Arts and Entertainment Will.i.am onstage at the Capital FM Summertime Ball at Wembley in London.

Will.i.am, Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Sons are among the stars who have recorded new versions of celebrated protest songs to highlight issues of global poverty.

Elvis Costello, Royal Festival Hall, London

"I've been wading through all this unbelievable junk/ And wondering if I should have given the world to the monkeys," he spits out with relish on "God's Comic" in this blistering solo set. It's about time we reclaimed our very own Elvis, and thanks to Richard Thompson's Meltdown we get a rare sighting (he now lives in New York with his wife, Diana Krall) of this British new-wave whiz.

Elvis Costello pulls out of 'political' gigs

Elvis Costello has become one of the biggest names in music to join a cultural boycott of Israel by cancelling two planned concerts there at the end of next month.

A life of rhyme: John Cooper Clarke, the 'punk Poet Laureate', grants Robert Chalmers his first major interview in more than 20 years

Who'd be the 'punk Poet Laureate'? There's the heroin addiction, the gobbing hecklers, not to mention the cold shoulder from the literary establishment. In his first major interview for two decades, John Cooper Clarke delivers chapter and verse about life with Nico, 'keeping the dream alive' in Milton Keynes and being mistaken for Ronnie Wood

Robert Kirby: Musical arranger who worked with Nick Drake and Elvis Costello

The musical arranger, conductor, composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Kirby was best known for the delicate, understated arrangements he created for Nick Drake on Five Leaves Left, the singer-songwriter's 1969 debut, and its 1970 follow-up, Bryter Layter. These albums, together with Pink Moon – the musician's bleak third album recorded without Kirby – only sold a few thousand copies at the time of their release, and following Drake's death after an overdose of antidepressant drugs in November 1974, he was almost forgotten.

Los Lobos, Jazz Cafe, London

Think of a gang from LA and some pretty negative images come to mind, but the smiles on the faces of the punters throughout this gig spoke of a welcome to one particular gang of Latinos that was reciprocated in an exuberant performance that combined accomplished musicianship with undiminished enthusiasm. This quintet has been playing together for more than 30 years, and it showed in the way the original members – Louie Perez, Conrad Lozano, Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo and Steve Berlin, supplemented by the muscular and inventive drumming of Cougar Estrada – played a set that they seemed to be making up as it went along.

Album: Bill Frisell, Disfarmer (Nonesuch)

Even Damon Albarn and Jack White have some distance to go to equal the genre-bending achievements of Bill Frisell, not just the outstanding jazz guitarist of his era but also the most diversely prolific, equally at home providing accompaniment to Buster Keaton movies as he is collaborating with Elvis Costello.

Reckless Amy: The greatest songwriter you've never heard of

'Heroin addicts, ex-cons, married men...' Amy Rigby has always based her darkly funny tales of love-gone-wrong on her own life. So how did the 'greatest modern songwriter you've never heard of' find herself living in the middle of nowhere with a former punk-rocker called Wreckless Eric?

Album: Elvis Costello, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Universal/Decca)

Recorded in Nashville with T-Bone Burnett producing and Jerry Douglas on dobro… SP&S isn't Almost Blue 2 but it is country, bluegrass, the soup of white American folk music thickened up with jam-packed Elvis metre. You might argue that much of what we hear borders on the academic in its pursuit of the idiomatic, but it is also true that it is all done with passion. You'll have to find out for yourself how this all connects with Hans Christian Andersen. A dense, sometimes studiedly beautiful effort.

Album: Elvis Costello, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Hear Music)

Elvis Costello albums seem to arrive with increasing frequency these days, their diversity appearing more like compensation for their patchiness.

Settling scores: Songwriters who take revenge

Lily Allen's single, released as a CD tomorrow, takes aim at an ex-partner, mocking his love-making skills. Katy Guest reports

Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet, Barbican, London

Elvis Costello begins with “Accidents Will Happen”, sung as he sang it in 1979 when he was a New Wave pop star, but played by the classical strings of the Brodsky Quartet.

Home And Away: 'Like Obama, I used a new puppy to help my children move home'

Brian Viner: 'Malia and Sasha won't be the ones who have to clean up behind the dog in the White House

Album: Joan Baez, Day After Tomorrow (Proper)

No one does gravitas quite like JB. She does it without self-doubt. And if that great whipping silken flag of a soprano is rather diminished now (small mercies, you might say), Joan's sense of solemnity has not diminished one whit.

Allen Toussaint, Roundhouse, London

Allen Toussaint talks of his sporadic, unbought solo work and the royalties from the hits he's created for others with equal affection.

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