May 25

Biathlon Finland: Tero Seppel makes the double, Mari Eder half-tone

For the first time in many years, only the distant shadow of the new retiree Kaisa M-k-inen, hovered over the 2020 Finnish Summer Biathlon Championships held last weekend in Hollola, in the southern region of the country. In sweltering heat, Tero Seppel, completed the sprint/mass-start double ahead of Heiki Laitinen and then Tuomas Harjula, disqualified from the sprint after an excellent 10/10, with a good margin of lead, despite two mistakes on the first day and six the next day.

On the women’s front, favourite Marie Eder, who lives in Austria and had to remain confined when she arrived in the country, sank in the sprint (4/10) finished in third place, 50 seconds behind Venle Lehtonen, crowned Finnish champion with a 9/10. The next day, the 32-year-old biathlete, winner of two World Cups in 2017 in Holmenkollen, recovered to win, despite a bad 14/20 and a broken break, with more than a minute of margin over Nastasia Kinnunen, silver the day before.


Photo : Nordic Focus.

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April 15

Etienne Daille: “The practice I have in kayaking is moving away from the Nordic”

You were born in Prague, but are originally from Ain. Can you introduce yourself?

I was born in Prague in 1989 to a French father and a Czech mother. They met on the international circuit when they were athletes. I spent most of my childhood in Ain, since in kindergarten I was already in Poncin. I stayed in Poncin until college. I take my license at the Ski Club of Lompnes located 30 minutes from my home. The first years (benjamin, minimal, cadet 1), my sports season was really divided into two parts (skiing in the winter and kayaking in the summer). At that time, I was as involved in both activities (bottom and kayak).

In skiing, I was present in almost every race I could do (local race, committee championship, a few races on the national circuit, without forgetting the UNSS).

When did you make your choice?

I think the situation changed in the summer of 2004. I did my first French championships in the junior slalom kayak and I finished only in 20th place, even though I had a good race! Two weeks later, with my eyes glued to the TV to watch the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, I witness the exceptional victory of two French in slalom (Estanguet in C1 and Benoît Pechier in K1). And in addition, one of the two was from Rhône-Alpes! I think that’s when my training was gradually becoming more and more kayaking oriented. I had started Nordic skiing, but I never had time to register for the first cycle… Today, I do a big cross-country ski cycle usually three weeks in December before leaving at the beginning of January relocated my training to a warm country for a month and a half (Australia, South Africa).

We also remember Sylvain Curinier, Jean-Yves Cheutin who accompanies you national training pole in Pau. Is the Jura Mountains a good canoe-kayak playground?

Yes, the Jura rivers are a good playground for kayaking, but especially for the practice of white water (high river) and a little less for slalom. On the other hand, what makes the Jura strong is the limitless possibility to practice all the physical activities of nature in the best possible conditions: mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, orienteering, climbing, canyoning, caving, running…

Why, then, do we have to go into exile in the Pyrenees if we want to evolve at the highest level?

Why Pau? It’s very simple: it’s simply because the selections in the French team have been held there every year for 4 years. So to increase your chances, it’s better to practice… This is Tony Estanguet’s town. In 2008, a new artificial whitewater stadium was built of international standard. In 2009, the FFCK offered me to join the France of excellence in Pau (former name: Elite pole); I don’t hesitate for a second…

The kayaker you are also evolves with ease on cross-country skis. You are also a champion of oriented skiing. What are the common threads between the two sports?

What do you have in common? I will say especially at the mental level … In slalom kayaking, practice on the competition stage is possible the previous days, but the route (marked by gates) is unveiled only the day before. Motor recognition of the route is not permitted, but only visual recognition of the riverbank. All this to return to the rapprochement with the ski orientation: in both cases it is a question of creating a trajectory project based only on field observations (and also the map in orienteering ski).

And that’s when the rapprochement between the two disciplines is most important. We don’t know if we chose the best solution (trajectory, path…), we won’t know until after the race finally. It is therefore necessary to be able to adapt at the last moment to the field of evolution, and also not to confuse speed and precipitation to stay on the right trajectory …

Do you think kayaking is a Nordic sport, as can cross-country skiing and orienteering?

Unfortunately, the practice I have in kayaking (slalom) is moving further and further away from this practical side of nature… World cups on natural rivers are increasingly rare. Discipline is increasingly turning to practice on artificial rivers.

You are selected for the London Olympics. What is the programme between now and then?

This week rest in the Ain! Although given the solicitations I have, it is not easy. But it’s unthinkable that I would finish the week without skiing at least once. I haven’t skied since the very beginning of January; I can’t take it anymore; the urge is huge… All that remains is to find snow.

Then, on Sunday, head to London: I do 3 internships in a row from Monday to Thursday the 3 weeks that arrive (return to France every Friday). Then the European Championship in mid-May in Germany. Again an internship, but longer in London. Then normally two World Cups in June (including one in Pau). Then almost the whole month of July in London.

March 10

Gérard Colin, profession coach

SAUT À SKI – Former ski jumping competitor Gérard Colin has become coach of the French team. Portrait of a pure sugar Vosgien who now lives in the Jurassic Grandvaux.

Gérard Colin, Jurassien des Vosges

“I was born in Remiremont, but I say I’m from La Bresse.” No matter if he didn’t see the light of day in the Moselotte Valley, Gérard Colin is a Vosgien cut from white fir. And for good reason, the little boy grew up in a book with pages that we already seem well yellowed. When he was only six years old, his parents moved out. His father, who got tired in the forest, undertook a courageous conversion into the spinning mills. “He went on an internship in Germany and came back foreman in charge of the turbines. My mother was weaving. I was going to see her at the workshop.”

He still remembers the noisy and repetitive slamming of old trades. “In the sixties, life was still rough,” continues the coach at the French Ski Federation. The Second World War is not far away. In the fall of 1944, the Bresse paid a heavy price. The Germans, determined to extinguish the hotbed of resistance that developed there, ordered the deportation and destruction of the small town. Five hundred buildings are totally destroyed, including isolated farms, systematically blown up. The population was forced to leave, under a storm of snow and shells, towards Plainfaing, hamlet of Cornimont, by the Lake of Ravens and the Pass of the Virgin.

Gérard Colin remembers seeing the barracks that were later erected to house all these families. “My brother and I found guns and ammunition in the woods. One day, we even came across a rocket,” he marvels today.

This did not prevent the carelessness of childhood. “In the Vosges, there were ski homes in every village that worked with the school. So we were cross-country skiing,” says the man who will be crowned French ski jumping champion ten times.

His first springboards, he erects them himself with his friends, a shovel in his hand. A small bump is enough to amuse the troupe that plays to scare themselves. Pascal Remy “Boulette”, “a great”, observes these kids and is surprised by the prowess of his neighbor: “He came up to me and said: “You saw how you jump. Wouldn’t you like to try to compete?” That’s how I landed at the club that Gervais Poirot was looking after [the Poirot sibling, also with Marcel and Gilbert, is well known to the Bressauds,]. He was the one who took me first on the little springboard of La Bresse. My heart was coming out of my chest because he was pounding so hard.”

Painter in building… then lined up at the 1984 Games

In 1974, Gérard Colin donned his first sweater with the tricolour crest. He is only 16 years old. In 1980, even though he worked as a building painter, and then in 1984, he participated in the Olympic Games: “In the Americas”, as my mother said, I was hungry. I was young, I didn’t understand what was going on. In Sarajevo, four years later, I was aware of my worth. I wanted to go.” Unlike 1988: “I was “selectable” for Calgary, but I knew I wasn’t going to do better.”

A contract with Customs allows him to approach his conversion with serenity. He becomes a coach. On three occasions, he was called upon to take charge of an elite French team in arre between. He settled in the Jura (he was in charge of the Tuffes stadium in Premanon) and travelled europe, even the world, of the great caravan of “swallows.” Far from his native Vosges. “I’ve been nostalgic since I left. Today I want to go back,” he says.

For him, contrary to what is said, “the Vosges and the Jura are not the same. Nature is different.” It’s already a matter of geology. The first rest on granite, the second on limestone. It’s also a story of ears: “At home, I hear constantly the sound of streams popping out everywhere on the surface.”

As soon as he returns home, he finds his old training courses, on the side of the Chaume de Champis or the springboard of Entre Les Gouttes. The melancholy is near. But the children he had with Marie-Pierre Guilbaud are Jurassic, although the civil status gave birth to them in the heart of the maternal Central Massif. In this family that lives only for sport, Clément became a biathlete and Lucie joined the group of hopefuls of the French team. This winter, they won’t see much of their father. With Robert Treitinger, he will do everything to ensure that Vincent Descombes-Sevoie and Ronan Lamy-Chappuis fly as far as possible.

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February 10

Neil Young Talks ‘Effortless’ New LP With Promise of the Real

Neil Young is nearly finished with his 37th album as a solo artist, working in a Malibu studio with his newest collaborators, Promise of the Real. “I’m very happy with what I’m doing,” Young told Rolling Stone this week. “I don’t know what its place is in the world, but I like it.”

The album is his second studio project with the band fronted by Micah and Lukas Nelson, sons of Willie. Last year’s The Monsanto Years was an electrified protest album that reached Number 21 on the Billboard Top 200. Young called the making of the new album “a very rewarding process.” It will be released in June.

“I feel really good and amped and energized. And I feel like I’m doing something that I’ve never done before,” Young said. “It’s not just music. It’s a soundscape. It’s kind of like flying around listening to things with your eyes closed.”

“Effortless” is how Young described his ongoing work with Promise of the Real, during an onstage interview with Cameron Crowe Monday in Los Angeles following a screening of his 1982 film Human Highway. At a reception with friends and colleagues immediately following the screening, Young told Rolling Stone the new recordings were both a continuation of what began with The Monsanto Years and a new creative path.

“In critical other ways, it’s like nothing that I’ve done,” Young said. “It’s more like a giant radio show. It has no stops. The songs are too long for iTunes, thank God, so they won’t be on iTunes. I’m making it available in the formats that can handle it.

“It’s like a live show, but it’s not like a live show. Imagine it’s a live show where the audience is full of every living thing on earth — all of the animals and insects and amphibians and birds and everybody — we’re all represented. And also they overtake the music once in a while and play the instruments. It’s not conventional … but it is based on live performance.”

While young didn’t describe the lyrical content, current events have again been on his mind. In the past, he’s been inspired to write biting topical music from “Ohio” to Living With War (including the Bush-era anthem “Let’s Impeach the President”) and Monsanto.

During the onstage interview, Young got a laugh by describing his new Donald Trump impression. He took off his black hat with a sour look and put his chin in the air. “We were at a party the other night and I took my hat off — I have a big bald spot now … My lovely girlfriend was making my hair look like Donald Trump’s,” Young told the audience. “It was very entertaining and nobody filmed it, thank God.”

Later, Young said, “What’s going on these days is very much like Human Highway. Everybody’s not paying attention to what’s going on and they’re just living their own lives — maybe talking about [the election] as something to talk about. I support Bernie Sanders but I’m Canadian.”

January 3

Vincent Descombes-Sevoie, hedge jumper

SAUT À SKI – Since 2011, Nordic Magazine has published a long portrait of an athlete in each of its issues. Each time, it is an opportunity to get to know the person whose exploits are admired. Find here the article that evoked, in December 2014, Vincent Descombes-Sevoie.

Vincent Descombes-Sevoie is a jumper who, as soon as he can, takes to the skies. In flight, it escapes the world around it. Although her escape calls for a field, she is short-lived and parades at high speed through her grey-green eyes. But it is indispensable to him, vital even, as oxygen can be for any human being.

To understand, it is necessary, as often, to go back to childhood. “I was always glued to my parents’ sneakers,” says the 31-year-old, who turns 31 in January. His mother did not forget this time: “On Sunday afternoon, he was already beginning to cry just at the thought, the next day, of leaving us. Everything scared him. No, really, he didn’t like school.” A phobia that his parents will try to cure through sport.

In this family of craftsmen – the father is a plumber – ski jumping is not a given. Except that the big brother, a bit of a kamikaze, already plays in the local club of The Houches, in Haute-Savoie. His presence reassures his youngest who, at the same time, finds himself loving this new universe that he discovers. “I was learning to manage events better.” In 1989, he was not six years old when he went by bus to Paris to jump on the springboard that was then installed in the Parc de la Courneuve: “For me, it was a real expedition. I remember before you jumped, you could see the Eiffel Tower.”

The coach’s name is James Yerly. “He was the smallest of the group. He had good results right away. At the national level, he was in the best. Already, he liked to win,” recalls the man who accompanied him for many years, before Pierre Bailly and many others took over. “He guided me with the right words, the right gestures,” thanks the athlete who, from time to time, visits him. “He’s still giving me advice,” he adds. “He knows what he has to do,” smiles the man.

He witnessed the chrysalis metamorphosis into a butterfly and the first flight of the butterfly. “I loved going to the fight. The jump unlocked the padlock that had been in me for years,” admits the current leader of the French special jump team.

François Braud, a member of the French Nordic combined team, knew him at the time: “We spent a lot of time together,” recalls the Chamoniard. I was going to his house: either we would take a springboard in his garden, jump until the end of the night and even forget to eat, or we would watch videos of looping until we knew by heart each jumper of the World Cup.”

Planica’s Promise

On the Mont Blanc committee, he rubbed shoulders with Kevin Arnould, Ludovic Roux, “almost idols”, did internships in Chaux-Neuve, Haut-Doubs, and even abroad. Vincent Descombes-Sevoie has found his way. One day, he goes to Planica, Slovenia. As a spectator, with the chamoniard fans and his family. At the foot of the springboard, he looks at his mother Patricia, and says, “One day I’ll come and jump there.”

At the age of 14, he joined the French Nordic combined team. “With Vincent, we know each other well,” says Sébastien Lacroix, “because he is one year younger than me. He made the handset until 2003 I think and we were often in the room together at that time.” From that time, the Jurassien keeps in mind a funny story: “In 2003, at the world junior championships I mistakenly put my name in his suit when he is much smaller than me [1.73 m versus 1.90 m, ed.]. Fortunately, he realized that before I tried to get into it. He’s got me with that a lot.”

“For me, things were starting to get serious,” the tricolour jumper continues. The courses are spiced with Fabrice Guy/Sylvain Guillaume sauce: wake-up, fasting, breakfast, jumping, bodybuilding… “But I was stagnating in cross-country skiing,” he admits. After two-three difficult years, he changed his discipline: he joined the beautiful French jumping team, alongside Emmanuel Chedal, David Lazzaroni, Nicolas Dessum, Pierre-Emmanuel Robe, Damien Maître and Benjamin Bourqui. However, due to a lack of results, it did not qualify for the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin.

The atmosphere is not at the party and Vincent Descombes-Sevoie isolates himself. “It wasn’t a group where I felt good,” he says. “When it doesn’t work out the way he wants it to, he gets a lot bit bit angry and gets a little bit close to himself. It’s a bit of a shame because in those moments, you may need to evacuate thinking about something else,” observes Sébastien Lacroix.

Until the late 2000s, Vincent Descombes-Sevoie wanted to prove to his teammates that he was not an exiled handset, but a jumper. A real one. To gain his status, he will clench his teeth and fists, then put his work back on the job a thousand times. “He’s a hard worker,” says Sébastien Lacroix. He’s always given himself 200% to perform, especially since the transition from the handset to the jump is far from obvious.” “I had to be in front,” he says. In front of Emmanuel Chedal, the number one, with whom he has no affinity and whose contract he takes over with Customs in 2007.

The year 2010 will serve as a trigger: Vancouver Olympics, two top 15 World Cups in Kuopio and Lillehammer, the first crossing of the 200 m. “I’m in the real world”, is surprised to think then the Haut-Savoyard who now lives only for the jump. He will no longer let his guard down. “He’s so passionate,” says Lauranne, his Jurassic wife with whom, in 2012, he had a baby boy, Louison. Even when he’s with us, his sporting career is his priority. Our lives are settled in relation to that.” She continues: “He loves us, we know that. We support him.”

A priesthood? “It’s my life,” replies Vincent Descombes-Sevoie. “He’s mostly a great dad who has fun with his little Louison, who’s having a laugh,” Braud said. “The birth of Louison has done him a lot of good, I think, and he is a happy and proud father of his son,” said Sébastien Lacroix.


The athlete is not just a ski jumper. He also jumps hedges, obstacles that are all blows given on his shell. In 2013, his exasperation was too strong during the Tour des Quatre Tremplins, a highlight of the winter for this discipline that succeeds to the loners. His anger is found in the columns of The Team. Above all, a strong sense of injustice. “I explained things [mainly the lack of resources, the absence of a farter, dietician and physical trainer in the French team,] that didn’t please many people.”

Less than a year later, he learns that he will not go to Sochi, only Ronan Lamy-Chappuis will be on the Olympic trip to Russia. “I got confirmation of this by a text message from Marie-Laure Brunet who was supporting me. I was in transit at an airport.” Pudique, he says he was “disappointed” but did not think to stop, to throw his skis in the gutter, to turn the page. “I thought about my family and the people who supported me.” He had his suits,” Lauranne recalls.

Her husband’s reaction impresses him: “He was very strong. I admire him. He really managed to bounce back.” Especially since he’s not done with the uppercuts. “I’ve only done it my own way,” he concedes. Instead of the Olympics, Vincent Descombes-Sevoie must fly to the United States where the continental cup is contested. Except that his passport is no longer valid. “He took a blow to the head,” regrets Gérard Colin, his current coach, who is living this new event with him. He then reads more than dismay in the wet eyes of his athlete. In March, finally, he lost his title of French champion by a hair: “Ski jumping is details.”

“After Sochi, it was hard,” says the coach, who has tried to restore his confidence. “It was a bit complicated last season,” says Ronan Lamy-Chappuis. Vincent shut up. I had a hard time getting to him, I didn’t know how to react.” Since then, the pair has re-established themselves and, “during the summer, Vincent has progressed. He now knows what he’s worth. He has no doubt when he leaves the bar,” observes Gérard Colin, satisfied with his “small family.”


Vincent Descombes-Sevoie’s lack of recognition. “I hope he gets it. I believe in it. I absolutely want him to get a result, something significant, to feel like he’s one of the best in the world.” “His strength is his professionalism and, in jumping, the way he flies.” His weakness? In my opinion, he is still too nervous in competitions,” said Austrian Robert Treitinger, the tricolour team’s physical trainer. “He knows what he’s worth and until he realizes his dreams, he’ll redouble his effort until he gets there,” adds Chamoniard handset Geoffrey Lafarge.

Today, Vincent Descombes-Sevoie says he’s in his head. “He’s more motivated than ever,” says Lauranne. “I was able to get up. It’s winter where anything is possible,” he smiles. He wants top 10s. And lots of other things. “Now I’m playing the winner.” Everywhere. All the time. Watch out for his mood when he is not satisfied with his jumps, regardless of the role the elements will have played.

When on February 24, 2012, during the first round of the world championships in Vikersund (Norway), he broke the French record with a jump of 225 meters, his wife Lauranne was pregnant. The family has just purchased a cottage, with an extra room. From there to see a happy omen …

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May 25

Kamasi Washington on American Music Prize Win, Kendrick at the Grammys

Listeners who have long wondered why the U.K. gets to use the annual Mercury Prize as an excuse to celebrate some innovative, recent recording of note, while America is stuck with the Grammys, are about to be vindicated. Organizers behind this year’s inaugural American Music Prize have banded together to give a gaggle of handpicked U.S. critics and judges (including Rolling Stone’s Nathan Brackett and David Fricke) the chance to honor an artist who will receive a résumé-boosting garland — as well as a $25,000 cash prize.

The hook for the stateside contest is that it’s meant to award the best debut album of the foregoing year. The 2016 prize has been given to saxophonist-composer Kamasi Washington and his 2015 triple-CD odyssey, The Epic, which was the first jazz release to cross over to mainstream music audiences in some time. (It also holds the No. 41 slot on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2015 list.) The Epic beat out 11 other strong AMP nominees, including Chris Stapleton’s Traveller, Leon Bridges’ Coming Home, Shamir’s Ratchet and Tweedy’s Sukierae.

The possibility of a breakout year for Washington was primed, in part, by the saxophonist’s work on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. But The Epic still had to make good on the enthusiasm that fans of Lamar’s jazz-inflected opus brought to it — and managed to do so with its novel synthesis of soul-jazz classicism, R&B fusion, Washington’s own tenor-sax soloing, and his soaring writing for a string section and choir.

Rolling Stone spoke with Washington on the phone not long after he found out he had been selected as the winner of the American Music Prize, but before the results were announced on Wednesday morning. He shared his thoughts on his recent breakout success, watching Lamar’s unforgettable Grammy performance and his plans for his next album.

This award follows a big year for you. When a rush of success occurs in that way, does it affect your creative process or change how you think of what you’re doing in the short term?

I was actually on the road when I found out [about the American Music Prize]. And I felt, you know, it was very cool! [Laughs] When you’re writing music, you don’t really know how it’s going to be received. All the appreciation definitely inspires you to keep pushing. It’s been amazing, the reception and the success and the milestones for my career, for sure. I mean, for me, I’m trying not to let all this … distract me too much. I’m trying to just keep pushing on the things I’ve been wanting to do in my life and in music. And think of new things to do!

Does it feel different, these days, to be playing jazz for sold-out club audiences?

I look at it as something that I’ve wanted to have happen. Just in general: people opening up to this music. I think there’s a bigger sign there. Like, going from being open to jazz to just being kind of more open in general. And I think that’s a good thing, across the board.

I think the open mind is the one that’s reachable. You look at something like this political race or something like that, and you see that there’s a lot of closed minds out there. And with closed minds also come closed eyes, closed ears and everything else. And so people becoming open to jazz … It’s a very self-expressive, very inclusive music. It’s rarely about one individual. And I think that that energy — that idea as it spreads amongst people — is a sign of other things being there as well. So for me, being a part of that is … I don’t know. When I think about it, it kinda freaks me out a little bit [laughs]. But even more, I get excited about it. The door is open. It’s great. I look at it as an opportunity. And I haven’t really had a lot of time to freak out. “You look at something like this political race … and you see that there’s a lot of closed minds out there,” says Washington.

Speaking of opportunities for the music, I’m guessing you saw your sometime collaborators Kendrick Lamar and saxophonist Terrace Martin performing at the Grammys.

Oh, absolutely. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life!

What does it mean to see artists like Lamar and Martin creating those theatrical, political images as part of a network television broadcast?

Yeah, things like that happening — on that stage — it’s a sign from the world that counterbalances some other things, you know? It’s definitely a sign of the world heading in a cool direction, in some ways.

And when you’re thinking of, let’s say the “less cool” directions, you mean the presidential race?

Yeah. Like, Donald Trump being at the forefront of that, on the Republican side, is a bit daunting. Just considering some of the statements he’s made. But you know, life is balance like that. One side is getting totally out of whack. And music is kinda getting more in tune to what’s happening.

Does the current public conversation around hip-hop and jazz — coming out of the response to your own record as well as To Pimp a Butterfly — feel like it really “gets” the connection between the traditions?

Well, I think that it’s a relationship that people talk about being new. But it’s something that’s always been there. You know, if you listen to so many of the great hip-hop records from the past, there are always jazz samples in there. So someone in there has an awareness and an understanding of jazz.

And the energy of hip-hop and the energy of jazz are coming from a similar place. The whole repurposing of music: the way hip-hop uses samples to create new songs, and in jazz, how we take show tunes and turn them into standards. And thinking about what jazz was in the bebop era — it was our way of expressing our intellect and expressing who we were. The thing about hip-hop is, like, that the instruments were taken out of schools. But: You might have taken the instruments out of schools, but we’ll take the records and sing over them! Hip-hop and jazz have always been intertwined. Even the G-funk thing. You listen to The Chronic, there’s flute solos and everything. It’s always been there.

And going back even further, with the original P-Funk material, you’ve got keyboardist Bernie Worrell’s experience with improvisation and music theory feeding into that rich sound.

Oh, yeah. Funk in general — I mean, we give it a different name. We called it something else, which was fine. But it could have easily been called jazz, you know? It definitely fits all the criteria. “If you listen to so many of the great hip-hop records from the past, there are always jazz samples in there,” Washington says. Mike Park

The Epic was recorded a while back. How has your playing changed since then? Especially with all the touring you’ve been doing?
Ah, I’m much more comfortable with myself. I was getting there, when we were recording The Epic. But since then … when you play music, there’s almost like a third entity that kind of tells you what the music wants you to do. You either listen to it or you don’t. And a lot of times, you know like as a musician, you want to show what you can do. And sometimes that’s not always in line with what the music wants. So there’s that. And harmonically, I definitely opened myself up. I’ve changed up in the way that I approach, on a technical level, certain things. On the newer songs I’m writing right now, I’m not thinking in a diatonic sense. … They’re not in any particular kind of key. It opens up a different approach.

Do you have a timeline for recording a follow-up to The Epic?

You know, I’m trying to get to the studio in the next couple of months. I’m going to Hawaii and Australia — and [so maybe] before that and after that. In my mind, I have plans for more large-ensemble stuff: doing some brass ensembles and not just things with the choir. … It’s hard to say exactly; it’s all in my head right now. … I’ve been messing around with recording myself over and over again. Like a 32-piece saxophone thing. Just for a demo, for a song. And I’m like, “Hey, that sounds cool. Maybe it’s something I want to do for real.”

I also have this graphic novel that I’m working on — this story that inspired me to put out my album in its entirety, instead of reducing it down to a single CD. I had a dream [with] a story that encompassed all the songs [on The Epic], which really led me to have the conviction that I was really going to put it out. So I’m creating a graphic novel for that. I’m trying to help my friends — who also recorded albums when I was recording my album — put their albums out. And it’s a [huge] task — though I’ve done it twice in L.A. — to do a live show that has the full strings and the choir and the full band [behind The Epic]. But I want to try to get that out to other places, outside of L.A. as well.

Maybe the prize money can help with that.

Yeah, it definitely makes it easier — especially when I’m thinking about brass ensembles for my next record — to not have to think about budget. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing, but I’m not always so practical in my musical endeavors.

April 15

Nordic Ski Worlds in 2021: Germany Maintains

SKI NORDIQUE – Oberstdorf has no plans to ask for a postponement of the Nordic ski world championships, which it is due to host from February 23 to March 7.

The Nordic Ski World Championships are scheduled to take place from February 23 to March 7, 2021 in Oberstdorf.

However, during a live facebook post on Facebook, the president of the Italian Winter Sports Federation Flavio Roda caused a stir. He said that at the last FIS council, Germany had asked for a postponement.

She thus followed in the footsteps of the Italians. The Alpine Skiing World Championships scheduled for February 2021 in Cortina d’Ampezzo are expected to be postponed until March 2022. The coronavirus pandemic is definitely not without consequences for sports calendars.

However, in an interview with BR24 on 26 May, Florian Stern, a member of the organising committee, wished to correct: “We are not yet in the same position as the Italians,” he said.

A Plan B exists

According to him, it is the “Plan A” that remains relevant. “Next winter we should be able to organize World Cups and world championships with some minor restrictions.”

For now, organizers hope the races will be held in public. Unless the Covid-19 reappears massively on the European continent.

So there is a plan B: “We are looking in all possible directions, but the Nordic Ski World Championships in Oberstdorf will take place on the scheduled date.” A specific point will be made at the end of August/early September.

More Expensive Worlds

Anyway, the Worlds will be more expensive than expected. As announced by project manager Florian Speigl, the renovation of the Schattenberg ski jump will cost up to an additional 2.8 million euros. Modernization costs are currently estimated at 42.1 million euros.

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March 15

Nordic Skiing Oberstdorf Worlds: no public restrictions

SKI NORDIQUE – The organizers of the World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, have already sold 25,000 tickets.

Nordic skiing: stadiums 100% full

26.01.2020, Oberstdorf, Germany (GER):
Valentin Chauvin (FRA) – FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Oberstdorf (GER). © Thibaut/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Already 25,000 tickets have been sold for the World Nordic Ski Championships in Oberstdorf in 2021. While the planet is still facing the coronavirus pandemic, the information may surprise.

“There is no discussion about a possible postponement or cancellation of the event. In addition, there are currently no restrictions on the public. For the moment, we plan to fill the stadiums 100%,” confirms one of the worlds’ bosses, Moritz Beckers-Schwarz, to our colleagues at the Augsburger Allgemeine.

The decision to reduce the number of spectators is up to the local authorities or the Bavarian government anyway, the press across the Rhine reminds us. “In the event of cancellation or capacity restrictions, the ticket price will be refunded,” Beckers-Schwarz said. The organizers are insured.

The Nordic Ski World Championships are scheduled in Oberstdorf from February 23 to March 7, 2021.

Photos: Nordic Focus.

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February 10

Find Out How Playing Music to Your Unborn Baby Can Have Lasting Effects on It

Did you know that playing music to your unborn baby could have lasting effects on it? According to the experts, a foetus hears many sounds from the outside world. However, there is a type of noise that captures the baby’s attention most from moms-to-be is music. Although the actual impact of prenatal exposure to Mozart and Bach is yet to be established, initial research seems to show that your unborn baby may possibly enjoy and somewhat benefit from a daily dose of music.

Sounds inside the womb

A baby can start hearing sounds at around 17 weeks’ pregnancy. This is usually about the time the mother begins to feel the initial small flutters of movement and before the baby’s sex can be clearly known. The baby’s heartbeat will accelerate in reaction to sounds originating from outside the womb, including music by the 26th week. At 33 weeks’ gestation, babies have been detected breathing in step with music, which is an indication of their awareness of the beat. By the time the baby is 38 weeks, it responds differently to different genres of music, by showing various rates of foetal movement.

The mother-to-be should be careful about the kind of music she chooses during pregnancy. She ought to choose more relaxing music and avoid any type of music that evokes negative feelings such as anger or violence, comprising of heavy metal, hard rock, or rap. Besides, any kind of music played very loudly can overstimulate the foetus or even harm its developing ear.

A pregnant woman can use music as a means of influencing her thoughts and moods positively. She should listen to music which calms her, and content or music which lifts her spirits in moments of low emotional states. For instance, soft instrumental music, classical music, easy-listening or nature’s sounds have such a calming effect on the mother-to-be. In fact, they have been known to lessen feelings of worry, stress, and depression that may be experienced during pregnancy. The soothing effect of music is felt by the foetus, too, and can last even after the baby is born. Studies have revealed that several babies can identify music that they heard while in the womb and will be calmed by it later in life!

Sounds travel via the amniotic fluid and the foetus hears them in the 5th month of pregnancy, when its ears are fully developed. However, even before the sense of hearing is fully developed, vibrations and frequencies can affect the foetus. Each sound has a vibration that the foetus can feel on the fainter levels of its being.

Brain development takes place mostly during the foetal stage of life; this is why exposure to particular types of music is believed to boost brain development. It is thought that if a mother listens to classical music during pregnancy, the baby’s learning aptitude, memory, as well as vocal communication are enhanced after delivery and during its entire life

January 10

Guns N’ Roses Tap Alice in Chains for Las Vegas Shows

Alice in Chains will open for Guns N’ Roses during the first two dates of the band’s highly anticipated reunion. The pair of hard rock groups will join forces at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on April 8th and 9th, one week before GN’R headlines Coachella.

Though Guns N’ Roses have been actively touring in recent years, singer Axl Rose has been the only member of the original lineup to remain in the group. The reunion this year marks the return of guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan, who both had high-profile feuds with Rose following their respective departures.

Guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who co-founded the group in 1985 with childhood friend Rose, was the first member of the classic lineup to comment on the reunion, telling Rolling Stone that he has “no involvement” in the live shows or potential new music. He did not expand on why he would not participate.

The Las Vegas dates will take place just before the 14th anniversary of Alice in Chains’ singer Layne Staley’s death. The band reformed in 2006 with singer William DuVall, who has released two albums with the band since he joined. The band toured over the course of July and August last year. In November, members of the band performed in Seattle at an EMP Museum tribute to Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page alongside GN’R’s McKagan, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, the Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson and Page himself.