Tasmin Little is hitting the headlines by becoming the first musician (to the best of my knowledge) to give away a recording free online. The project is called The Naked Violin. Radiohead, eat your heart out.
She's recorded three contrasting pieces for solo violin by Bach, Ysaye and Paul Patterson and it will be available to listen or download free of charge from her website from next Monday. She sees this as a new way of getting through to people who might never dare to go into a record shop or walk into a concert hall, but mightn't mind pressing a button on a computer and having a listen. There's an important educational element too - the recording is ideal for use in schools and the website is going to include Tasmin's spoken introductions and suggestions that teachers can use to plan lessons around the three different pieces. And of course you can access the recording anywhere there's internet access, whether in swinging London, darkest Peru or among the reindeer in Lapland.
Two contrasting violins are involved: her Guadagnini of 1757 and the 'Regent' Stradivarius. Listen out for the difference between the instruments, decide which you prefer and why, and let her know via the website!
I'm chuffed to learn, furthermore, that the whole thing sprang from our little busking exercise for The Independent last spring. Playing outside Waterloo Station and seeing who stopped, who didn't and who might have if it had been less cold and windy just there - and especially seeing that every child who passed us wanted to stay and watch - got Tazza thinking about why people who might enjoy music don't actually go to hear live performances. She's hoping to follow up the download recording with a rather unusual tour. Coming soon to a teepee near you.
We'll be covering the project at greater length in the Indy very soon, but meanwhile please bookmark her page and dive in for a listen next week. The Guardian has a piece today (though of course they make a political statement out of it).