terms: "rock 'n' roll and disability" and was amazed to find so many interesting sites that deal with these two seemingly worlds-apart themes. Below are some of those sites: 1. What Do Neil Young, Kurt Cobain And Other Disabled Rockers Teach Us About Working With Disability And Chronic Illness 2. Disability: Australian Rock 'n' Roll Party (Rock 'n' Roll party?! We need one of those here in Kenya! Sign me up!) 3. Recording Artists with Disabilities DISABILITY DOES NOT RESPECT ANYONE, NOT EVEN ROCK 'N' ROLLERS. So yes, disability is a rock 'n' roll theme.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Garissa Attack: This year's tragedy foreseen by Last Year's Tragedy?

Kenyan rock band "Last Year's Tragedy" must have sensed the future. Their lyrics for "March from the Underground" are very appropriate during this sad and dark time in Kenya, when we have lost almost 150 young lives. We will not forget them. #147notjustanumber

We're not looking back
We're moving forward now
We're not here by luck, no!
An assembly of the ones that with visions
The seers of the future

Marching forward, screaming peace
Don't give up yet

Hold on, don't let go, we'll all see this through
With Jah by our side

A parade of heroes
Warriors of the land
A generation filled with hope
Honour is our code
We give thanks to the Lord of Lords
Peace is here
Peace is us
Let's make it clear

Hold on, don't let go, we'll all see this through
With Jah by our side
Marching on, peace be with us all

Mistakes and regrets overwhelm
Just let go

Don't let go, March on, march on

Friday, March 27, 2015

Last Year's Tragedy: Finally! A music video worthy of their song!

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Last Year's Tragedy. I love their songs but I cannot say that about all the music videos they have made thus far. Not that the videos are bad. No, just that, I feel they do not exactly measure up to the awesomeness of the corresponding songs. But finally, there is a music video that captures the awesomeness of this LYT song! Check it out!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

HOW MANY ROCK BANDS FROM KENYA WERE NOMINATED FOR THE AFRIMA AWARDS?



I first stumbled upon the AFRIMAs at their stand, during AITEC’s 2nd BFMA (Broadcast Film Music Africa) festival which took place in May of this year. After a minute or two of perusing through their pamphlets and brochures, it was quite evident that there was no rock ‘n’ roll category. I mentioned this omission to the lady at the stand and we then had a short discussion about rock music in Africa: how there were hundreds of rock bands all across Africa, of course with many of them in Southern Africa, but also more than a handful in East Africa (especially in Kenya) and a number in West Africa and even in Northern Africa. She promised to look into the prospect of adding a rock genre. 

Yesterday, I received an email from AFRIMA, listing the nominees of the various awards. I looked through the first pages, my heart sinking, thinking to myself, “Just the usual culprits. No rock ‘n’ roll category. No big surprise there…” But then I was suddenly, very pleasantly surprised when I saw the Parlotones mentioned and then Lo and Behold! An “African Rock” category! Yay! 

It was bitter-sweet though. Yes, there was a rock category but alas, no Kenyan bands were represented. Why is this when in the other categories such as hip hop, inspirational, etc, Kenyans feature prominently? Is it that the people in charge are not aware that there are Kenyan rock bands making quality rock music? Or is that, as usual, they ignored Kenyan rock bands? Or perhaps the fault is with the Kenyan rock bands; did they not submit their songs/videos? I will definitely begin an investigation to find out the answers to the above questions.

The following are the bands nominated in the “Best African Rock” category 

AFRIMA 2014: NOMINEES LIST                            
CATEGORY: BEST AFRICAN ROCK
ARTISTE
COUNTRY
TRACK
Dear Zim
Zimbabwe
Indiana
Shadow Club
South Africa
Melanielectriclove
Shaun Jacobs
South Africa
End of the Road
The Parlotones, featuring KhuliChana
South Africa
Sleepwalker

Van Coke Kartel
South Africa
Moregloed

I am yet to listen to any of these songs but once I do, I will do an in depth analysis, including how Kenyan rock songs measure up against them. I know for a fact that the Parlotones are a pretty good band.
I first heard of the Parlotones when I was in South Africa (late 2004 to late 2006), thanks to their cynical yet beautiful song called “Colourful”:

I get so nervous I stutter stutter
I am so clumsy I fumble stumble
I’m not some handsome knight in shining armour
I’m colourful, I’m colourful

Apart from being nominated in the “Best African Rock” category, the Parlotones have also been nominated for three other awards namely: Album of the Year” with their album “Stand Like Giants”. They will be competing with their countrymates Mafikizolo (album: “Reunited”). The Parlotones have also been nominated for “Songwriter of the Year” for the song “Sleepwalker”, which was co-written with Khuli Chana, Jon Savage and J. Nubrega. They will be competing with “Personally” and Nigeria’s “Pull Over”. Personally, I think more effort went into writing “Pull over” than “Personally” but that’s just my personal opinion. :-) 

 “Sleepwalker” has also been nominated for “Song of the Year”

All the best to the Parlotones!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Westgate: We are one

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Inoath: Kenyan Metal Band and Upcoming Album



http://inoathmetal.bandcamp.com

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BFMA 2013: Broadcast Film and Music Africa 2013

"The Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA) conference is a popular creative content and electronic broadcasting event that promotes knowledge sharing and networking among high-level electronic media professionals. BFMA 2013 is scheduled to take place in Nairobi at the Kenyatta International Conference Center over 26-27 June. This year’s theme is Building a world class electronic media industry in Africa"

I am really looking forward to attending Session 2 on day 1 of this awesome conference! And if time permits, I may also attend Session 17 titled "Music Distribution"

"SESSION 2
PANEL DISCUSSION
Audiovisual content creation in Africa: Challenges and opportunities
As an industry we are still pushing the image of ‘the thin black starving child’, yet Africa has made great strides in recent decades. How then can African media step up and take its place in shaping or creating a new perception by also showing positive stories of Africa? how do we cover positive stories without necessarily hiding the dark truth? Is there a need for more African content on the global platform? is
there an African voice that tells African stories or is the international media in control of who and how Africa's perception is shaped? what role can social media play and is it a working reality? Next steps.
MODERATOR
Terryanne Chebet, Business News Anchor, K24TV, Kenya
PANELLISTS
Rachael Diang'a, Department of Theatre Arts & Film Technology, Kenyatta University
Pascaline Wangui, Director, Intrinsic Concepts, Kenya
Olivier Zegna Rata, President, Afrik.tv, Afrik.com, France
Toni Mumbi Kamau, On Screen Productions, Kenya
Q’damah Walter Lagat, Director/Producer, Qdamah Kip Films, Kenya
Ogova Ondego, Managing Trustee & Creative Director, Lola Kenya Screen

SESSION 17
MUSIC DISTRIBUTION
PANELLISTS
Gustav Erickson, CEO, Mdundo, Kenya

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Of rock 'n' roll and bullying

Deidra Ramsey Mcintyre of Red Ibis Hosting posted this link on my Facebook timeline. It's a good way to continue the theme of bullying, first mentioned in the previous post titled "Interview with filmmaker Kristoffer Gimle Ruud: Part 1"

http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/06/pre-teen-musicians-on-the-receiving-end-of-bullying/

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Interview with filmmaker Kristoffer Gimle Ruud: Part 1

It’s 8 A.M.
This hell I’m in
Seems I’ve crossed the line again
For being nothing more than who I am

These are the opening lines to Shinehead’s song called “Bully”. Bullying is the theme of a brilliantly made short film titled “Second Chance” but Shinehead’s “Second Chance” not “Bully” was the song used for the short film. 

I had the great honor of interviewing one of the brains behind the short amateur film, filmmaker Kristoffer Gimle Ruud. He emphasizes that he has no copyright to the music, and that it is made as a fan based alternative video as a student project for a friend.

Favourite movies, bands, music videos?
Among my favourite movies are: The Boondock Saints (number one and two), Hot Fuzz and The Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman).
Among my favourite bands are: Mumford & Sons, Benh Zeitlin, Infected Mushroom, Shinedown, Martin O'Donnel and Dope DOD.
Among my favourite music videos are: Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons, Revolver by Philter and Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.

What equipment did you use?
For shooting the video I used Canon EOS 600D, a reflector, a small LED-light source, a Canon 50 mm lens and a Sigma 10-20 mm lens. And I edited the video using Final Cut Pro 7.

How long did the whole process take, that is, from concept to editing?
The script writer used about an hour on creating the manuscript, the shooting took about 5 hours and editing about 5 hours. The editing was spread over several days though, because of a tight schedule.

The budget?
Because we only used equipment that was available for us for free and actors, scriptwriter and cinematograph/editor who where willing to work for free, the budget equals zero.

 If you had a budget of 1 million dollars, what would you have added/done differently?
Well, firstly I'd rent some better equipment and tools for the production to enhance the general quality. I'd get some professional actors, and rewrite the manuscript with a professional writer. Then I would also have rented in a professional cinematographer. Instead of having just one day of shooting, I would set up a run over several days of recording and travel to more specific locations with a budget for catering etc. I would still do the editing myself, but prioritize more time since I would actually get “paid” enough to compensate for the time spent. Last but not least I would rent in a VFX expert to enhance the effects showing throughout the video. I think I also would have rented a production leader to keep track on budget, time and give this production a suitable flow.

List of locations and why those particular locations?
- School
Because it is at typical place for children or youngsters to experience bullying and for them to express themselves.
- Their homes
Because children's homes are often the source of their behavior at school etc.
- Suburban environment

Because kids usually have to walk between this kind of environment to get from their home to the school and vice versa.

(In the second part of this interview, Kristoffer talks about his experiences with bullying, his current projects and gives some great advice to aspiring filmmakers)

Check out the awesome short film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pbXWqtw7sc

Monday, December 24, 2012

Parking Lot Grass Gig, Giggling Metal Rockers and Will Rauser Interview Part 2


Yesterday I attended the Parking Lot Grass gig at Choices. It started late. VERY  late. So I only stayed for forty five minutes of the show. However, I was quite impressed with what I saw and heard from this very talented band that is synonymous with “Swahili Rock”.  (I will post a detailed review of the gig before the new year). As is not uncommon in our beloved Kenya, there was a power black out while the amazing lead singer of Parking Lot Grass was in the middle of a particularly spirited version of a popular rock song. That incident reminded me that I was yet to post the second part of the Will Rauser interview where he talks about the best and worst gigs he’s been involved with. Here then is the second part of the interview. 

And regarding the tardiness of Parking Lot Grass, I will just quote what Will Rauser said in the first part of the interview: “Another deal breaker is lack of professionalism: You can be an amateur band and still act like professionals. Be polite to whoever brings your band in, treat other bands with respect (even if they don't deserve it), be ON TIME (that is a huge one)…”

Mildred: So what's the best thing about being in a band? And the worst? Which was your best and worst gig?

Will: Wow...let's see (I feel like I am being interviewed...lol)

Mildred: Ahem. You actually are. Sorry, it's the writer in me lol! *switching off the writer in me*

Will: Oh I love being interviewed...I could talk your ear off...lol.

Mildred: And I must say you are very easy to interview.

Will: The best thing about being in a band? The camaraderie, and, of course, the music. There's nothing like jamming together and sounding powerful and knowing that an audience digs your music. The worst thing about being in a band? I really can't think of a bad thing. I guess any drama that happens would be...but drama happens in all aspects of life, so I really don't count that.

Mildred: Yeah, I love music and I know I could do it as a solo artist but there is just something special about being in a band. What you said, the camaraderie. One of the MANY reasons I love U2 is that it is so obvious that they enjoy performing together. Your worst gig?

Will: The worst gig? You know, I think the worst gig we ever played was when we were a 3 piece band and we played on Fort Bragg at the fair, and it was 96 that day, and my amp blew a fuse right in the middle of the set. I had to get Bob and Jay to stretch while I trouble shooted the amp...and I had to plug my little guitar processor into the PA just to finish the show. The sound stunk, but I finished the gig!

Mildred: lol! At least you finished the gig. Your best one?

Will: Our best gig? I would have to say that we played a little converted mechanic's garage in a little coastal town here in North Carolina (Beulaville, I think) and Bobby (drums) and I visited the site 2 weeks before the show and it really looked horrible. In two weeks, that little youth group cleaned and fixed that place up, and it was awesome! And they were the BEST audience we ever played for. That room is on our video. You know, there was one OTHER BEST gig we had: We ended up playing a local bar (which we rarely do) and THEY treated us better than many of the Christian events we have played. I got great sound from the sound guy (he knew his stuff) and after we were done, the owner of the bar came up to me. I went to shake his hand (he was a HUGE biker guy) and he gave me a big old hug and said we were welcome there any time.

Mildred: (thinking: Awwwwww!) Speaking of youth groups and bars, is your band a "Christian band" or a band that plays Christian music? As a musician do you struggle with playing "secular" music?

Will: That's a difficult question, of which I have a lengthy answer None of us have a personal problem with playing secular music as a profession, or listening (within reason...there's just some stuff that ought to be avoided); BUT, we are a Christian band...meaning that our sole purpose for existence is to herald Jesus Christ to the world...we write our own material, and it is meant to be used for His kingdom and glory.

And with that, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Look out for the final part of the interview before the end of 2012. Meanwhile, enjoy this outtakes video. There’s nothing as funny as metal rockers having an attack of the giggles!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Will Rauser Interview: Part 1



Yesterday I had the awesome privilege of interviewing Will Rauser, a guitarist who has been playing for thirty years but still considers himself an amateur! He has a lot of great advice for amateur guitarists (and going by Will’s standards, if you’ve been playing for less than thirty years, then consider yourself still an amateur!) and also for baby bands. Check out the first part of the interview:

On playing guitar and guitar heroes:

Mildred Achoch: How's your music coming along?

Will Rauser: I am playing...just not as much personal practice on guitar. Playing bass for a friend's church on Sunday morning, then guitar in my own on Sunday night. My band is taking a holiday break

Mildred: How long have you been playing guitar?

Will: 30 years

Mildred: Wow! Do you ever get bored with it? Or is it a constant learning experience? 

Will:Well, let's see: Do I ever get bored? Yes, sometimes...but when I do, I will either put it down for a short time (never too long), or I force myself to work on something that I just can't do (like a classical technique or a country lick) Yes, it is a constant learning experience.

Mildred: Who are your guitar heroes?

Will: My heroes are mostly rock guys: Edward Van Halen is my #1 guy; followed by Neal Schon, Jake E. Lee, George Lynch, Micheal Schenker, Gary Moore But I also like Phil Keaggy (I have seen him 3 times, met him once)

Mildred: Ever heard of Steve Vai? I don't know much about guitars but I think he's pretty awesome!

Will: Have I ever heard of Steve Vai? LOL...of course...I love his work He IS a genius!

Mildred: he he he. Yeah I knew the chances of you knowing Vai were like 100 percent

Advice for amateur guitarists and baby bands

Mildred: What advice would you give to a baby band in general and to an amateur guitarists in a baby band in particular?

Will: Well, that is two separate things, but they aren't mutually exclusive, but let's see if I can give you something…For the amateur guitarist (of which I am still one, BTW...lol), I would say that you practice what you don't know. In other words, if you can already play something well, don't keep regurgitating it...that's not practice, that's playing. Always work on things you are not good at.
I would also say to practice new skills slowly...worry about speed later...slow and steady win the race. It's much better to be accurate than fast

Think melodically...playing melodies with feel makes you sound faster than you actually are.
And I would say that you should learn chord/scale relationships....my musical knowledge has always made up for a lacking in technique.

Mildred: Eeek! Does that mean learning to read music?!

Will: I don't read music real well...I can decipher notes on a page, but I cannot read just looking at the manuscript paper. However, I CAN read key signatures, and I do understand how to apply scales to chords, and I can solo in just about any key.

Mildred: Wow. Did you consciously seek to learn this or was it a necessity as you continued to improve your playing skills?

Will: I sought to know my instrument as well as I could, because I figured since I didn't have the physical talent, I could make up for in study and practice...it worked. As far as [advice for] a baby band, my advise is play, play, play...gig as much as you are able. Even free gigs...just play. Yes, you WILL have bad gigs...those lead to experiences that you will one day cherish. Don't play bad gigs IF you KNOW they're going to be bad gigs...but I mean, there will always be gigs with bad weather, sound issues, broken promises, and sick band members...play them anyway.

Mildred: Any advice regarding band cohesion/band drama? But how can you tell a gig is going to be bad? Are there any signs?

Will: Well, this is just my opinion, and how our band works is not everyone's cup of tea...but my advise is to find players that you gel with rather than those who have immense talent but are buttholes. Personally, we don't put up with drama...everyone should share the vision or else they can get their own band. Certain personality traits and conditions are okay to deal with (like, say, someone being less humorous than others) and should be respected...but some things are just not an option to deal with.

Mildred: In your opinion what are the deal breakers?

Will: The deal breakers? That can vary, but allowing someone's girlfriend or boyfriend (or spouse) to interfere with the band business. The band members are IN the band, their spouses are not.

Mildred: Ah. The Yoko Ono syndrome. lol! Are there any other deal breakers?

Will: Another deal breaker would be to not learn their parts of the music...if they keep coming in and they have not learned their parts, you are wasting valuable time trying to make up for their lack of discipline. Another deal breaker is lack of professionalism: You can be an amateur band and still act like professionals. Be polite to whoever brings your band in, treat other bands with respect (even if they don't deserve it), be ON TIME (that is a huge one), and never act like you're superior (even if you are)

I would also recommend that "democracy" doesn't always work in a band situation...yes, there is a certain amount of that, but everyone cannot have an equal say...sometimes a leader has to make a call, and others need to submit to that...argue about it later (well, not argue, but discuss)

Mildred: Should each member buy their own instrument or should the band collectively chip in to buy the instruments?

Will: I personally believe each member should have their own personal equipment (like guitars and amps)...HOWEVER, sometimes it is necessary to help a member out when things are tight. But, things like the guitarist having his own guitar is pretty obvious. Our singer uses a wireless microphone...and he always forgets to buy batteries (lol)...we remind him...it's a small thing, but sometimes we have to say, "Hey, man...I buy my own strings and replace them...I have my own picks...I buy my own cords...all you need is batteries..." lol
 
Look out for part two of this interview where Will Rauser will be talking about the best and worst gigs! Meanwhile, watch this !!!