Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Professionalism - or lack thereof - reporting on musical events

Monday night was probably the musical highlight in Kyiv this fall with the first of two concerts of Christina Augilera, and while I didn't attend with the cheapest ticket at Palats Sportu being 500 UAH, for the Monday night show, and starting at 1,000 UAH for the second show at Paltats Ukraina, a good friend of mine was invited through some of his musician and promoter contacts to the show on Monday night.

Last week I was sitting around and this friend says to me, "What is wrong with journalists, they are all over Augilera's musicians about rehearsals?" I thought about it for a second and replied, "I see where you are coming from, most musicians at this level are pretty damn tight and how many shows are they doing on this tour?" While he didn't give me an exact number he mentioned that he had read something about the fact that musicians who will be performing on Monday and Tuesday were already in Kyiv.

After a little digging I found one article which may have sparked Levytsky's initial statement, and it really didn't surprise me. It was an article in one of Akmetov's tabloid, Sehodnia on October 16, with the title: Музыканты Агилеры заскучали в столице: Музыканты Кристины Агилеры уже гуляют по Киеву и жалуются на отсутствие экскурсий. In short, Aguilera's musicians are bored in the capital: They are rambling around Kyiv and are complaining for the lack of excursions.

When I read the article, it truly lacked any substance. Well what would one expect, after all it is a tabloid!

But had the journalist done any digging they would have understood who they were speaking to. According to Modern Drummer magazine Teddy Campbell "has become one of the hardest-working drummers in the business", this is not just a musician but a real professional musician.

Even if I read tabloids, which I don't, except when checking things out like this, maybe as a plebe I may be interested in something like not only the concerts which Aguilera would be performing in Kyiv, but about the musicians accompanying her. An interview with Teddy Campbell regarding his role as a drummer working with such a scandalous singer as Aguilera, as the press has labeled her, may have presented another aspect of music, which so many people here are really out to lunch on. Campbell has recorded with the likes of Al Jarreau, Rod Stewart, Sisqo, Kirk Whalum, Paul Jackson Jr., and Kelly Clarkson, and was the musical director for 98 Degrees and Britney Spears when they were at the peak of their careers, and this is just a small part of his accomplishments.

One thing I have found with many young musicians in this country, in particular those who are backing up a vocalist, they either have a lack of understanding of their role as musicians, or their egos are so big that they always detract from the main act and try to draw attention to themselves. If journalists here who deal with music, could just focus on some of the little things and being prepared before interview top professional when they arrive in Kyiv, maybe some of their knowledge might just filter down to the young musicians who are still trying to find their way in this still very immature industry, see Andriy Antonenko aka Riffmaster's comments in Clockwork punk - played with heart and soul.

I doubt that any of the professional music press here even thought of getting an interview with either Campbell or any of the other nineteen musicians accompanying Aguilera, if they did I will be pleasantly surprised, and this surprise will probably come some time in the distant future.

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