Wearing his traditional white Panama hat and smoking a cigar, the popular Cuban musician known as Compay Segundo celebrated his 94th birthday with hundreds of friends, fans, and family members Sunday night. "You have to take good care of yourself," said Segundo, whose real name is Francisco Repilado, during the celebration in the garden of the Hotel Nacional. "I'm happy."
Phish bassist Mike Gordon, former God Street Wine guitarist/vocalist Lo Faber, keyboardist John Medeski, and avant-garde turntablist DJ Logic were among the musicians that gathered Sunday night at New York's B.B. King's Blues Club for the Jammin' for Salmon: A Celebration of Life and Music benefit. Pulled together in less than a week, the event, an East Coast equivalent to several recent Colorado-based shows, was conceived to raise money for Leftover Salmon banjoist and founding member Mark Vann, who was recently diagnosed with melanoma and began chemotherapy last month.
Backed by an acoustic band and a string quartet, Jay-Z had fans in a frenzy as he performed his hits for a taping of MTV2's "Unplugged" series Sunday night (Nov. 18). "Welcome to Jay-Z's poetry hour," the 31-year-old rapper joked. "Hark, who goes there?"
Ja Rule's Murder Inc. set "Pain Is Love," Usher's Arista album "8701," and Luther Vandross' self-titled J Records debut lead the list of albums newly certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Released in October, August, and June, respectively, each has been certified for U.S. sales of 1 million copies. The Ja Rule and Usher albums were also each certified gold (500,000 copies) in their first accounting by the RIAA since their release.
Icelandic experimental rock outfit Sigur Ros took home the inaugural Virgin Megastore Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement in Music and its accompanying $10,000 cash prize last night (Nov. 19) at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. The group was one of four nominated finalists who also performed at the awards ceremony.
Detroit garage rock duo the White Stripes have a signed a two-album deal with New York-based V2 Records, home to Moby, the Black Crowes, and Mercury Rev. The agreement, essentially a licensing deal that allows the White Stripes to maintain ownership of its masters, gives V2 the option to distribute any artist that White Stripes vocalist Jack White signs to his Third Man Records imprint.
If De La Soul has learned anything in its 12 years in the music business, it's that nothing is certain. So when the Long Island, N.Y.-based trio (Dave, Posdnous, and Maseo) set out last year to craft its "Art Official Intelligence" (AOI) series on Tommy Boy Records -- with the intention of releasing three albums in the span of 18 months -- the threesome should have assumed it would be an arduous task.
The Material Girl's childhood home went to the highest bidder in just 12 minutes. Sam Michael, representing an Ohio real estate group, bought Madonna's former Oakland County, Mich., home and a few items of rock memorabilia with a bid of $331,000 Saturday afternoon (Nov. 17).
Mary J. Blige and Jewel have been confirmed to perform at the My VH1 Music Awards, airing live Dec. 2 from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium on the cable music channel. They join previously announced performers Creed, Sting, Mick Jagger, No Doubt, Destiny's Child, Lenny Kravitz, and Nelly Furtado. Tickets for the event, to be hosted by "Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack, are now onsale via Ticketmaster.
Entertainer Harry Belafonte smiled at calls of "Day-O" as he participated in a peace walk through an inner-city Cincinnati neighborhood marred by rioting in April. The 74-year-old singer, actor, and activist and 25 others promoted the message of peace Saturday in the city's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, where a police officer shot an unarmed black man on April 7, starting a three-day riot.