News / Arts & Entertainment

Thanksgiving Specials Feature Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo Green

US singer Lady Gaga poses for the media during a press conference in New Delhi, India (file photo)
US singer Lady Gaga poses for the media during a press conference in New Delhi, India (file photo)
Mary Morningstar

Thanksgiving Special Features Lady Gaga

On November 24, Lady Gaga’s Thanksgiving special will air on ABC-TV.  “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” includes an interview with Katie Couric, which will give fans a look into her personal life.  In addition, Lady Gaga will perform eight songs throughout the 90-minute show, and she’ll assist chef Art Smith prepare a Thanksgiving dinner.

Cee Lo Green, Mary J. Blige to participate in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo Green

The 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will feature appearances by many musical stars.  They include Mary J. Blige, Rodney Atkins, Avril Lavigne, Cee Lo Green, Neil Diamond, and Broadway cast members from “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.”  This year marks the 85th anniversary of the annual New York City parade.

Epic Records Releases Posthumous Jackson CD

Michael Jackson's
Michael Jackson's "Immortal" posthumous CD
On November 21, Epic Records will release Michael Jackson’s third posthumous album.  Immortal is the soundtrack to the new Cirque du Soleil show based on Michael’s music and life.  The album includes remixed versions of Jackson’s hits, plus previously unreleased recording session outtakes.

Mariah Carey taps Idol Judge Randy Jackson for Management Job

Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon
Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mariah Carey is negotiating a management deal with producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson.  Jackson has worked with Mariah since the 1990s, when he was vice president of A&R at her label, Columbia Records.  Since then, he has produced and co-written many songs that Mariah has recorded, and he’s also played bass in her studio and touring bands.

Rapper Mac Miller Tops Billboard 200

Mac Miller's
Mac Miller's "Blue Slide Park" CD

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based rapper Mac Miller enters this week’s Billboard 200 at Number One with his debut album, Blue Slide Park.  Nielsen SoundScan reports that the 19-year-old newcomer’s album sold 144,000 copies its first week of release.  Also debuting in the Top 10 this week are Michael Buble’s “Christmas” (Number 2), “Now That’s What I Call Music! 40” by various artists (Number 3), the soundtrack to “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1” (Number 4), Romeo Santos’ “Formula, Volume 1” (Number 9), and Il Divo’s “Wicked Game” (Number 10).

New Album Releases / Novermber 22:

“Talk That Talk” by Rihanna
“Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets” by Bob Seger
“Here and Now” by Nickelback
“Break the Spell” by Daughtry
“My Life II: The Journey Continues (Act 1)” by Mary J. Blige
“Speak Now World Tour Live” by Taylor Swift
“Beg For Mercy” by Adam Lambert
“Memories of a Beautiful Disaster” by James Durbin
“Dreamer the Believer” by Common
“50 Words for Snow” by Kate Bush
“Songbook” by Chris Cornell, “Iris” by Cirque du Soleil
“The Waymon Tisdale Story” by Waymon Tisdale
“Fallen Empires” by Snow Patrol

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

On November 21, the 2011 “Charlie Daniels Band & Friends Christmas 4 Kids Concert” will take place at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.  Phil Vassar, Joe Nichols, Colt Ford and Sawyer Brown will also perform at the event.  The annual charity concert raises money for the Christmas 4 Kids organization, which provides more than 400 underprivileged children with their own Christmas shopping spree.

One of Nashville’s most popular tourist attractions, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, is celebrating its birthday this week.  On November 23, the venue will hold its 51st Birthday Bash with performances by Grammy-winning Country rock band The Kentucky Headhunters, Australia’s The McClymonts and bluegrass duo The Roys.  Tootsie’s is known for its impromptu performances by Country stars, who often stop in to surprise patrons.

Awards Presentations/Winners:

Taylor Swift (file photo)
Taylor Swift (file photo)

On November 20, the 39th annual American Music Awards were presented in Los Angeles.  British pop singer Adele led the contenders with four nominations, including Artist of the Year, Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Adult-Contemporary Artist and Favorite Album for “21.”  Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Katy Perry, Rihanna and The Band Perry each received three nods.  Other multiple nominees included Pitbull, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Jason Aldean, LMFAO and Kanye West. Click here for the full list of winners.

Look who's going on Tour!

Thanksgiving Specials Feature Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo Green
Thanksgiving Specials Feature Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo Green

U2’s “360 Tour” took the Top Tour and Top Draw trophies at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards.  Other winners at the eighth annual event included Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington, who shared the Top Package award; Jason Aldean, Top Breakthrough Tour; Jeff Dunham, Top Comedy Tour; and Take That, which won the Top Boxscore category for their June 30-July 9 engagement at Wembley Stadium in London.  In addition, the rock band Journey was honored with this year’s Legend of Live award.

On November 25, legendary singer Kenny Rogers will begin his 30th “Christmas and Hits Tour” in Columbus, Ohio.  Country singer Billy Dean will join Kenny on the 18-city outing.  They’ll perform holiday classics and also their respective hits.  Local children’s choirs in each city are invited to perform with Kenny and Billy.

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Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
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Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
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Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
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