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The theme song of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo
2009. 12 May
Peter Jenner, a legendary music agent
Peter Jenner is a legendary music agent and manager who discovered..
among many others.. PinkFloyd.
(eastday.com) Over the centuries, music has helped set the tone for world events, and imprinted historic memories in mins across the globle. Can specific music help the Shanghai 2010 World Expo leave a lasting impression?
Peter Jenner is a legendary music agent and manager who discovered.. among many others.. PinkFloyd.On top of his decades of experience producing hit music.. He also attended the centennial of the world's first expo.. the 1951“Festival of Britain”, and the 1967 Montreal Expo.
Q：Hello，welcome to the main talk. I am your host Amy Rutledge, joining me on the program today is legendary music producer, manager and advocate for musicians, Peter Jenner, Thank you very much for joining us.
R: My pleasure.
Q：Pleasure to have you.
Peter Jenner is a legendary music agent and manager who discovered.. among many others.. PinkFloyd. On top of his decades of experience producing hit music.. He also attended the centennial of the world's first expo.. the 1951“Festival of Britain”, and the 1967 Montreal Expo.On March 27th, 2009, the expo theme song for volunteers was finally released.. By your side, performed by Hong Kong singer Eason Chan.
Q：We have been watching the volunteer song for the 2010 expo，let me get your thoughts on that.
R: Wow, I can see you know what they trying do, I really like that. It is the involvement of community. The song itself doesn’t do anything for me. And then I don’t know what the lyrics are, I have no idea what that is about. But I thought the music is clearly not particularly interesting, but I like the idea that the involvement of people in the event. That is about the whole of shanghai, I like that. I can see what they trying to do. That is fine.
Q：The music itself as I am listening to, I feel like I heard that song before. Why is that?
R: It is because it is I think it is straight of production line. It is , I suspect, it is a very common consequence, and very common arrangement. And it is not particularly interesting original or new. But it works and in the way that familiarity perhaps, it will help it in terms of, you know, it is something, it is not a challenging song. But you don’t want something challenging, you want something, which is encompassing, you know it goes along with it. It does what it does.
Q: And you watch the video and regard it as you know exactly what it is saying. You can feel the meaning behind it.
R: I think I see, I suspect I got it right. It is all about everyone coming together, you know, showing shanghai helping and greeting, you know, which is fine.
Q：So how important is it or not important is the music for an Expo?
R: I can’t see in itself, it’s probably not very important. I can’t imagine anyone is going to an Expo because they heard of a song, but I think, you know, it could well be that the song with the video helps encourage people becoming involved and helps people who come to visit to enjoy because of that. You know the friendship there getting in the friendliness they get from the people, which is being encouraged and worked on. In that sense, I think it can help, obviously, but it’s part of the package, you know, it is like it is part of the package of the whole thing.
Q：And we are gonna to have 20000 plus performances which we are gonna to hear more music. Do you suspect that music is going to be a little bit more impactful?
R: I suspect the music would be as good as musician who come to do it, you know I mean there will be good concerts, great concerts and some awful concerts, because that is what concerts is like, you know. I think it is sort of, I think, that is always part of the event and again is difficult to get it right. You know, what do you want to do? Do you want to get music which you know really gets young people excited or do you want to get music that is really sort of resonates with old people the dangerous you’re trying to make, to provide a music which appeals to everyone all the time. That ends up with blindness and boringness. You end up with music which no one actually likes but no one really dislikes.
Our Expo, the song performed by China’s folksong singer Sa Dingding, was selected, together with other 11 music pieces as“the 2008 expo songs”. Born in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Dingding developed an early interest in the 'ethnic minority music. Her unique music won the BBC Radio 3’s Awards for World Music 08.
Q：Is this a good chance for china to showcase a little bit more of its own music, can we get other countries more familiar with it, can it put its on mark on music industry ?
R: If china can get to grips with its own music and I think find the Chineseness within the music but which works to the non- Chinese. It is a sort of delicate balance in act. You know, it has to have a Chinese quality to it, which resonates as being Chinese to people who aren’t Chinese. And so in that sense, things like Sa Dingding’s stuff, I think it is a bit more interesting, because it is using a various Chinese characteristics, original characteristics within a sort of a vocabulary which is common to the world music. The world music travels across the world, it has got something which gives you a unique character, but which isn’t so foreign that you can’t understand it. You’ve got other spirit as to travel with it.
Q：What would you like to see Chinese musicians here to do maybe during the expo that could help broaden Chinese music?
R: would like o celebrate that traditional Chinese culture, many folk music and trying to see how that could be reinterpreted in more modern way. And I think I have heard some stuff some Mongolian music has been, I’ve heard some good Mongolian music which use good Tibetan music. I certainly know, I remember one of the earliest records that I heard from outside Britain and America, was a world have a UNESCO album, some traditional Tibetan music and folk songs which I thought it really fun, I didn’t know what it was about, it was a song by young girl about sheeping upon a mountain, but it had a sort of reality which spoke to me in England in 1965 when I heard it. And that is what the greatest music does, it works for you. What worries about Chinese music is because it draws on too much western roots, too much it’s trying to be poppy, trying to be like western mushic with Chinese lyrics. I’d like to hear more of being Chinese music with Chinese lyrics which is joinining, on top of that, or infusing that western influence and so on. The thing which often is a good idea with to look for the traditional party music, often wedding music in the countryside or within the ethnic minorities. You find their songs and tunes which work in the simple way for simple ordinary people and been passed down through years and years and generations and generations. Why they just get passed down is because they work, because they are great songs, they are nursery songs, songs for children, internationally get passed down because they work. They are easily remembered, they are easily sung. And in china there will be such a wealth of different traditional songs which are there to be found, to be utilized and not to be treated as items in the museum, because they are living music with an inspiration for modern music.
Still to come.. is it even possible to find songs which will please all musical palattes?
- There are some songs and pieces of music which end up achieving that, but that was never what they were designed for.
The 1951 Festival of Britain was a national exhibition in London and around Britain. It was held shortly after the end of World War II, much of London was still in ruins and redevelopment was badly needed. The Festival was an attempt to give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress and to promote better-quality design in the rebuilding of towns and cities.
Q: Now your first expo experience, you are 8 years old, I believe.
R: Yes I remembered I’m going to that, because I most remembered it was the great fun fair. And it was a very great celebration. Because after the war everything was very drab, and everybody was very poor. And everything was sort of, and it was a huge party. and I think that was great. It was a positive future. It was about this is our new future, this is where we are going, this is what we are rebuilding our world. And I think that is what it was all about. That is a sort of coming through, we’ve survived, we’ve come through, now let’s start. And interesting is halfway through the century. You know 60 years after the end of the war. And so we are now going to go off into a new world. And I think it was very inspirational, I do remember being impressed by, going on looking at those buildings, the festival hall which is still there, still the major concert hall in London with a capacity of 25000. The festival hall was named after the festival of Britain.
Q: And given how much music played part of your upbringing or at least your hobby. Do you remember any music?
R: No, I don’t remember the music particular from that at all. I don’t have jingles for things that.
Q: Most of things, bands?
R: I’ve got bid bands, very old fashioned, very old fashioned
Q: China will uplift the spirit of the world.
R: Yes, that was a party, that was a celebration. Shanghai is doing the same. Here we are, you know 2010. we look into the 21th century when this is going to be our century. This is you know making us, taking our claim here. That is great. I think that is really good for people. That is what they also did in the Beijing Olympic, an expression of confidence in the country and its future.
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition, or Expo 67, was held in Montreal Canada from April 27 to October 29. It is considered as the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century, with over 50 million visitors and 62 nations participating.
R: I remember I was tired walking around with my late wife and her family. her mother and father. So again it’s much a family event. And it was a very tiring but very exciting you know a lots of things people smile, this is very important Montreal, expressing Canadian, especially its French aspect, again its expression of national spirit, which you could feel. In 1967 that is coming through my going into becoming in the music business, you know, the rest of it, it was again of very important times in the way at beginning of the modern era, probably in the middle of the sixties. And I suspect that this would be perhaps the beginning of the sort of the Asian century, I think. I mean looking at it from Europe, I can see that you know the 21st century is going to be much more about Asian than it is about Europe and America.
Q：Do you remember any music from 1967 Expo as well?
R: No, I don’t think so, you know, I am sure it would be some kind of music. But I know the concert stuff. I can’t remember I saw anything whatever it was. It’s always been music and entertainment of those events. But, I don’t recall any, you know, a theme song anything like that.
Q: It seems that so much music marks the points of our history. Why is that not so necessary the case with big events like this?
R: I think it is very difficult because you know what you try to do is you are trying to reflect a whole nation and a whole era, you are trying to make some music which will resonate with young people, with their parents, with their grandparents and with people in the cities, with people in the country, with people abroad. You know, it’s how you could do that. I mean there are some songs and pieces of music which end up achieving that, but that was never what we designed for. I mean Beethoven has the fifth Symphony that wasn’t designed to be a melody that we would all know. Not was the Ninth Symphony designed to be the theme song for Europe. It became that. And I think in a sense,to try to create an iconic piece of music like that, it was really impossible task. But given a sort of media world you live in, you need to have that sort of, you know you expect to have music which accompany things. You know, and Nessun Dorma goes well with…. What was that? That was a world cup. Wasn’t it? (I think so.) with Pavarotti. And they were chosen a famous, famous song from an opera and had a new version of it which worked again that I think it did work. That is the only one I can think of when it is a big sort of event like that. I am sure when they did the neath and tomer with Pavarotti, no one thought it was going to be the huge hit, and then it just was.
Q: Do you think that a lot of writers and producers of that music tried to keep it blended?
R: I think someone had an idea, wouldn’t it be great if we got Pavarotti to sing that song, wouldn’t that song be great and they all said let’s try it, You know they had it there and went though committees. We thought this was fine and no one stopped it. And I think that is the ways things go with committees; sometimes you should get it right. Usually you don’t, because usually what you end up with the song which is sort of, no one says,“oh, this is awful.”And then no one said that this is great. If you can get away with the song, which on one says this is awful, they’ll say deal done.
Q: It gonna to have something upbeat or have some, at least, if it’s a little bit more melancholic, does it have serious meaning behind it?
R: It has to be some positive piece of music.
Up next.. Mr. Jenner gives us the low-down on his discovery of the iconic band.. Pink Floyd.
-That was purely coincidently happened.
Pink Floyd is an English rock band formed in London in 1965. The band initially earned recognition for its psychedelic and space rock music, and later, for its progressive rock. It is known for philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album cover art, and elaborate live shows.
Q: So you’ve received honor’s degree from Cambridge and went on to be a lecture at LSE, till you were 21 when switched to music correct？
R: Yes, Basically, I mean I was not 21.No, no I was a bit older than that, in 1966 I was 23 when I became involved in music.
Q: Right about the age of 23, why did you to decide to change to music?
R: I think I decided to change to music, I felt falling into it by accident really. It was just one of those things I was doing with a group of people. We decided to have a hippie label for music, avant garde music. And we put up one record and I worked out how little money it would make and thought what we needed is am avant garde pop group, because pop groups make money, I thought, because I did not know anything what I was talking about, I did the addition, I did the mathematics, and I thought this band called Pink Floyd. Oh this is pretty avant garde. So we should have them for our label, that is how I started. I went to see them, and they said after some, you know, coming and going, they said what we need is, we do not really need a label, what we need is a manager, and I said what’s the manager do , they said, oh, I do not know, we need a manager, so I said to a friend of mine ,that why do not we start managing this band, he had nothing else to do, I was bored, so we started to manage this band. I had always been the music fan. That is since the age of about 12, that is what I spent most of my money and all my spare time was the music jazz and blues.
Q: When did you first see them? Had you seen them before them get back or you were just out of the club at night?
R: I knew the event was Avant garde event and it was a sort of avant garde or whatever. It was so special an event and them all key club which was that point of jazz club, and I knew people who knew the promote(r), so I went there and I thought it would quite be interesting to see what this would be, it was called happening, this band was playing. I think about the band was I could not work out where was the noise coming from. You know because normally you could hear what that is Saxophone，that is guitar, that is piano. But it was just they were making some sounds and I remember walking around the stage trying to work out who was making what noise, trying to thought out what I was hearing and what people were playing. And that is what intrigued me, because of the sound they were playing, they were playing very regular blue songs of time that people and a lot of bands were playing. That was not particularly interesting, but it was the instrumental breaks within the songs which were what was particularly interesting for me.
Q: So Did you know what the time when you get together with the band, did you know you were doing something different automatically?
R: No, I mean yes and no, I did not know how different it was, but I knew, I thought them as a sort of in some senses an art band, it is a cultural phenomenon rather than just being a pop group, it was something more than just being a pop group. That is always how I saw it, as being a reflection of the times, which was early hippie days. It was all about in fact, mix media, so we always had lights and it was about more than just playing Jones’songs, it was about creating a sort of a sound, a vision, an environment. So it was all quite pretentious but that was of the era, that was the time of course was a lot of electronic, early electronic music like stock house and people like this. So that is also very influential in what we doing, what I was hoping to see. It was also the time the Beatles were doing a lot of experimental music, you know, that was ever since the revolution. The album before such Pepper which was influential and the Birds were doing quite interesting things. So it is a lot of experiment going on within music and I was part of that sort of environment, which was the age I was coming from.
Q: Did you know any guys in the band before you guys decided to work together? Cause some of them went to Cambridge, correct？
R: That was purely coincidentally happened. They were in Cambridge town, and I was in Cambridge university, and I had not met them, no no. not at all, it was just strange coincidence and that was the case. It’s not the place and right time. Follow your instinct. And except in that.I don’t hate my head against to work too off. Your things don’t work. I feel I a lot of what I’ve done as a manager Darvinism:survival of the fittest. If I can find go on working and we enjoy working together, the public will anticipate the coordinating on the building.If it can’t keep on working,no one is interested in it. No one buys about it.No one buys the records.No one will come to the gates. In the end,it’s just drift waves. It also was not happy.Source:english.eastday.com