The U.S. Postal Service decided to honour Ray Charles with a commemorative stamp, released Sept. 23, on what would have been the singer’s 83rd birthday. This is not the first time they have featured a musician on their stamps. In fact, Charles is the third musician to be included in their Music Icons series. The first two were Lydia Mendoza and Johnny Cash. The image that was chosen to represent Ray Charles on the stamp was the photograph used for the album The Best of Ray Charles.
Some unfortunate news has come in for Mumford & Sons fans; the band has decided that they will be taking a break. Although they did not specify how much time they would be taking off, they told Rolling Stone that it would be a “considerable amount of time.” For the past few years, the band has been caught up in a whirlwind of writing and recording new music, touring, press and award shows, without any real downtime. Their concert in Kansas on Sept. 20 marked their final show.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot started a hunger strike on Sept. 23 in response to the inhumane treatment she and her fellow prisoners are receiving in prison. Her bandmate Maria Alyokhina also went on a hunger strike earlier this year when she was banned from attending her parole hearing. After being hospitalized, Alyokhina’s demands were met by officials. Tolokonnikova is demanding a change in labour conditions. She said that prisoners are forced to work in unsanitary conditions sewing police uniforms for up to 17 hours a day.
It was Montreal band Godspeed You! Black Emperor who took home the 2013 Polaris Music Prize on Sept. 23 in Toronto for their album Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend. Although they did not attend the ceremony, they accepted the cash prize of $30,000, which they said will be used for music education funding in Quebec prisons. The award celebrates diversity and creativity in Canadian artists and is determined by a jury of 200 music connoisseurs. The band was up against fellow canadians Metric, Tegan and Sara, METZ, Whitehorse, Young Galaxy, Purity Rings, Zaki Ibrahim, A Tribe Called Red and Colin Stetson.