Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hotel Bergs Contemporary 5-Star Luxury in Historic Riga Latvia - 2X2-Night Deal

With material from a release:

Hotel Bergs
Contemporary 5-Star Luxury in Historic Riga, Latvia
2X2-Night Baltic Capitals Deal

Find out more

Contemporary chic in the center of Riga - Hotel Bergs is a smart, five-star haven in the charming historical quarter known as the Bergs Bazaar.
Bergs Hotel, Riga
Hotel Bergs is a designer boutique hotel nestled behind a 19th century brick façade, featuring 38 spacious guest suites, the famous Bergs restaurant offering haute cuisine inspired by local fare as well as a fitness and wellness center, elegant meeting lounges and a penthouse event space with great city views.
Hotel Bergs, Riga - suite
Art Nouveau design combines black-and-white colour tones with leather furniture and oak floors, while paintings by Latvian old masters merge with African traditional textiles and woodcarvings. Paintings by Ilmârs Blumbergs adorn the guest room walls and he also created the striking fountain in the courtyard.

Restaurant Bergs
Restaurant Bergs
Restaurant Bergs, decorated in a contemporary style, has been thoughtfully designed to provide guests with a calm and intimate retreat in the business centre of one of the most exciting areas of the city. The modern interior is accented with vibrant colours and design elements. With a glassed-in veranda and summer terrace, you'll enjoy the view of the hotel courtyard and fountain. Restaurant Bergs is under the leadership of chef Nauris Jakusko, providing our guests with exquisite cuisine and distinguished service. The restaurant menu offers artful presentation of outstanding dishes to feast your eyes as well as stomach.

Spa Bergs
Visit the Spa for a Latvian tradition, featuring:
  • Classic Swedish massage
  • Facial
  • Foot massage
  • Neck massage
  • Oil massage
  • Reflexology
Nearby in Riga 
The hotel is located in the historic centre of Riga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just a few blocks away, you can discover Riga’s old town and the stunning art nouveau district, visit Riga′s Central Market, the largest open-air market in Europe, or enjoy a spectacular night at the opera.
Bergs Bazaar
Enjoy some retail therapy in Bergs Bazaar pedestrian shopping area, at your doorstep. The stylish Bergs Bazaar, an historical pedestrian village-like enclave originally constructed between 1887–1900, is one of Riga’s premier shopping and dining destinations. Explore small boutiques offering both local and international items, dine at one of the popular restaurants or cafes — both casual and up-market, or simply stroll about stopping to rest on one of the many benches.

Entrances from Elizabetes, Dzirnavu and Marijas iela, between K. Barona iela and Marijas iela near Vērmanes Park.
Hotel Bergs, Riga - lobby
Rumene Manor
At Hotel Bergs’ countryside residence, Rumene Manor, guests can enjoy the idyllic Latvian countryside in a refined setting. Rumene Manor is a meticulously restored 19th century Baltic-German estate which is ideally suited for weddings, executive retreats, private dinners and overnights stays just over an hour’s drive outside of Riga.   Experience traditional Latvian SPA rituals in the sauna house on the estate’s private lake.

Add Tallinn, Estonia to your itinerary for a 4-night deal
Baltic Capitals with Small Luxury Hotels, Riga & Tallinn

Enjoy the Baltic capitals, Riga & Tallinn with Small Luxury Hotels Hotel Bergs Riga & Hotel Telegraaf Tallinn. It's a wonderful offer to experience Baltic Capitals in style.

Hotel Bergs, Riga - entrance
At Hotel Bergs, Rigas:
• Two night's luxurious accommodation in a Studio Suite;
• Room upgrade to the next room category at check-in (up to availability);
• Welcome greeting in your suite upon arrival;
• Daily a la carte breakfast in Bergs Restaurant;
• Complimentary three-course lunch for two in Bergs Restaurant (incl.soft drinks);
• Private airport transfer upon arrival or departure.

At Hotel Telegraaf Tallinn
Once the exchange station for the Estonian Telegraph Company, this carefully restored 19th century building now houses a luxurious 86 room first class hotel with the exclusive restaurant “Tchaikovsky – A Symphony of Russian Cuisine”, a Spa with award-winning Elemis products and the Old Town’s only hotel with underground parking, located just steps away from Tallinn’s heart – Town Hall Square.
Tchaikovsky Restaurant, Hotel Telegraaf, Tallinn
• Two night's luxurious accommodation in a Superior Double room;
• Full daily breakfast in Tchaikovsky Restaurant;
• VIP treatment in your room upon arrival;
• Private airport transfer upon arrival or departure;
• Unlimited usage of Elemis SPA facilities (swimming pool, saunas & jacuzzi);
• 48-hours Tallinn Card for two persons – free entrance and discounts to nearly 100 tourist attractions in Tallinn (including Official Tallinn City Tour, KUMU Art Museum and many more).

• Two-hotel package price for 2 guests, 4 nights: €840.

• Rates include all taxes. Certain black-out dates my apply.
• Confirmed bookings are final. The confirmed rate will be fully charged in case of a cancellation.
• For reservations please call +371 67770900 or e-mail:

Hotel Bergs
83/85 Elizabetes Street,
Bergs Bazaar, Riga
LV-1050, Latvia

Friday, April 14, 2017

Coming soon: Jay Clark Band - Cocked & Loaded (April 30, 2017)

Coming soon:
Jay Clark Band - Cocked & Loaded
(April 30, 2017)

Buy the Single

Jay Clark comes from Ohio but you might be forgiven for assuming he's from south of the Mason-Dixon line after hearing this recording of southern fried rock.

The sound is familiar, but he takes the time and skill to perfect it and perform it with sincerity. It's guitar-driven, but the instrumentation is varied and textured, including a rich Hammond B3 and fiddle on some tracks. Jay's got just the right vocals for this kind of music - melodic, with a nice range, and a whisky roughened edge that gives it power and expression.

Overall, the album's mood ranges from party country rock to a more metallic sound, back to a new country vibe. Lyrically, the songs cover the girls, guns, and boozin' with the boys territory that you'd expect. But that's not to say there's no imagination to be found, or occasional flashes of wry humour. From Another Love Song,

I don't wanna write another love song
Cause what we got might not last that long

It's Southern-infused party rock just in time for summer. Jay began writing his own material inspired by a brother's budding acting career. He made the savvy move of creating and posting a few videos to Facebook that got a lot of positive feedback.

After about 20 videos, he was looking to take the next step, and eventually decided to head to Nashville, where he'd be able to hire the best session musicians. That's just what he did when recording a series of demos that ended up as a 5-song EP he called Never Too Late.

That material, reworked - along with five new songs recorded at Beaird Music in Nashville earlier this year - became the nucleus of Cocked & Loaded, his debut LP.

Drums: Tommy Harden; Bass: Eli Beaird / Mike Brignardello; Electric: Jeff King; Piano: Steve Nathan; Acoustic: John Willis / Larry Beaird; Vocals: Tania Hancheroff; Vocals: Adam Cunningham

1Get Wild
2 Hell or High Water
3 Leave It All Behind
4 Won't Be Pushed Around
5 The River
6 Freight Train
7 Another Love Song
8 Cocked & Loaded
9 Whatcha Doin' To Me
10 Shakedown


The River is the first single in advance of the album's release, a track with a driving country rock heart aided by Adam Cunningham on vocals.

Recently released: Shawna Virago - Heaven Sent Delinquent (Shawna Virage / Tranimal Records, Jan 1 2017)

Recently released:
Shawna Virago - Heaven Sent Delinquent
(Shawna Virage / Tranimal Records, Jan 1 2017)

Available on vinyl, CD, download
•  Stream it on SoundCloud

Come whisper
In my ear

(From Bright Green Ideas)

Clever, sharply observed lyrics and a sincere musical appreciation for the expressive flavours of Americana raise this recent release by Shawna Virago well above the herd of singer songwriters recording today.

Virago is a pioneer; she has been performing as an out transwoman since the early 1990’s and it hasn't gone unnoticed. Her music has been profiled in many publications, including Bitch, the Advocate and Curve magazines and on left-of-the-dial radio.

You honestly don't actually have to know any of that to enjoy the folk/punk sound of the San Francisco based artist. Shawna uses the intimate acoustic sound and storyteller's perch of Americana to get the message across, using the sounds of country, bluegrass, and rockabilly in imaginative ways. It works well with her poetically insightful and observant lyrics. From the Ballad of Miss Suzy Texas,

She remembers the liquor stores they robbed together
Ya life was perfect then...

The mood is gritty and real in songs like Last Nights Sugar, a plaintive ballad about people who slide into the casinos and hook up in cheap motels. There's often a dry sense of humour at work. From Burnout,

The girls wore black,
Like they was Sylvia Plath
But I bet they never
Even read her

Virago describes the songs in a media release. “These are the stories of my generation – a generation of transgender people who came out long before the internet, before transgender celebrities and reality TV stars… before anybody gave a shit about us.”

Virago composed original music for choreographer Sean Dorsey’s acclaimed dance theater work Uncovered: The Diary Project, about pioneering transman Lou Sullivan. Along with her musical career, Virago is a published writer and she has been featured in documentary works on PBS and NPR.

Shewired named Shawna as one of the nation’s “Top 25 Hot Femmes.” The Advocate named Virago’s song Objectified as one of the nation’s top transgender anthems. In addition to her own work, Virago is also the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival.

Twitter: @ShawnaVirago

The first single is Gender Armageddon

Recently released: Sara Ontaneda - Entre Espacios y Colores (Independent, March 20 2017)

Recently released:
Sara Ontaneda - Entre Espacios y Colores
(Independent, March 20, 2017)

Buy the CD

Entre Espacios y Colores is the first full-length release for the artist who divides her time - and touring schedule - between New York City and Ecuador.

The vibe on the tracks is easy, with a loose groove you'd put into anything from contemporary to Latin jazz. Sarah's voice is clear with a sweet edge, fluid over the octaves and in and out of the rhythm.

The arrangements use lush keyboard sounds along with horns and a standard guitar plus rhythm section. Aprovechar (Sencillo) begins with a spare acoustic guitar and rhythm section, adding a horn line to the texture along with judicious keyboards.

The melodies and harmonies defy easy categorization. Sara has developed an imaginative sound that showcases her clear, expressive voice in a series of lush arrangements. Darling has a laid back swing.

Darling you and I can have our fun
But I gotta let you know
I got some scars...

Her voice trips lightly around the lines and rhythms. She's an accomplished singer, but the technique never feels indulgent or embellished for its own sake. It adds a layer of expression with an effortless kind of sound.

Waiting Outside is another upbeat, straight-up jazz track with an insistent syncopation.  Sara's first album is bilingual with tracks in English and others in Spanish, reflecting Sara's multi-cultural life in New York City.

Sara performs in many different cities of the US and Ecuador, including festivals like SXSW 2016 in Austin, TX, Outside of the Box 2016 (Boston), the South Florida Folk Festival and the Marte y Jupiter EP Ecuador Tour" where she played in 4 cities: Guayaquil, Piñas, Quito, and Cuenca.

She's a graduate of Berklee College of Music where she majored in Contemporary Writing and Production. Sara graduated with honors and received scholarship awards for her efforts. She released her first single inn August 2014. "Pero Hoy",  under the CVRA LVDORVM (Ecuador) label is still played frequently on Ecuadorian radio.

If you are looking for a jazz singer with a different vibe than the usual, with a Latin flavour - or just an accomplished vocalist with a fluid style, this is an interesting collection of t;racks to discover.

Music and Lyrics by Sara Ontaneda; Sara Ontaneda - Guitar/Vocals/Synths; Alejandro Zorrilla - bass; Fabio Rojas - drums' David Manuhutu - keys; Santiago Bosch - keys; Alto Sax - Yoo Sun Nam; Tenor Sax -  Samuel Batista; Trumpet - Dustin Beardsley; Violin - Kiho Yutaka

1. Chico Bien
2. Aprovechar
3. My City
4. A Pensar
5. Darling
6. Huecos
7. Waiting Outside
8. Park Drive
9. Guíame


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Single: Monica da Silva - Soldado de Amor

From a media release:

New Single:
Monica da Silva - Soldado de Amor

Download the track on iTunes

Socialite Fiasco Music is pleased to announce the release of “Soldado de Amor” (Soldier of Love) by Brazilian American singer songwriter Monica da Silva.

In it, Monica's sweet, languid vocals dance around thick Brazilian rhythms.  The track was inspired by the vintage “marchinhas” (marches) and popular samba songs of Brazilian Carnival, and features the haunting vocals that da Silva is known for.

Soldado de Amor was released on March 31st, 2017. The song is now being featured on the BBC Drama “THE REPLACEMENT”, and will soon be included on da Silva’s new album, a follow up to her debut album “Brasilissima”.

"Soldado de Amor", which da Silva co-wrote with her brother Bruce Driscoll (Freedom Fry, Blondfire), was produced by Bruce Driscoll, along with longtime collaborator Chad Alger (Complicated Animals).

Da Silva’s music has been featured on The World Cup, TED, Ibiza Beats, and Putumayo World Music’s “Brazilian Beat”. She also writes and releases music with guitarist and producer Chad Alger, as the Indie duo Complicated Animals.

Written by Monica da Silva and Bruce Driscoll (Freedom Fry)
Vocals: Monica da Silva, Bruce Driscoll
Guitar: Bruce Driscoll
Drums & Percussion: Chad Alger (Complicated Animals)
Mixed by Chad Alger, Bruce Driscoll
Mastered by Yoad Nevo

Official Website:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Japan Travel: Spring in Japan & Taxi Travel Tip

From a media release:

Japan Travel:
Spring in Japan & Taxi Travel Tip

Springtime is especially splendiferous in Japan, and even if you can't make it this year, you can view some of the blossoming abundance that makes it so special online - and then make your future plans...
Osaka Castle in the springtime
The Return of Spring and Hanami Season

Hanami is the ancient art of appreciating the beauty of flowers, and for many outside the country, it has become synonymous with experiencing cherry blossom season in Japan.

At this time of year, Japan is awash in cherry blossoms from north to south. If you are in or around Tokyo, the Tobu Sakura Matsuri 2017 website introduces recommended viewing spots, dates, and shops offering cherry-blossom sweets along the Tobu Railway. Once the trees have fully bloomed, 360-degree videos of Sumida Park, Satte Gongendo, and Kawagoe Shingashi River will be shot and added to the site.

Hanami parties under the night sky are also popular, and Kinugawa-onsen will be hosting viewing parties around the bottom of the Kinugawa Ropeway from April 8 to the 15th. They are also offering a Hanami Bento Combo, which includes a reserved seat, a special Hanami Bento made by a local restaurant chef, 2 cups of sake in a traditional masu cup, and games for JPY 5,400 per person. Advance reservation is required.

Foreign Friendly Taxi Service in Kyoto

Get all the details and download the app

Getting around Kyoto City is now easier than ever with a new Foreign Friendly Taxi service. The first ever foreigner-first taxi stands in Japan have been established at Kyoto Station and offer 24-hour service at Hachijyo gate and 9am-11pm service at Karasuma Gate.

Drivers located at the two stands take a foreign language seminar and customer service training and can accept credit cards and traffic IC cards. The cars are marked with a special Foreign Friendly TAXI sign and can accommodate more than 2 pieces of luggage.

While on the go, you can have a Foreign Friendly Taxi dispatched using the Japan Taxi app, available in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Niq Reefman - A Selection of Musical Tales (Independent - April 9 2017)

Niq Reefman - A Selection of Musical Tales
(Independent - April 9 2017)

Preorder/Buy the CD

You don't often describe someone as a Trumpet-Singer-Songwriter, but Aussie Niq Reefman is anything but ordinary. He uses jazz chords, electronics, and folky, conscious lyrics to tell stories with song. He calls himself "Instrument-fronted Contemporary Singer-Songwriter".

Based in Gosford, New South Wales, Australia, his music is hard to categorize, but easy to enjoy. Niq's voice is fluid and accomplished, with a style that veers between folk and vaudeville.

Witch Doctor is bouncy and electronic, where Close Shave uses accordion and trumpet in Niq's singular style to create something that could be musical theatre with a slight touch of Frank Zappa, without the profanity. From I Got My Mojo Back,

I am not amused at all
Last night I was God
Life can play cruel games on you
Just when you're thinking you were up on top 

I'm a good boy is most like a conventional jazzy pop song...almost. Obligation is spoken word over a sythy jazz track, punctuated by trumpet notes.

Musical comedy fuses with jazz in his live shows, where his talent for storytelling comes alive. Niq spent 2016 playing in festivals, vineyards, wine bars, restaurants, theatres, schools and homes across Australia, including a well received appearance at Granite Town Festival, where he was asked to join the closing band for a guest appearance.

It's fun collection, thoughtful, quirky, and musically diverse, to say the least.

Personnel: Niq Reefman - Trumpet, Keyboard/synth (percussion & bass included), Vocals, Accordion, Ukulele.

  1. Witchdoctor
  2. Close Shave
  3. Glue
  4. Mooshiek Man
  5. I’ve got my Mojo back
  6. I’m a Good Boy
  7. Horn of Fate
  8. Storm at Sea
  9. Obligation
  10. Fishing
  11. In Australia
Social media:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Eclectic Pop: Captain Of The Lost Waves Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 (Brigand Broadcasting Company - March 8 2017)

Recently Released:
Captain Of The Lost Waves
Hidden Gems – Chapter 1
(Brigand Broadcasting Company - March 8, 2017)

Buy the music

Vintage Britpop, carnival or cabaret -- Captain Of The Lost Waves' sound keeps you guessing, or maybe it's all of them, all at once. Certainly, there are recognizable influences from Peter Gabriel to Jethro Tull, with a little Jacques Brel and the Beach Boys thrown into the mix.

If there is steampunk pop, then I never knew about it before. Captain Of The Lost Waves is an underground musical hero from Yorkshire, UK, who is finally getting a little exposure to the wider world. This collection of eclectic tracks seems to include songs from the last couple of years, many of them accompanied by charming animations.

Another Planet was his first single. This is the Jack Hobbs radio edit mix, animation by BAFTA award winners Fettle Animation. A modern take on music hall, using black and white animation. You can see where I mention the steampunk influence.

His live shows are unpredictable, each one unique, with audience involvement required. They're often site specific, held secretively on a who-you-know basis.

The songs include a theatrical touch, like Happy In Bed, which starts with a clock ticking and the sound of snoring. He sings of toast and wanting to stay just where he is in a melodic tenor. There's a whimsical sensibility, and a daft sense of humour. To a pleasantly Celtic-ish roots groove of acoustic guitar and penny whistle,

This is a song
Nobody wants to hear
This is a song
You'll forget long before you care to remember
This is a song
I'll tattoo across your chest
For this is a song...

As befits a release of Hidden Gems, there are four hidden tracks on the album. If you like the theatricality and storytelling, then you'll love this imaginative release.

Captain Of The Lost Waves – Voices, Bouzouki, Ukulele
Murray Grainger - Accordion, Accordina
Tony Taffinder - Mandolin, Banjo, Bodhran, Guitar, Voice
Dave Bowie Jnr – Double Bass/Bowed Bass

1. Grand national
2. Another Planet
3. Happy In Bed
4. Danger
5. Summer
6. Fat Freddy's Fingers
7. This Is A Song
8. Don't Miss What's Right In Front Of You
9. Mr Many Men


Danger on Planet Earth, there's a singer songwriter epidemic and they say it's getting worse...who can save us? None other than the bravest, boldest alien hunter in the galaxy, Mr William Theodore Ricard...

Retro Rock: New Single by Ivan Beecroft - BELIEVE (Release date: March 6 2017)

New Single:
Ivan Beecroft - BELIEVE
(Release date: March 6, 2017)

Check him out on iTunes

Indie DIY rocker Ivan Beecroft has a new single in advance of an album in the works. The new track, Believe, is a strong pop tune in a retro vein, where a liquid piano line teams up with the guitar in a straight ahead beat with echoes of classic Brit-pop.

The title might lead you to believe it's some kind of upbeat ode to self-help pop psychology, but you'd be wrong. It's more along the lines of muddling through the real world.

You just can't find the things you need
I can't believe the things I see

As a steel worker in an industry that was dying, Australian singer/songwriter/musician Ivan Beecroft found a social conscience, and a keen sense of the difficulties of getting by in the modern era. It's something that has fueled his work, along with a personal history often spiked with tragedy. He was traumatised with a close friend and bass player was severely injured in an attack while trying to defend a neighbor, and almost gave up on music. Luckily, his wife bought him a guitar a couple of years after the incident, and it reignited his musical muse.

Ivan's a multi-instrumentalist and then some. He started out playing the flute, then added saxophone, drums, and guitar in various bands. Dissatisfied with the music production that he could afford, and inspired by the independent Do-It-Yourself ethos of underground 70s UK bands such as Sex Pistols, Joy Division and The Clash, he learned how to record, mix, master and produce his own music.

The new song seems to take a slightly different direction to his 2016 full-length release, Dirty Lie. On Dirty Lie, his approach is more straight ahead electric guitar-driven rock in a classic vein. Angel is a stand out from the album, a boucy rock tune in a vintage mode.

The album delivers the goods in a number of variations, including the slowed down, acoustic feel of Summer Serenade and the rock pop fervour of Where Were You.

Personnel: Ivan Beecroft/drums, bass, guitars, piano/synths, vocals

Twitter  @ivanbeecroft_ivan