Why Madonna Brought 14 Cape Verdean Drummers on Tour – And What They Taught Her

Madonna
Ricardo Gomes

Madonna onstage with Batukadeiras Orquesta in Brooklyn in 2019.

In 2017, Madonna thought she was moving to Portugal to “be a soccer mom,” but instead, the 61-year-old icon found inspiration for her then-upcoming album, Madame X, thanks to a friend she calls her “musical plug,” Dino d’Santiago. One night, the Cape Verde-born, Lisbon-based singer — who coached Madonna on how to speak Portuguese and sing in Portuguese and Creole — had arranged a concert for her by Batukadeiras Orquesta, a group of female drummers specializing in batuka, a rhythmic call-and-response style created in Cape Verde during the early days of the slave trade. “I’d never seen anything like it, never heard anything like it. So of course, I couldn’t get it out of my head,” says Madonna.

She invited several members of the collective to perform on her album and even brought some to the United States for her intimate Madame X tour that began last September in New York. (Its final two dates were canceled due to the pandemic.) “I thought about [my manager] Guy Oseary’s response to the cost of taking 22 women on the road with us,” says Madonna. (They ended up taking 14.) But her goal was set: “I wanted the audience to get a glimpse of [their] history.”

How did you discover the Orquesta Batukadeiras?

I discovered them once I met Dino d’Santiago, who I call my musical plug. He understood that I wanted to meet musicians and experience all the different traditions and genres that Portugal had to offer. He called me one day and said that he had something very special for me, but he couldn’t tell me what — he just said to show up at this place, at this time. At this point, he had already introduced me to some amazing musicians and brought me to some really cool places, clubs, etc. So, I went to this place — it’s hard to describe — it was like a bar that hadn’t been open in a while. They had opened it expressly for me. There was Abstract art on the wall and a few deer — you know, antlers. It was filled with people. There was a DJ playing electro-African-house music, and a girl singing in a silver lamé suit, and I thought, “Oh this can’t be what he asked me to come here for.” Dino said, “No, this is not what I want you to hear. It’s coming up.” There were some people dancing and eventually the music stopped — the crowds parted and on the other side of the room was a group of women sitting in a semi-circle in chairs, exactly as you saw them on my stage, but there were a lot more of them. They started playing their drums, drums that they held in their laps, and they started beating out these rhythms, and then they started singing and taking turns getting up and dancing. I was drawn to them and we walked closer and closer to them. It was wild – the way they played and the organic way they got up and took turns dancing together and singing solos. I asked Dino what language they were singing in. They were singing in Cape Verdean Creole.

It didn’t seem terribly rehearsed; it seemed like second nature to them. They were like a family, a community of women. I marveled at the age range of the women — from teenage girls to women who looked like they could be grandmothers. It was an amazing, immersive, musical, familial, matriarchal experience. The music was mesmerizing and hypnotizing and it blew me away. We just sat there, stood there, with our mouths hanging open. I’d never seen anything like it before. They were joyous and enthusiastic. There was an abandonment, for lack of a better word.

Afterwards, Dino said, “This style of music is called batuka, this is the Batukadeiras Orquesta.” I met some of the women, not all of them. Dino told me they had to rush out as they all came on buses from far outside of town, especially to play for me. I was extremely moved that they made such an effort and even more so that they were so amazing.

You know, I’d never seen anything like it. I’d never heard anything like it. So of course, I couldn’t get it out of my head. As the days went on, I thought it would be really special to try and collaborate with them and write a song together for my record since so many of my songs were influenced by and/or involving other musicians that I had met in Portugal. So, Dino again approached them and asked them if they would come into the studio and try to experiment, this musical experience, which is a kind of call and response, and they were up for it. Very few of them spoke English, so we had both Dino and another woman who came as a representative and translator.

We all got into the recording studio, the same women and girls, into the only room we could actually record in — we barely fit. I had written some words and I encouraged them to just repeat after me. They start playing their drums, which is a triplet rhythm. Lots of the women sang solos, and I picked out which ones I liked the best, Antonia and Bianina, the women who ended up going on the road with me. What amazed me was how even though we didn’t speak the same language, they repeated precisely not only what I said but also the melody. That’s how our recording went: back and forth and back and forth, until we got it right. They weren’t used to singing into microphones so there was a comical aspect to it. We realized we had to record things separately because I was singing in 4/4 time, and they were playing their txabeta triplet time. In any case, for me it was an amazing experience because they were so open to anything I suggested and to collaborating. They brought their fire and their passion. I explained to them through Dino what the song was about and they loved it because their whole philosophy is about fighting for your rights and empowering women. They were very happy with what I was saying in English.

After the hours and hours of playing together and singing together, they insisted that we all pray together. That prayer was Amor de Mãe, which is the song that ended up being in the show before they appear on stage, when you see the map. We did that prayer at the end and they all blessed me and wished me well. There was a lot of hugging and tears. I just can’t explain what a positive encounter it was.

I loved the way the song turned out, and after my record was finished, I was putting the Madame X show together and started thinking, “Oh my God wouldn’t it be amazing if I brought the Batukadeiras on stage?” Of course, I thought about Guy Oseary’s response to the cost of taking 22 women on the road with us. We ended up taking 14. Dino then reached out to each and every one of these women to ask if they were interested in going on tour and doing a show with me. It took a while as many of them have families, jobs and school they couldn’t leave, but we welcomed the women who could work things out.

What did it feel like sharing the stage with them every night?

Sharing the stage with them was like an ecstatic experience because I was surrounded by such powerful, passionate women. Having them all around me singing along with all the musicians that I met and work with — I really felt like they were there for the right reason. I felt like they were there to share their message of love and unity and female empowerment. I could feel how proud they were to share this tradition that’s been going on for hundreds of years with the world. It was as if we were feeding off each other’s energy. I wish I would have had all of them, to tell you the truth, because the power of all of them was just so amazing. But the women who did come, I mean from day one of rehearsal: they were always joyful, always positive, always smiling. They had each other’s backs. When one of them was sick, they all gathered around each other. I never saw musicians care for each other so much and support one another so much. They had so much respect for the elderly women in the group. If one was sick they would all insist, “Nope she can’t come to work today. She’s gotta stay home.” And I’d say, “Aww are you sure?” And they would say, “Nope, she’s gotta stay for a whole week, she’s gotta stay home.” It really impressed me how much they loved and supported and cared for one another. It was pretty special, as you don’t see that in our Western world.

There’s clearly pain associated with them, the genesis of their music. Did you talk about that with them?

Dino first told me about the history of their music, that it came from a kind of rebellion. Everything was taken away from them when they were slaves. They had no freedom and what they played on originally came from when they would wash their clothes in the river: They would bunch them up together and turn them into a kind of drum they could play on…eventually that evolved into a leather-covered drum, a piece of leather, stuffed with clothes – with fabric – with a little nozzle at the bottom that they could grasp between their legs when they’re sitting. All they had was their music when they were together. The rule makers, the authorities and slaveowners perceived their music as a form of rebellion – they were not behaving, they were not being quiet, they were not obeying the rules, and they were not being submissive. So, they took their txabeta away and their reaction was: “Okay fine, we’ll play on our legs. We’ll sing anyways; you can’t take our voices away.” I just love that story. That was their spirit, that was their soul and their music is proof that the human spirit cannot be kept down. Dino gave me so many history lessons about Portugal being the birthplace of slavery. When the slave trade first started ships went to the island of Cape Verde, which is on the northern West Coast of Africa. That’s where the slave trade first began.

Knowing their history made their music and these women so important. That they kept that tradition going and that against all odds, they managed to make music, dance, sing, and create joy and happiness in spite of the oppression they were suffering. I wanted this to be known. I wanted the audience to get a glimpse of that history too.

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What did you learn from them?

Resilience and the importance of unity — having each other’s backs. You know, that really impressed me a lot. We don’t have that a lot. We’re experiencing that right now obviously, during this time when people are coming together and helping one another, but it’s important to have that spirit at all times. That thought helped me keep going through my show because I was suffering, I was in pain, and they really supported me and really had my back. They were always smiling and supportive, always there for me. It was a real sisterhood. I wanted to show the world that these people exist. We don’t have to live in our separate worlds, fighting against each other, fighting for our place… we can actually work together as a team and be appreciated as a group without cutthroat ambition.

Generally speaking, is there something in African music that’s missing from most Western music?

To me it’s music that has been handed down through the centuries. It comes from the soul of the Earth — it’s connected to nature; it’s connected to community. There’s something organic about it because you can create an instrument out of anything. There’s a soulfulness about it. And a paradox, because there’s sadness and there’s suffering, but then there’s also joy, and the sense that all sorrow and pain can be overcome. And that music is what lifts everybody up. And so to me, that’s the essence of African music that is missing from a lot of Western music that we hear today. It’s not just entertainment. You feel the journey that each of these people have been on, you feel the journey of the past, you feel the journey of their history, of their ancestors. It’s filled with so many layers and complexities.

What other African music or musicians do you draw inspiration or strength from?

I love morna music, which is the music of Cape Verde. It’s the kind of music that Cesária Évora made. To me it’s like the sound of mourning. It’s a kind of sad, melancholic music and again, mesmerizing and heartbreaking but also, like the song “Sodade” that I sang in my show, which Cesária made famous, is about missing. It means missing, to miss something. It’s that longing for your home, that longing for your family that you are no longer with, that longing for a loved one that you are no longer with. It’s about loss, but never being a victim, because even in the song “Sodade,” Cesária says, “Okay, I miss my home and I miss you, and if you write to me, then I’ll write back, and if you miss me, then I’ll miss you too, but if not, then okay.” So, it’s not like, poor pitiful me. There’s strength in the longing, and the loss, if you know what I mean.

What other memorable music experiences have you had in Portuguese-speaking Africa?

One of the musicians that I love and who really moved me and still does wasn’t in my show, but he’s somebody that whenever I go, I always make a point of going to hear him play or I invite him over to my house because we became friends. His name is Kimi Djabate and he’s from Guinea-Bissau. He also sang on one of my songs on my album called “Ciao Bella,” which was only in one of the super deluxe packages of my records. He has an incredible voice and he plays guitar and also plays an instrument called a Balafon. It looks like a xylophone, but it’s a more ancient version of it. When you play with a mallet on these pieces of steel it makes different notes and sounds. When he was growing up, his father and the people in the village were against him playing music as they perceived what he was doing as wrong or negative or maybe connected to witchcraft or something like that. He persisted and eventually was appreciated for his musical gifts and talents and eventually he moved to Lisbon. And now, he has records out. He has an Instagram account — @kimidjabate. He’s a huge talent and he really moves me. And Cesária. Dino d’Santiago – I can’t not mention him also, because you know, he does it all. I mean, he plays, he does morna, he does funaná, he can play samba. He can do anything, he’s an extremely versatile and talented musician.

What is it about him that moves you?

His musicality, his versatility, his passion for what he does, the way he was so excited to introduce me to the Batukadeiras. He was so proud that I could share their music with the world. He’s just a man full of love, you know, and he has his hands in everything. He brought me to a lot of fado clubs as well. He introduced me to a lot of amazing fado singers. He just connected me to everyone musically, he introduced me to Miroca Paris, Carlos Mil-Homens, Jessica Pina, and Celeste Rodrigues – whose great-grandson Gaspar ended up going on the road with me. So, Dino’s responsible for so much – also coached me on how to speak Portuguese and sing in Portuguese and Creole, introduced me to so many different genres and styles of music, brought me to every club there was to go to, brought me to living room sessions, and just connected me to this underground world of music that people don’t know about. I in turn tried to put that into my show and share it with the world. So, he really was my pipeline, my connector — what I call my plug. He did it with so much love, and completely and utterly out of generosity. Usually there’s some manager calling you saying, ‘Okay, so how much, this is what he charges, and this is how many hours he’s gonna work.’

How fluid is the music between Portugal, Brazil and Portuguese-speaking Africa?

Extremely fluid. I mean, it’s the same. There was also an incredible Brazilian pianist named João Ventura, who played piano at the Met Gala for me when I did “Dark Ballet.” He’s a virtuoso pianist who can play anything, classical to pop, and samba. I would go to a small club called Tejo Bar, you could walk in there and hear any of these styles of music with these musicians playing it and it would be as if you were transported back to those countries.

What did you learn musically being immersed in the Portuguese-speaking world?

Well, I learned to sing in Creole and Portuguese. I learned to play the 12-string guitar when I played “Sodade” in my show, and I learned to sing fado. I also learned and understood how limited I am, and how far I have to go as a musician and singer.

Was there any life wisdom you drew from the musicians you met?

To never forget where you come from, and the honesty and purity of those who share what they have learned. It was handed down to them from their ancestors, their families, fellow musicians that they work with. They’re just so open and generous, I really can’t express that more. I’m so used to everyone in America thinking, ‘I’m the best. I’m the best. I’m on top and number one. I’m the greatest. I have the most views. I have the most awards. I’m a King, I’m this, I’m that.’ Everyone’s into titles… labels, and they don’t have that in Portugal. All they want to do is share their love of music and what they know with other people, and it’s really rare and so appreciated, especially now.

The Prime Minister of Cape Verde attended a Madame X show in New York in September. What did you talk about when you met?

Really, the main thing was how proud he was. How proud he was to have his country represented, how he said he was crying tears of joy. He was telling the truth – he was on his feet in the box that he was in from beginning to end. He was just so proud of the Batukadeiras. So proud that all these musicians that I’d met in Lisbon were traveling around the world, sharing what obviously he knows and understands and appreciates, but never in a million years did he imagined that America – people in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago would be experiencing this. I think pride and gratitude was my main takeaway from him.

What kind of response to the album and the tour have you received from other figures across Portuguese-speaking Africa after spotlighting their music in such a huge way?

I think in general all Portuguese people and the music that I represented in my show and on my record were extremely grateful and surprised that I was sharing fado and morna and batuka and funaná with the world. They didn’t expect it. And, well neither did I, but obviously when I moved there, I didn’t expect that I was going to have those musical experiences. I thought I was just going there to watch soccer matches and be a soccer mom.

More at Billboard

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The 100 Greatest Debut Singles of All Time (Madonna at #43)

Oct 1983-new York City Madonna Performs at Studio 54Madonna 1983

Mediapunch/Shutterstock

43. Madonna, “Everybody”

The obvious standout from a four-song demo that the extremely ambitious young singer was shopping around in 1982, “Everybody” caught the ear of a DJ friend, who slipped into his sets at New York’s famed Danceteria. She’d quickly go on to bigger things, and sharper material, but the song patterned the ebullient electro-pop sound of her early classic hits, eventually landing in the Top Five of the Billboard dance charts after Sire Records put it out as her debut single. As Sire founder and President Seymour Stein later recalled, “I would’ve gone down to the bank and withdrawn my own money to sign her if I had too.” J.D. 

Full list at Rolling Stone

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Vogue’s André Leon Talley Discusses Madonna in New Book

When Anna returned to Vogue in 1988 as EIC, replacing Grace, she named Andre creative director. “There was no higher accolade she could give me, as the masthead portrayed. Anna Wintour made me the highest-ranking black man in the history of fashion journalism,” he writes of a ranking he’d maintain until Edward Enninful‘s promotion to EIC of British Vogue 30 years later. One of his first big assignments was handling Madonna‘s first cover shoot in 1989. Upon meeting the pop diva in Los Angeles, “she smiled warmly when she introduced herself and said, ‘Hi, I’m Madonna, you want a blow job?” he reveals. “‘No thanks,’ I replied. I am sure she was joking and just breaking the ice, as we had never met before. I was flattered and continued to unpack my large black cases from Paris.”

Full article at E Online

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HAIM inspired by Madonna

HAIM are inspired by Madonna, as they said they’re “so into” the singer, whom they also dubbed an “icon”

HAIM are inspired by Madonna.

The ‘I Know Alone’ hitmakers have said they’re “so into” the singer – who they also dubbed an “icon” – and credited her decades-long career with inspiring them to start their own music journey.

Danielle Haim said: “I mean, I’ve always been so into Madonna and everything that she is and everything she’s like, I don’t know. I just think she’s a icon and I’ve been super into Ray of Light. Like that was like a huge inspiration on ‘Women in Music Pt. III’ – It’s just, everything about it. So amazing.

“I feel like Music is underrated and that’s the album that this next song is from, but also the song is so good. I honestly, I cried like for a while, like every morning I’d play it and I’d like, cry to it – No, but just the whole sentiment. Like, do you know what it feels like for a girl? Like it’s just … and the way that it’s written and all the sound, it’s just a great song.”

Read full article at The List

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On This Day In Billboard History: Madonna Brought the Transcendence of ‘Vogue’ to No. 1

Madonna
Michel Linssen/Redferns

Madonna performs on stage at the Feyenoord stadium on July 24, 1990.

At the start of the ’90s, Madonna had seven Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s under her boy-toy belt and could pretty readily make the case she was the defining female pop star of the ’80s. The only thing arguably working against her was the embarrassment-of-riches issue of figuring out how to follow-up a career-defining smash such as 1989’s “Like a Prayer.”

She solved that problem by dropping another world-shifting pop hit. “Vogue,” which became her eighth Hot 100 No. 1 30 years ago today (May 19, 1990), topped the chart for three consecutive weeks and remains one of her most enduring hits. Over the course of this lush, gradual ascent into thumping house-disco bliss aided by co-writer and co-producer Shep Pettibone, Madonna lays out yet another masterful manifesto about ecstatic liberation on the dancefloor.

Inspired by the visually dramatic dance style of voguing that grew out of Harlem ballroom culture (as depicted in the classic 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning), Madonna tapped dancers/choreographers Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza from that world to show America how it was done. While Madonna hardly invented the iconic moves, her global reach propelled voguing into the mainstream, a double-edged sword that season 2 of FX’s Pose thoughtfully dealt with in 2019 (on one hand, it gave scene players an industry launch pad, but some queer people of color felt their culture had been appropriated, then discarded, after the craze went out of, well, vogue).

Thirty years after “Vogue” topped the chart, it’s truly difficult to think about something related to the song that isn’t iconic: There’s the irresistible choreography; David Fincher’s black-and-white art deco music video; her Marie Antoinette-styled VMAs performance of the song; the movie-star roll call near the end; and also every damn lyric. Really, the only thing “Vogue”-adjacent that isn’t a clear victory is the album it first called home: I’m Breathless: Music From and Inspired By the Film Dick Tracy. It was a hit, certainly, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, but remains one of the more neglected titles in her otherwise essential catalog, in no small part because its biggest single shares almost nothing in common with the rest of the LP other than an affection for Golden Era Hollywood.

It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone to learn “Vogue” wasn’t even intended for that collection of Sondheim numbers and Jazz Age throwbacks. According to Pettibone, it was given a budget of $5,000 and slated as a b-side for “Keep It Together,” but when execs heard it, the plan changed. “The attitude was like, ‘This isn’t gonna be a b-side. How can we get this out there?’” Pettibone recalled to Billboard in 2015 of the decision to tack it on to the Dick Tracy companion album.

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The 100 Greatest Madonna Songs: Critics’ Picks

Regardless, three decades later, its power remains undiminished. When Madame X trotted out “Vogue” at Pride Island 2019 during New York City’s 50th anniversary of Stonewall World Pride celebration, the response was deafening, with the crowd surging like a tsunami. But even then, it was so much deeper and deeper than just bumping and grinding: It was a magical, life’s-a-ball moment of transcendence few dance songs dare to reach.

More at Billboard

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Madonna’s ‘I’m Breathless’ Turns 30 | Anniversary Retrospective

 

Happy 30th Anniversary to Madonna’s I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film ‘Dick Tracy’ originally released May 22, 1990.

1990 was most definitely a defining year in Madonna’s career. In fact, it may just be her most definitive. Fresh out of the career resplendent ‘80s and hot off the heels of the success of Like A Prayer (1989), Madonna entered 1990 with a massive bang by releasing “Vogue,” a song that remains synonymous with the singer until this very day. Paying homage to ballroom culture and with thumping house beats, “Vogue” was the epitome of what a classic dance track should and could be.

After the release of “Vogue” and its incomparable success, Madonna embarked on the now infamous Blonde Ambition Tour causing controversy wherever she went. The show had a heady focus on Religion, her Like A Prayer album and of course “Vogue,” but it also included three songs from her then upcoming film, Dick Tracy. Honoring her character, night club singer Breathless Mahoney, she wore a green showgirl outfit as she sang “Sooner Or Later,” “Hanky Panky” and “Now I’m Following You.” Both the stage and choreography were inspired by the classic movie performances of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and were an interesting departure from the rest of the show.

Given the high profile Madonna had at the time, coupled with the controversy surrounding her on stage performance of “Like A Virgin,” it not only seemed like a logical extension to hock her latest film and accompanying album, but it was also an incredibly smart business move. Dick Tracy was set in the 1930s and Madonna—who at the time had a hyper-sexualized, religious angst-riddled persona—seemed to be the furthest thing from the somewhat brassy, but gentle character of night club singer Breathless Mahoney. Whilst the film adaption of Mahoney was different from the original comic strip, Madonna again managed the unimaginable and brought not only a new dimension to Mahoney, but essentially also brought the character to life.

It’s true that I’m Breathless is a collection of big band pop songs that make up a film soundtrack, but more than this, the album finds Madonna taking on music by the legendary Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim, who is arguably one of the most important figures in musical theatre, contributed three tracks to the album; the sultry “Sooner Or Later,” the jazzy “More” and the beautiful duet with Mandy Patinkin, “What Can You Lose.” Madonna took to these songs like a duck to water and showed that pop was not her only repertoire. Her singing is given great range and she not only tackles genres like Jazz and Big Band, but conquers them with great aplomb.

As per usual, Madonna had an immense amount of input on the album, co-writing six of the album’s twelve songs and co-producing every track. Joined by (then) long time collaborators Patrick Leonard and Shep Pettibone, Madonna also managed to bring a playful vibe to the album. The seductiveness of the album opener “He’s A Man” also has a devilish element that allows for songs like “Hanky Panky,” a cheeky double entendre, to breathe life amongst its peers.

“I’m Going Bananas” provides a fun, lighthearted, almost Carmen Miranda-like energy with its latin flavored sound. The impassioned “Something To Remember” played to a conversation on self-love, a topic that Madonna would go on to explore more later in her career. Never one to sit in the “comfort zone,” as the album draws to a close, Madonna and then boyfriend and co-star Warren Beatty duet on the two-part “Now I’m Following You.” Part one continues the album’s big band theme before segueing into a ‘90s dance track for part two. Complete with background tap dancers, Madonna breathily quoting Socrates (“An unexamined life is not worth living”), another double entendre with Tracy’s first name (Dick) and a line from “Hanky Panky” (“My bottom just hurts thinking about it”) being morphed into a sexual mashup, Madonna again manages to get her exposition to the forefront.

Let’s be brutally honest here. Give or take one other legend (Diana Ross), not many other artists would tackle something like I’m Breathless—then or now. Madonna moved into unknown territory on this album and she delivered. Her vocal prowess may be at its finest on this album, but she also wasn’t afraid to venture into the serious and silly, even giving us a little camp, all things that made and make I’m Breathless a truly breathless exercise in sonic beauty.

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Hackers threaten to reveal details of Madonna if law firm doesn’t pay $1 mn ransom

Hackers who have claimed to be in possession of 756 gigabytes of data from top celeb attorney Allen Grubman’s law firm website are threatening to sell confidential information about Madonna.

It comes after the hackers claimed that they have sold all their “dirty laundry” on US President Donald Trump to a secret buyer after their demands weren’t completed by the Allen Grubman’s NYC firm “Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks.”

The Eastern European hackers known as REvil or Sodinokibi have asked for at least $1 million for details on Madonna, reports Page Six. The hackers had earlier also released a screenshot purported as a contract for the pop-star when announcing the cyberattack, warning that they would start releasing personal information about the A-list stars if they are not paid $21 million. They doubled their demand to $42 million last week after Grubman refused to agree to the terms.

The hackers then threatened to publish “a ton of dirty laundry” about Donald Trump, even though the US president has never been a client of the law firm. Federal Bureau of Investigation which is working on the case called it an “act of terrorism” and prevented Grubman from taking any step. The hackers followed it up with another post on the dark web on Monday where they said the “presidency-ending material” about Trump is off the market as they have sold them to a secret buyer.

“We are preparing to auction Madonna data … The buyer has the right to do whatever he sees fit with the data,” they added.

Brett Callow, from cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, told the outlet about the hacker’s threats, “What information REvil had on Trump we may likely never know. But they were almost certainly bluffing about it being ‘presidency-ending material.'”

Allen Grubman’s law firm represents several A-list stars including musicians Lady Gaga, Elton John, Lizzo, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Lil Nas X, The Weeknd, U2, and Drake. Priyanka Chopra, Robert De Niro, Sofía Vergara, LeBron James, Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, and Mike Tyson are also among their prominent clients.

More at IB Times

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Miles Away discography online – 16 different items

In our discography we have made it to the end of the Hard Candy era with the third and final single: Miles Away!

Another big hit for Madonna in Holland making Hard Candy one of her most succesful albums and singles in our little country, commercially it did very very well. 

The official music video was compiled of footage shot of the Sticky & Sweet Tour in Argentina. 

Check out our discography HERE

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Five songs to celebrate the rainbow

I already know people are asking when Madonna is going to show up in this incomplete list. Well, here is her majesty with her song “Vogue.” You remember her, right? Otherwise, listen to it again and then continue reading about this beautiful creature that, like no one else, has known very well how to go from one side to the other of the sexual range, or at least pretend that delusional journey, which at 61 years of age she has left untouched.

For many “Vogue” is the perfect hymn to sexual diversity. With Madonna it’s not about your gender, but rather that you assume what identifies you and enjoy the pleasures of life to the utmost. Hymn songs have also been written in our language (Spanish) for the LGBTI community. I’m not sure whether today it’s heard with the same intensity of its beginnings, but “A quién le importa” (Who cares) became, in the voice of Spanish singer Alaska, another of the songs taken as a reference by sexual minorities. At least for part of them.

Full article at On Cuba News

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MoZella talks Madonna in new interview

AS WELL AS WORKING WITH ONE DIRECTION AND CHARLIE PUTH AROUND THAT TIME, YOU WROTE WITH MADONNA FOR 2015’S REBEL HEART. HAD YOUR PATHS CROSSED WHEN YOU WERE SIGNED TO MAVERICK?

I don’t think she even knew me. Guy Oseary was her manager, and ran the label. So I knew Guy.

I didn’t even bring it up to her when I saw her again, like, ‘Hey, I was signed to your label!’ I just kind of let it go. But I had met her once, yes.

Part of me, when she wanted to work with me, was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know, I’ve already had that chapter in my life, you know, the Madonna chapter…’ But then my manager’s like, ‘You know what, it’s amazing; go work with her.’ So I did – and two days turned into a month.

“SHE’S SO SMART AND SO HARDWORKING, AND SHE’S CHALLENGING IN WAYS THAT I HADN’T BEEN CHALLENGED BEFORE.”

[The experience] was amazing. She’s the one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met. She’s so smart and so hardworking, and she’s challenging in ways that I hadn’t been challenged before, in good ways.

I don’t know, I felt like being around a woman that strong made me feel stronger. But then she has this really soft side, once you get to know her, and once she kind of trusts you and sees you, the real you, then it’s beautiful. It kind of changed my life.

Read the full interview at Music Business Worldwide

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Hackers double ransom demand to $42M from Lady Gaga, Madonna’s attorney, threaten Donald Trump

The ransom demand for the secret files of a cyber-attacked lawyer to A-list stars has doubled to $42 million — as the hackers are now threatening to reveal “dirty laundry” on President Donald Trump in just a week if they are not paid in full.

Attorney Allen Grubman — the most prominent entertainment attorney in the world, whose firm represents stars including Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mariah Carey, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Priyanka Chopra and Bette Midler — was being shaken down by hackers who attacked his New York law firm for $21 million until today.

Hacking group REvil got into his firm’s server and stole 756 gigabytes of confidential documents, including contracts and personal e-mails from a host of Hollywood and music stars. They also deleted or encrypted the firm’s backups. The only way it can be decrypted is to pay the criminals for a key.

Grubman, we’re told, is refusing to negotiate. A source said, “His view is, if he paid, the hackers might release the documents anyway. Plus the FBI has stated this hack is considered an act of international terrorism, and we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

On Thursday, the hackers upped the ante by posting a chilling new message saying, “The ransom is now [doubled to] $42,000,000 … The next person we’ll be publishing is Donald Trump. There’s an election going on, and we found a ton of dirty laundry on time.”

They added, “Mr Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever. And to you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don’t want to see him as president … The deadline is one week.

“Grubman, we will destroy your company down to the ground if we don’t see the money.”

It is not clear why the hackers connected Trump to Grubman. The president has never been a Grubman client, according to sources, either as a private businessman or during his administration.

On Thursday, the hackers claimed to have hacked another prominent US firm and also posted a file of stolen documents titled “Lady Gaga” on their site on the dark web.

The contents of the documents in the file were not immediately clear, but cybersecurity software company Emsisoft, which specializes in ransomware, spotted it.

An analyst at Emsisoft, Brett Callow, said, “Companies in this situation have no good options available … Even if they pay the ransom demand, there is no guarantee the criminals will destroy the stolen data if it has a high market value. The data may still be sold or traded … In these cases, it’s possible that the criminals will attempt to extort money directly from the people whose information was exposed.”

He added that the requested ransom from the hacker group — which has previously attacked Kenneth Cole and Travelex — “was one of the largest demands ever heard,” with the previous known record demand being $25 million to an unnamed company, which was not paid.

Grubman’s law firm, Grubman, Shire, Meiselas and Sacks, said in a statement to Page Six, “Our elections, our government and our personal information are under escalating attacks by foreign cybercriminals. Law firms are not immune from this malicious activity.

“Despite our substantial investment in state-of-the-art technology security, foreign cyberterrorists have hacked into our network and are demanding $42 million as ransom. We are working directly with federal law enforcement and continue to work around the clock with the world’s leading experts to address this situation.

“The leaking of our clients’ documents is a despicable and illegal attack by these foreign cyberterrorists who make their living attempting to extort high-profile U.S. companies, government entities, entertainers, politicians, and others. Previously, the United States Department of Defense, HBO, Goldman Sachs, as well as numerous state and local governments, have been victims of similar cybercriminal attacks.

“We have been informed by the experts and the FBI that negotiating with or paying ransom to terrorists is a violation of federal criminal law. Even when enormous ransoms have been paid, the criminals often leak the documents anyway.

“We are grateful to our clients for their overwhelming support and for recognizing that nobody is safe from cyberterrorism today. We continue to represent our clients with the utmost professionalism worthy of their elite stature, exercising the quality, integrity and excellence that have made us the number-one entertainment and media law firm in the world.”

More at Fox News

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Give It 2 Me discography online – 22 items!

Brand new in our discography is the second single off ‘Hard Candy’

Give it 2 Me!

Madonna’s uplifting dance urban collaboration with Pharrell became a huge hit in Holland. It became her second biggest hit to date spending a total of six weeks at the official Dutch Top 40 charts (Hung Up spent 7 weeks at number one)! It was the Summer hit of 2008. 

She performed it as the final song on her Sticky & Sweet Tour and later also included it on her MDNA Tour mixed in with ‘Celebration’.

In the discography we have collected 22 different items

Check it out HERE

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Madonna tour contract ‘leaked on dark web’ after huge A-lister data hack

An alleged tour contract for Madonna has been leaked as part of a large-scale hack that targeted documents relating to hundreds of celebrities, including Hollywood A-listers.

The law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, which represents some of the world’s highest-profile celebrities, recently confirmed that it was the victim of a security breach.

Stars such as Robert De Niro, Madonna, DrakeNicki MinajMariah Carey, Elton John, U2 and Rod Stewart are among those whose personal information may have been compromised.

A screenshot of a legal document from Madonna’s recent Madame X tour surfaced on the dark web, apparently bearing signatures from an employee and tour company Live Nation.

Another screenshot depicts dozens of computer files bearing the names of celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand.

Reports suggest the hackers claim to have obtained 756 gigabytes of data, which includes contracts, non-disclosure agreements, phone numbers and private emails.

The law firm will be keen to avoid a repeat of 2014, when Sony Entertainment was hacked and thousands of emails relating to Hollywood stars were made public.

The Independent has contacted Madonna’s representative for comment.

More at The Independent

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Interview with Guan Elmzoon (King Bee) Blond Ambition Tour Rotterdam support act (EXCLUSIVE)

To continue our Blond Ambition 30th year anniversary, we asked King Bee, the Dutch support act of the Blond Ambition Tour to answer a few questions on their experience

 

Guan Elmzoon (DJ All Star Fresh) was nice enough to sit down and tell us about his experience.

(scroll down for Dutch version)

 

You scored absolute classics in the 90’s including ‘Back By Dope Demand’ that still gets played to this day. Can you tell us something about how you were selected to open for Madonna in Rotterdam in 1990?

I was playing in Mallorca when that happened as a DJ in Riu Palace where I spent my Summer. I heard there was a request for us to perform as our song was very popular at the moment. They had to choose for either 2 Unlimited or King Bee to support, we all know who end up being chosen!

How did you react when it became clear that Madonna wanted you to support her in Rotterdam?

I got it confirmed by fax back then and almost couldn’t believe it! We didn’t really have a rehearsed set for performances this size. People only just got to hear ‘Back By Dope Demand’ and I just finished ‘Must Bee The Music’

Your set lasted for 25 minutes and you performed six songs including ‘Back By Dope Demand’ and ‘Feel The Flow’. Can you tell us something about the day? Were you given enough rehearsal time and space or was there a very tight and strict schedule?

Feel The Flow was actually the A side as back then the vinyl still counted. I quickly put a show together with some additional dancers from the U.K. whom I knew from Mallorca. How could we entertain such an audience with one known hit single? That was THE challenge! We were given enough time for the soundcheck and the crew was very professional. The possibility to create a party on a very large stage

Did Madonna put in some personal requests regarding your set?

Not that I knew of. It is quite common though that the sound of the support act is toned down compared to the main act

Were you able to see Madonna’s show (Blond Ambition Tour) after your set? What did you think about it?

Oh yes! I gained free access so I got the full view up close

Did you guys meet Madonna? If so how did that go?

We did get the chance for just a little while, it was very modest and sympathetic. Eventually she came out to check us out while performing ‘Back By Dope Demand’ probably the bass vibration

What were your musical inspirations? Fast Eddie, Tyree or the real old skool hip hop men from let’s say Grandmaster Flash?

As a DJ I had two I looked up to. Grandmaster Flash and John ‘Jellybean´ Benitez. Fast Eddie and Tyree were building a bridge between Hip Hop and House music. I loved both

What style would you classify your music as? Hip hop or more Hip House?

I don’t necessarily classify my style to any genre. I spinned records in very commercial clubs to underground clubs with various styles throughout the years. Right now I play at JammFM (radio) Hip Hop and Dance Classics on Fridays and Saturdays House music moving through different styles. It’s always a journey of discovery

What’s your favourite original dance classic?

My favourite is Yo Yo Get Funky

To wrap things up, got a personal memory or fact regarding the Madonna show you’d like to share?

There was a possibility we were going to support Madonna throughout the European tour, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Good to hear though that our set was a success.

 

Many thanks to: Guan Elmzoon, Pryme, BC Boy, Vince Charming, Kenny T, Michele, Twilight East (UK) and Marc de Reus.


Dutch version:

Jullie scoorden een paar enorme hits in de jaren 90 waaronder ‘Back By Dope Demand’ dat nog steeds goed gedraaid wordt en een echte klassieker te noemen valt. Kun je iets vertellen over hoe jullie geselecteerd werden om op te treden als het voorprogramma van Madonna in Rotterdam in 1990?

Ik was zelf op dat moment op Mallorca aan het draaien als DJ in Riu Palace, waar ik in de zomer doorbracht. Ik hoorde dat er een aanvraag was om als voorprogramma op te treden omdat ons nummer op dat moment heel populair was. De keuze was tussen 2 Unlimited en King Bee. Het resultaat is bekend :)

Wat was jullie reactie toen duidelijk werd dat Madonna jullie graag als voorprogramma wilde?

Ik kreeg het destijds per fax bevestigd en ik kon het bijna niet geloven! We hadden nog geen echte set voor optredens van deze omvang. Men kende net Back By Dope Demand en ik had net ‘Must Bee The Music’ af.

Jullie optreden duurde in totaal 25 minuten en bestond uit zes nummers waaronder Back By Dope Demand en Feel The Flow. Kun je iets vertellen over de dag zelf? Kregen jullie veel repetitietijd of moest er aan een bepaald strak schema gehouden worden?

Feel the Flow was eigenlijk de A kant aangezien destijds vinyl nog meetelde. Ik heb toen snel een show in elkaar gezet met extra dansers uit Engeland die ik van Mallorca kende. En hoe kan je dan een publiek boeien met 1 bekend nummer, dat was DE uitdaging! We kregen genoeg tijd voor de soundcheck en het was heel professioneel met de crew. De mogelijkheid om op een heel groot podium een feestje te maken.

Waren er persoonlijke wensen van Madonna betreffende jullie set?

Ik heb daar niks van gemerkt. Het is verder wel normaal dat het voorprogramma iets zachter staat qua geluid.

Heb je destijds de kans gehad om het concert van Madonna (Blond Ambition Tour) zelf ook te zien? Zo ja, wat vond je ervan?

Jazeker! Ik had vrij toegang dus heb iets meer meegekregen en van dichtbij kunnen zien

Hebben jullie de kans gehad om Madonna de hand te schudden? zo ja, hoe verliep dat? 

We hebben heel even kennis kunnen maken en het was verder vrij bescheiden en sympathiek. Uiteindelijk kwam ze even kijken toen wij Back By Dope Demand deden. Waarschijnlijk de bas vibratie.

Wat waren jouw voorbeelden betreffende muziek: Fast Eddie, Tyree of de echte old skool hip hop mannen van bijvoorbeeld Grandmaster Flash?

Als DJ had ik 2 voorbeelden: Grandmaster Flash en John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez (de ontdekker van Madonna). Fast Eddie en Tyree waren mooi bezig een brug te bouwen tussen Hip hop en House muziek. Ik hield van allebei.

Waar schaar jij jullie muziek onder, hip hop of toch meer hip house?

Ik schaar mezelf nu eigenlijk nergens perse tussen. Ik heb van zeer commerciële Clubs to Underground Clubs gedraaid met allerlei stijlen door de jaren heen. Op dit moment draai ik bijvoorbeeld bij JammFM (radio) Hip Hop en Dance Classics op vrijdags en op zaterdagen House Music waar ik ook door veel stijlen heen ga. Het blijft een ontdekkingsreis :)

Wat is jouw favoriete hip house hit van de good ol’ days?

Mijn favoriete Classic is wel Yo Yo Get Funky

Ten slotte, nog een favoriete herinnering of leuk feitje omtrent jullie ervaring bij Madonna die je met ons zou willen delen?

Er was nog heel even sprake dat wij de Europese tour als voorprogramma zouden vullen, maar dat was helaas niet mogelijk. Toch wel leuk dat het goed bevallen was.

Met dank aan: Guan Elmzoon, Pryme, BC Boy, Vince Charming, Kenny T, Michele, Twilight East (UK) en Marc de Reus.

For more on King Bee click HERE

 
© MADONNAUNDERGROUND, 2020. No part of this interview, may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the permission of the copyright owner.
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