wed 24/08/2016

James Woodall

james.woodall

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Bio
James wrote (1999-2010) for the Financial Times, The Economist and Dance Europe, mainly from Berlin. His books include a biography of Jorge Luis Borges, a study of Rio's music through the life and work of Chico Buarque, and an account of the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He's now a writer back in England.

Articles by James Woodall

The Girl from Ipanema: Brazil, Bossa Nova and the Beach, BBC Four

Some years ago broadcaster Andy Kershaw introduced on BBC World Service radio a piece of Brazilian music with this blunt dismissal: “When I hear a track by, say, Gilberto Gil, I tell myself: ‘Right,...

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theartsdesk at the Holland Festival

The Holland Festival is one of the greats. It has a British director, the articulate Ruth Mackenzie, formerly of the Chichester Festival and the cultural Olympiad, now into her second year. It’s the...

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George Martin (1926-2016), record producer and 'fifth Beatle'

For many pop-pickers, the presiding image of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee will be Brian May (he – yes, of course – of Queen) grinding out the national anthem on the roof of Buckingham Palace. For me,...

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Rio+Film, Barbican

With eyes trained on sporty Rio de Janeiro once more for next year’s Olympic Games, cultural portals on to the city are bound to be offered in all sorts of places around the world. One such is Rio+...

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Hot August Night: The Beatles at Shea Stadium

Half a century ago today, on a warm August Sunday night in New York, The Beatles played a 30-minute concert in a baseball field. Home to the New York Mets the venue was called the William A Shea...

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The Story of The Beatles' Last Song

Summer was nigh. In May 1969 the Lennons bought Tittenhurst Park, an 85-acre estate in the same stockbroker belt as John’s first Beatles home, Kenwood. It needed work and a while would pass before...

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Caetano Veloso, Barbican

Caetano Veloso gets more extraordinary. After his 2010 show in London, one critic (me) said that at 67 his “wings seemed a little clipped”. Maybe that show, which was quite short, wasn’t the best he’...

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Berlinale 2014: 20,000 Days on Earth

He cuts a dash, that man Cave. Very tall, gangly, with his idiosyncratic snub nose and upside-down-U-shaped hair, the Australian is a one-off. His growly music isn’t always easy to like. In his fury...

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Berlinale 2014: Boyhood

Not the least remarkable thing about Richard Linklater's Boyhood is its being shot over a decade – that’s probably a first in film history. And it’s more than a sociological experiment,...

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Berlinale 2014: Triptyque

French-Canadian Robert Lepage is a clever theatre inventor and tireless dramatist. This includes film, though with much less frequency than his stage pieces. The latter have refined themselves into...

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King Lear, National Theatre

Sam Mendes thinks King Lear is a bigger play than it is. In a new staging he directs at the National Theatre, he wants it to be about a convulsion of nations, a reordering of borders, bombing...

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theartsdesk in Locarno: All About the Wet Bits

Feuchtgebiete has been the talk of Locarno. The word combines “damp” or “moist” with “areas” – yes, you might guess what’s coming. English-born, German-bred Charlotte Roche published in 2008 a novel...

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Tomatito, Sadler's Wells

He looks the part: straggly, desert hair and haunted fizzog. He sounds the part: opening dry rhythmic strumming over unchorded strings; acrobatic trills; percussive attack. Flanked on the left by two...

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The Dark Side of the Moon: Introducing Prog

In 1973 certain world events carved themselves, a bit like the faces on Mount Rushmore, deep into the landscape of the late 20th century. No sooner had Richard Nixon begun to end the Vietnam War than...

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Berlinale 2013: The Winners

The 2013 Golden Bear in Berlin has gone to Poziţia Copilului (Child's Pose), by Romanian director Călin Peter Netzer. Starring Luminita Gheorghiu as a mother, Cornelia, drumming up support for her...

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Berlinale 2013: Side Effects, Night Train to Lisbon, Reaching for the Moon

Big hitters have graced Berlin, with the festival now reaching its close - Damon, Huppert and Binoche have been and gone, Deneuve is yet to come - but one of the more anticipated visits this week was...

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latest in today

They Drink It in the Congo, Almeida Theatre

New drama about the Congo is absorbing, but too long, too messy and too com...

theartsdesk at the Rosendal Festival: Schubert above a fjord

A half-Norwegian voyage around 1828 from Leif Ove Andsnes and friends

CD: Morgan Delt - Phase Zero

A muzzy, Sixties-influenced trip to inner space

Ripper Street, Series 4, BBC Two

A slow start back in Whitechapel: London busy before Jubilee

Prom 49: Quincy Jones Prom, Royal Albert Hall

A towering career is celebrated in style

Edinburgh 2016: Angel by Henry Naylor/ Horse in Careful/ Luc...

Theatre highlights from the world's biggest and best arts festival

DVD/Blu-ray: Sid & Nancy

Alex Cox’s account of punk rock’s ill-fated duo takes a ride to the heart o...

Prom 48: Weilerstein, BBC Scottish SO, Pintscher

Orchestral walks on the wild side - shame about the Shakespeare

Edinburgh Festival 2016: Alan Cumming/ The Glass Menagerie/...

Theatre highlights from the second week of the world's biggest arts fe...

Edinburgh Fringe 2016: Zoë Coombs Marr/ Randy/ Sarah Callagh...

Latest instalment of comedy from the world's biggest and best arts fes...