Happy Families At The BRITs, Neneh Cherry and “7 Seconds” of Innocence

This week I watched the BRIT Awards. It’s a big night for those in the music industry as a large clutch of awards can really raise sales to stratospheric levels – But enough about “The Suits” from the record companies, it is also a big night for the artists who have worked hard on their craft and been allowed to shine over the last 12 months. For many, all their dreams have come true, but for others, they may crash and burn – Lets hope most will fall into the former camp.

The big winner at the Grammys this year was American Billie Eilish, who is only 18 years old. She was also a big winner at the BRITs and performed the new Bond theme song No Time To Die written by her brother, who simply goes by the name Finneas. Billie certainly doesn’t follow any of the normal rules associated with pop princesses, and eschews make-up, hair extensions and skimpy clothing. With her lime green hair, she is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly plasticised world. What upset me however was that when she received her award she became quite emotional, as she’d been feeling “hated” of late on social media, but the reception she got from the crowd on Tuesday night had made her feel “loved”. Regulars around here will know my last post was about the #BeKind movement, and for Billie’s sake, I hope those who hide behind their keyboards spouting hatred take heed, and start being kinder.

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Billie Eilish with brother Finneas

Another big winner on Tuesday night was Scotland’s own Lewis Capaldi who won both the award for Best New Artist and also for Song of the Year. Like Billie he is no conventional pop idol, which is great, and as is his way, his acceptance speech was peppered with the kind of language not allowed on pre-watershed telly, so we didn’t get to hear any of it. He is so typically Glaswegian however and has that knack of not taking himself too seriously which I love. His Italian surname is the same as that of fellow Glaswegian Peter Capaldi, and yes, it turns out they are related, sharing a great-grandfather. Peter even appeared in the video for Lewis’ song of the year, Someone You Loved.

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Lewis Capaldi with “cousin” Peter Capaldi aka Dr Who

Another family connection that surprised me when watching Tuesday night’s show, was that Mabel, winner of Best British Female Solo Artist, has a mum who herself is the proud owner of three BRIT awards. Who could this be I wondered and did a quick google search – Her mum turns out to be Neneh Cherry and frighteningly, her awards were all received on the show exactly 30 years ago to the day. I remember watching that show well and honest to goodness, it feels like only about 10 years ago! Mabel also put in a great performance of her big hit Don’t Call Me Up on the night which reminded me a lot of Dua Lipa’s New Rules from two year’s ago. More stories of strong women taking control – A regular theme for the 21st century it seems.

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Mabel with her mum Neneh Cherry

But here is a clip of the most powerful performance of the night. Dave, from Streatham in South London, won the award for British Album of the Year which is apparently “the big one”. As a woman of a certain age living in the Scottish Highlands, I could not be culturally more different from Dave and his “brothers”, but listening to his Brits’ version of Black which had an incredibly moving verse added at the end encompassing a tribute to London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt, it does make me understand their world a little more. Two years ago Stormzy blew me away at the Brits, but this year it was Dave. I urge you to watch until the end, and also, to admire the very clever graphics on the piano.

But getting back to Neneh Cherry, in case anyone has forgotten just how good she was back in the day, here is one of my all-time favourite songs – 7 Seconds by Youssou N’Dour featuring Neneh Cherry. It was released in 1994 as a single, and reached the No. 1 spot in numerous countries. In France it stayed at No. 1 for a record 16 weeks and it also won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song of 1994. 7 Seconds is apparently about the first positive 7 seconds in the life of a newborn child, a child who does not know about the problems and violence in our world. Three different languages were used in the song: English, French and Wolof, which is a language spoken in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania. Also very apt I think for today’s post.

7 Seconds by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry:

Until next time….

7 Seconds Lyrics
(Song by Neneh Cherry/Youssou N’Dour/Cameron McVey/Jonathan Sharp)

Boul ma sene, boul ma guiss madi re nga fokni mane
Khamouma li neka thi sama souf ak thi guinaw
Beugouma kouma khol oaldine yaw li neka si yaw
mo ne si man, li ne si mane moye dilene diapale

Roughneck and rudeness,
We should be using
On the ones who practice wicked charms
For the sword and the stone
Bad to the bone
Battle is not over
Even when it’s won

And when a child is born
Into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin is living in

It’s not a second
Seven seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
Seven seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting

J’assume les raisons qui nous poussent de changer tout,
J’aimerais qu’on oublie leur couleur pour qu’ils esperent
Beaucoup de sentiments de races qui font qu’ils desesperent
Je veux les deux mains ouvertes,
Des amis pour parler de leur peine, de leur joie
Pour qu’ils leur filent des infos qui ne divisent pas
Changer

Seven seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
Seven seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting

And when a child is born
Into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin it’s living in

And there’s a million voices
And there’s a million voices
To tell you what you should be thinking
So you better sober up for just a second

We’re seven seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
We’re seven seconds away
For just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
Seven seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

8 thoughts on “Happy Families At The BRITs, Neneh Cherry and “7 Seconds” of Innocence”

      1. Even more, as Eagle-Eye Cherry is also Don’s son. He also has two other sons who are musicians.

        It’s complicated. Here is Wikipedia: “From her mother’s side, [Neneh] Cherry also has a half-brother, musician Eagle-Eye Cherry. From stepfather Don Cherry’s side, she has a stepsister, violinist Jan Cherry, and a stepbrother, jazz musician David Ornette Cherry. Through her father Ahmadu Jah’s marriage to Maylen Jah (née Bergström), Cherry is the half-sister of singer Titiyo and record producer Cherno Jah. “

        Liked by 1 person

        1. They certainly are a musical “blended family”. Can you imagine if one of them had decided to become and accountant! Neneh also has a stepson called Marlon who is a songwriter/producer.

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          1. Famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman had 9 children from 6 women and was married 5 times (he had children with all of his wives—sometimes long before they were married—but wasn’t married to all mothers (Liv Ullmann (not related to Tracey—bet you didn’t see that coming!) being the exception)). He also had numerous sexual relationships with other women, often actresses who worked for him, without children resulting. 6 work in film as actors and/or directors, two are authors, and one, Ingmar Bergman, Jr., was an airline pilot. Among his unrealized projects was a pornographic film, abandoned because the script was not alive enough. 🙂

            Bergman is known for his heavy, depressing films, but he also made some comedies, in even in films like The Seventh Seal there are rays of hope. In interviews, he comes across as a very cheerful chap.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. We too watched The Brits in its entirety and were uplifted and moved by much of it. It just seemed to have a different angle this year with its award winners and performances. Also struck by how much must have gone into it, all the special effects and choreography, and not one trip up this year! (I mean, I was thinking about how even the smallest thing must have been rehearsed so thoroughly such as when Stormzy had to make it across from one stage to another just in the right time to start his vocals again – just one tiny aspect that we take for granted but it must have all been worked out so carefully, let alone all the grander moments) Dave’s performance – and that final extra verse – is just what we need to hear too. Like you, I’m so far from his demographic but was so moved by him. Lovely post, Alyson – after watching the programme I considered writing a post about it too but just couldn’t get it together so it was especially great to find you’d written about it and covered everything I would have wanted to say (and so much better!)

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts C as I was bowled over by the show but don’t think many of our blogging pals probably watch it. Yes, it is becoming quite slick isn’t it whereas in days of old there were always lots of controversial moments, which I suppose is what music is supposed to be about, but a big cringe-worthy for the viewer. As for Dave, I just couldn’t believe how many words he fitted in to his song and respect (as they say in South London) to him for adding the final verse. He was drained at the end I think though.

      I’ve actually just tweaked my post above to add the 7 Seconds lyrics instead as realised my blog is supposed to be rated U or A or whatever it is – Sadly some of Dave’s lyrics didn’t fall into that camp.

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