Three pieces of music news you may have missed this weekend

Beyoncé. Picture: Getty Images

Beyoncé surprise-dropped an empowerment anthem that centres on the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

While the coronavirus pandemic has wiped hundreds of music festivals off our summer calendar, musicians are satisfying our cravings for live music with a slew of new releases and musical endeavors.

Here is a selection of three items of music news you may have missed this weekend.

Beyoncé commemorates Juneteenth with “Black Parade”

The multiple Grammy-winner surprise-dropped “Black Parade” at the tail end of the Juneteenth holiday, which commemorates the day enslaved African-Americans in Texas were finally informed of their freedom at the end of the Civil War.

Co-produced by Beyoncé and her longtime collaborator Derek Dixie, “Black Parade” was penned by a bevvy of contributors. Among them are Blu June, Brittany Coney, Worldwide Fresh, Kaydence, Caso and Jay-Z.

The empowerment anthem centres on the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that stemmed from the recent death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

“Being black, maybe that’s the reason why/ They always mad, yeah, they always mad, yeah/ Been past ’em, I know that’s the reason why/ They all big mad and they always have been,” Beyoncé sings.

According to the singer’s website, proceeds from the song about resilience will support black-owned small businesses in need through her BeyGOOD initiative.

“Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right,” Beyoncé wrote in a statement, also including a directory of black-owned businesses to support.

Drive-in concerts to be organised this summer around the UK

Kaiser Chiefs, The Streets and Dizzee Rascal are among the leading artists who are set to perform during the “Utilita Live From The Drive-In” series, which will take place across 12 venues in the UK.

Music enthusiasts will have access to a private individual viewing zone next to their cars, which will be parked in large outdoor spaces in British cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool and London.

According to the Live Nation website, the venues are likely to include Leeds East Airport, the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, the University of Bolton Stadium and the Cheltenham Racecourse.

Additional artists and groups participating in the initiative include Ash, Beverley Knight, Bjorn Again, Brainiac Live, Brand New Heavies, Cream Classical Ibiza, Embrace, Gary Numan, Jack Savoretti, Lightning Seeds, Nathan Dawe, Reggae Roast Vs Gentleman’s Dub Club, Russell Watson, Sigala, Skindred, The Snuts, The Zutons and Tony Hadley.

Tickets for the “Utilita Live From The Drive-In” series will go on sale at a yet-unannounced date in the coming weeks.

Prince’s legendary “Blue Angel” Cloud 2 electric guitar sold for $563,000 (R9.7 million)

The custom-made instrument went under the hammer on Friday, 19 June during Julien’s Auctions’ “Music Icons” sale, far exceeding its high presale estimate of $200,000 (R3.4 million)

The “Blue Angel guitar was notably played by Prince on the tours in support of “Purple Rain”, “Parade”, “Sign O’ the Times” and “Lovesexy” as well as on TV appearances in the second half of the 1980s.

Originally described by Julien’s Auctions as just a “custom-made 1984 blue Cloud guitar used by Prince”, conservationist John Woodland later identified the instrument as the singer’s beloved “Blue Angel” guitar.

Long thought to be lost, the iconic guitar was described by the house as “one of the most historically important guitars played by Prince that has ever come up for auction”.

Although a highlight of Julien’s Auctions’ “Music Icons” sale, the instrument is not the first Cloud guitar of Prince’s to appear on the market.

A green version of the Cloud 2 model that belonged to the late singer fetched $700,000 (R12 million) in 2017 at Julien’s Auctions.

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